Among all the anime, I’m following this fall, Your Lie in April is one of the most beautiful shows premiering this season.The premise follows a fourteen year old former piano prodigy Kousei who’s given up music. Although his childhood friend, Tsubaki still urges him to play, he has reasons to forsake his gift. Back, when he was young, his abusive mother had driven him to play the piano, but with her death, his motivation died too and he hates the piano now.
My world is monotone, just like a piano sheet. Take the piano away, and there’s nothing left of me. Just an ugly resonance.
One day, however, when he’s forced on a double date with Tsubaki and their other friend Watari he’s introduced to the carefree violinist Kaori, who seems destined to bring color to his monotone world. She exudes the aura of spring, of your first love, of that feeling when you meet that girl that puts that twinkle in your eye. Seriously, I have never felt this way about any anime character.
The premiere was, in a word, breathtaking with brilliant art direction. The colour palette is warm and absolutely gorgeous, and it really helps highlight the character’s youth. The series is commendable for how it approaches Kaori’s free-spirited personality with plenty of nature motifs, and also how it doesn’t shirk away from much darker tones for use with Kousei’s abusive treatment and subsequent depression. The contrast is amazingly depicted, and helps to visualize just how isolated Kousei feels from everyone else’s normal lives.
More so than the visuals, the story is amazing. Kousei has a complex problem with music and it doesn’t just stem from the grief of losing his mother, though that is certainly part of it. While playing music, Kousei thought that he was doing something for his mother. He believed he was making her happy by playing the piano how she instructed him to, and no matter how much she abused him, he naively hoped it would somehow heal her. On top of that, his mother imposed a very specific musical philosophy on him, one which Kaori ultimately rejects with her entire being. It’s no wonder then that meeting Kaori is such a striking moment for him, and no wonder that she would shake up and color his monotone world.