Hers was a white lie built on a grain of truth that snowballed as one lie after the other piled up. At first it was only hers, but then it became something that the two of them shared together – like a secret, a world upon which no other could encroach. He may have been “Friend A,” and she “the girl that loves my best friend,” but they were masquerading around a truth that neither one could openly admit because ultimately, the truth was much more painful.
Your Lie in April is a deceitfully masterful series that initially appears light-hearted and colorful, its palette boasting pastels
that lend to the idea of it being another romantic comedy. Yet the moment we step past the disillusionment that it casts upon us by its false prefaces, we quickly realize that what we have immersed ourselves in is actually a tragedy in the making.
Tragic not because of a single element but because of all of its parts, and yet at the end of everything, this isn’t a series about tragedy. It is a series about learning to heal, learning to move on, and learning to accept the parts of ourselves that we’d rather pretend aren’t there. Part of that is accepting that sometimes we need a helping hand to take that first step. Part of it is learning to say goodbye when the time comes.
What is so compelling about the storyline is that it’s not merely an adventure into first love, it delves into the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood abuse, and chronic illness. It doesn’t paint any of these as artistic or tragically beautiful—they are horrible, they twist people, they ruin the best moments, and they have a long-lasting impact.
No one is completely black-and-white; everyone has their short-comings, fleshed out in full before our eyes. They have their hang-ups, their strengths, their struggles—and it’s in these characters that this series really takes off in full stride. It would be enough for them to be multifaceted with equal amounts of depth, but they take it a step further in painting the reality of youth.
Older anime fans may critically analyze the series as an unrealistic approach to young teenagers, but that pessimism overlooks the reality of what it was like for us to be that age. We were all that point when we found our first love, when we thought it was forever, when we poured our passion into something that ultimately would not come to fruition or last. That’s what being young is about—and that’s what Your Lie in April gives us.
Granted that it may veer a bit over-dramatic at times in its representation of youth; there are moments of symbolism or hyperbole so overt that the cheesiness makes you shift a little uncomfortably in your seat (but I promise it’s not enough to gag you). Given that this is, however, a rather common trope that runs in series with heavier themes, it’s not necessarily a huge setback for an otherwise solid series. In the end, it is intended to be a fictional representation that conveys more than just what can be summarized in a few sentences or less.
The sound is completely on point, and the soundtrack artfully matches the emotions intended to be represented in each scene. From the actual classical music to the opening and ending, everything fits in like a jigsaw puzzle to give a full, satisfying final piece. When the characters analyze someone’s playing as harsh, rigid, and stilted, we can hear this—whether we are knowledgeable about music or not. Your Lie in April conveys emotion to us not just visually but aurally as well.
The animation is wonderful with bright, vibrant colors that bring the characters fully to life. There is an amazing, visually perceivable transition for the characters as time passes, particularly in regards to Kaori as the series moves on. It occasionally has some stilted moments but nothing outrageously noticeable to detract from the overall quality.
Ultimately, Your Lie in April is a story that starts out of the gates moving a bit slowly, but the pace matches the tone of the series. Structurally, it is a solid story of youth that dramatizes some aspects but never distracts from the intended message. On top of its other strong points, it’s aurally and visually a joy to the senses – and to anyone appreciative of a series willing to realistically approach the conflict of childhood abuse and the resulting trauma in a positive way. It’s not without a few setbacks, but in the end, Your Lie in April fashions itself to be a stand-out romance series that reminds us that while some relationships may be transient and brief, some people will come into our lives at just the right time for just long enough to touch us in a way we never thought possible.
There are mainly only two sides to the debate on this show -- those that absolutely love it, and those that strongly dislike it. Is there an abundance of melodrama? Yes. Does this show try too hard at some points? Sure it does. Does that mean that this show is bad? Not necessarily. This show is neither the best thing ever, as some people seem to be saying, but it's not the worst either. Basically, what I'm about to do is help find some middle ground between the two viewpoints.
tl;dr at the bottom for those that don't want to read a wall of text, but
I still strongly encourage you to do so.
Story - 4/10
Kousei Arima was a prodigy at playing the piano. He dominated every competition on a regular basis by playing the music perfectly as it was intended by the composer. He was so dominant to the point where he became famous among child and adult musicians alike. However, after the death of his mother (who was also his instructor), he was unable to cope with it and eventually lost the ability to hear the piano. He then quit shortly after. For the next couple of years, the world around him became dull and lifeless aside from a couple of his friends, until he met this extremely cheerful violinist, Kaori Miyazono. She revealed to him a side and style of music he never knew existed, and eventually convinced him to give the piano another shot.
The premise doesn't sound too bad. In fact, the way it handles the romance plot is pretty unique. It isn't just simply your typical boy meets girl and then they eventually confess, blah blah; there's a lot more to it than that. It focuses more on Kousei's development as a result of Kaori's carefree happy-go-lucky personality. The story is told primarily in Kousei's point of view, and likewise the plot revolves somewhat around him. Other characters do get screen time as well, though, and occasionally we do hear their take on things too.
A big thing that really makes the story stand out (in the first half, particularly) is how it portrays the music. Why do we play music? Who are you playing for? What message are you trying to convey? Music isn't just there to pleasure your ears, it's used as a tool to speak from the heart. Who you are as a person, what you've gone through, and what you strive for are all expressed in how you play music. The notes may be the same, but the feel of the song can vastly vary with the way people play it. In other words, you take the music and make it your own. In doing that, you can really make the music have an impact on the audience. This kind of message opened up a new side of classical music (and just music in general) that I really didn't think about initially, and I don't mean that in a half-assed way.
So with all these positives in place, you may be wondering how in the world could I only give this section a 4. Well, just as there was a lot of good, there was a lot of flaws, particularly in the execution of the plot.
Melodrama. It's alright to have it in moderation, but in this show, it was taken to a whole other level. Almost every episode contains at least one overreaction to an event, almost to the point where it became hard to really feel the feels you were supposed to in the particular scene. Now, there were some instances where this was properly used and was actually beneficial to the plot, but more often than not, I found myself cringing and unable to relate to the character(s) at all.
Pacing. The pacing of this show was all over the place, but generally speaking, it was so slow to the point where it felt like it was beating a dead horse. Literally, I could look up the word "monologuing" in the dictionary and find the cover art of YLIA. Episode after episode, there was an absurd amount of redundant repetition, almost to the point where it became laughable. To be fair, the show did attempt to at least bring up a couple of little side plots every now and then, but in the end, they were mostly pointless and had no connection to the overarching plot.
Lastly, there's the comedy. Quality of comedy in general is unquestionably subjective, but personally, I found a good deal of it funny. My gripe with it is that it was terribly misplaced. You're in the middle of this deep, sad scene, and then all of a sudden you're slapped in the face with comedic relief that doesn't fit the scene at all. To put it bluntly, it kills the mood.
The story had a LOT of potential. I, like many others, was hooked at the beginning, but found it harder to watch as the show goes on. It really makes me wish that this was a 12 episode anime instead.
Art/Animation - 8/10
The art in this show fits the feel of it really well. The characters designs are rather unique; they each all have full lips rather than a simple line like you see in almost every anime nowadays, and it's little subtleties like this that adds a sense of realism to the show. The brightness of the setting also appropriately fits each situation. It's colorful and bright when things are more lively, dark and dull when things are more depressing, you get the idea. The actual art itself is very good-looking too. Animation was pretty solid and up to par with today's standards, but occasionally it can be less than stellar.
Sound - 9/10
Now, I'm not a fan of classical music at all. I don't necessarily hate it, it's just not my bread and butter, but I've started to open up to it a lot more than I originally was. The BGM is nice and really adds to the emotions that the specific scene is trying to convey. The solo performances are especially good for reasons already explained. I'm also a personal fan of the OPs and EDs, both of which suit the show well. Not much else to say here, really. It's just solid.
Character - 6/10
As a romance and drama, the characters really are the backbone of the entire show. With the slower pacing, the characters get added depth, which is critical for a show like this to do. I must say, it did a damn good job in that aspect. Many characters had their own backstory (although a lot of them did start out bland), and there aren't many one-dimensional characters that get major screen time. Most importantly, they're all likable in their own way.
Something I felt was important is the development of Kousei. Being the main character and all, he's pretty much got to be the best developed character of the show. Thankfully, he is. He starts out as this mopey, depressing, and generally dull kid, but gradually develops into something much more. After losing his mother, he really had no reason to play music. All he ever knew was to play it perfectly as the composer intended, and for the purpose of pleasing his mom. Enter Kaori. Her unique style of playing opened up Kousei's eyes in a big way, and inspired him to take up music again. His journey together with Kaori and friends has been helping him break out of his shell, and his development bit by bit was superb.
Again, with so much good, why give it such a mediocre score? Hear me out.
I touched upon this earlier, but many of the side characters were pointless. Their development overall pretty much served no purpose. Instead of adding to the story, their screen time swayed away from the main plotline, which is not how it's supposed to work. Yes, it's cool to hear someone else's story every now and then, but not when it distracts the audience from what's really important.
Another thing -- Kaori. This is kind of tied into the pacing, which I also touched upon earlier. She never really received significant development until the very end of the show. Up until that point, she's nothing but a mere plot device used to stir up drama. For the duration of 21 episodes, she was just a cute girl that's meant to be likable and appeal to the audience, but with no depth whatsoever. It would have helped substantially to show her insight on the status quo as the show went on.
Enjoyment - 7/10
With all that's been said, I enjoyed this anime. It had it's ups, it's definitely had it's downs, but even with all that went wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt a strong connection with Arima and Kaori's relationship, which at the end of the day, is what's most important for this show to do. In the last several episodes especially, feels were definitely felt. Unfortunately, personal enjoyment is not a direct indicative of how good a show is.
Overall - 6/10
In my opinion, this anime doesn't deserve to be rated as high as it is. Again, I'll repeat: I did NOT think this anime was bad at all. In my book, a 6 is right around average. But to be rated #13 overall at the time this review was written? It's pretty undeserving with all the glaring issues that are present throughout.
I'll try to sum it up as simply as I can: for more intellectual viewers, stay clear. The mannerisms and actions that some characters take in this show can be mind-boggling and potentially frustrating at times, and the plot is painfully stretched out. For more casual viewers just looking to rack up the feels, this is definitely worth a look. If there's one thing this anime excels at, it's just that.
+Unique style of romance
+Opened up my eyes when it comes to classical music
+Pretty funny comedy every now and then
−Comedy is terribly misplaced
−Pacing was all over the place, but generally speaking, it was way too slow
−Monologuing to the point of beating a dead horse
+Background/scenery is really nice
+Art fits the mood well
+/−The animation is average, up to par with today's standards. Not sure whether to put this as a negative or a plus lol
+BGM is solid, adds to the scene
+OPs and EDs are nice
+Solo performances are very good, further explained in the review
+Great development of Kousei
+Audience can sympathize with emotions of each character
+They're all likable, the show does a good job of getting the audience attached to them
−Side characters were insignificant to the overall plot, distracted audience from overarching plot
−Kaori's development came way too late, she was mostly a plot device the whole time
+Even with all that went wrong, it was very enjoyable overall. Ending was very well-done, and feels were definitely felt
−Unfortunately, enjoyable =/= objectively good
I nearly skipped this gem just because of the music tag. Not really big into music anime but somehow the art dragged me into watching the first few episodes. First episode was an average episode with few interesting plot lines. But the second episode was the hook. Irony. The tag that made me nearly skip this anime was the one that kept me in it. The music, the music... THE MUSIC.. what can I say? It was just right down my taste. Never in my life did I thought of "oh hey let's listen to some classical
music" but this anime opened a new taste in music in me. And I'm grateful for that.
The first half and second half have clear differences with a very smooth pacing and objectives in mind. Some may say the pacing was slow and sometimes it felt that a point is being dragged out for long. As much as I understand where they are coming from, I feel that this series took the right amount of time to build up for the many impact full moments that is present. The inner monologues that the series loves to do felt right to display the conflicts that our characters are fighting with. Also, the conflicts dealt with are very realistic and people can very much relate to them. I happen to be one of them being able to relate to our main male protagonist.
The cast of characters in this show is pretty high. As a 22 episode anime, I think it did an excellent job portraying those characters. As most animes, not all the characters were fully fleshed out, and I didn't expect it to do so. The ones that mattered most were developed beautifully. Besides, nearly everyone's thought process were clear, motivations/purpose in tact and passion which shone through.
Sound is something that I will not even talk about since it is subjective. The main reason, however, that I will not dive deeper is because for me, it was perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
Animation wise. Throughout the whole series, it was standard stuff from A-1 Pictures. It did have some drop from time to time, especially during the comedy segments, which I didn't find distracting but it wasn't great to say the least. Animation stood out where it counts. Those performances. I would have been really been disappointed if the animation was average in those moments, because of how beautiful the soundtracks are. But A-1 delivered, and they both complimented each other outstandingly.
By the end of the series, I was just left in awe, and honestly a bit (extremely) emotional. To compare, the 'feels' in this series (my opinion) surpasses the highly praised Clannad: After Story for one simple reason. I was just slightly more attached to the relationship our main characters shared than I was with Clannad. But the story is not about tragedy. It's about inspiration, passion, moving forward, family, friendship, helping each other (many more). It is about life and how hard it can be to carry on, but you still gotta do it. You still gotta live your life to your fullest.
"If you can't move with your hands then play with your feet! If you don't have enough fingers, then use your nose as well! Whether you're sad, you're a mess, or you've hit rock bottom, you still have to play! That's how people like us survive." - Kaori Miyazono.
My Thursdays won't be the same after finishing this anime. Shigatsu has taken me to a world of music that I will never forget.
Even though the story isn't anything new, the way it was written and directed make it feel like one. It is a story that revolves around music and how it connects people and how it affects them. It does not only affect them in a good way, but in a bad way too. And with that premise, a beautiful story about tennagers started.
Although there were some characters that didn't get a proper development to know and understand their own problems, motivations, and
dreams, they didn't feel empty and meaningless. They all had a purpose and most of them where helpful to our main characters. They didn't feel cliché neither, even when we got some of them like the childhood friend and the dandy best-friend. And the best part, at least to me, is that there was no fan-service.
I didn't get to see a flaw in the animation in the 22 episodes aired. The palette of colours used, especially the blue ones, were gorgeous, while the performance moments were dynamic and realistic. Not to mention the opening and ending sequences, which are to date some of my favourites of all time.
Add to this a beautiful ost and amazing songs for the openings and endings and you'll feel in heaven. The opening songs were upbeat and represented a good tonal contrast to the story, while the ending songs complemented it, especially the second one, which can make you cry (if you were not crying already) after the emotional final episodes.
Overall, this anime has been one of the bests I've ever seen. It hooked me since the first teaser, and never let me go until the last episode. It is not a hard story, so everyone can enjoy it as much as I did. With loveable and relatable characters with deep stories, a gorgeous animation and an amazing score, I'm pretty sure that this is one of the best anime from the past few years, and the best (TO ME) of this season. I can recommend this show to anyone who want to watch and experience a good, heart-warming romance anime.
The latest romantic-comedy/drama to take the anime world by storm is a little project known as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, or as many people know it, “Your Lie in April”. YLA has been the talk of the last two seasons as it has managed to captivate audiences around the world with its unbelievably bright colors and fantastic musical score complete with both famous classical pieces and original hits. However, if there is one thing about this show that people can’t help but gorge themselves on, it’s the melodrama. That’s right folks: a romantic show contains MELODRAMA! Try to contain your surprise! Since
intense over-exaggeration is virtually the only way to make shows like this interesting, know that I’m willing to overlook melodrama to a certain degree… But not to THIS degree. Ladies and gentlemen: Do you think you know monologuing? Oh ho ho, you’re about to.
Synopsis: Kousei Arima is a former piano-playing prodigy; he was the best player alive for his young age until some serious mental trauma forced him to quit. He has refused to touch a musical instrument ever again, until he meets an eccentric girl named Kaori Miyazano; the girl who would change his life forever.
YLA got off to a charming start with a great comedic focus while still hinting at a sufficiently dramatic backstory. In combination with the previously mentioned art and music, this anime showed promise. By the time the breathtaking violin performance in episode 2 had finished, pretty much everyone was hooked on this show, and understandably so. However, it didn’t take long for it to divulge into one of the most laughable and overly drawn-out excuses for a narrative I’ve ever seen. This show is about 10% original content and about 90% REPEATING THAT SAME CONTENT. Over and over and over and over and over and over again! You’d think it was a parody of an anime drama rather than an actual iteration into the genre if you didn’t know any better. This anime should have been 12 episodes TOPS, especially considering all the pointless side characters that serve no purpose. Instead, we get an anime that is just monologuing on top of monologuing episode after episode. You REALLY have to slog to get through all of it. I find it hard to pay attention to a show that’s just going to spell everything out for me a million times; ever hear of subtlety? SHOW. Don’t tell.
That’s not to say that the drama is all that bad when they actually decide to advance the plot though. There are several instances of legitimately investing and interesting storytelling in this anime, but it’s too few and far between be worthy of any real praise. Not to mention that it is constantly interrupted by inopportune comedy during or immediately following a dramatic moment. The strange thing is that the comedy can be pretty good too; this show has gotten more than one chuckle out of me. The problem lies in the directing, which is causing these elements to work against each other rather than cooperatively. Instead of adding another dimension to the show, the comedy merely dulls the edge of the more important dimension, and that’s obviously a major problem.
The characters aren’t necessarily bad, but I found them to be pretty poorly handled overall. Kousei, for example, is inconsistent. He will tell the audience how he feels about the SAME thing in SAME way over and over and over again, but there are also times when we should know what he is thinking and simply don’t. For example, it’s nonsensical how the most minor of exchanges will stick with him throughout the entire show and be monologued about dozens of times, but then major interactions between him and anybody not named Kaori are instantly forgotten even when they should be having a major impact on him. Kousei is an okay character, but his backstory is really the only thing that defines him. I was personally more partial to his best friend, Tsubaki, whose alternate perspective of having to deal with a struggling friend is often more interesting than the person who is actually suffering.
Kaori, on the other hand, really held the show back in my opinion. Yes she’s cute, yes her violin performance was the best scene of the show, and yes she is the source of lots of drama. The problem is that she is treated a lot more like a plot device and a lot less like a character. With all the monologuing that goes on in this show, can someone explain to me why we never find out Kaori’s true feelings in regards to so many events? Where exactly does her love of music come from? How does it motivate her? What are her specific feelings on Kousei at various intervals in the show? What about Watari? We don’t know until the final episode of the show so we can pretend that all this vital information which we desperately need to get invested in her is some sort of Shyamalan twist; it's completely immature and ineffective. Kaori simply shows up, does whatever she needs to do to create drama, then leaves. She is the weakest character in the show and a big reason why I found the romance to be poorly executed and completely one-sided. I never felt like I knew this person.
In conclusion, Your Lie in April is a cheesy drama loaded with inopportune comedy and cringe-worthy dialogue. It has its moments and the musical score/animation are wonderful, but bad directing and the lack of so much as an ounce of subtlety killed it. If you’re one of those mushy-gushy drama lovers, I really can’t recommend against this show since its flaws aren’t too much more egregious than what you would normally see, but if not, I don’t think you need to go out of your way to watch it by any means.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is an awful anime madly overrated on MAL because one single pathetic character dies at the end, appealing to people's emotion also making the viewers forget how bad it was until the end.
It is pretty mediocre overall, poorly handled, it was overall predictable and quite honestly poorly executed. The series telegraphed kaori as terminally ill far before the series managed to make her a likeable characterI mean for christ sake, she kicked MC over the shins just because he wouldn't play the piano for some kids he didn't know, and when you know the character is going to die
it is quite hard as a viewer to get into the tension and drama that should be building up.
The comedy was also so horribly misplaced and ruined so many scenes that COULD have been good.
The drama/comedy mix was so aggravating. Scenes would start to get nicely serious and random slapstick would break the mood. Then the actual attempts at drama due to the terminal illness was so overdone I was relieved more than anything when Kaori revealed it because it finally meant no more foreshadowing of it.
In the end only the music was good, and even then that was fairly repetitive and honestly i can't really give the anime bonus scores for using music i can always listen to if i want, even if the scenes they played them in were overall well done it just wasn't enough to carry the show at all.
Making use of a calm, vibrant palette, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso begins by depicting a mysterious blonde chasing after a black cat. Weirdly enough, it feels like it's meaningful; each camera angle is loose and meticulously timed, and the cuts between don't hinder the flow. I soon came to realize, however, that the problems lie not in the execution, but the narrative; so much so that it ends up being more of an eye-catcher than a drama.
The struggles musicians face are apparent for most: Writer's block, commitment, or even becoming notable are some of the most common examples of these. Arima's struggles, on
the other hand, are quite different. Ever since the death of his abusive mother, he's been too traumatized to hear his own playing. But when he meets the aforementioned blonde, Kaori, that all changes. Dubbed love at first sight, the series documents the ongoings of Arima and Kaori as they succumb to the world of music. By itself, this is no problem, but by introducing these characters minutes apart, we're given no time to really understand either of them. Instead, the viewer learns of Arima's past through an intrusive series of flashbacks throughout. Placing these sequences in the middle of recitals and performances disregards any tension that they may have created in the first place. Because of this, winning or losing doesn't matter; it's unsatisfying and hard to care either way.
Sadly, this isn't the only problem Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso faces. The dialogue feels like that of a middle school creative writing project, and when combined with a healthy amount of melodrama, it's hard not to laugh in ridicule each time Arima whines about his "monotone" life. In fact, it's a challenge to take this seriously. Each episode is filled with around ten or more minutes of these monologues, and in the end, it feels mostly redundant; a way to drag out the length of the series. The rest of the cast isn't even as lucky – the only information we get about them is regarding their past tragedies or to further the annoyingly weak symbolism regarding growing up. Since every major character is about 14, any appeal to emotion through dialogue only comes off as disposable and pretentious teenage angst. Constant similes are made regarding the texture and flavour of any musical performance, but they sound completely hilarious and synesthetic ("The smell of chalk. […] The faint breathing of someone asleep."). There's even some comedy here and there, but it's incredibly unfunny and gets in the way of the little drama that's left - by portraying gags with brief changes in artstyle, the otherwise appealing consistency of the animation is interrupted. It might be welcome in a comedy series, but why is it here?
Despite my other complaints, the OST itself is fairly interesting. While the arrangements of traditional classical pieces are nothing to get too excited about, they're nice enough to listen to for a few minutes while trudging through the rest of the show. Arima's disjointed playing isn't always welcome, though, as some parts sound a little too horrible. Even deaf musicians of his skill level and tenure should be unable to play that badly when given basic theory lessons. The OST itself consists of mostly ambient music to build tension, but it isn't anything too extraordinary – any fan of electronic music should find most of these tracks dull and utterly forgettable. The OP, on the other hand, is something that kept me watching each week; Goose House's acoustic harmonies really set the mood for the show, and I dare say that nothing else in the series lives up to it.
As a package, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is bloated and gimmicky to the point of exhaustion, but it's decent entertainment nonetheless. The main storyline doesn't even progress for eleven episodes. It's like a Pitchfork résumé. If you're looking for a pretty experience and not too much more, you should definitely give the series a try — maybe even marathon it now that it's over!
This series is overrated. It peaked my interest when I saw it on the front page at the highest rated anime on this site. I thought to myself this was worth a watch, I definitely won't be disappointed since the top rated anime here pretty much deserve to be there. How wrong was I.
Let me first start by saying this series is melodramatic, slow-paced and cliched as hell. We have Arima Kousei, a depressed and traumatized 14-year-old pianist prodigy who lost his abusive mother two years prior to the story. The anime may come off as an anime that focuses a lot on music, but
music is merely a sub-genre here. If you're watching this anime just for the music, you will be disappointed more than me. I couldn't symphatize with any of the characters in the story, it was pretty much predictable all the time. The romance is pretty below par too.
We're introduced to two rivals early in the story, but that's about it, they don't really have any impact or effect the main character in anyway. They end up being just mere acquaintances by the end. They tried to redeem his horrible mother whiched failed miserably. Characters are crying all the time, then they bring out a loli in the middle of the series with nothing to add to the story, just a mandatory irrelevant loli which seems to be a running occurance in every anime now. The main character barely develops during the story, he doesn't really accomplish anything in the musical world during the 22-episode course of the series, we're constantly having flashbacks about his past and how horrible his mother was to him. The dialogue in the series sounded too poetic and cheesy most of the time, and we're are constantly thrown life quotes at us, which was funny to me considering the main characters are 14-year-olds.
Of course it has its strong points too. The animation really flows well with the series and while I'm not a fan of classical music, I must say I enjoyed the music being played throughout the series. But that doesn't exclude the fact that there are hundreds of anime out there with the same school drama setting with teenagers as main characters. This series ain't no Clannad, it just tries too hard. The main girls all seem to have a thing for the main character, but I didn't feel much romance effect here. The story was all about Arima coming out of his depressed self and back to the real world again. The ending wasn't really a tearjerker, as I predicted it way before during the course of the series, so there was no element of surprise here.
Overall I can't say I particuarly enjoyed the series nor would I recommend it to others. I guess I COULD recommend it to someone who is particuarly interested in music, but then I'd also would recommend K-ON as well. It isn't a masterpiece like people are constantly saying. It's not bad but it's not good either - just average.
If you don't want to read, then there’s a tl;dr at the end, as well as a tl;dr for every section.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, or Your Lie in April, is 24-episode anime that started airing in October 2014, and ended in March 2015. Since its end, it has been a subject of hot debate on this site. Usually there are 2 types of people for any controversial show, those who love it to no end, and those who flat out despise it. I personally am somewhere on the fence.
Now is it the best anime ever? No. Is it bad? Definitely not. Then what
exactly is Shigatsu?
Well, at its core Shigatsu is a story about a boy(Arima Kousei) who used to be a fantastic pianist at a young age. Unfortunately, during his growth, he lost his mother, something that left him unable to hear the piano ever again. Or at least until he met a violinist named Kaori Miyazono, who tries to help him return to music.
Well, that’s the basis of the story. Now onto the review.
The story of Shigatsu has both good and bad sides to it. Before we delve into the bad, let’s take a look at the good.
The story, as you would normally expect, has a lot of romance, which is done pretty well. The romance in Shigatsu, is very heartfelt at times and also very fun at other times. The story tries to maintain a perfect balance of comedy and real romance, which does work, most of the time.
Unfortunately, this show is also a melodrama, which is the bad part. The drama in this show apparently got many people teary-eyed, but, I have a hard time believing that. The show tries way too hard to make you feel some “feels”, and pretty much drops flat on its face. The show constantly tries to shove its drama in your face, from episode 13 onwards, and it gets annoying at times. Before episode 13, it still had some dramatic moments, but those were much better done, showing Kousei’s inner fears.
As I previously mentioned, the show is filled with comedy, romance, and now, drama. When you but all these in a blender what do you get? Well if the blender was a good one, then you might get something amazing. But this wasn’t a good blender. Instead what we got was a drink with a beautiful exterior, but a bad aftertaste.
Since Shigatsu thinks it’s a drama, but also tries to make time for comedy and romance, we get painfully abrupt scenes of melodrama, followed closely by comedy, which does not fit at all.
One second we might be seeing a person die, and the other we see Kousei getting kicked by his “not-girlfriend”, Tsubaki.
Speaking of which, the romance aspect isn’t flawless either. Somewhere during the time that the show was trying to find what genre it belongs to, we got a love-triangle. Now, it really isn’t as bad as I make it sound, but it’s still a bit cliché at times. Boy A loves Girl A, Girl A loves Boy B, Girl B loves Boy A, and Boy B doesn’t give a shit.
The romance isn’t complex but it still does get stale at times.
But, for as much as I railed on the story, it has one saving grace. The ending. The final episode is probably the best part of this anime, in my opinion. It’s a simple monologue by the female lead, Kaori. But it’s so beautifully written that I couldn’t help but be engrossed by it.
TL;DR for STORY : The story has pretty good romance, which gets slightly stale near the middle. The excess of melodrama mixed with the comedy is probably the biggest flaw of the story, since those are two genres that should be implemented far away from each other. But, no matter how many flaws it has, its ending is beautiful in every way possible. Great writing, good background music, very good voice acting, and beautiful art. Speaking of art, let’s move on to the next section.
Art and Animation:- 9/10
The art of Shigatsu is probably the best part of it. It changes according to the mood of the scene, and fits the overall feel of the show. It’s very bright most of the time, and it everything ranging from the night sky to the school playground look gorgeous.
The character designs for the main characters are well done, and easily recognizable. The adults were also very well designed, to a point that you could actually guess their age. The only flaw I see with the character design are the children. It might just be me, but it’s weird to see children who have buttons for eyes, which makes them stand out in comparison to the rest of the cast.
Most of the time the animation is very fluent, and everything moves very nicely. The performance scenes are where the real budget went though. Accompanied with great music, it uses CGI for the piano, and extremely fluent animation for the violin. The CGI is a bit odd, and does stick out sometimes, but it did not distract from the focus of the scene, the performance.
TL;DR for ART : The art in Shigatsu is the best part of it, with a hefty use of colors, and a very bright scenery which changes according to the mood and feel of the scene. Most of the character designs are pretty good, besides the children in the show. The animation is fluent for the most part, and the performance scenes were amazing. Even though the CGI piano was a bit jarring at times, it didn’t distract me from what really mattered in the scene, the music.
Being an anime focused around music, one would normally think that the music of the show should be its strongest point, including me. But no, that’s sadly not the case.
Towards the beginning the performances were all amazing with the focus remaining solely on the performance and nothing else. But this is soon forgotten in the latter half of the show. The music itself is very good, or at least as much of the music I could hear.
The performances(in the latter half) are constantly interrupted by monologues, which are meant to bring up the drama, but instead come off as a distraction and an annoyance. Most of the performances I was yelling at the screen “Stop talking! I’m trying to listen to the brilliance that you’re playing!”. I personally am a fan of classical music, so when someone talks over it, I get very annoyed, and feel like punching a hole through the screen.
That being said, the overall soundtrack of the show, excluding the performances, was pretty good. Although no song really stood out to me.
The voice actors also do their jobs pretty well, with all of the voices fitting the characters. Especially Kaori and Kousei’s voice actors.
But of course, nothing in the show can top it’s masterful opening. Opening 1(Hikaru Nara), is probably one of the best openings I’ve ever heard in a while. The second opening(Nanairo Symphony) while not as good, was still great. Both endings were also pretty well done, but the second ending(Orange) is the better of the two.
TL;DR for MUSIC : The show should focus on music, but instead many of the performances are spoken over for the majority of the time. The show tried to bring drama into the mix again (by talking over the performances) but failed horribly in this case. The soundtrack of the show is pretty good, and the voice actors do the characters justice. Its openings and endings are few of the best of 2014, and Opening 1 is one of my favorite openings of all time.
This is where Shigatsu really fails. It’s not that there isn’t any character development, but certain characters, who needed development, didn’t get any. I’ll start with the good.
Kousei: He’s probably the character who is best developed throughout the entire show. After meeting Kaori, he starts to regain his will to play music, and starts to overcome his fears. Many other characters, including Kaori, act as foils in his development, like his friends, teacher, his rivals, and even his pupil. His development is the one that got the most focus in the entire story, but maybe even too much.
Kaori: This is where I feel that the characters fail. Since I can’t talk too much about Kaori without spoilers, I’ll be as careful as possible to avoid spoiling anything. Kaori is probably the character who had the most potential to develop, but instead, she was used as a mere plot device. Something to simply be present to help Kousei grow. While I did praise Kousei’s development, it’s not worth sacrificing the development of another character that could’ve grown into so much more. In fact, she was probably the character who I loved the most in the entire show, so I was extremely disappointed to see her get sidelined as a plot device with no depth at all.
Tsubaki: She’s the other main female lead, and the other love interest of Kousei. In other words Girl B. She also played a large role in Kousei’s development, but here, unlike Kaori, she also got some development. While she didn’t get a lot of development, she was still the second-most developed character in the show, which was a step in the right direction.
Other Characters: Most of the other characters are just treated as side characters, but some of them are developed. In fact Kousei’s rivals and his pupil, all get some development, which was nice to see.
TL;DR for CHARACTERS: The entire story of Shigatsu seems to focus on both Kousei and Kaori, but in fact it focuses just on Kousei. He is developed the most throughout the show, while Kaori gets the shortest possible end of the stick. Her development was expected, but it never came to be. The other characters sometimes got some development, and the other female love interest also got some development.
As much as I might rag on the show, and no matter how many flaws I point out in it, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, some characters got on my nerves, and the performances were really disappointing when someone talked over them, but even with all those flaws, I still enjoyed watching it.
Most of the time I was engrossed by the beautiful exterior of the show, and at other times, I was yelling at the characters to stop talking over the music. But, it was still a fun ride.
+ Great animation.
+ Brilliant Openings and Endings
+ A beautiful ending
+ A well developed main lead, and a likable cast of characters.
+ Enjoyable, if you don’t try to notice the flaws.
- Terribly developed female lead, with a ton of misused potential
- Performances were often talked over
- Story tries way too hard to be a drama, but in reality is just a mediocre melodrama
TL;DR for OVERALL:
Overall, the anime definitely isn’t bad, but it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It thinks it’s a drama and tries to act like one, but it had much more potential as a simple romance. If it wanted to be a drama, then it didn’t need to add so much comic relief at every second. It keeps trying to get tears out of you, but it tries way too hard to do so. The characters were also something that needed a lot of work, with Kaori being one of the most misused characters in the show.
On the plus side, the anime looks gorgeous, and it has some of the best openings of all time, along with performances that could’ve been much better, but were still very well done. The final episode is also a very good part of the show, meaning that the show has a brilliant ending.
In the end, it’s not a masterpiece, nor is it garbage. It’s a good experience, that I can recommend watching.
TL;DR A not unenjoyable series with some fantastic musical performances, that unfortunately suffers from forced drama, shallow characters, a drawn out, surprisingly predictable story & a tendency to have characters talk at length about what the music being played expresses rather than let us listen & hear it for ourselves. If you're looking for a tearjerker that will do everything short of poke you in the eye to get those tears flowing, Your Lie in April (YliA) might be for you. If you're looking for something more, you might want tosearch elsewhere.
Music is the food of love. Something like that, anyway. It is certainly
used by many as a means of expressing emotions in ways they cannot put into words. Indeed you'll find few things that people (at least teenagers) will identify so strongly with as a favourite song or a passion for playing. But what might it take to kill that passion in someone? & if you met someone who had lost their love for music, what would it take to bring it back? These are the questions YliA sets out to answer & asks you to come with it. (Note that while I don't consider anything discussed a meaningful spoiler, you may think otherwise)
The boy for whom the music died is Kousei Arima, a gifted & renowned pianist as a child but having lost all passion or even the ability to play since the death of his (psychotic) mother. Now he just wiles away the days, transcribing sheet music & hanging out with his childhood friends Tsubaki Sawabe & Ryouta Watari, stuck in that awkward period when no longer a child but not yet ready to be an adult. Then one day, in a scene that pays homage to Laputa: Castle in the Sky, he meets Kaori Miyazono, the carefree girl who he can't take his eyes off & who quickly takes it upon herself to break Kousei out of his shell & bring back his passion for music, whether he wants to or not.
If there is one rule that anime frustratingly breaks all too often, it's that of show, don't tell. Specifically, that it is better to show something through action rather than through exposition. YliA is full of this. Musical performances are an important part of the story & used as a means for the characters to work through internally whatever their “thing” at that point is, be it determination to prove that they're better than the competition or, often in Kousei's case, trying to overcome his personal demons so he can play. Musical performance, particularly of classical pieces with different sections & phrases that allow for the expression of different emotions, is a perfect for this. The actual performances in YliA are fantastic, with a range of Chopin & other classical pieces (although a little more variety or more well known pieces might have been appreciated) performed to a high standard but also in such a way that it mirrors the emotions of the performer, which is impressive considering we're watching cartoon characters play a cartoon piano. Indeed the music, both the original pieces & those by classical composers, is most certainly the strongest point of YliA.
Unfortunately, in almost every performance the music plays for about 20-30 seconds before someone's internal monologue starts talking all over it, usually as a form of very long winded exposition explaining what the performer is feeling. This isn't always a bad thing. When it accompanies more surreal visual expressions of the performers emotional state, such as when Kousei is playing only to find himself apparently enveloped in water & unable to hear the music, having his inner thoughts accompany the scene can add to it. However, more often than not our listening is simply interrupted by a still shot of the someone's head while they talk in detail about what we'd be able to hear & see for ourselves if only we were allowed to.
It's made all the more frustrating on the few occasions, such as the duet between Kousei & Nagi Aiza, where the exposition is kept to a relative minimum & the music allowed to just play, letting us see the two characters play off each other as they start with a fairly pedestrian rendition before gradually raising the tension in the scene as they both start to play off of & try to outdo the other. It just makes the scene that much more enjoyable to be allowed to just follow the performance without having someone talk over it to tell you what you could be listening to. Likewise the final performance, which I won't spoil, suffice to say that it is a nearly nine minute performance where everything comes together to produce a genuinely engrossing piece of animation. The high point is a nearly three minute part where no words are heard, with everything expressed simply by the facial expressions & body movements of Kousei & Kaori as they play together. If only the same could be said of all that came prior.
This may well simply be due to a mixture of practical constraints (animating multiple 5-10minute performance at a consistent quality can't be easy or cheap) & a hangover from the manga where, of course, there's no music to accompany the panels. It would be more forgiveable if it wasn't for the additional problem that the scriptwriter/author/translator seem to have a false sense of their own literary prowess, writing with a “why say it in a sentence when a metaphor laden paragraph will do?” approach. The use of poetic language isn't a problem in itself, but the characters monologues just go on & on, spouting simile after metaphor, often to the point that it's hard not to be somewhat taken out of the moment. Kousei is a repeat offender of this, often unable to think about anything without employing multiple mixed metaphors. It doesn't help that despite all the words, the characters in YliA don't really think about much. Kousei monologues about his (abusive) mum & Kaori; Kaori about Kousei & music; Tsubaki about Kousei & childhood; & Watari about nothing because he's a plot device, not a character.
In fact all the cast in YliA are surprisingly shallow characters considering all they have to say. Watari just exists so there is someone in the way of Kousei & Kaori having a romantic relationship (because she's gotta stay on that pedestal, after all), playing no meaningful role beyond that. Tsibaki is the childhood friend & third corner of the triangle that every romance must have, while her boyfriend/senior Saito & classmate Kashiwagi are just there so she can talk to someone about her feelings for Kousei other than the audience. Kousei's mum is just a (very abusive) albatross hanging around his neck that he needs to shed in order to move on from his childhood, & Kaori herself is ultimately only there to first encourage him out of his past & then her own misfortune to make him take the next steps into adulthood. Kousei of course bumbles fairly passively through all this, to the point that at times it feels more like watching the author kick a puppy than anything else. It doesn't help that on occasion the plot takes some ridiculous twists purely for the sake of melodrama at Kousei's expense. At one point, for example, he nearly drowns in a swimming pool because, rather than try to swim, he sinks to the bottom miming a piano because the water is what it feels like when he's trying to play. As examples of forced drama go, YliA has some pretty egregious ones.
Indeed, on more than a few occasions the show takes an uncomfortable turn into outright cynical emotional manipulation of the audience. Kousei's childhood seems to exist purely for this purpose, as though you can hear the writer shouting “look at this child! Doesn't he make you feel sad? No? How about if his mother hits him over the head with a cane? Are you sad now? DO YOU FEEL!?” Yes, YliA, I do feel. Apparently, however, you don't, because despite all this clear abuse Kousei was put through everyone else just seemed to take a “not my problem, not my business” view to it. Kousei's mum is depicted as a psychotic child abuser, destroying her son's mental health so she can live vicariously through his success. Despite this, however, ultimately the show takes the view that it's okay because he's got over it now & she only did it so he'd have the musical talent to play after she died. Even cultural dissonance can't be an adequate explanation for why that was thought a good story arc or why Kousei's mum deserved the character redemption it tries to give her.
All this is in contrast to the comparatively marginal b-plot, the competition between Kousei, Takeshi Aiza & Emi Igawa, where something akin to actual character progression takes place. They begin with Emi & Takeshi harbouring old grudges against Kousei, only for the trio to progress as Kousei rediscovers his passion for music while Aiza & Takeshi move on from simply wanting to stick it to their old rival to aspiring to greatness in their own rights. We get to see progression both through their thoughts & conversations & also their musical performances, not to mention that the more peripheral characters connected to this part of the story actually feel like they have a purpose beyond listening to Tsubaki's boy problems or the like. The main plot really doesn't have anything like that sort of dynamic, which makes sitting through episode after episode of Kousei thinking about his mum or Tsubaki thinking about Kousei all the harder to enjoy because it never feels like it's going anywhere meaningful. The ending doesn't help in that regard either. Without spoiling, it basically reveals that the whole journey we've been on was basically a “romantic” version of Cameron's b-plot in the “One day, One Room” episode of House.
But I'm digressing now. Despite all the problems YliA has I can't say it wasn't watchable. Indeed, many of the problems I had with it are things you have to either take or leave with anime that share the same genre tags. As frustrating as it got, YliA never feels as dragged out as, say, Chihayafuru, & there were moments where the show really did shine as the romantic drama it is supposed to be. There are more episodes than were needed but the finale is both a highpoint & a definitive ending, which is always welcome. The art & animation were fine for the most part & were impressive when it counted, which is all one could ask for. Having reached the end of Kousei & company's journey, I can't say I'd want to watch it again, but nor would I say it wasn't worth watching either. All things considered, perhaps that's enough.
"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable." - Ludwig Van Beethoven
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is about a child prodigy classical pianist named Kosei Arima, who gave up playing due to crippling depression following the death of his mother. Even though he won many competitions back when he was still playing piano, his playing was always very "by the book", mechanical, and lacking in passion. This was because of the extremely strict way in which he was trained by his late mother. After hearing the very passionate and innovative performance of a brilliant young violinist named Kaori Miyazono,
Kosei is able to rediscover his love for music and learn to play with heart.
That sounds AMAZING right? An anime musical drama/romance that tells a heartwarming tale and introduces beautiful classical music to a new generation who otherwise wouldn't give it a chance. Why then didn't I rate it a 9 or 10?! I will sadly have to explain.
Firstly, I must say that this series REALLY had potential! Especially for me, since I am a huge fan of classical music. Both of my parents were classical violinists who played in an orchestra. I went in with very high expectations, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. That isn't to say that I felt Shigatsu was a bad anime. Shigatsu is a fine anime, but I am saying it could have been a LOT better and it wasted a tragic amount of potential.
Although the basic premise of the story is the stuff of an award winning drama film, the execution was...not so much. Shigatsu has a LOT of really crappy comedy that never once made me laugh and constantly threw the mood out the window! This comedy is almost always accompanied by painfully obnoxious chibi style animation to save on the show's budget. I'm not saying that using tone jarring chibi out of nowhere instantly makes an anime bad. Hellsing Ultimate did it for comedy scenes, but Hellsing Ultimate never took itself seriously and never expected the audience to take it seriously. It is a show about Count Dracula fighting Nazi vampires! Shigatsu on the other hand, tries REALLY hard every 5 seconds to make the audience cry. Shigatsu DOES take itself quite seriously and wants to really emotionally move the audience, so the use of shitty comedy and random chibi in this context was a rather poor choice. The other most obvious problem in the show's execution was just how forced a lot of the tragedy felt. Shigatsu is a flat out melodrama. I'm not one of those critics who instantly hates on melodrama and condemns series just for using a writing style that is no longer in vogue. However, this story really didn't need to be a melodrama. It felt completely tacked on unnecessarily. Tragedies get more respect than comedies right? We better try REALLY hard to make this into a tragedy! I love a good tragedy, but Shigatsu in terms of its themes, message, and basic story isn't really crafted to be a tragedy. It feels like a comedy that was forcibly changed into a tragedy in post production because some jackass thought it would win more awards!
The art and animation is very inconsistent. During the scenes where an instrument is being played, the animation is gorgeous and accurately captures the movements of the musician. Then it goes to barely animated chibi garbage because...why? The art style is extremely "moe" which may piss off some viewers.
The selection of classical music is AWESOME! We get Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and basically lots of excellent pieces by amazing composers. The only problem is the quality of the playing used for the anime's soundtrack. We are told over and over again how Kosei is this AMAZING child prodigy and quite possibly developing into the greatest pianist of his day. Yet the piano playing we hear is...not THAT good. This wasn't a live action film. They could have used any recording since the invention of the phonograph and synced up the animation with the playing. Why not use a recording of a pianist who actually plays like ALL the characters describe Kosei? Vladimir Horowitz could play better than the dude from this soundtrack after 3 bottles of vodka, blindfolded, while being attacked by killer bees!
Basically I just wanted to say that Shigatsu wasn't a bad anime, but it really wasn't a new masterpiece and actually squandered a ton of potential with extremely questionable choices in terms of execution. This actually isn't the first time I have seen a "moe" melodrama that mixed slapstick comedy with extremely forced tragedy. Angel Beats already accomplished that feat years ago. The difference is that the comedy in Angel Beats was actually funny! Angel Beats was also always supposed to be a comedy, but with some drama and tragedy thrown in. Shigatsu probably started out as a comedy, but was changed into a tragedy first, a romantic drama second, and a loveletter to classical music 3rd. The comedy in Shigatsu honestly feels WAY more out of place than the comedy in Angel Beats. Overall, I would still check it out if you really love classical music or wish to learn more about classical music, but if you are coming for the drama/romance, I would pick a better anime.
How the hell is this ranked so high? WHY IS IT RANKED HIGHER THAN NODAME CONTABILE, OR KIDS ON THE SLOPE??
Ok so, if you liked Your Lie in April for the inspiration and music aspect, then try Nodame Contabile. If you liked it for the drama, unrequited loves, and music, try Kids on the Slope.
These two shows did it way better than Your Lie in April.
It's about a piano genius boy who has been mentally abused by his over controlling, psycho mom, and thus is dealing with issues regarding his piano/musical life. Meets a forceful girl who's to change all that. She literally just
comes along and forces him to do things her way. Most of the story is just so unrealistically exaggerated. You just can't take it seriously. This show is drama, I understand, but this is melodrama to the next level. I couldn't help laughing at parts I should be feeling sentimental about instead. Speaking of laughing, this serious show also attempts to throw in a bit of comedy. Fine, but make sure it's funny before you go and do that. The comedy scenes for the most part didn't work for me. It just felt forced, not natural, and well....not funny.
They have things repeated to you over and over, and even in the same episode sometimes. Good god, way to make use of the 22 min screen time you get. The story is kinda predictable, and the fact that they spell everything out for you doesn't help to alleviate the boredom. Throw in some unrealistic, overdone drama, and you're left cringing for the most part.
The art. The only thing that will fool you into thinking this anime is great. I wouldn't say the animation is top notch, but the art is indeed pleasing to the eye. The OST is kinda nice as well. That's it. Those are the only pros to this show.
For this to creep up even in the top 50s, I don't even know what to think. It's not terrible, but it's way way way overrated, and I can't fathom why it's in the top 15 on MAL (at the time of writing). The quality of the story, the script, and the characters doesn't feel like it warrants this anime to be in the top 50 even.
I fine with drama. Heck I LOVE a good touching show with or without romance. This show though, eventually became something I had to force myself to keep watching. If you are expecting this to be top quality anime that all should watch because it's sitting up here near the top of the list, you may find yourself severely disappointed... unless you're a preteen who loves romance and over the top sob stories. Then by all means go for it.
So maybe you're like me, and chose to watch this because the animation looks good, it's a new, ongoing anime, and heck, maybe you play an instrument or sing and were interested anyway. However interested I was at first, even with the outstanding music, at this point I can't even stomach this show. In my opinion, this show puts way too much of an emphasis on the entire drama of everything and kinda distracts from what I think is most important in a good show: an interesting story. Say you're not like me, and you enjoy all this whiny drama stuff. I'd say disregard everything
else I'm about to say and go ahead and watch this, because you'll be sure to enjoy it. However, if all these tears and uncertain moments make you kinda wanna puke, I'd maybe kinda wanna stay away, because you'll only end up distraught and dissatisfied with all the mixed emotions in a show like this.
Beethoven was a piano genius who couldn’t hear his own music because of his deafness. Arima Kousei is a piano prodigy can’t hear his own music because of the tragic death of his mother causing mental breakdown that casted a deep, dark shadow over music.
Your Lie in April starts out as a colorful, and lighthearted anime, but all this contrasts the life of it’s main character, Arima Kousei, which is described as monotone, and dull. The lightheartedness is contradicted yet again as deeper, and much darker past is revealed as Arima falls deeply in love with Kaori. You get a large glimpse of
his dismal past revealing the actual reason behind why he can’t hear his own music, but his conditions steadily improves as he ventures into his first love. Though only calling him “Friend A” Kaori slowly begins to drag him back into music, as well as showing him a new side of life that was colorful, and vivid.
I enjoyed the story as well the storytelling methods of Shigatsu. The story is told mostly through Kosei’s point of view, and the anime utilizes a unique way of narration, much of the story is told through internal monologues, and thoughts. There are several pros and cons of this method, and a pro is the fact that you can see the character’s thought processes, and the con is that too much monologues can be quite overwhelming as well as annoying at times.
One of the things that made this anime so great was the characters. The anime heavily centers in on the past of the characters, which proves to be an excellent way of characterization. Every single character in the anime no matter substantial or minor is given a great personality. And as far as character development goes, most of the main characters display a considerable amount of it, especially Kousei.
I really enjoyed diversity between the personalities of Kousei, and Kaori. Kaori seemed like the incarnation of freedom, a happy go lucky girl. Yet Kousei is a sheltered person, he seems to withdraw himself from others in order to protect himself. They were polar opposites of each other, yet they were also made to be together.
Amazing put together, the soundtrack to the anime emphasized every aspect of the anime making it so much better. I’m definitely no fan of classical music but, they were essential to the show, as to any music anime, and it turned out I really enjoyed them because the songs were part of the story. Each time Kosei performed a song it revealed to us a little bit of his past. As a person who always skips the OP and ED of an anime, I made the exception for this one since they all were so well written, and complemented the tone of the anime.
[Art & Animation]
Original, would be the word I would use to describe the type of art style in the anime. Personally I thought it was okay but it was fairly compatible with the show, it used a lot of vibrant colors which thoroughly emphasized a lighthearted mood.
No show is perfect, and this show is no exception. Not really sure why people had such a big problem with the overly dramatic scenes but it’s true there were a lot of drama, especially towards the end. Personally I thought the drama made the show more realistic, but honestly do a couple of 14 year olds need that much drama.
Pacing, one thing I learned after watching this anime was that the author really likes to drag things out, and I understand that this might not be a problem for some people, but honestly, do they really need to spend a whole episode on the past of a supporting character? I really wish they would’ve made the last part of the show longer rather than adding in too much detail.
I really enjoyed this anime as a whole, it took a very clichéd plot, and with it’s added elements turned it into something original. And taking it’s genre’s into perspective, it really excels at each of them except the humor it could’ve been done a lot better. The jokes were poorly placed and overall just caused awkwardness. The anime is a real tearjerker it made me cry twice, and I pride myself in being a real macho person. But as far as masterpieces go, this definitely belongs in the best of the best. It’s an anime that I wished would never end, but nothing lasts forever, except true love.
Prepare yourself for a musical ride with Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie In April), one of the most talked about anime in the western community of late. The big question is whether the music-focused romance has earned its acclaim we’ve seen from the bulk of reviewers? I feel it’s both a yes and no, but mostly the latter. That’s not to take away from it at all. This artful, musical adventure is still better than your average anime by a long way and it’s still a show I’d encourage everyone to watch if they get a chance.
It is one gorgeously crafted anime from
a technical perspective. While its animation doesn’t leap out at you, the character designs, background art and music are superb. Every scene is oozing with charm. The show is not, however, free from its flaws which come mostly from the character interactions, comedy and strange writing choices that plague the show particularly in its back half. There is no doubting that the show will be remembered for a long time in the genre thanks to its wonderful blend of art, music and sprightly collection of characters. It’s not flawless, by a long shot, but it will manage to reach you somewhere on the emotional spectrum through either its uplifting moments or its sadder periods.
The story itself is simple enough. We have our protagonist Kousei who is a former child prodigy on the piano but has since lost both his desire and ability to play due to events in his life. Along comes Kaori into his life, a blond-haired ball of energy, who suddenly puts the colour back into his life and sparks his journey back into the musical sphere. There’s no themes in here you haven’t seen before but the way they are conveyed is full of life and charm. Though it borders on the overbearing when it comes to dialogue the story trundles along with a decent pace throughout the episodes, perhaps dragging along at moments. Could it have been done over 12 episodes instead? Possibly.
The show’s biggest flaw comes from its handling of the relationship between our two main characters Kousei and Kaori. It’s hard to delve into this without spoiling the story and their development but I will say a few things on the topic.
First, the not-so-good news. A combination of some dreadfully unfunny and poorly timed comedic breaks, repetitive dialogue, slow progression and also exposition overload with the duo always kept me frustrated as a viewer. A lot has been said about the lengthy amount of philosophical ramblings of the characters, and it must be said that the problem with them doesn’t come with the words being spouted from a 14-year-old’s mouth. Instead, the problem comes in that such monologues are in stark contrast to the wacky comedic moments. The show really has no idea what kind of tone it’s going for because of this conflict. The show could have done without both the philosophical and comedic moments and struck a friendly middle ground that could still have produced a concentrated script.
The other side of the coin is that, on their own, I feel like our leading pair are very interesting. They have desires and they change as our story progresses. As they each help them find out more about themselves and their own ability we start to see new sides of them. This is true more so in Kousei’s case as Kaori remains criminally underdeveloped at points. Nothing in the show, I feel, is worthy of the dreaded ‘melodramatic’ tag. All the decisions made revolving around their music make sense, plus the emotional baggage they carry is certainly not unfounded. It’s great to see Kousei try to fight through the barriers preventing him from playing without fear once again. The way he tries to achieve that makes perfect sense and is handled with respect and – to a point – realism.
In regards to our other characters, it seems all their purpose in the show is to further Kousei’s development without expanding their own a great amount. That’s not to say they don’t have their moments. Tsubaki and Watari are the friends tagging alongside our leading duo and they provide a welcome change up sometimes. Their own successes and failures are utilised well by the writers as a parallel to what our leads are going through. They certainly don’t just sit by the wayside achieving little.
While a central theme of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is its classical music and how it is used to express emotion, it commits the big sin of telling instead of showing. It's disappointing to see a show that is supposed to be letting the music speak to us instead have its message spit out to us in lengthy monologues from those both playing and listening to it. Music has the ability to speak to us through its expression and dynamics. There is supposed to be no better example of this than classical piano. Shigatsu manages to capture this through its artistic elements like its beautiful light and art and also its depiction of the playing styles between our different characters. However these moments become fractured and tainted to an extent due to the constant spilling of thoughts from our characters.
This nit picking, to a point. Every musical scene is packed with energy and also seems to be where the majority of the animation budget would be poured into for the show. The song choices are fantastic and do a superb job at mirroring the current state of the person playing it. It would be most accurate to describe all of Kousei’s performances as a means of concluding an ‘arc’ or development for him. We see him either grow or recede in his confidence in himself each time and, as stated above, the art and direction manage to capture these changes wonderfully.
On another music note the opening and endings are all wonderful and perfectly encapsulate the themes that the show is going for. Goose House’s Hikaru Nara is the big highlight with its energetic vibe and singalong chorus, it’s without a doubt one of the best openings I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.
Overall Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a show that I feel everyone should experience. Some may be able to look past the bloated dialogue and the sketchy writing, instead uncovering a colourful and vibrant show that manages to give off plenty of charm through its music and superb art. More than anything – despite the flaws I see – the show will stick with you. There will be moments you look back on with either fondness or sadness some time from now.
Spoiler free but one could infer things based on my reaction.
Shigatsu is an anime that had me torn in so many places. I think the plot , the music and the artwork are the best you will see recent memory. That said, the melodrama between the big events of the series is absolutely excruciating to watch especially for a modern anime. I had to constantly remind myself that the main characters are junior high students and not high school students to give some meaning to the unrealistic drama that unfolded. I will describe why I feel that this melodrama was so horribly written and executed
and why I feel it ruined an incredible piece of art that is Shigatsu.
The "lie" is supposed to be a plot device that allows Arima to have mixed feelings and give him a drive.
This worked out fine story wise but to introduce that type of background and never work with it was annoying to say the least. I really feel I could argue that this was made so that "romance" could be injected into a musically focused story. Normally this type of relationship would be questioned. We never experience that thrill of someone finding out. Later in the series Watari openly comments on other cute girls with no remorse or guilt or obligatory anime slap to the face. This brings another issue with the series which is my main dealbreaking issue. Anytime there is a problem all you have to do is beat the shit out of Kosei,
Kaori messes something up,attack Kosei, another girl shows affection to Kosei, attack him for it,
Kosei does all the work and takes no credit, attack him for it,
Kosei suffers from depression due to trama, help him by attacking him,
Kosei does his absolute best given the circumstances, beat the shit out of him
I don't know if this was supposed to funny but it was the most irritating I ever watched. I started to question anime in general because of this series.
There was so much they could have done instead of attacking Kosei. I wanted more from this anime. The art work caught my eye immediately with eye popping colors that were so vivid on an OLED screen and an excellent repertoire of classical music. Character development felt very forced as most anime do with a beta male main character.
This anime could of been a must see classic if the writer had been more mature about it but now it's a just a good watch for people who like music anime with a little romance. Don't watch this anime for the romance like I did. just enjoy the ride and try not to think about it.
Honestly, I have not written an anime review probably since Sword Art Online. I don't necessarily prefer writing reviews cause they're generally tedious & time consuming. However, There is only so long I can see such misleading, disrespectful, and uninformative reviews. Out of the well over 300 anime series I have seen, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is one of Seven anime I have given the perfect score to. And that is because this anime epitomises quality & perfection.
I came in to this show with moderate expectations. I followed this show weekly - watching it each Thursday as it
aired alongside my other Fall 2014 & Winter 2015 shows. Episode after episode continued to raise expectations, to command attention & perpetuate interest. I've seen a relatively fair share of Romance/Drama/School type anime, the most recent one of this genre being "Nisekoi" and most falling in a long line of trope filled, generic characters, non-developing story, and non existent romance.
The first thing you have to judge a show by is its first impression, just like any other art medium. My first impression of Shigatsu was along the lines of "Wow, this is aesthetically pleasing." The meticulous attention to detail of backgrounds, artistic displays, character designs was beyond impressive. Even the way A-1 transitioned between Kosei's world of colour & that of black/white played a positive, constructive role into developing not only Kosei's character, but the plot itself.
The music coincides with the other positive elements of the show to create the stunning masterpiece it is. First and foremost Shigatsu is a music anime & i find some of the criticisms of this not only amusing, but contradictory. OF COURSE, the drama, romance, setting & other plot elements are going to be centred around Kosei and his Piano playing - his fears, his desires, & his inability to overcome that struggle. I thought this would be more obvious to some people who call it melodramatic, or saying the drama is forced, which is rather ironic seeing as all the drama that occurs is relevant to the story & does not feel forced. Anyway I did not intend to deviate from how special the music is. The score is very evenly and appropriately composed, and at points where the emphasis is on the recitals, the music always fits the mood of the show well, and the monologue that occurs during these moments provides invaluable access to the minds of the characters (predominately Kosei) that allow us to resonate not only to the sound of the music being played - but to the intention of the sound. To the tension of that sound - of that meaning reaching its final destination. The hearts of the audience. The hearts of us.
Did it reach us? - Yes it did.
You can't have a perfect score without characters of the highest calibre. That's where Kaori Miyazano sparkles. She is confident, strong willed, beautiful, motivational, short-tempered, fragile, lonely all at the same time. To me she rates among the best female characters of all time. Kosei was a little more frustrating at times, and a little more bland. A little more of the generic type, but even when he should feel generic, there is a realness he represents. The struggle he faces, his desires to overcome those struggles, his human emotion - his black and white world that is slowly being transformed to that of colour. Kosei surely wasn't the most spectacular of protagonists - but seeing the once "puppet to the score's" transformation both as a person - and as an artist is one of the best coming of age developments in Anime history. Even some of the side characters I particularly grew fond of. The most specific of these is Aiza. Aiza while truly looked up to Kosei as a hero- as an idol, despite being equally as talented and prodigious himself. Even looking at Kosei's back, he always strives to catch up to him, to make an impact. Not all of the characters were strong - Watari is the generic best friend who's athletic, good looking, confident, etc & Tsubaki has the archetypal role of being the childhood friend who's in love - but can't realise it.
When I rate anime, 9 to me represents masterpiece, and 10 represents what i describe as "beyond masterpiece". I always say if I have to "question" if a show is a ten it is inherently not a ten, So what separates Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso from other masterpieces? It's the show's impact. Week in and week out my heart aligned with the characters - aligned with the drama. The aesthetics were unparalleled, the score so diligently composed, the characters so well developed and an ending that catalyses tears from even the most desensitized of viewers. Save for a few moments of misplaced comedic madness, the tone was consistent - the mood always properly developed & accentuated by both the score & art, and the show epitomised the absolute pinnacle of its genre. I loved this show.
Note: Finished the serie. It got better, I'll admit but 3 worth episodes do not compensate the whole shitness of the anime.
"Your lie in April"? More like "Your overrated anime in April". Am I right?!
I don't need the respect from you filthy plebs. I'll finish this review and then I'll rewatch Mushishi.
Let me start off by saying this: I did not enjoy Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. Now all of you jerks who are here just for the score can go back to your shitty taste.
As you can imagine I, being a classical music enthusiast and a big fan
of Clannad (although some reviewers would have a word on that), was pretty excited about this anime and along with the hype I went and I watched it...as long as I could take it...
Let's start off with the production value. Here is where Shigatsu really stands out. The art is amazing and the backgrounds are simply breathtaking. The animation is also great specially when the characters are playing their instruments as you can see the tears, the sweat and the facial expressions borned from the joyness of music.
Then we have the music. I already said that I love classical music, and I surely have loved that this anime had classical music. The only scenes with high quality music where the ones with the characters on the scenario. Then everything else was kinda dead silent and no real music to go along. Pretty dissapointing, but I guess I must give a high score just for those scenes alone. I have no comments on the voice acting, as I watched subbed and we all know that doesn't fail.
Let's go with the story so I can start throwing shit here and there.
"Oh! He is in love with a cute girl! Oh! The girl is his best friend's girlfriend! That was so not predictable! Oh! His girl friend loves him in secret but he doesn't have a clue that also so not predictable! Oh! The girl he loves has a medical condition that so original!"
Yeah, that's pretty much about it...
There are three things that really bother myself about this anime. First of all is the comedy. It was hard enough for me to get into a tragic and dramatic scene, and then they totally kill the mood with crappy comedy? That's a huge backstab for any viewer. It wasn't the comedy that was bad, but it was so misplaced. You know what? Forget that, the comedy was bad indeed. But specially the bad timing they had for those shitty jokes. How do you expect me to be sensitive when suddenly you totally change the scene's mood?
Secondly every character cries for fucking everything. I mean come on. I get Kousei with his mom, but they cry for every fucking thing. Got a concert tomorrow? Better cry instead of practicing. You want to ask one of your best friends to be you partner? Cry, that totally does not look awkward. You see a cat on the street? Better have a heart attack. I understand that drama is necessary in an anime of this nature but Jesus Christ this was plain stupid. Lastly, the premise was really really REALLY good, and it had two strong plotlines to hold to in order to make this a brilliant anime. On one hand the relationship between Kousei and his mother (as many artists and athletes have that kind of relationship with their parents) had a lot of potential for character development and deep psychological struggle. On the other hand we had the rivalries between Kousei, Takeshi and Emi (by far the best characters) that could have become an AMAZING plot-motor, as we could have seen their egos in epic classical music battles. But what did we got instead? Crappy romance triangles with no real development and boo-boo teen angst. Including a romance for the sake of the story could have been nice but my god what a way to fuck things up.
I'll admit that the last episodes were good because A) they kinda cut that shitty comedy B) theyfocused more on the concerts and the actual music and C) Kaori gets less screen-time.
Now this, leads me to the final and most important part: the characters. I liked Kousei a lot. He was well developed he was an interesting character and his struggle and emotions seemed the most natural and realistic of all the cast. I also liked Emi and Takeshi as Kousei's rivals but they get no screen-time nor development to be considered other things than fillers. The rest of the cast was plain, boring and overall a big "meh" with two exceptions.
I strongly dislike Tsubaki. Considering all the screen-time she had and the "development" she got (if we can call that development) it is infuriating how balnd, stupid and boring of a character she turned out to be. Really though, what the heck is she for the story? She serves no purpose and she is not even ebtertaining to watch.
And last but not least, Kaori. By far, the most bland, obnoxious, stupid and unrealistic female MC I've seen lately. Sorry I was wrong.She is not a character, she is a mere plot device. She is there just to inspire Kousei to play music. She is annoying everything she does is stupid and a forced overreaction and OH MY GOD WHY THE FUCK DOES SHE HIT HIM SO MUCH? They tried to make a cool badass tsundere like Asuka and instead they got a pile of shit with blonde hair and no real purpose on the story. Also, why they decided to throw her development as a big ball of blandness into the last episode? If I knew all that during the series progression she would have been a better character.
So...that's about it. That's my rant for this ani-meh. Shigatsu had a lot of potential. Kousei development was great. The music scenes were amazing. The relationship between him and his mother was splendid. The art and animation were outstanding. But they decided to throw all that away just to please the casuals with a bad romantic-drama-comedy-slice of life. It could have worked as a 12 episodes romantic anime, but stretching it for so long made it unbearable.
HOW IS THIS RANKED #14 AND GUNSLINGER GIRL #1230?
That just proves how bad the MAL rating system is.
I may be late to the party but I have this utmost desire to share these thoughts here. Not because this anime has made me feel the feelest of feels but because it made me feel shit after watching it. So shitty, I even made an account just for this!
I'm just a petty teenager who loves anime. I like classical music too. It should not take so much to at least make me amused by this show. But this show managed to make me hate it. I'm no professional critic but I know flaws when I see one.
The story is about a young genius
pianist who developed a trauma which kept him from continuing his career. It all changes when he meets a brillant violinist who inspires him to play again.That kind of plot has potential. A lot of potential. But it managed to be bad. REAL BAD.
I will start with the nitpicking with the use of monologues and flowery words. It's fine if the characters introspect and speak like they are a Shakespearian poet if their character development needs them to. But to do this ALL the TIME? The characters are just 14! Even the 13 year old sister of the Super Saiyan guy!? It was fucking ridiculous! Also, they have the habit of repeating the same fucking statements over and over, just a different wording so idiots won't notice. All of this bullcrap made me not to take anyone seriously. How can a pubescent kid talk/think so dramatically all the time? How!?
There's also the comedy. It's not that the comedy is badly placed, it's just because its bad. Me and my sister's self-insert jokes are funnier than their cliche comedy. Their comedy mostly consists of hitting/beating Kousei beyond salvation, so our female leads has to beat him all the time. Even if there is no reason at all. Because that's funny, right? No. It's a poor attempt to make anyone laugh. It was a slapstick bullshit. Nodame Cantabile has better slapstick than this.
Now, the worst aspect of this show, the characters. Yes, the element that drives the show's heart and soul is the most shitty.
First, we have Kousei, the protagonist. He's not as bad as the other characters. Actually, watching him overcome struggles as a musician is interesting. But like the other characters, he suffered with the crappymonolouguetitis and talkinglikeasuicidalemo diseases. So despite his competent character development, I never took him seriously.
Then, we have Kaori. The blonde tsundere chick made from hell. Out of everyone, she is the one I hate the most. Her personality is so incosistent, more inconsistent than a bipolar. She hits Kousei at first, then becomes a gentle lamb with a life quote to say. She keeps flipping attitudes faster than sound. So even when she died, I never felt a hint of sadness. She was an unrealistic character, why feel sad? It will be like crying over a strand of hair that fell out of someone's scalp. It's not just her personality that made me hate her. Actually, I started hating her early in the show because she forced Kousei in playing piano for her in a competition. This bullshit that she did is portrayed in a positive light. Yeah, force a guy to relive a traumatic experience, it will help! If he never gives in to your forcefulness, cry pathetically! Fuck with his feelings! It will cure him! After that and showing inconsistencies with her personality, I thought there is no way that I can hate her more! But behold! The eponymous lie is actually about liking Watari! In actuality, she likes Kousei! She was a fan of his all along! Totally not obvious! Totally unpredictable! Totally logical for her to lie about it! Totally amazing!! Then to add insult to injury, there's also the fact that they never mentioned what sickness she really had. It's like, the writer said: ' I will just make her suffer so bad! People just has to pity her! I'm too lazy to do some research about diseases, so fuck it!'
*sigh...Kaori is seriously, the worst female character I've ever seen.
But wait! There is another insufferable tsundere! Her name is Tsubaki! Kousei's tomboy friend and Kaori's foil. She had so many episodes revolving around her troubles, and it was all annoying. She wants Kousei to stop playing piano so he will just to pay attention to her? What the hell!? That is so selfish! Why would I want to watch more of her struggles? She is not worth my time! She is not a good friend, and I bet my pinky finger, she will never be a good girlfriend. She kicks you to show her love! Not a good girlfriend material if you ask me.
Were not done here! There's also another blonde, annoying tsundere! Super Saiyan's little sister! She is also not worth my second. She is just another addition to Kousei's tsundere collection. She likes saying 'that is so cliche!'. Ironically, she is also very cliche. Her arc was pointless. It made me think this show just keeps stretching itself till it's nothing. How wonderful.
We also have the ignored characters!
Meet Ryouta, a playboy and jock bro of Kousei who is nothing but a plot device. He's just there so Kaori can initiate her crappy lie. We get to see a little of his character when he cried over the loss of his team in a game. But you can only get that. Sorry.
There is also Kousei's not-rivals. Super Saiyan and Super Forehead. They claim to be Kousei's rivals but in reality, he never gave a crap about them, which is a shame. Rivalry and competition between these characters is an interesting angle, it will create tension and excitement! But it was sadly ignored in favor of annoying tsunderes' tales focus.
And lastly, we have the cliche reasonable adult, Kousei's Aunt. She is bland and uninteresting. Focusing on her relationship with Kousei's mother is a nice thing to tackle or exploring her own struggles as a musician is nice too. But those are ignored too. What a pity.
Now, the music. This part should be amazing, right? Eh, I beg to differ. The music are fine, but what I'm most bothered about is whenever someone plays, a monolouge comes in. Seriously, how will I enjoy it!? It's fine to comment on it from time to time, so the audience will be informed of some stuff. But to monologue to most of it? Come on! They also mix in some other instrument whenever someone plays a solo. Seriously!? Why!? I want to enjoy the piano for being a piano, don't mix it with drums! The fact that the music here is not the focus but, just a tool for the characters' expression is jarring. I was promised anime about music, and I get this?
And for the last, the only good thing. The visuals.
The backgrounds are so good. The pastel colors, lighting and stuff is nice. The animation is not really consistent at times, but it was great during musical performances. So, yeah... This anime only managed to get a score from me because of the visuals.
Basically, this anime is your example of a pretty shell. Beautiful to look at but empty inside. Oh wait, it's not actually empty, there is horse shit inside! Surprise!
Please don't hate me for disliking this anime. It just really gave me and my sister a bad time. So bad, I felt the urge to write about it. If you like this anime, don't be mad. I'm just a minority, sweat no worry. Peace out.
It would seem that feeling some modicum of emotional involvement whilst watching/reading something is all it takes to make a masterpiece these days. Whilst emotional involvement is always a great thing, it's not enough to excuse problems that a particular work in question has. On another note, it irks me when people say they "got the feels" from watching something because more often than not, it was something stupid/cliché/melodramatic. Maybe I'm a heartless sociopath or maybe it's because I've been through a lot worse in life, but I can't help but scoff when people tell me they cried like a baby whilst watching stuff like
the first season of Clannad. Then enters Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, an anime/manga series that plagues me with cognitive dissonance because there's a lot of stuff I truly do like about this programme but there's also a LOT of irritating crap that just got on my nerves.
The biggest reason as to why I got emotionally involved with Shigatsu is because of Kousei himself. Like I've said in some of my other reviews, my mother's dead and I know damn well where Kousei's at and all that stuff. To me, Shigatsu was less about the music and more about the story of a teenager learning to move on from past tragedies. Add into the mix that I'm a huge fan of romantic drama and music, and you'd basically have a recipe for something that would've been among my all-time favourites (alongside the likes of White Album and Solanin). Unfortunately, it wasnt perfect. The gag comedy was a mild annoyance that gradually turned into something cringe-worthy, the monologuing was a bit tedious and it just got even more ridiculous as the show went on, and as these two aspects of the show became more obvious, I found myself getting less and less involved with what was going on. If you're an avid fan of this show, allow me to explain myself.
I understand that levity has a place in storytelling, and what's more is that this show is aimed toward a mainstream audience that probably can't handle the intensity of things like Gong Ji-young's Our Happy Time or White Album 2. The problem is that Shigatsu's particular style of humour was grossly inappropriate for the subject matter that this show was tackling. This is a show revolving around a 14-year-old who has a dead mother who was extremely abusive toward him learning how to cope with past tragedies and learning to move on with his life. The last thing we need is a chibi-style cutaway interspliced with every dramatic moment out there. Stuff like that just takes away from the emotional impact of the story and just ruins the mood for me. If the humour was more dialogue-oriented like in Daria or in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, it would've been more than enough to break up the excess tension that would build up and make the show uncomfortable to watch whilst also allowing for the show to play with your emotions without any interference whatsoever. Alack, hindsight's an anime studio's worst enemy and there's no changing what's already done.
On another note, the monologuing was nothing short of tedious and insulting. Monologues are a powerful tool and if used sparingly, they can strengthen the impact of various events that would go on in your story. The problem is that the mangaka (and A-1 Pictures by extension) fails to understand that more monologues does NOT equate to more emotional weight. I don't know about you, but I find it nothing short of insulting when an anime studio decides to tell us exactly what a character is feeling via long, drawn-out monolgues in almost every episode because it gives me the impression that A-1 Pictures thinks I'm some socially inept otaku with no understanding of how human emotions work. The strange thing is that all of the monologuing could've easily been omitted if the story actually decided to focus on Kousei and Kaori instead of bringing up the perspectives of people like Kousei's piano rivals and Tsubaki.
I don't know about you, but I don't give a rat's ass about Tsubaki, Watari, Emi, Takeshi, or any of those other people. They're side characters, so why even bring them up? The only characters that ultimately matter by the end of it all are Kousei and Kaori. All that time that A-1 Pictures spent on those characters could've easily been spent making fleshing out Kousei and Kaori's personalities. As much as I adore the two of them, I can't exactly say that I think they''re well-written characters. Let me put it to you like this: I've found several other characters empathetic in the same way I found myself empathising with Kousei (i.e. Tohru Honda, Tomoya Okazaki, Shinji Ikari) and yet those characters made more of a lasting impression in my mind than Kousei did, namely because I found them empathetic in many more ways than I could find myself relating to Kousei. I mean, outside of the fact that I was once a motherless teenager with the hots for a blonde chick, I can safely say that Kousei isn't exactly the most relatable of individuals. As for Kaori? Well... outside of the fact that I actually like her, she's no different than Nagisa from Clannad in that they're just there to be plot devices meant to evoke an emotional response out of the viewer.
Now those problems aside, another thing that never really sat right with me was how Kousei was treated by his friends over the course of the series. He's got a dead mother who was pretty damn abusive toward him. The last thing the bloke wants to do is play the piano, and yet he still finds himself drawn to it because you know... that was his thing. I understand his friends want him to just play the bloody instrument again and that 14-year-olds aren't psychotherapists by any stretch of the imagination, but the way they go about doing so is rather cruel to say the least. He's harassed and manipulated quite a bit over the course of the series and somehow, that's the solution to all of his problems. You know, Kousei would've had a mental breakdown if he was a real person because he'd be forced to re-live some nasty childhood trauma. I wouldn't really have much of a problem with this were it not for the fact that I've seen shit like this first-hand, and it *RARELY* works out. It also doesn't help that there was a lot of inappropriate gag comedy that was going on during these scenes where Kousei was forced to play the piano again, but let's not get into that.
I really don't want to pick on this show so much, but the problem is that these flaws make the show incredibly difficult to take seriously. When I get taken out of my moment by flaws in a particular programme, my critical faculties are automatically turned on and now I have no choice but to take the piss out of the show I'm watching because it failed to keep me entertained in the first place. This means that stuff I would've ordinarily let slide if I were actually invested in what I was watching (i.e. the simpering, stupid dialogue about "seeing the notes" and "colourful music") end up being another point lost in my book. If this were any other programme (like say Tokyo Ghoul or Fate/stay night), this wouldn't be a problem because half the fun in watching them came from making fun of what was going on in the show. However, Shigatsu falls in with Nagi no Asukara in that it was a show that I adored the crap out of that gradually lost my interest because of various factors (much to my own dismay, of course).
A lot of these problems could've easily been avoided if A-1 Pictures actually took the initiative to fix the problems that the source material had in the adaptation. An adaptation isn't supposed to be a translation of the source material verbatim into another medium. Adaptations can be viewed as a sort of "second chance" for the source material, so the most important job that an adaptation has to do is fix the various problems that plagued the source material in the first place. Unfortunately, that didn't happen whatsoever and the end result is a show full of wasted potential, poorly-timed gag comedy, tedious monologues, and a whole lot of farcical melodrama: just like the manga that it came from. Well, that's not entirely fair to say because Shigatsu does have a few redeeming qualities.
For a show that couldn't keep me invested in what was going on for more than five minutes at a time, I must say that the parts where I was actually into what was going on had me on the edge of my seat and despite that Clannad comparison I made earlier, this show actually had me invested in what was going on a lot more than the first season of Clannad could ever hope to. Despite the fact that the show is plagued with bad comedy, laughably pathetic melodrama, and annoying monologues, there will come a powerful scene every so often that would've otherwise left you in tears were it not for the inexcusably flawed execution. On that note, at least Shigatsu did a fair enough job of actually making me care about the characters throughout the entire show as opposed to some of the other things I've watched (i.e. Air, Nagi no Asukara) so it has that going for it as well.
The production values also showcase what A-1 Pictures is capable of from an audiovisual standpoint. Despite the fact that the animation quality hiccups every now and then, it's remarkably consistent and the amount of effort and detail they put into the musical performances makes them all the more captivating to watch. Speaking of music, the OST is lovely to say the least. I personally find myself liking the first OP the most, mostly because it's quirky, catchy, and makes me eager to watch more of the show despite knowing damn well what's in store for me if I do. I would say something about classical music, but I don't got that much knowledge in that department. I like violins and I like pianos. This show has plenty of tracks with violins and pianos and they sound good to my ears. Therefore, the OST is good. What more do you want me to say?
Final thoughts? Well... Shigatsu was definitely something I'll keep in mind for a while and whilst it was tedious to get through, it managed to do more than enough right to get a pass from me. With that said, I wouldn't necessarily call this show "good" because honestly... there are so many other things out there that do what Shigatsu does and better. I mean, if you want this particular show, go right ahead but I'd hold off on it for a while and try going for something like say...
a) White Album 2
- Another romantic drama with music that came out during the fall season. This show puts a lot more focus on the romance than the music, and what's more is that it actually keeps a serious tone throughout the eniter story! Kazusa is easily best girl, by the way
b) Clannad: The Motion Picture (and Clannad: After Story to a greater extent)
- Another story about a guy whose life was changed completely after a fateful encounter with a girl in spring. Within the span of an hour and a half, a story of love, loss, and coping with tragedy is told and is done to a much greater effect than it was done in Shigatsu for various reasons (namely the fact that the entire movie was told from Tomoya and Nagisa's perspective).
Yeah, that was a lazy way to shoehorn my alternate show recommendations, but that's what happens when I spend an hour and a half writing up a review for a show that'll probably get downvoted into oblivion anyway. That's all for now though. Feedback's always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)
For all you people craving some emotional music, here you go: