This review is separate from the rest of last season because I watched it with the family, which slows my pace down a bit. Your Lie in April is, in one word, beautiful. The animation is very good and the music is amazing. The story line is ambitious. It is not that there is anything specifically new in the show; it is just that so much is going on at once that it is a bit of an impressive feat that they (mostly) wrap everything up at the end. It is easy to get caught up in the shows flaws, but the fact is, I enjoyed Your Lie in April a lot.
About those flaws, you can have a glass half-empty outlook on the show and come away feeling that a great story was brought down by poor pacing, awkward humor, and unnecessary plotlines. All of these things try to diminish the show’s shine, and for some I am sure that these issues ruined the show. In the glass half-full camp, I would say that the show reached high enough that the flaws in execution couldn’t keep it down. This is a difficult show to review without spoilers, but I’m going to do my best.
Your Lie in April wants to connect with you on an emotional level as much as it wants to tell you a story. Kosei Arima is a sad drab boy living in a sad drab world. He is also a musical prodigy that is scarred by his experience with music. The central theme of the anime is how he makes peace with music, and learns to deal with how unfair life can be. This is not a shiny happy story. As Kosei’s world brightens, it also becomes turbulent. Loss and courage are central themes here, and seeing the characters fight through their pain is inspiring and sobering. These are just kids after all, and the demons that plague them are all too real. The storylines woven together here are familiar, but there is a gravity to them that is rare for an anime. As I have said, the music is amazing. It elevates the story throughout, sometimes making a lackluster episode watchable and sometimes acting as a cathartic release for the underlying angst. The beautiful classical performances do far more to take the sting out of the story than the awkward attempts at humor. Perhaps that is by design. Much of the humor in the show is a front to cover the pain that lies beneath. The music, however, always rings true. Musical performances are all about the experience and how the music touches you at that moment. Your Lie in April reminds us that the same thing can be said about our lives.
8 out of 10
A word of warning, I do not consider Your Lie in April to be harmeshit, but it does have multiple interwoven romantic storylines and some harem tropes. I know that even the trace of this is a dealbreaker for some, so I thought I’d mention it.