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article imageReview: 'Your Lie In April' combines humor, drama, music, and tragedy

By Can Tran     Mar 19, 2015 in Entertainment
"Your Lie In April" is a must-watch anime title if you are into dramedies and/or music. You can watch the series at any given time on Hulu, Crunchyroll, or Aniplex Channel.
Your Lie In April recently finished airing after 22 episodes, which you can check out on Crunchyroll and Hulu. It is adapted from the manga series of the same name by Naoshi Arakawa, which ran in the Monthly Shonen Magazine from 2011 until 2015.
Aniplex of America currently holds the North American license and Madman Entertainment currently holds the Australian license.
I am not really interested in classical music recitals because they give off a pompous elitist aura, but I decided to give Your Lie In April a chance after I watched the pilot for the Amazon original series Mozart In the Jungle.
I will say that I am glad to have checked out Your Lie In April because it is perhaps one of the best anime series to air from 2014 until spring 2015. Watching Your Lie In April made me not look at classical music the same way again.
The two halves of the series greatly contrast from each other as the first half centered on Kosei slowly getting comfortable with the piano again and the second half centered on the growing relationship between Kosei and Kaori. The second half also centers on tragedy, where Kaori's health continues to fail and it is inevitable that she will succumb to illness.
STORYLINE
The storyline behind Your Lie In April is straightforward and easy to understand, but the subplots help build the story. Kosei Arima, the protagonist, was a known prodigy in the world of classical music because he could accurately play musical scores on the piano. He was a genius without any rivals, but stopped when his mother succumbed to the same illness that claimed Kaori's life.
Kosei broke down and refused to touch a piano, but that changes when he meets Kaori. It becomes a tough journey for Kosei, who takes up the piano again. He finds passion in piano for the first time, but he must deal with the rigid thinking when it comes to competitions. Your Lie In April is ultimately a story that focuses on Kosei's growth and development as he learns that there is more to the world of music than competing in and winning contests.
I could say that Kaori inspired Kosei to rebel against the “elite.”
Kosei had to slowly rebuild himself, which is like being a general and getting busted down to an E-1 (private with no insignia). It made Kosei feel very real when he worked his way from the bottom to being at the top again, but with the help of Kaori and his friends.
The first half was filled with humor and drama, where Kosei struggled to break out of his mother's shadow.
He does, but is hit with the reality that Kaori doesn't have long to live. The second half of the story still focuses on the main plot, but has a few subplots. Kaori is struggling with her help and wants to get well enough to play on stage with Kosei, which never even happens.
Tsubaki, Kosei's childhood friend, is coping with the idea that she truly has feelings for him. She is ultimately afraid of being “left alone” when Kosei is applying to a music school that is out of town. It is that moment when Tsubaki inadvertently sabotages Kosei's ambitions, which turns the situation into a one-sided love triangle.
I find Your Lie In April to be a “clean” and “wholesome” version of Mozart In The Jungle. The story smoothly flows from humor to tragedy, which I liked a lot. I was hoping that Kaori would overcome her illness, but I'm still satisfied with the way that everything ended.
CHARACTERS
I loved every character in Your Lie In April.
Kosei, who is called the “Human Metronome,” is obviously a flawed person. I find Kosei to be the most human out of the entire cast because he had it hard. His mother pushed him hard, which was revealed to be out of fear because she didn't have that long to live. I was surprised that his mother wasn't planning to train Kosei in the piano until her best friend suggested it because of his natural skills.
He is a genuine person, who is often the victim of Kaori and Tsubaki's anger.
Kaori is the tragic female heroine, who succumbs to her illness. It obviously explains why Kaori is free-spirited. Rhetorically asking, why act all rigid and uptight when life is short? Kaori's life is literally short and that means she should spend every moment as if it was her last.
There is the saying that “opposites attract” and Kaori plays the part.
Tsubaki does a good job of playing the childhood friend and secret love interest. She, like Kaori, is another example of “opposites attract.” I can say that Tsubaki's personality somewhat matches Kaori's, but she doesn't take up music.
Kosei is the musician and Tsubaki is the athlete, which are polar opposites.
Watari plays the other childhood friend, who is also a star athlete. I liked how he is portrayed as the “ladies man,” which serves as a great contrast to Kosei.
Kashiwagi, Tsubaki's best friend, does a good job as being her personal support character. I wish that Kashiwagi got more involved in the storyline instead of being a mere “support character” to Tsubaki because I loved her insight and wisdom.
Takeshi and Emi make good rivals for Kosei as they inspire each other to become better, but I wished that Kosei would have opened up to them more. I think Takeshi and Emi would be willing to listen to Kosei's feelings and emotions. Having friends is good, but having strong rivals is important as well.
Nagi, who is introduced near the end of the series, served as a great “friendly” antagonist to Kosei.
I was satisfied with the cast, but I wished that some of the characters received more screen time.
OVERALL
Your Lie In April is a very decent anime series to watch. If you love music, then check out this series. You may like this series if you are into titles like Kids on the Slope, K-ON!, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, or something else that is related.
I give Your Lie In April an A+.
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