5 Stars

*****

Before watching this series last year, I rarely ever watched anime from the Slice of Life or romance genre because of how they lacked action, emotional and sentimental scenes, and overuse of chibi scenes. After seeing the trailer for Your Lie in April, though, my attention was caught after seeing the unique art, the use of classical music, and a few emotional scenes that lasted only a few seconds.  Although I read a lot of young adult romance novels with the same kind of setting as this series, seeing the cliche storyline twisted in Your Lie in April makes the anime unique and definitely tearjerking.

Kosei Arima, an eighth grader about to get into high school, was previously a professional piano player until his mother passed away from cancer.  Kosei’s mother forced her own son to play piano for her since she could not play and achieve her dreams of playing in Europe.  When Kosei’s mother died, he decided to stop playing the piano for his own sake.  Playing the piano was too much because it would remind him of his mother.  One normal school day, Kosei meets a girl named Kaori Miyazono, who plays classical violin music.  When Kosei meets this girl, it is like “love-at-first-sight.”  Kosei’s childhood friends, Tsubaki and Watari, were going to introduce her to Kosei, but—oh well, Kosei and Kaori meeting without the two friends around was just a happy accident.  Throughout the show, Kaori convinces Kosei to play the piano again and she also teaches him the importance of music.

In Your Lie in April, the story and plot shine as the creator and illustrator Naoshi Arakawa reveals a realistic cycle of depression and the views of the main character suffering from the loss of his mother and trying to recuperate again from the depression.  One of the scenes that has a situation that deals with recovering from depression is where Kosei has internal struggles to play piano on stage with Kaori playing the violin, which one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve witnessed in an anime.  I felt as if I was Kosei, having trouble playing the piano and remembering my mother as I played the piano.  While watching the series, I felt like I was a part of the story the whole time, journeying my way through Kosei’s depression and trying to gain confidence to playing piano again.  After watching some of the episodes, I would sometimes cry to myself because I was able to feel how the characters felt about their upsetting situations throughout the story.

While some anime have some sloppy and weirdly drawn characters and scenery, this series does not.  The art style is different, unique, bright, colorful, and certainly beautiful, which fits the series.  My favorite scenes in the series have some beautiful art, for example, the scene where Kaori and Kosei are standing in the sunset, talking about music.  The colors of the sunset are realistic and stunning to look at, and everything else in that scene was beautifully drawn.  Seriously, I had never seen beautiful art in an anime until watching this series!

Since this show’s main key point is music, the composer Masaru Yokoyama chooses music that fit perfectly with contrasting scenes and also the classical music in which Kosei performs, such as 3rd Movement of Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven, Etude Op.10 No.4 composed by Chopin, and, my favorite, Love’s Sorrow by Kreisler Rachmaninov.  If you don’t know, music has always been a big part of life, ever since I was little, this reason being why I was pulled into the show.  I loved the fact that music revolved around Kosei’s and Kaori’s character development and connection to why they both enjoy music—heck, music revolved around everyone’s character development in this series.  Before watching the show, I listened to classical music only briefly, but I will have to start listening to classical music more often now that I know how moving classical music can be.

In the English Dub version of Your Lie in April, the voice actors portrayed their characters PERFECTLY!  I saw the English dubbed trailer and immediately, I looked up the cast list of this series.  As I watched the series, I was able to pick my favorite voice actors in this show, Max Mittlman, who played Kosei, and Erica Lindbeck, who played Kaori.  The reason being because they played their characters exquisitely, conveying the right emotions for their characters instead of using a monotone and choppy voice, like in a few anime I’ve seen, such as InuYasha and Hunter X Hunter 1999.

Although the series has lots of good points to it, there are some cons I had while watching it.  The first one being the way relationships dragged on from the middle of the show.  In the beginning, the romance between Kosei and Kaori tends to be really sweet and it seems as if a lot would happen between the two after the fifth episode, but the sweet moments kind of stopped after a specific moment happens (I’m not going to tell you what happens because of spoilers).  I mean, there were a few, but not as much as I was hoping for.  My second con has to do with the art; while it is beautifully eye-catching, the main characters looked pretty much the same, almost like a copy-paste kind of art.  Their eyes were pretty much the same shape and their faces were drawn the same.

Overall, the show was definitely worth the watch, hence the 5 Star rating for this review.  Although it has a PG rating, there is quite a bit of cursing and a few scenes that involve child abuse with the main protagonist and his mother.  Other than that, there is nothing totally inappropriate.  If you are one of those people who have not seen a Slice of Life series or haven’t seen anime at all, then I would definitely recommend this to you for a first anime.  Also, if you like watching shows with a ton of emotional scenes, then this series will definitely entertain you.  Come grab some friends, cartons of ice cream, and some pillows as you watch the beauty Your Lie in April has.

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