Anime Recommendation: Your Lie in April

There’s something compelling about a show where the main character isn’t always in the best place, whether it be emotionally, mentally or socially. Your Lie In April explores this with Kosei Arima, a piano prodigy from a young age who overshadowed everyone with his superior musical talent. However, during a recital following his mother’s sudden passing, young Kosei experiences a mental breakdown and becomes unable to hear the sound of the piano, even though his hearing is perfectly fine.

A couple of years pass and Kosei hasn’t touched a piano since the incident. His perspective of the world is now rather monochromatic and lacks any vibrancy. This all begins to change after he encounters the lively and free-spirited Kaori Miyazono. She, along with Kosei’s friends, help the unmotivated boy rediscover his passion for music and gain a renewed zest for life.

The bubbly Kaori Miyazono

Your Lie In April is a wonderful series showing what following your passions can look like. There is a heavy emphasis on music — the two lead characters are musicians after all — but the show excellently uses it to reflect the characters’ personalities. Kosei is extremely rigid due to being more classically trained, whereas Kaori tends to let her carefree attitude dictate her choices. They initially butt heads, but Kaori’s bright personality starts to grow on Kosei as they become good friends.

Ryota (left) and Tsubaki

The contrast, and eventual camaraderie, between Kosei and Kaori is splendid, but what’s refreshing is seeing what it’s like for those on the outside. Kosei’s two friends, Tsubaki and Ryota, aren’t musical prodigies, but are involved with sports (which understandably isn’t given much focus). They don’t know much about music, but still remain by Kosei’s side through any circumstance, especially after what happened to him a few years prior. The addition of the energetic and vivacious Kaori also brightens the group’s mood and dynamic.

However, the show isn’t afraid to bring dramatic moments, with Kosei’s inner turmoil clearly depicted as he grapples with his trauma. As well, though romance is par for the course, there is acceptance and mutual respect between all four friends despite broken hearts and unreciprocated feelings. The show takes time to portray the difficulties in coping with rejection, but posits how being a good friend is more important.

Kosei Arima

Your Lie In April is a show that wrestles with the idea of how to overcome one’s own insecurities to push onward. This is reinforced by showing it can’t be done alone, but with trusted friends who are willing to journey together through the highs and lows. The music is fantastic, the emotional interactions tug at the heart, and how Kosei moves past his trauma is cathartic.

- A. Shin

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