Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Review

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Sigh… this is the last time that I let my wife talk me into watching a sappy anime. I am tired of feeling the feels! Your Lie and April was truly a surprise show for me. Until recently, I knew nothing about it and had no intention of watching it. It is not because I avoid slice of life/drama type shows, it’s more because the initial premise did not catch my interest.

But the show blew me away in terms of the emotional depth and the likability of the characters. By the end of the series I hated that it was ending, I wanted it to continue forever. Realistically I knew it couldn’t but a guy can hope….right?

SynopsiszeYWtih

Kousei Arima was a child prodigy at the piano. He dominated every competition he had ever participated in and became widely known and (in)famous among child musicians. He was referred to, unkindly, as the “human metronome” because of his amazing ability to stay true to the score of the song and never stray from it. He was, from a judging standpoint, perfect and many other children felt both admiration and hatred for him as he continued winning.

your-lie-in-april-episode-3-kouseis-breakdownAfter the death of his mother, however, Arima had a nervous breakdown while performing at a piano recital at the age of eleven. After this incident, he could no longer hear the notes or music he ways playing when he concentrated too hard even though his hearing was perfectly fine. Thinking that this was a curse from his abusive mother, Arima withdrew from the spotlight and music altogether. Two years later Arima still hasn’t played piano in any competitions and views the world in dull colors and he has resigned himself to living out his life in solitude with his two close childhood friends, Tsubaka and Watari, until a girl named Kaori Miyazono changes his life. Beautiful and free-spirited Kaori brightens up Arima’s once dull world and shows him a vastly different side of music. Kaori plays violin and has a play-style that deeply reflects her personality even during competition. She helps Arima return to the music world and shows him how music should really be played: it should be free and passionate unlike his old-current play style that is rigid and impersonal.

Thoughts

This show has an amazing ability to take a premise that could be eye-rolling or depressing and transforms it into something that works it’s way into your heart. That is literally the best way I can describe it!

They introduce you to a solid amount of characters in a short series but most of them are very essential to the story. Arima’s depressing past, while a major factor in explaining who he is, is something he is able to overcome in the show and I think that is great. Many shows show a flawed protagonist and by the end of the series, he is still flawed but is somehow vindicated or changed for the future. This show allows Arima to deal with his problems more concretely in the medium he knows best, through music. Which is a great theme in this show, the fact that him leaving the music world somehow stunted his growth as an individual and the only way to move forward is to take-up his piano once more and move forward with the power of his heart.

Kaori’s character was a bit tougher to wrap my head around…. most of the show she represented this pure and altruistic person in Arima’s otherwise dull world. And here is what sucks, you really want Arima and Kaori to get into a relationship with one another, but Kaori is interested in Watari. That is how Kaori and Arima first meet, actually, whilst they are on a sort of double date. Arima being a shy “nice-guy” doesn’t really pursue a relationship with Kaori at of a sort of respect for Watari even though Watari doesn’t seem like he would care one way or another… he is a ladies man!

And throughout the series you see Kaori lean on Arima for support when the times get tough for her as opposed to leaning on Watari. You get that there is a lot of chemistry there and you get to see their relationship grow throughout the series. The reason Kaori’s charatcer is tough, for me, is that she definitely leads Arima on and then pushes him away, like an emotional tug of war, but do not let that make you hate her character, she IS as amazing as Arima sees her, trust me!

Everyone in this show has to either deal with some tough emotional burdens or help someone get past theirs. So, unfortunately if tears make you uncomfortable, you are going to see a lot of crying in this show. At least one per episode…. this initially was a point of annoyance for me but hell, the send-off for this show had me in a feels-state so who am I to hate on crying?

Your-lie-in-April-Episode-19-1I also love how this series slowly shows you the effect that a person can have on others. Arima, though he does not realize it at first, has had a profound affect on nearly every characters lives in the show. Two of his “rivals” in the show, kids who competed against him at piano recitals at a young age, literally have him to thank for them becoming amazing musicians. His brief existence as a child prodigy pushed them both to become better and better and gave them a path in life. Additionally, he unknowingly cause Kaori to take up the piano. After hearing him play as a child she was so moved by his performance that she ran home and told her parents that she wouldn’t be playing the piano anymore, she wanted to take up the violin so that some day she could play together with him. Even her play style was influenced by him as she played music to try and reach her audience’s hearts like he once reached hers. And that is the biggest message in this film, that music has the power to reach and change those around you.

Honestly, I feel like this review might be all over the place? But it is tough to write about something so emotional. I can’t really bring to words what I liked or loved about this show because it reached me on an emotional rather than logical level. I really did love this show and my only regret is that it ended.

ALSO! My wife was totally in tears by the end of this show!

 

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