(While I have tried my best to avoid spoilers pertaining to the source material and this novel, I believe that any person reading this review will benefit most if they have already seen or read the original series.)
Poignant and inspiring, “Your Lie in April” was a story that truly captured the hearts of those who have either read the manga or seen its anime adaptation. Even today, I find myself thinking constantly about it. It is undoubtedly one of the most memorable tales in any form of media to this day.
So when I heard that “Your Lie in April: A Six-Person Etude,” which serves as
a companion novel to the original series, had been translated into English, I was excited to have the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite characters and gain further insight into the plot as a whole.
But while I did somewhat enjoy the novel, there were several noticeable flaws which prevent it from detracted from the experience.
“Etude” is not as much one story as much as it is a series of interconnected tales written from the perspectives of several key figures from the source material. These stories help paint a detailed picture of what Kousei’s life was like prior to and during some of the events of the manga.
Unfortunately, in its six chapter span, “Etude” suffers from a feeling of drawn-out repetition that plagues the novel. This is especially obvious in the first half of the book.
Takeshi Aiza and Emi Igawa, each of whom are given their own chapters, tell a nearly identical story to one another AND the source material, which makes their inclusion into the novel feel unnecessary. The fact that their chapters make up a large portion of “Etude” feels like wasted potential (and space). Their stories are simply rehashes of their original arcs in the manga and anime. Nothing is gained from reading their chapters.
The rest of the chapters are decent, with the standout chapter being Ryota Watari’s, which really goes in-depth about the relationship between Ryota and Kaori. One of my complaints about the original was that Ryota felt sidelined in terms of the plot. Thankfully, the author adds some much-needed insight into Ryota’s thoughts.
Disappointingly, however, Kaori Miyazono’s two chapters add little to the series. While they do start and close the novel with some well-placed emotion, I really wished they did something more with her character in the novel, given that she is arguably the driving force behind the entire series.
To conclude, “Etude” is a flawed entry in the series. Aside from that one great chapter, the novel suffers from a great deal of wasted potential. I don’t regret reading the novel, as it was definitely nice returning to “Your Lie in April” just one more time, but I really wish there was more to this novel.