Also known as, or more popularly known as, Your lie in April is an anime adaptation of manga of the same name by Arakawa Naoshi. The anime adaptation is made by A-1 Pictures and ran from October to March of 2015. It consists of 22 episodes.
Be warned, I am spoiling everything in this review, so if you don’t want spoilers, do not read.
Arima Kousei is the protagonist of the series. He is a musical genius that stopped playing the piano due to personal trauma.
Miyazono Kaori is the beautiful heroine that brings passion back into Kousei’s world.
Sawabe Tsubaki is Kousei’s closest friend and also childhood friend, and you know what that means~ She is the last part to the love triangle. This is just my personal opinion, but I think she is best girl hands down.
Arima Kousei is a genius musician that stopped playing. He meets Kaori, who breathes passion back into his playing. Kousei, Kaori, and Tsubaki enters a love triangle. And then there are music competitions.
Visually, the series looks great. The colors are bright, characters are well designed, and everything seems fluffy and nicely dry by the spring sun. It seems like spring, which is very fitting given the title of the series. Usually the animation is good, but from time to time, it goes above and beyond. It makes good use of CG, which I don’t think many animes do too well, here is looking at you Berserk.
For a music show, it has good music. Surprisingly, this is not always the case, here is looking at you K-On. I never really had an interest in classic music, but this got me a taste for it. This show makes Twink Twinkle Little Star sound fantastic.
Quickly the show makes a point of differences of people’s music. Kaori is a free spirit, so she creates more exciting and breathtaking version of the piece, but this breaks the rules as she is not following the sheet. While she is fantastic, she gets no points. And this is stark contrast to Kousei who is almost mechanical in following the sheet, like a machine, perfect but cold.
The show does a really good job explaining to someone like me, someone that knows nothing of music, how things work in this music competition world. It is made clear that there are 2 groups of thinking, the mechanical players and the passionate players. Mechanical, as name would suggest, is precise and perfect to the sheet. While the more passionate souls try to make the songs theirs. And here we see how Kousei try to go from one to the other.
The characters in the show are very likable, especially the girls as they are more lively ones in the cast. Of all of the characters, my favorite was Tsubaki, I like her design and she has a personality. She isn’t the most original character, but her arc of realizing herself makes her worth awhile.
By itself, the show is not really that bad. But it is not particularly great either. It is extremely predictable. This reminded me a lot of Disney movies in that regard, the usual.
Your lie in April seems like a great example on how to not do a first episode. It reveals just enough to spoil the entire series. There are three things that holds the show together: the tragedy that is coping with death, the love triangle, and the music:
When the female protagonist is introduced, my first thought was “Wow, she looks so happy, as if she is going to die soon.” I was right, unfortunately. If you’ve seen anything that is sad, this is pretty obvious. Anyone who is this happy realized how fragile and precious life is. This truth is revealed about quarter way into the series, but by then, it is pretty obvious, so the reveal doesn’t seem like anything more than a formality.
The love triangle is ever more obvious once the tragedy part was realized. They go in hand in hand really. Love triangles are common in any story, but the show makes it clear that Kaori is almost angelic and that is further accentuated when you know she has an early expiration date. This love triangle was doomed as soon as you finish the first episode.
And lastly the music. This one is sad to me as I truly think it would have been great. But I cannot help but feel that it was put on the back burner for more obvious and less interesting tragedy and romance. One part I loved about this series is the rivalry between the 3 prodigies, but it was treated more like a side quest than a major one. The rivals made a great impression, but did not have enough screen time to become something more than obstacles. The show makes point that music is delivery of message, but when the message is so obvious, the delivery suffers.
Only with the first episode this is what you find out: Kousei is a musical genius who has tragic past with playing piano and his mother. Kousei is having difficulties with his mother issues and linger love for playing the piano. There is a childhood friend with obvious crush on him. There is a new girl who looks to happy and too desperate to be happy almost as if she is going to die soon. She begins to bring his passion back to life.
If you’ve seen any anime, here are things you can pretty much assume after watching the first episode: Kousei will return to the musical world. He will deal with his mother issues and learn to not hate himself. He will realize that he likes the very likable girl. The love triangle will get more and more complicated because this is anime. Kaori dies. The love triangle is now awkward since stealing a guy from a dead girl is awkward. The series ends with Kousei loving music again with no real romance and the love triangle is broken. Series ends.
I came up with this only after watching the first episode. Apart from the music competition, which I found more interesting, the main story is all shown within the first 25 minutes of the series. The characters do help to make it interesting, but not enough to make it great.
- Will I watch it again? Well, I watched it twice. At first, I was severely disappointed. But seeing so much praise for it, I gave it a second go.
- Do I recommend it? Despite all the things I said, yes. This is a gorgeous show. This is a very good introductory anime for sadder things.
Although it may sound like it, I enjoyed this show. I loved the visuals, I liked the music, and I was intrigued at parts. But I just don’t think it’s great overall. It’s okay. It is like Disney, not bad, but not great.
This is what I would say is a gateway anime, it is easily accessible to a lot of people, especially to this genre.
I realize I am being very critical of this show, almost overly so. I don’t think an obvious plot ruins a story, I mean Logan and pretty much every slice-of-life shows has obvious plot. But those have that X factor, Logan’s great characters and execution makes the movie great, the funny jokes and Sakura’s hellbent plots to get Nozaki to notice her makes Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun great. I think the music and the world surrounding it could’ve been the X factor, but there wasn’t enough of it for me.
These are just my personal thoughts.