Your Lie In April

There could be so many trailers for Kyōhei Ishiguro’s Your Lie In April, here is one

Your Lie In April is about a young violinist and a young pianist, and their friends, who must help each other with their broken lives.

How do humans reach one another? I mean, really connect? We have language, art, music… put a mark on that one.

You could watch Your Lie In April a dozen times and see it differently each time. It could be about romance. It’s really funny in places. Maybe it’s about the struggle to perform music in a meaningful way. Or trying to find your path in life while clueless adults already think they know. Worse, it could be a series about child abuse. Or the struggle of adults to love and care for kids they do not understand. Or desperation and the fear of mortality. Or friendship. Or the gulf between inner life and what is on the outside. Or relationship violence. Or it’s about tragedy.

Boy howdy is it about tragedy.

(Minor spoilers follow)

At the surface it is a story about a piano prodigy who has lost the ability to play. We learn that his musical genius became his dying mother’s increasingly abusive obsession. When she died, young Kōsei blamed himself and could no longer hear the notes. His childhood friend Tsubaki is heartbroken but not being a musician, cannot help him. He meets a violinist his age, named Kaori, whose ultra-intense personality helps him break through… at an agonizing personal price.

There are little moments when we know things the characters do not know. Like when Kaori, who had collapsed onstage in an earlier episode, apologizes to her violin. Kōsei does not overhear when she says quietly to the instrument; “Bear with me please, just a little longer.”

Time moves constantly forward and backward in the series. There are Chopin stage events that take two whole episodes, as memory and emotion crowd in on performances. Like the reality we nonfictional beings inhabit, it is as much about the inner life as what others can see. And the others often know nothing of what is under the surface.

The animation sequences of Kōsei and Kaori playing onstage are just astounding. But don’t expect to listen to the music uninterrupted; we are inside their heads, and those of their audience, sharing memories and thoughts with them.

Like so many series that can become part of you, we found ourselves rationing episodes near the end.

NOTES:

  • You can view this acclaimed series at Crunchyroll.com. Go to the site and search for the title.
  • If you want lots of specific details, see the Wikipedia article Your Lie In April
  • OK back up; if you are not a regular anime viewer, you will be distracted by some anime tropes and conventions that would be unfamiliar to viewers of Hollywood movies. The art style switches from visually stunning and beautiful to abstract and emotive in seconds. One second you are in a watercolor painting and the next the character is a fearsome cartoon… then back. This is not unusual in anime; you’ll get used to it.
  • There are no giant robots, demons, spirits, galactic wars, time travel, or salacious interests in this series. Anime is diverse like other cinema.
  • I think the series is available in English if you can’t subtitles. But the original voice acting is so good… learn to subtitles. That’s my official advice.
  • While writing this review, I was listening to Beethoven Violin Sonata #9 (Kreutzer), which has a really funny backstory. Classical composers were not unlike 1970’s rock stars…

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georgewiman

Older technology guy with photography and history background