Japanese Title: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Airing Date: October 10, 2014 to March 20, 2015
11-year-old Kousei Arima was a piano prodigy who dominated piano competitions across Japan and became very popular among fellow musicians. Trained by his own mother who had a very strict method of teaching, Kousei was able to play with such perfect accuracy that he was infamously dubbed as the “Human Metronome.” Shortly, his mother died, and the trauma resulted to Kousei developing a psychological condition wherein he couldn’t hear anymore the sound of his own piano. Hence, his stardom in the music world came to an abrupt halt.
Two years later, Kousei still couldn’t bring himself to play the piano. He was content in living his life with his two childhood friends Tsubaki (athletic and boyish, but secretly liked Kousei) and Watari (star of the soccer team; extremely popular with girls). Kousei was still depressed over his mother’s death and he viewed the world in monotone, without any touch of color.
One day, a girl named Kaori Miyazono, Tsubaki’s classmate, asked her to be introduced to Watari. Tsubaki then invited Kousei to come with them, since Kaori was a violinist (so Kousei could talk to her about music if the conversation got dull). Reluctantly, Kousei obliged.
Surprisingly, when Kousei met Kaori, his life started to take color. Her free-spirited style of playing the violin touched his heart, and he realised that music should be played freely and not so rigid like he was used to playing. Kaori joined violin competitions as well, but she did not care about winning; she simply wanted to be remembered by those who hear her music. Kaori then appointed Kousei to be her accompanist, and from there, he started to break free from his self-induced shell.
Stretching for 22 episodes, Your Lie in April is a very colorful and mellow anime. Each episode is immersed in a soft, colorful ambience, thanks to the pastel-colored style of animation and the consistent classical music in the background.
First Impression: Well when I first heard of the title, I was intrigued. And when I watched the first episode, I immediately guessed what the deal is. (Hint: Kaori and Kousei’s meeting is not a coincidence. It was all planned by Kaori.) Cliche, but still very effective.
Plots/subplots that I loved:
[Warning: spoilers ahead]
Kousei and his mom’s love-hate relationship. In earlier episodes, it was repeatedly shown that Kousei’s mom often physically abused Kousei during their piano lessons. She was always striving for perfection, and she would beat him up for the most trivial mistakes; but Kousei didn’t mind. His mom was very sick, was in a wheelchair, and oxygen inhaler was always up in her nostrils. Young Kousei was always saying, “I will always get first place in competitions if it will make you better, mom.” However, in one unfortunate event, Kousei was beaten up by his mom in front of a crowd after a piano recital (for letting his emotions flow during the performance, and not strictly following the music sheet), and a bitter fight broke between them. Right after that, his mom died, and Kousei blamed himself for it. He kept thinking it was his punishment that he could no longer hear his piano.
It was later revealed that the only reason his mom had been training him so harshly is because she felt like she was “running out of time.” Being terminally ill, she had nothing else to leave to Kousei but the gift of music. She was scared that in the future, Kousei might not be able to make a living as a musician, so the least she could do was teach him to be perfect at it.
Tsubaki’s love for Kousei. This I think, is the first time that I did root for a non-canon pairing. Tsubaki is this reliable girl bestfriend who never left Kousei’s side especially during his period of depression. All she wanted was for him to move on and make him realize that life is more colorful than how he sees it. She was like, “I want him to go back to playing piano, but I don’t want him to suffer,” whereas Kaori was like, “I want you to be my accompanist. I don’t care how you’d do it–we can make a fool of ourselves during the recital for all I care.”
The reason behind the title. The moment Kaori was introduced in the series, I knew at once that she really wasn’t interested in Watari (hence, making it the “lie she made in April”). It was revealed in the end that Kaori was originally a pianist, and she was an audience in a recital where young Kousei first performed. After that, Kaori changed her mind and wanted to become a violinist, aiming to have Kousei as her accompanist someday. From there, she started to stalk him, only watching him from afar.
Kaori’s illness. A lot of viewers are reminded of Clannad: After Story due to its tragic, melodramatic plot. For me however, this reminded me so much of YUI’s 2006 movie “Midnight Sun.” Musicians who had medical conditions rendering them paralyzed, and only wanted to be remembered by those who hear them–that movie was so dear to me that this anime strikes so much nostalgic feels. It is also a gentle reminder that we should live our lives to the fullest and pursue what we truly love (and stop trying to please others. ehem)–we’d never know how much more time we have.
9 out of 10 cookies
Well, it really did hit home for me. 🙂
The only thing I didn’t like about it is the pacing–it can be very slow at some episodes, and the monologue can be quite boring. Aside from that though, everything is perfect.