Drama anime has never been much of a fascinating topic for me. I like gut-wrenching, traumatic experiences in my stories as much as the next writer, but I usually prefer it mixed in with a good amount of action and/or danger. Thus I was dubious when I first clicked on Your Lie in April in my Netflix Feed, but I find myself increasingly fascinated the more I watch. Because, while all the usual pieces are in place, something darker feels like it’s just waiting in the wings.
I’m also a music nerd, so that helps.
THROUGH THE FIRE AND THE FLAMES–
To clarify, these are all just my first impressions. The spoilers will be kept to a minimum and anything here is subject to being wrong.
As I said, Your Lie in April has all the set pieces of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl anime tends to overplay: Kōsei Arima, Japan’s premier piano prodigy, experiences the burnout traditional with child prodigies, especially when his mother passes away from Plot Convenient Illness. After her death, Kōsei abandons his musical career, but not without a fair share of scars. His mother’s oppressive and abusive tactics towards the latter half of her life have left Kōsei unable to hear the piano keys, and walking through life in monotone.
Then enter Kaori Miyazono, our dream girl who’s so manic she may need a leash. A classical violinist who believes in breaking molds and winning hearts, she decides she’s gonna lift Kōsei out of his robotic existence and drown him in bright colors, even if she has to drag him kicking and screaming. Her efforts draw blood, sweat, tears, and even love.
And sometimes all of the above
The pieces are all here but someone has hijacked our happy little car. Our manic pixie puts the “ow” in overly friendly, all while fighting back some dark clouds of her own. Kōsei’s not so subtle recovery feels less like relearning the wonders of life and more like violent exposure therapy for PTSD, wiping clean what he knew about the rigid classical music world. Every dramatic moment is played in the least subtle way possible, at least all the recognizable ones, but it adds to a sense of dread hanging over the whole thing.
Something very bad is coming, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Real Life Drama?! ZOMG yes.
I can sense it because of the unaccounted for pieces. Yes, Kaori is doing her best to teach little Arima that he can break the strict codes that frighten him so, but what about the other parties involved? We have Tsubaki, the childhood best friend, whose affection for Kōsei is obvious and looming over the whole thing, like a pair of judgemental eyes at a recital. We have her old flame, Saito, whose returned affections for her don’t seem to be striking any high notes. Lastly, we have Watari, Kōsei’s other close friend whom Kaori is still vying for. That in itself wouldn’t be so dangerous, except it means that Kaori isn’t showing any signs of falling for Kōsei nearly as hard as he is for her, if at all.
These final pieces feel like vultures, just watching from the sidelines and waiting for the best moment to swoop. And when they do, I have to wonder, will it all fall apart? Or will something even better fight its way forward?
We’ll both have to watch and find out.
This is called nuance, children. Sadly lacking in today’s world.
Since this is just my first impressions, let me ask: how did you who finish the series find the whole thing? How right or wrong was I? Do you like or dislike it as a whole? Feel free to comment below and don’t forget to like and follow for more content just like this.