“Just play with sincerity, and put your all into giving the performance of a lifetime.” -Miyazono Kawori
Regular readers may know that I usually just do a Year in Anime post recapping the anime series and movies I watched the previous year (though I haven’t done one yet for 2015; gomen, ne!), but Your lie in April (四月は君の嘘 / Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) just made Top 3 and I can’t wait another year to talk about it! Sorry that this means the post will be light on actual photos, since I haven’t had time to buy any merchandise besides this one figure of Miyazono Kaori and I haven’t seen any of the characters cosplayed in the real.
Of course, I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible by talking about it in general terms; even all of the still images are screen caps from the opening sequence and not from the show itself. (I really don’t understand people who like to actively seek out spoilers; it takes so much of the joy and thrill of discovery out of engaging with a work for the first time, and can really color/ruin the experience.)
The story of a traumatized pianist named Kousei Arima (有馬 公生 / Arima Kōsei), a free-spirited violinist named Kaori Miyazono (宮園 かをり / Miyazono Kawori), and the effect that they have on each other, Your lie in April (known colloquially as KimiUso or YLiA; not sure why they capitalize the “L” in the abbreviation but not in the full title) explores the universal themes of love, regret, facing your problems, finding your path, and leaving your mark on the world.
While it’s not a perfect series — it occasionally veers too far into slapstick as well as melodrama, and some reviewers have raised concerns about its treatment of its weightier material — it’s still among the most beautiful, moving, wrenching, and uplifting works I’ve ever seen (animated or otherwise), with little of the squicky weirdness or questionable content that would make you hesitant to show it to a younger sibling or to your child (although I’d say 13+ is best due to the aforementioned subject matter).
Your lie in April utilizes the full, combined power of sound and pictures; even though it’s a hopeful, life-affirming show, for days afterward I had that same empty ache in my chest that I get when something wonderful and colorful has ended. After spending 22 episodes rooting for these characters, it was hard not to miss them. Like any bravura performance, Your lie in April resonates and stays with you long after it’s over, qualities that inspire me as I try to create my own works. These traits also make it a magnificent gateway anime series, one that I’ll be recommending to anyone unfamiliar with anime or who thinks anime is just boobs and tentacles.
Based on the original manga written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa (新川 直司 / Arakawa Naoshi), Your lie in April was produced by A-1 Pictures — which has also produced other shows I’ve enjoyed such as Kannagi, AnoHana, Sound of the Sky, and The Idolmaster — and distributed by Aniplex of America. It’s currently streaming for free on Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and the Aniplex Channel in the original Japanese with English subtitles; Netflix also has an English dub, which I’ve read is amazing.
Your lie in April was more than just a series to me; it was an experience! While I hesitate to call it life-changing (it’s an overused phrase and such a cliché thing to say), it’s definitely one of those seminal works that will shape and influence me for a long time to come. I can’t recommend it enough! (Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to promote nor do I get any money from clicks on links to the show; I’m just a passionate fan who thinks everyone should experience this great series.)
Even though Looking for Miku (ミクを求める) is pretty much locked, I’ll be going back to incorporate some Your lie in April references; hopefully you’ll be able to spot them when Looking for Miku makes its long-awaited premiere at this year’s Ninja-Con on Saturday, 4 June, at 5pm in LP2!