Despair Wrapped In Comedy: Your Lie In April

Hi all, and yes I did it. I finally watched it. After numerous droppings, I took advantage of my lockdown to marathon it.

I dropped it once at 2015 and twice in 2016. Back then it was the harem/romcom craze so every season back then were just a platter of romcoms with open endings. I assumed it was another romcom and it didn’t really amaze me 2 episodes in so I dropped it. Fast forward to 2020 where everything is just isekai after isekai, so picking this show up now actually made me cherish it more.

Manga sourced. The show ran for 22 episodes, with an OVA. Odd episode count for a 2 cour. I also watched the live-action film as well, but that review will come another day. Today we are focusing on the anime.

Lets get the review done. I’m going to try to keep this one spoiler-free.

Story

This show was nothing short of amazing. In terms of series composition, production value, everything, it just reeks dedication. This is probably my 2nd favourite A-1 show, after Ano Hana.

I was expecting this show to be full despair midway into the season but being spoiled by the comedy is a big bonus for me. The character developments are really solid, despite the lack of context in the beginning. Context keeps building up during the show so don’t worry about not knowing anything, it takes time. The journey to the climax was pretty nice. The story telling overall feels like fine wine aged well. It’s a really grand production.

The story pacing was pretty slow for the first 3 quarters, but the last 4 episodes, pacing just accelerates to the point that information just keeps on piling and thrown at my face. I did find myself lost for a bit, but eventually I found my way back after rewatching a small portion of the episodes.

I wish they could really emphasize with the music more, and its sad that the main characters’ duet was so little. The mid season felt like everything is on the characters, which is fine, but sometimes I find it to be a little too much. Sometimes I forgot that this show was classical music-focused.

I didn’t actually cry at the show, but I feel the emotional gravity at the end of it. If I watched it in 2015-2016, I probably would break. I feel that sometimes the comedy made the despair isn’t as powerful as I wanted it to be. I always think comedy has more powerful impression than sadness. The comedy in the show was great and on-point, or in fact, too on-point, that the sadness feel neutered.

Tsubaki, the childhood friend, I feel is an irritable character. The tsundere trait isn’t as generic as now back then so it’s fine. But I feel like her character cannot handle anything big. It really sucks to see her constantly fleeing from her feelings, but when she finally decided to face her feelings, she becomes abusive(?). I think her character could have been replaced with someone who is a bit more quiet and/or shy. It just irritating to see Tsubaki.

And also for some reason I cannot stop comparing Kousei to Takezou (Kono Oto Tomare) for some reason. They have kind of the same pessimistic-turned-to-optimistic personality and also glasses.

The last performance was a pretty emotional ride with the pseudo violin duet. I will talk about the music later on in the post.

Every show has its flaws and this one is no exception, but if you look past those, you are in for a pleasant ride.

The OVA is a prequel, I think you should watch it after Takeshi and Emi gets introduced, acting it as a flashback and context for the two of them.

Animations

A-1 Pictures are in-charge here. Character designs looks pretty amazing, animations in general is great as well, even though this show was from Oct 2014.

The colours used is just vivid, the amount of bloom used during sentimental moments are adequate, the sharpness of the characters are also good. I really loved every aspect of it.

Nearly everything about the show is pretty much normal handdrawn/rotoscoped animation techniques. The only CGI I see (or remember) is during the final performance, with the piano playing and the piano mechanisms.

The final performance during the pseudo duet is probably one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen so far, at least for A-1. Ano Hana didn’t even come close.

I cannot find a flaw at all with this show. I love all the visuals. It’s not the best but its probably one of the most dedicated ones from A-1 Pictures.

Music

First thing, this is a music-focused show, please do try to acquire a source with excellent audio codecs and play it with headphones or a home theater system if you can. You are really missing out if you don’t do this.

I watched the airing version and the audio was muffled compared to the bluray ones with DTS or FLAC audio codecs. This is why I decide to delay my Kono Oto Tomare review as I am trying to acquire sources with amazing audio quality as the airing versions honestly doesn’t give that show any justice.

Okay back on topic, the music choices. The OST list is probably very short since most of the BGMs are from classical pieces. I don’t know if its just me with prior piano experience, but I can tell if someone is playing badly or not. They hired someone to play the classical pieces in many different styles to fit nearly every situation, sometimes even transforming styles mid-performance. It’s great, I love it, I really love the classical pieces they picked.

The OPs and EDs were pretty nice. I’m going to listen to the entire OST tonight and see if it cures my insomnia.

Voice Casts

The cast is great.

Hanae Natsuki, Taneda Risa, Sakura Ayane, Osaka Ryota, Kayano Ai, Kaji Yuki, Noto Mamiko, Hiura Ben, Hayami Saori, Kotobuki Minako, Ishigami Shizuka, Tobita Nobuo, Suzuki Eri, Ozawa Ari, Terasaka Yuka, Shindo Naomi, Okawa Tooru, Ohtsu Airi, Tanaka Atsuko, Yanagita Junichi, Okitsu, Kazuyuki, Dendou Rina, Sonozaki Mie, Inori Minase, Ooyama Takanori.

The cast list is pretty lit. Taneda Risa voicing Kaori is pretty nice, Ayane sounded a little annoying with her overly excessive Tsun Tsubaki.

The rest are great with their roles.

Scores:
Story: 8.5/10
Art: 9/10
Music: 9/10
VAs: 9/10

Highly recommended. it’s great. I think I was overexpecting on the emotional drive that I was a little disappointed with the execution. But I still love the show.

That would be all for me. If I have the time to write tomorrow, I will get the live-action review ready and also do some comparison between the two medias.

I will see you guys then!

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