Your Lie in April — Anime Review

With most anime being more preoccupied with bust size of the female characters, it’s nice to see a refreshing change. That change was watching Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso (Your Lie in April), which undoubtedly for me takes the title of anime of the year. With sprawling visuals, a fittingly dramatic soundtrack and an emotional yet suspenseful plot, I can say whole heartedly that it’s been awhile since I've watched such a good anime.

When thinking of how one could make an anime about people who play the piano, it’s hard to visualize the creative process. How would you give it emotion, suspense or a plot that’s actually half-decent as far as drama is concerned? It can’t be like real life where all musicians probably do is practice and play all day (because that would be boring). It has to involve something more — something magical.

Your Lie in April vivifies this as it follows young piano prodigy Kousei Arima, who while suffering from psychological issues had not played the piano for many years due to his mothers death. The colour is brought back to his life as he meets Kaori who gives Kousei a new perspective on life, helping him to return back to the world of music. I can’t give away too much of the plot without spoiling it, but it’s amazing how good directing, art and music can make a simple synopsis burst with light and make it become an amazing anime. Because execution matters, and so without having an overly complex plot, it still captivates.

Characters had rendered lips. Wow, I know right! Although I found the character models slightly weird at first, I began to really like its unique qualities. It’s far nicer than seeing your usual copy-paste character models. The visuals were really good, and I was especially impressed with the full 3D accurate rendering of characters hands when playing the piano or violin. I expected something similar to the continuously reused hand footage in the anime Nodame Cantible. The last few episodes were especially vivid, and I reckon a good 80% of the frames would work well for a background wallpaper.

It’s interesting seeing characters develop over time. It gives you a sense that you know them — their thoughts, emotions — how they are feeling. Seeing Kousei’s rivals, and how he inspired them illustrated the effect one small boy had. It gave me the sort of sense that even without knowing it, we might be profoundly affecting somebody else’s life.

The scenes where he accepted his past traumas were equally profound, and we get to see the mother’s intentions from another perspective as well as understand what she was going through. There are a number of flash backs through the series, each giving another piece to the puzzle.

At the end of the 22 episodes I felt a sense of closure I don’t usually get from film. As viewers, we felt a real sense of emotion — through the series, we all knew what ending was coming, but it didn’t make it any less sad. This series is a work of art. The symbolism, characterization and what-not should be praised like the all mighty god by all English teachers far and wide. And not to forget the poetic sequences that worked wonderfully in tandem with the soundtrack. It’s not something you really see in anime, so when watching Your Lie in April, I really understood the artistic influences that it had. In essence, this series explores the emotion and interpretations of music, and how one can express themselves as a musician. Instead of following the score meticulously, why not try to make the score yours?

Your Lie in April is my anime of the year. It’s my obligation to rate it 10/10 — a master piece, and I would recommend it to almost anyone. And if you’re a music lover or into the grand ‘feel train’, I can assure that you’ll especially love it. The lessons learnt from this anime will be remembered with great fondness and It’s masterful presentation and top notch soundtrack makes it an anime hard to top.

End Note: Looking for more anime that involves music? I would suggest Nodame Cantabile — which although lacks the same ‘feels’ or style, still makes for a must watch for any classical music lover.

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