Mashiro no Oto – Episode 11

Finally, Setsu gets to take the stage in the individual competition, but is it really him up on the stage? Or is he just a puppet for others stuck in the past to get what they want? Well, hopefully he’s able to show them that he’s his own person and can bring his own sound. And if they can’t see that, at least there are others that can.

Last week, we ended on a cliff hanger with Kaji and his broken string. It was stressful, but he managed to play it off well! Yeah, he’s probably going to come in last place, but I think it also leaves a significant impact with the audience that he was able to persevere through the challenge and at least finish the piece. It’s not the ideal performance, but at least he was able to make it to the end and people still want to cheer for him. So, I’m glad that he got a relatively happy ending (plus his group performance came in first, so overall I think he’s doing just fine in the Matsugorou cup).

As for the rest of the episode, I must admit that I was really close to stopping and having to take a walk. Setsu’s faded more into the background in the most recent episodes, but the whole time he’s been thinking about what kind of sound he would be able to provide. And yet Umeko has to go and stir the pot! Let him be his own person with his own sound! Ma’am I think it’s time for you to also move on from Matsugorou’s sound. “Matsugorou’s sound will disappear”? Wrong!! As long as you can keep the memory, it will not disappear. They aren’t the same person; they have their own experiences and stories to tell. Setsu has grown so much since he initially left home for Tokyo. Sawamura, please listen to your friends rather than your mom who just up and disappeared. You’re more than just Matsugorou’s grandson, you can make your own impact in on the world so listen to your friends and Wakana!

And in the end, I think I like how they handled his performance. I love seeing the devious expression from Umeko as Setsu reproduces the sound, but as we pan across the audience everyone who’s touched Setsu recognizes that the sound doesn’t belong to him. He’s using a borrowed sound. And quite frankly they should be upset! As great as Matsugorou was, Setsu’s great too and they’ve been listening to him grow and can tell that the sound does not belong to him. I loved the flashbacks Setsu had to being younger and spending time with his grandfather. They really were the icing on the cake. So many people want him to reproduce a copy, but his grandfather is the first one to push him away from doing so. It really emphasizes the deeper relationship that those two had, rather than those who’ve lost their way and have become obsessed with one sound.

Visually, I think the performance played out this complex relationship with sound that Setsu’s been battling. He starts off very fluid, which is definitely more in his style, but over time the water becomes snow. As it morphs into snow, it feels as if we’re calling back to his grandfather’s sound. He’s stuck trying to replicate something that isn’t his, stuck in the past and essentially frozen in time. It also calls back to his grandpa’s younger years as he would travel around in the snow playing the shamisen for money. But at the end it returns to water as Setsu recognizes that he has created his own memories as well. His grandfather isn’t disappearing, but rather part of his own memories weaving their way into his sound. Good on Setsu for breaking out of what his mother wanted, I hope he’s able to wow everyone with those final notes.

But! We’ll have to wait and see what happens with the final episode next week. We have at least one more performance from Tanuma and probably the aftermath for this performance! I hope… at the end of it all, Setsu can at least feel proud in the performance he was able to give.


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