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[Anime Review] Your Lie in April/Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (2014)

Aniplex USA's Official Site

Plot Summary: Kōsei Arima was a piano prodigy until his mother died when he was eleven years old. The shock of losing her made him lose any interest in piano, and his life has felt monotonous ever since. Then, when he's fourteen, his childhood friend Tsubaki introduces him to her classmate Kaori, a free-spirited violinist. Her enthusiasm reignites his interest in music and in life.

Director: Kyōhei Ishiguro

Runtime: 22 episodes/ 23 mins

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Psychological, Romance

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Internet Streaming: Crunchyroll

Licensed by: Madman Entertainment, Aniplex of America

Main Cast:

  • Natsuki Hanae as Kosei Arima
  • Risa Taneda as Kaori Miyazono
  • Ai Kayano as Nagi Aizato
  • Ayane Sakura as Tsubaki Sawabe
  • Mamiko Noto as Saki Arima
  • Ryota Ohsaka as Ryota Watari
  • Saori Hayami as Emi Igawa
  • Shizuka Ishigami as Nao Kashiwagi
  • Yuuki Kaji as Takeshi Aiza

Review: by Kendrick

Your Lie in April was a fantastic piece of animation. It told a heartwarming bittersweet tale of loss, courage and the beauty of love. The main character Kosei is reeling from the loss of his mother and due to the trauma can no longer hear the music he plays. This depression makes things worse as he feels he is rejecting his mother in death. As he struggles through his third year of middle school, his life significantly changes when he meets the young lady Kaori.

What I Liked:

This series had so much to like. Firstly, the story was excellent. Kosei was an emotional wreck. His mother had died, and that would be traumatic more anyone, but Kosei had a special relationship with her. As she got sicker and sicker, her fear of leaving her son drove her to be abusive. Kosei now has to reconcile his hate of his mother‘s actions with the love of as a person. This trauma manifests as a rejection; his body literally rejects the piano his mother loved so much and was the source of his abuse. No matter how much he wants to give up the piano he can’t because it is a part of him as a cherished memory of his mother.

Enter Kaori. She visually enters the same way she eventually leaves an as a bright, vibrant star. I loved how she was introduced to the show. She is almost ephemeral like a dream as she plays the melodica in a park for some children. Over the course of the show her love both fierce and tender would both destroy Kosei as he is now, but make him a better pianist and person. As much as Kosei was the central character of the show she was the star. Knowing she only had a small amount of time left due to her illness, she resolved to fall in love with her idol Kosei. I called her a star before and just like a star she shined brightest before winking out.

This show was able to take a clichéd plot and puts so much heart into it that the audience can overlook the small things. Every cliché is taken to the next level to produce a better overall story. His best friend is in love with him, cliché, but ironically even though she is so close to him she can’t save him from his trauma. He has two pianist rivals, cliché, but they are less so rivals than disciples who want to surpass the master. Even Kaori, who is the doomed love, cliché, has to symbolically be Kosei’s mother, friend, and the ultimate girlfriend to help him realize who he is and who he wants to be.

As much as this show was about relationships and getting over trauma, it showed it through its music. This show took an excellent approach to storytelling with music. When a character performed a piece of music, the way they played it left nothing to the imagination about how they felt. The music would be accompanied by scenes that the pianists were visualizing, but they were often supplementary. When a musician is the show played their emotions rang out. Often when a character had a strong emotion and managed to get it across to the audience it would often leave that very audience speechless.

What I Didn’t Like:

About the only thing I didn’t like about the show was Kosei’s female best friend, Tsubaki. Her character was critical to the show but I found her “will she /won’t she” attitude boring. I also did not like the way she interfaced with Kosei. It almost felt like she somehow picked up his mother’s habit of abuse in the name of love. When Kaori would hit him, it seemed like she was mirroring his mother in an attempt to heal, in contrast it seemed Tsubaki would hit Kosei out of frustration.

Images Courtesy of Random Curosity

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