Picking up where we left off at the end of episode 11 of Your Lie in April, Kousei Arima’s mother issues are quickly resolved, making way for a whole new bout of trepidation to plague his life. The girl he’s fallen in love with is frequently being hospitalised and the question of his future as a pianist pushes its way into the spotlight. All the while, the girl next door awkwardly abuses him instead of using her big person words to express her very obvious feelings. When the opportunity to sort his life out never arises it’s surprising that he doesn’t stop to break down and cry at least once per episode. That being said, there’s enough ugly crying to keep most fans entertained.
Seeing as the show has been split up so conveniently into two parts, it’s easy for me to say that I enjoyed the second half more so than the first. The added focus on other characters fleshes out the engrossing story that Your Lie in April has to offer. Although everything still ultimately revolves around Kousei, it’s a nice change of pace to see insight into how his friends are dealing with the same issues, as well as their differing personal ones. With this newfound emphasis on side characters the show feels exceptionally more substantial. Aside from character development, the quality of Your Lie in April’s other features remains on par with the previous episodes.
One step forward and two steps back, Kousei has finally made peace with his mother, yet breaks down once again as Kaori’s condition appears to worsen. Unprepared to go through the same trauma that losing his mother caused him, Kousei is ready to just give up everything at the drop of a hat. Not wanting him to waste his newfound feeling of happiness, Kaori berates him constantly in an effort to diverge his focus back onto the love of music that they share. Of course, his friends don’t know how to effectively help bring him out of this slump in his life, honestly seeming to be just there to make him even more confused and stressed than he already is with their comparably petty problems. Yet, in saying that, these inconsequential problems really help to break up the story and make the pacing more enjoyable.
Once again the performance segments from Your Lie in April are top notch. With the addition of new characters and the development of existing ones, I would even say that these segments were significantly more impactful than those that came before. In particular, the introduction of Nagi Aiza, the sister of Kousei’s self-appointed rival Takeshi Aiza, leads to one of my favourite performances in the entirety of the show. Nagi’s duet with Kousei was simple in concept yet powerful in execution, providing an incredible amount of insight into so many characters’ lives. The comparison made between Kousei and Nagi shows them to be startlingly similar in terms of their reasons for playing as well as the struggles that they are both facing. Even characters who aren’t critical to the main story have some bearing on it, and it’s shown how their problems aren’t so different from Kousei’s.
Looking back on the series as a whole, the use of imagery through the changing seasons to emphasise what was currently happening was done in a beautifully artistic way. Contending themes of life and death were constantly at war with each other, and the changing of the seasons coincided well with the physical transformation that Kaori undergoes. Additionally, the idea of music being both Kaori and Kousei’s life force was portrayed fantastically. They essentially switch places; Kousei was once lifeless during the break he took from music, and Kaori may as well give up when she loses the ability to play. The visible change that both of them experience when picking music back up and becoming unable to play shows, again, just how similar two seemingly different characters are. The hope that music instills within all characters in Your Lie in April is realistic until the very end.
Perhaps I enjoyed the second part more than the first due to the portrayal of the issues that Kousei had with his mother. Your Lie in April often takes a serious issue and bails out very quickly, instead making light of themes such as love and abuse. This half of the series continues with the same themes but expands on them further, adding onto the development of Kousei’s character. Still, the jarring moments of slapstick comedy deter from critical scenes, but if you’re able to look past that then you’ll find a heartwarming story at the centre. If you love music, if you love romance, heck, if you just love anime, then don’t hesitate to watch this show.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.
By the way, the last disc in the second part has some bloopers that are hysterically funny; there’s a reason the PG classification makes note of coarse language. If nothing else then get this show for the bloopers alone. Legit, they were so funny.