Your Lie in April – Season 1

Your Lie in April – Season 1

IMG_1085.PNGKousei Arima was a child prodigy on the piano, until the sudden death of his mother took away his ability to play. His days become dull and lack meaning until he meets a young violinist by the name of Kaori Miyazono, whose eccentric was of playing has gotten her attention in the classical music circle. By this chance meeting, Kousei’s monotonous life is about to undergo some drastic changes.

There’s nothing particularly complex about the way Your Lie in April starts – Kousei has a complicated relationship with music and the piano. He was forcibly made to study it day and night by his ill, yet controlling mother who is trying to live her musical career through her young son. Years later, after his mother has passed away and Kousei is living his life in shades of grey, he meets Kaori by happenstance – meeting her through a friend of a friend. Their history in music means that they become friends immediately.

Through Kaori’s carefree attitude and her ability to convey her emotions through her playing, Kousei realises that there still might be something of a pianist left within him. But how will he be able to overcome his handicap? Every time he starts playing the piano, he stops hearing the notes – it’s like playing underwater to him. Slowly but surely, using unconventional methods, Kaori begins to show him what playing music really should be like, and tries to help Kousei realise that music is very much a part of him and should be embraced, not left to gather dust in his mother’s old music room. IMG_1096.PNGAt the same time, Kaori is a little troubled by the bold way in which she plays the violin and interprets classical pieces. She always gets attention from the audience, but doesn’t have much recognition when it comes to her peers and her elders, who disapprove of the way she puts her own spin on pieces. She’s unsure of herself in the classical music sphere, and wonders if she is doing something detrimental to her career in classical music.

IMG_1095-0.PNGI’ve never watched something like Your Lie in April before. I’ve seen other reviewers make their comparisons, but this is completely new to me, and I feel like I’m looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes. There is a certain pastoral quality in the settings and background of this anime that is quite unique. Kaori and Kousei are two very real, very endearing characters. It took me a little while to see where the plot was going, but once I understood I was always looking forward to more.

The music auditions and competitions are an absolute delight. Listening to the elongated pieces of classical piano and violin are a real treat. What I know about classical music couldn’t fill a thimble, but it never made me feel disengaged. In fact, it had me interested in the different pieces and who composed them. It’s very well set up so that everything about this anime seems centred around music. Like I said earlier, the pastel colours and softness of the surroundings is a great compliment, and the more Kousei plays the piano, the more of his character becomes unveiled to the audience.

Whilst we are learning more about Kousei’s past relationship with the piano and his mother, we are also beginning to see where the music is taking him as well as his personality finally coming to the forefront. The music also brings new elements out of the sub-characters, seeing Tsubaki, Kousei’s childhood friend, realise that she is in love with him, as well as Kousei’s musical peers, Takeshi and Emi, and what drives them to excel at the piano and to compete to be the very best. It feels as if the viewer is looking into the past as well as the future, their playing of the piano, the songs they select, are very fitting as themes for their character.

IMG_1097.PNGThrough the pieces that are played, we see very slow and deliberate revelations all around. It’s just fantastic to watch on several levels. Music is a very powerful weapon here, and is wielded well throughout to bring extra impact to some very moving scenes. It’s full of subtle nuances that give more depth to characters and story lines – gorgeous facial expressions and movement to music. It brings just the right amount of romance to the plot without turning everything into a typical teenage coming-of-age/romance story.

IMG_1098.PNGI did not expect to enjoy Your Lie in April as much as I did. It quickly became one of my favourites of the season and, for those of you that haven’t already taken a look – I strongly suggest that you do.