Ever since Netflix got this series, it’s been on my list of things to watch, since I’ve only ever heard good things about it. I kinda already knew the ending from spoilers on the internet, which is almost unavoidable when a series is already several years old, but it didn’t stop me from going in with my hopes up.
Kousei is a piano prodigy, and has been playing ever since he was just a small child. His sick mother passes away shortly before a big competition though, and it blocks him from playing properly from there on out. She wanted to live her dreams through him, and was therefore abusive towards him, even while becoming sick and sitting in a wheelchair. Yet he was still playing to please her, and wanted her approval so badly, that nothing was worth it to him anymore after her passing. He simply couldn’t hear the sounds he played anymore.
Two years later, a 14 year old Kousei is only playing the piano at school as a job, and he is somewhat satisfied with it. At least until he one day meets the energetic Kaori, who is performing at a competition for violinists and wants Kousei to accompany her on the piano. Although he’s not into the idea, seeing as he has accepted that he won’t be able to hear the sound of the piano he plays, Kaori still manages to make him show up and play with her. At this point, it’s clear that the music world has not forgotten the prodigy, and even his rivals from 2 years ago want him back on the stage. From then on, Kousei is struggling to come to terms with his mother’s death, as well as trying to find his passion for playing the piano again. Although Kaori does her best to help him out, she herself is struggling on her own, but with something entirely different…
I know that’s not much to write about a show that’s 22 episodes long, but the series focuses very heavily on Kousei’s inner struggle, which is only being revealed very sparsely throughout the entire series. Along with what is happening inside of him, Kousei also has a life on the outside that includes friends, rivals and love. The show is both funny and sad, and the scenes where we see what is going on inside of Kousei’s head are very effective both visually and audibly. If anything threw me off in this beautifully animated series, then it has to be the CGI hands when playing the piano. I’m well aware of it being cheaper and easier to animate someone playing the piano when using CGI, but it feels very out of place and off-putting, because they just look plain ugly.
It also bothered me how Kousei and his rivals looked like 6 year olds when they were 12, but 2 years later they had grown to double size, while a character like Nagi looks proper to her age. And a last thing that annoyed me was the absence of Kousei’s father during the entire story. If he doesn’t play any significant role, why was he even mentioned? Where was he when Kousei was being abused by his mother, or when she died? Where is he now? Granted, it’s stated that he’s working somewhere else, but Kousei lives in their house, so he must be there at times. It would have made it a lot easier if he had also been dead or maybe a bad person who ran away from his family when the mother became sick. I probably put too much into this little detail, but it just bothered the heck out of me.
All in all though, I really enjoyed Your Lie in April. The story was very good, the characters were interesting, and the last episode still got to me, even though I had feared that spoilers would have ruined it. It might be a slow series, but it gives just enough new content every episode to keep you glued to the screen if you’re into drama and romance, with a touch of comedy in the right places.