Piano no Mori Episode 2 Review: Chopin wo hiku tame ni

This week’s episode of Piano no Mori brings us another phenomenal musical score as we delve further into the perfect world of Kai and his magical forest piano. Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven make an appearance this week as young Kai learns that sometimes you have to take a step backward to truly move forward. Let’s sit back and see where the melodies of Piano no Mori take us in this week’s soothing episode.

Japanese Original Episode Title: ショパンを弾くために

Plot

After discovering Kai playing the old piano in the forest, Ajino is compelled to take the young boy under his wing. Unfortunately, Kai rejects the offer. But, when Kai finds he can’t play Chopin’s Minute Waltz he is forced to rely on Ajino to get to the bottom of his musical block.

Episode Highlights

Opening Theme: In line with the musical focus of the series, the opening theme is a beautiful orchestral piece, Umi e.

Visualizing the Music: Kai can’t read music, but, he is adept at playing by ear. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t visualize the music he hears. He is aware that the notes in a musical score correspond with the notes he hears played, there’s just a bit of a disconnect between the written score and the music inside his head. Unfortunately, this is something that is difficult to conceptualize, so the animators sort of work around it by superimposing the musical score with images of Kai listening to the music being played to show how despite not being able to read the actual notes, his brain does form a connection between the two.

Paintings: In the music room at Kai’s school, there are posters of paintings of famous musicians hanging on the back wall. The style of the posters mimics that of actual paintings, yet another artistic shift found in this anime.

Themes & Trivia

Mozart: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a renowned classical era Austrian musical composer. He was considered a prodigy, performing and composing from a young age. Though his works achieved great fame during his lifetime and continue to have a lasting influence on classical music, Mozart’s life was plagued by misfortune and he died destitute at the age of 35. His Piano Sonata No. 2  F major K. 280 features prominently in this week’s episode.

Für Elise: Also known as Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, is a piano composition penned by German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven, the score of which was posthumously released some 40 years after his death. The piece was dedicated to a still unknown female friend/companion of the composer (the title translates to ‘For Elise’).

5th Symphony in C Minor: Is another of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most famous compositions, well known for its famous four-note opening motif (three short notes followed by one long note). The 5th Symphony was composed between 1804-1808 and comprises of four movements

Back to Basics: Kai, despite his natural talent, lacks basic piano skills. So rather than polishing his current playing, Ajino has him working on the basics.

Teen Mom: Kai’s mother had him when she was just 15 years old.

Meaningful Name: The kanji used in Kai’s name means ‘sea.’

Comments

It seems that the god awful CGI is here to stay! It’s so distracting and out of place with everything else. I get it, they want to show Kai’s playing as accurately as possible, but this is not the way to do it. I wouldn’t complain so much if they didn’t switch between the CGI and hand-drawn style so often. One minute the focus is on Kai’s hands and it’s all CGI, the next the focus in on Kai’s face and it’s back to the original style. Unfortunately, this only happens during the piano playing sequences and since the plot of Piano no Mori is about piano playing, I’m afraid there will be more of this in the future… sigh.

I also read a few chapters of the manga since the last episode (I know, shocker), and let’s just say there’s a lot that was left out and even more that was toned down considerably for the anime series. So far, the focus is more on Kai and his piano playing journey and less on his home life, which is both a good thing and a bad thing, since his home life is so integral to his playing early on.  I’m curious to see how closely the series sticks to the manga though in the future.

The relationships between the characters are being fleshed out a bit more, and for the first time, we are seeing some growing pains in the relationship between Kai and Shuuhei. Their different approaches to music will eventually set the pace for their relationship moving forward, but, right now, it’s nice to see them encouraging one another as they both discover their own musical path. Ajino is definitely a complex character, and the dynamic between him and Kai is definitely one of the most enjoyable bits of this episode and I can’t wait to see how they grow together over the course of the story.

Playing for Fun

Episode 2 of Piano no Mori takes us on a breathtaking musical journey from start to finish. We aren’t just watching Kai’s journey unfold, we are experiencing it one step at time, and while some might find the slow pacing and tranquil atmosphere a bit off-putting, I find that by slowing things down a bit, we are better able to appreciate the finer melodies of the characters and that is a music all it’s own.

What do you guys think of Episode 2 of Piano no Mori? Do you think it has the makings to be the next anime classic? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Spring 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!

Piano no Mori (The Piano Forest)

Spring 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast

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