The Your Lie in April anime series is based on the 11-volume manga that was written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa. A-1 Studios produced it and it was directed by Kyohei Ishiguro, written by Takao Yoshioka. and with musical scoring by Masaru Yokoyama. The 22 episodes aired between October 2014 to March 2015 on Fuji TV.
The series follows a young piano prodigy: Kosei Arima. After the sad passing of his mother, he struggles in a downward spiral that leaves him unable to even hear the sound of his own piano. Several years pass where he stops playing music and avoids playing the piano until he meets Kaori Miyazono, who is a violinist that inspires him to face music once again. The series is an emotional and beautiful portrait of healing and Kousei’s rediscovery of music, and that it is more than playing perfectly. A perfect melody can invite the lovely spring air of April.
The Cast of Characters
Kosei is the protagonist and a former child piano prodigy who was nicknamed the ‘Human Metronome’ for his meticulous and mechanical accuracy. When he was younger this skillset led him to win many competitions in Japan and was invited to play abroad. When his mother died, the psychological trauma he endured was immense. He falls in love with his friend Kaori Miyazono after she convinces him to be her accompanist to her violin, but he keeps his feelings a secret as he knows she likes his best friend Ryota Wataria. In the end it is revealed this was a lie on her part to get closer to Kosei.
Kaori is a classmate of Tsubaki who is Kosei’s childhood friend. She is extremely free and light in the way she plays her violin, which has caused much criticism from judging panels since she strays away from strict traditional playing methods. She first meets Kosei when she asks Tsubaki to introduce her to Watari. As she plays violin with Kosei she realizes her attraction.
Tsubaki is Kosei’s childhood friend and next-door neighbor, and they act and love one another like siblings. She plays softball at school and grows concerned and worried over Kosei’s inability to process his mother’s death and come back to a healthy and inspired outlook on life. She does her best to convince him to play the piano, but to no avail. She later discovers after being honest with herself that she is in love with him, which she eventually confesses directly to him.
The Dynamic and Sorrowful Loss of the Show
The show begins with the shattering reality of a child losing their mother. As a viewer, empathizing with such pain sets the mood for the sociological examination of the connection between music, emotion and loss. The duality between joy and sadness is palpable in the show. Kaori’s character is a remarkable layer of hope as an audacious, free-spirited, fourteen-year-old. She plays her violin free and breaks the mold like structures and encourages Kosei to do the same. In one of their performances together she collapses and says it is simply anemia and needs regular testing, but a flashback sequence of her past reveals to us she has a condition of collapsing and bleeding.
As soon as she is released from the hospital, she returns to her happy, lucky state of being and invites Kōsei to play with her at a Gala. However, when she does not show up, anxiety and doom loom over him. Her health continues to deteriorate and Kōsei steps up taking his turn to uplift and inspire her by serenading her by a piano duet with another pianist named Nagi Aiza. Kaori cries and is so moved that she proceeds with a life-threatening surgery with the hopes to play with him one last time. But unfortunately, as he performs in the finals of the Eastern Japan Piano Competition, he sees her spirit playing along and in that moment knows she has passed away.
At her funeral, he receives a letter from her parents. He learns she knew she was dying and she chose to live in a free way in order to have no regrets and enjoy every last moment. She confesses being in love with him since she was five and learned the violin to one day be able to play with him.
In a flux of highs and lows this anime series captures the delicate nature of artists and life in such a beautiful way. We are reminded of the precious time we have and the innate power and love we can share with one another in life and in music to connect and take care of one another. An endearing show any anime lover would be crazy not to watch.