RogerBW's Blog

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso 14 April 2015

2014, 22 episodes: AniDB vt Your Lie in April

Modern romantic comedy. Kousei was a child prodigy at the piano, but gave it up. Two years later when he's in high school, he randomly meets Kaori the violinist, who insists that he should be her accompanist in a competition.

I'm being deliberately vague because the first half of this series explains much of the back-story of why Kousei stopped playing and allowed his life to turn dull and grey – and sets up the second half, which appears to be on a straight line to romantic tragedy but may or may not actually make it there (no spoilers). There are music competitions (apparently one has to win these to be taken seriously as a pianist, but it means that some of the sports anime tropes become relevant), and plenty of actual music on the soundtrack.

Characters are distinctive and realistic in the usual anime/manga style (there's one child who's rather exaggerated but she doesn't appear much). For reasons which weren't apparent to me, part of the side of Kousei's spectacles doesn't get shown, perhaps to make it easier to see his eyes (as in this image); this is distracting at first but one gets used to it.

While the protagonists are moderately sympathetic, they're definitely not perfect. Kaori could just be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who's there to break Kousei out of his multi-year funk, and there's certainly some of that, but she ends up being a rather more complex character than that role would indicate. (A revelation in the final episode undermines this horribly, but it's still good up to that point.) Kousei may be a musical genius, but he does have to work for his successes. Minor characters are more simply drawn (at one point one feels that everybody must have been inspired to become a pianist by seeing the young Kousei) but do their jobs; the Other Girl who's also fallen for Kousei, but doesn't realise it herself, has a practical friend who's a hidden gem of a character.

This is one of the more interesting entries of this winter season; as with Sword Art Online 2, it's not afraid to push emotional buttons, but it never quite veers into farce. Recommended.

See also:
Sword Art Online II

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