An Ocean of Tears Aka 'Your Lie in April' Review

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)

Studio: A-1 Pictures
Producer: AniplexDentsu,KodanshaFuji TVKyoraku Industrial Holdings
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance, School, Shounen
Episodes: 22
Episode Length: 22 minutes per episode

Music accompanies the path of the human metronome, the prodigious pianist Kousei Arima. But after the passing of his mother, Saki Arima, Kousei falls into a downward spiral, rendering him unable to hear the sound of his own piano.

Two years later, Kousei still avoids the piano, leaving behind his admirers and rivals, and lives a colorless life alongside his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari. However, everything changes when he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who stirs up his world and sets him on a journey to face music again.

Based on the manga series of the same name, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso approaches the story of Kousei's recovery as he discovers that music is more than playing each note perfectly, and a single melody can bring in the fresh spring air of April.


'Your Lie in April' has to be one of the saddest, if not the saddest, anime I've ever seen. (It's high up on the list near 'Clannad: Afterstory' and 'Angel Beats'.) I believe my tears can fill an ocean. To the brim.
People kept talking about the amazing, tearjerking story, and I have to agree. But. I do have a few problems with this anime. But the good stuff first.

This anime has so many emotions. Yes, it's super sad. But you laugh and smile. Remember, these kids are in their third year of middle school (Which in the US of A is freshman year of high school.) They are still innocent. (Don't you dare give me the bull about middle schoolers drinking and smoking. Not in this anime they don't!) They still play with each other and gain crushes left and right.

Kaori's temperamental mood is a good comedy. But, at times, the rough transition between a serious scene to one where Kaori is lobbing things or yelling at Kousei is jarring. It's such a quick change that I'm thrown off at times.
But the sadness is what people remember the most. As I said, this has to be one of the saddest animes I've ever seen. You're constantly crying. Almost every episode. It's a moving anime. The love Kousei has for Kaori. The impossible love triangle. The change within Kousei. The
This anime utilizes music and visuals so well. The imagery really catches your eye. You see the gorgeous visuals of Kousei and Kaori in the sky and want to cry and gasp. You see the falling petals of the lotus blossom tree and feel this warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest. This anime is an emotional rollercoaster. But it's a great ride.

I honestly doubt I'll be able to recover from this anime.

The story is mainly focused on Kousei's change. He starts out as this mopey sort of guy. He doesn't particularly have any dreams, and he abandoned his passion music two years ago. We're introduced to the sparkle in his life Kaori who is a violinist. You might think that the change comes from Kaori forcing Kousei on stage, but I think it comes from a later episode when Kousei forgives his mother Saki--who is portrayed as this monster. (This is in episode 13. Which I remember because that has to be one of the most emotional episodes.) Kousei was driven into a corner because of Saki and her incessant pressure to be the best. But we find out that she did it for good reasons. (I got into this deeper in my analysis of episode 13. Want to read it? Click here)
Kousei changed so much. He went from this closed-off sort of guy to someone who reluctantly plays to someone who begins to understand to someone who accepts and understands his place in the world. It has to be one of the best character developments I've ever seen. Bravo bravo.

And, now, onto the stuff I didn't like.

Per usual, we have a complicated love triangle...or quadrilateral? I'm not sure actually.

This isn't my favorite part of the anime. In fact, I quite dislike it. It feels very unnecessary. Sure, it moves the story along and provides some tension, but Tsubaki's love for Kousei could have remained friendly, and nothing would change.

Yes, I do adore Kousei and Kaori's romance, but it seems to be strange too. I don't get Kaori's weird relationship with Watari. Even after she explains it all. I just...I don't like it. It's way too harsh on Kousei and Watari. The two of them got hurt because of Kaori's actions. I kinda blame her really. She could have just talked to him. Muster up her courage, you know? What she did was awful, and I'd never advise anyone to do that.

The anime seemed way too dramatic with the second half. The first half focused on Kousei's changing outlook towards piano playing. SPOILER ALERT. But the second was all about Kaori in the hospital and Kousei's love for her. I got annoyed at this. The romance thing is fine if you do it well. (Which isn't too bad actually.) But the hospital drama is trite. It's been done before, and I couldn't believe they pulled that card.
Kaori's condition was way too obvious. I could guess pretty fast what would happen to her. ('The Fault in Our Stars' has prepared me for all of the following 'a character in the hospital' stories.) I wanted more about Kousei's change and how Kaori affected his life. Just...not like this.

While I didn't like the romance or the overdramatic second half, this anime is overall amazing. The strong emotions emanating from it and Kousei's seemingly radical change are strong, defining points. I definitely won't forget 'Your Lie in April'.

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