Last week’s episode of Those Snow White Notes (Mashiro no Oto) focused on the Shamisen Appreciation Club learning to play the traditional instruments. In episode 6 of Those Snow White Notes, the beginners continue to improve, while Setsu discovers a passion for performing.
A music shop owner invites the club to attend the training camp, so they make their way to Aomori. At the camp, Shuri struggles to keep up with the others during rehearsal and is worried about the upcoming competition. Setsu remains aloof as ever and does little to help ease Shuri’s fears, causing Kaito to lash out at him. However, we soon discover the true reason for his outburst.
Kaito played soccer for a long time but was forced to quit because of an injury. Furthermore, his father expects him to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer, now that he’s given up soccer. While in an onsen, Kaito confesses to Setsu that he finds him infuriating because of his lack of motivation despite his talent.
A shamisen history lesson
We also get to learn more about the history of the shamisen in Those Snow White Notes episode 6. The music shop owner explains that blind musicians were the pioneers of the Tsugaru shamisen style during the Edo period. Poor, and forced to wander the provinces playing the shamisen for food and money, their lives depended on their music. This causes Setsu to reflect on finding his own “sound”, which has been troubling him since the beginning of the series.
Setsu had been wrestling with whether or not he should enter the individual category of the competition. Shuri hears him practicing a solo piece and is inspired by his sound to improve her own playing. Her reaction causes Setsu to decide to enter the individual division. He realizes “If no one listens, I won’t be able to find my sound”.
Sawamura Matsugorou is a shamisen player of legendary talent. Upon his death, his grandson, Sawamura Setsu, lost his ability to play. Having lost his beloved sound, Setsu finds himself in Tokyo in search of a new sound to love. Tachiki Yuna, who works at a club, hooks him up with a gig to play there as a warm up act. Setsu imbues the sound of his shamisen with his many thoughts and feelings he has of others, still searching for his own sound and his own feelings.
All images via Crunchyroll