Anime Review: Your Lie in April

Kousei Arima smiling

I hope that everyone is doing well, and enjoying their life.

Everything has been going pretty well here, even if it is not quiet enough to do video reviews, since I have still been contemplating on whether or not it would be good to do.

As I mentioned earlier in the month, I got three different anime titles last year (actually got four, but one already has a series review), and I have covered each of those three until only one remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that last title, which is called Your Lie in April (part 1 and part 2).

Kousei struggling to play

Kousei Arima was a child prodigy in the music world, inspiring many children to choose to enter the field, but when his mother dies, he disappears from the spotlight and tries to live a normal life.

However, when Tsubaki, Kousei's childhood friend, has him come with her to introduce a fellow friend to somebody, he meets a girl who tries to pull Kousei back into world of music, and he must now fight his own demons to find happiness.

Kaori Miyazono holding a cat

I must say, I really liked this show.

From the first few minutes of the pilot episode, I did not want to stop watching this show for any reason, though the way that I watched this show did give me some headaches and noise pollution made it hard, but not impossible, to lose myself.

Now, some of you guys might be wondering how this could be so engrossing, when there are already numerous sites and reviewers saying that there is hardly any action to be seen, but fictional works, regardless of the medium used to tell the story, can be interesting, as long as there is conflict and we can connect with the characters, as well as not feel tedious.

In the case of this series, A-1 Pictures really outdid themselves in that department, because I did not feel like things dragged on too much, like they did when I read The Book Thief and the first book of A Certain Magical Index, nor did it make me feel lost because of there being multiple stories that were not really connected too well, if at all, like both A Lull in the Sea and ef — A Tale of Memories did, though for different reasons.

Of course, Aniplex of America deserves some credit as well because they were able produce a dub that did not ruin the mood too much, though most of the dubs that I have seen from them are pretty much as good as FUNimation's best dubs, so it seems to be bit pointless to bring up, especially considering that this series is animated, not a live action drama.

If either company failed doing what they were supposed to do, I doubt that this series would be as well liked as it is, even though there are people that are not that fond of A-1 Pictures for varying reasons and Aniplex of America gets flack here because their prices are so outrageous.

I hope that they can keep on producing work like this in the future, because this makes me want to keep supporting their work.

I also liked how Kousei's issues were handled in this series.

While this is not the only fictional work out there where the main conflict is internal conflict, the way A-1 Pictures handled things here had me feeling what Kousei was going through, such as strong feelings of guilt and how it was affecting his ability to play the piano.

A lot of people out there think that people in the artistic communities, whether that be music, writing, film, sculpting, or art itself, have it easy because we can sit down and do our job whenever we are expected or want to, and/or drop it and pick it up whenever it is convenient.

For example, back when the dog I had in the early days my blog died, I was heartbroken over the lost and felt like a murderer because I had chosen to let and watched the vet end its suffering, instead of doing surgery and being able to feel like I actually tried to save the pet, and stepped away from writing what would have been my sixth book, and my posts here were not as frequent until I started to review Detective Conan.

If I had tried to continue writing my story back then, which was not the same story I shared here, I do not think that I would have been able to immerse myself in the work and produce something that I could be proud of, even though it probably would not have been able to meet the kinds of standards that all the works that I liked and reviewed here did.

Likewise, Kousei felt responsible for his mother's death because of what he said to her and played the piano in a way that he should not have played it, which causes him to lose his rhythm whenever he played.

Seeing his struggles and how they were affecting, I was much more engaged and determined to see where his journey would take him.

If that is not a sign of a great work, I do not know what would be, because I already willing to say that this one of, if not the, best anime I have seen this year, even though this series aired between October 2014 and March 2015, according My Anime List, which means that this series was from the 2014 season of anime.

Not only were Kousei's issues explored and handled well, but the issues and struggles of many of the characters got explored as well.

In many works of fiction, the audience only gets a look into the lives of the protagonist or protagonists and the other characters do not really matter too much.

Yes, getting to know the struggles of other characters is not always important to a story, but considering that Kousei was a role model to a lot of people in the series and many of those people competed against him, the struggles of many of those people showed that Kousei's problems were not only affected him, but affected others.

For example, when Takeshi Aiza reprimanded Kousei for the performance that he delivered in the Maihou competition, saying, “You played like a joke today. What the hell have you been doing all this time?! You could not even get through that song without stopping. Why did you even bother with that train wreck?” and then continues in his thoughts, “What happened to the Arima from my childhood? My invincible rival. Where did he go? My hero always carries the day. My hero's bulletproof. You knew the moment you stopped that they'd never bump you up past prelims. So why? Why do you have that look on your face? Heroes always win no matter what. Watching you fail, it's like your just another person.”

We all have somebody that we look up to, because we think that they are infallible, or in the case of religion, that they always have a message from God, or that their decisions were that of God's.

However, the people that we look up to as heroes are people just like us. I know this firsthand because people view me as their hero for being be able to do things with one hand that people normally use two to accomplish and taking that plunge required to join the church that I attend, even though I was naïve and did not realize that it did not have as much as truth as my elders and peers believed there was, not that the church itself is evil, since it did give me friends that I could rely on and helped me to find who is reliable and who is not, and I have my own troubles.

Of course, heroes in fiction are not infallible either, because that would just lead to a very boring series.

After all, Kenshin Himura appeared to be too perfect to be human before the figures from his past came back to haunt him in the Kyoto and Jinchu arcs of Rurouni Kenshin, and Kenshin rising to his feet after his deep depression was one of the best parts of the entire series.

Because A-1 Pictures and Aniplex of America both did a good job of showing that the image of heroes being perfect is false, and delivered some of the most powerfully emotional moments by showing how much Kousei meant to those who got started in music because of him, I have to give them both a major round of applause.

This is what I expect to see from any great work of fiction, and even a good dub, and the two entities did a really good job of choicing the right staff and voice actors, though I cannot say if the Japanese version could hold up, since I have only watched this dubbed on Crunchyroll, and in the Blu Ray release, so the only one that can receive a good compliment in that aspect is Aniplex.

Another nice thing about this show was that a lot of things said were things that could be taken to heart by anybody, regardless of path have chosen to take or choose to take in life.

While Barakamon was profound in a few aspects, it had moments that were more profound than others and it was easy to pick them out. It was not like Clannad's visual novel, which made me question what a family truly was, especially when Tomoyo Sakigami revealed that her family was not as close as they were now and Yukine Miyazawa had a family away from her home.

Here, however, I cannot really think of too many moments that were not very profound, from Kousei's supposed curse possibly being a gift to Kaori telling Kousei that not doing what we are good at and enjoy is like death.

Each and every moment really touched me and made me feel happier to be my mostly introverted self, though I do have those moments where I am more like a child than an adult and people still try to make me somebody that I am not or try fix problems that they think I have.

It is kind of funny. Music is one of the major focuses of this title, yet it has things that resonate with me, who chose to focus on writing.

Many writers have hopes and dreams that their work not only entertains the public, but also leaves a lasting impression and message in somebody. People call this a theme, and, while my own work may not have one, a lot of the works that I like do have themes.

Unfortunately, for many of you out that think a work of fiction can only be great if it has a theme, a lot of people who say that certain works are giving a particular message forget that the writer probably never had one in mind or it is not what they think it is.

After all, interpreting a work of fiction and applying it to real life is just like painting and sculpting. Everyone's impressions are different, and is a reason why I hate people who belittle others for not seeing the greatness of works like The Great Gatsby or Waiting for Godot.

Seeing as how there are not too many anime out there with original stories, and this was an adaptation of a manga, according to the MAL page I already linked to, the real credit for this work goes to Naoshi Arakawa.

Even if I do not know about every little change A-1 Pictures made when creating this adaptation, whereas I know that TMS changed a lot in the early episodes of their adaptation of Detective Conan and A-1 Pictures made quite a few changes in their adaptation of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, this show would not have existed if Naoshi or some of person in the manga industry did not create this, and it makes me want to go up to him and give him a big hug, though he and I will most likely never meet.

Thank you, Naoshi, for making for the source material for a great show.

The thing that I liked the most though was how I felt empty after finishing this show.

Some of you guys might be wondering how this could be such a good thing, when emptiness is usually a negative emotion, but there are times when we feel many kinds of emotions, much like how Emi Igawa expressed feelings of anger and loneliness when she played the piano in this show.

For me, I was left in disbelief that everything over and wanted more, yet I felt satisfied with how things ended and that everything was tied up, especially why this show is called Your Lie in April.

This is probably the feeling that a lot of people get from works of fiction that they like and then demand to see more of the story.

However, sitting here, and having to judge this work by my own standards, as well as knowing how horrible sequels and prequels tend to be, there is not anything else that could be done that could not be done in an epilogue or short manga chapter, which is why I feel satisfied with what I got, even if it is not perfect.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that can stand out on its own.

Because I pulled into the show and did not feel like it was tedious and I was able to understand the struggles of the various characters, as well as the fact that it had messages that could apply to anyone and made me feel empty, yet satisfied, this was one of the best shows that I have seen.

Ryota Watari listening

Although I liked the shows, there are some issues, just like every other work fiction that people enjoy.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like about this, and not too much to hate, if anything, to hate, this was definitely worth watching.

I recommend this to fans of Naoshi Arakawa and those that want to see a good story where characters overcome their own problems, because those are the people that will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this is worth giving a try if you want something a bit different from the norm.

What are your thoughts on Your Lie in April? Did you like it or hate it? Did speak to you, like it did for me, or was drowned out from all the other books and shows you read and saw respectively? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.