I’ve been getting concerned over my growing disinterest in anime. When it was new to me, it was so exciting. I’d rush home from school to fly through a series in a single night and love it regardless of how good it actually was. I used to spend hours watching and reading about it. I didn’t have very many people to talk to about it, so I started writing about it online. It introduced me to some really great people and some really fun moments. But as of late, it’s been work. It’s mixed into both a hobby and a job, and having to keep up with a lot of recent releases really takes away the time I once had to sit through a whole show at once. I still like anime now, but it felt that recently it’s been less special to me, like the magic is fading.
While there are a lot of summer shows that I should keep up with right now and not a whole lot else for me to do over summer break, I decided that I’m going to wait to watch Sweetness and Lighting, Love Live! Sunshine and Orange later. Instead, I’ll use the time I have now to watch shows that I meant to marathon for ages. One of those shows is Your Lie in April.
Truthfully, I tried to start Your Lie in April while it was still airing, but I guess I was sidetracked by something because I never got around to finishing it. Since it finished, it always seemed to turn up in conversations surrounding AOTY and saddest anime of all time. Sad anime is totally my thing because I like to make myself cry, so I was super happy to add it to my Crunchyroll queue and never get around to watching it. It sat in my queue for months until now, when I finally had the time to watch it, and I just finished it last night. It blew me away.
For the sake of keeping things concise, I’m not going to babble on and on how beautiful it looks and sounds, but it is so good I think I should at least speak on it a bit. Like any critically acclaimed anime is, it’s ridiculously gorgeous visually. The way it presents itself with the perfect color palette for the perfect moments, the perfect framing for some really beautiful shots… it’s really something to behold. A lot of the shots are framed so especially well that any film essay channel on YouTube would praise it. And the music is great too, of course. Not just the soundtrack (which is really really good), but also the performances, but he performances are good for a different reason. Of course, if they’re meant to sound good, they will sound good, but each performance by each different character is crafted so perfectly to fit the character playing. The show heavily emphasizes the fact that a lot of performances have different “sounds” while the characters play, and it isn’t just a bunch of fictional music snobs mumbling shit to themselves. The viewer can really feel the changes in the music, regardless of how subtle it may be. It’s brilliant.
But while Your Lie in April is technically great aesthetically, it isn’t some empty husk that’s pretty on the outside and has nothing to offer on the inside. It has a fantastic story, but beyond that, it has a fantastic message – not one it just tells, but one that it shows.
Arima Kousei is a pianist, raised his entire life to play exactly as the score instructs, to be a slave to the music as it was originally written. Eventually, his music is hailed by the judges as remarkable. He is called the Human Metronome. He never misses a note, never makes a mistake. It’s impressive, but it lacks something.
Kaori Miyazono is a violinist, and she shows Arima Kousei what he’s lacking. (spoilerspoilerspoilerspoiler) When Kaori learns that her days are numbered, she decides that playing exactly as she’s told is stupid. What is music without her own emotion? Music that doesn’t really say anything doesn’t really speak. When Kousei first sees her play, he thinks she’s absolutely crazy, not playing the piece as it was originally intended at all and not even sticking around to see the final results from the competition. And while the judges didn’t approve of the performance because it was lacking in technical ability, the masses loved it. What spoke to them wasn’t the composer’s music, but Kaori’s music.
I think Your Lie in April presents this within itself. It’s a pretty and polished picture with some real pleasant noises to boot, but it speaks beyond that. Being great is more than being pleasing to the eyes, but also speaking to the heart (as cheesy as that sounds). This anime told me that being a pretty anime is cool, but when Kaori Miyazono learned that her time was short, she acted. She did everything she ever wanted to, and while maybe she didn’t completely reach Kousei until she passed, she did reach him regardless. And what she did for him completely changed him, finally turning his world of grey to a world full of color.
It’s really easy for me to forget that life is short and my youth is shorter. I’ve put so much time into worrying about everything and working to ensure I’ll have a future doing something eventually, but I worked myself into a pit. I haven’t really had genuine fun for a long long time. I’m not even out of high school yet, why the fuck am I spending every waking hour working on something? So I decided that I need to take a break for a while. I need to go out and have fun somehow. My days are numbered anyway, why wait to do what I want to? It’s weird that I had to watch an anime to tell me to stop worrying so much, to really live and be myself. But I guess that’s what Your Lie in April told me.
(I’m not even sure what this post is so sorry if it’s sloppy or something. I wrote it really early in the morning off of no sleep. Thanks for reading anyway!)