There are several anime movies that have earned a Masterpiece rating in my book. When it comes to TV series, only two have earned that rating: Eureka Seven and Gosick. Today, Your Lie In April becomes the third. It is an absolutely brilliant series, and I very much regret missing it as a simulcast. Mild spoilers inside.
If you liked Anohana, I think you’ll very much enjoy Your Lie In April. If you like classical music, I definitely think you’ll like it. If a Steinway fetish is a thing, I probably have one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the highly detailed screen time Your Lie In April gives a Steinway piano.
It gets that screen time because the piano plays an important part in Your Lie In April. Kousei Arima is a piano genius, yet his strict, abusive mother led to his playing style being called “too mechanical” and his inability to hear his own notes after his mother’s passing.
Enter the eccentric violinist Kaori Moyazono. While her passionate performances wow the audiences, they receive criticism from the judges for not following the sheet music. Despite her unpredictability and being the polar opposite of Kousei, the two become friends and Kaori successfully gets Kousei to play the piano again.
However, it becomes apparent that Kaori is sick. Quite a bit so. Just as Kousei regains his will to play piano, Kaori looses her ability to play the violin as a result of being hospitalized. Her hospitalization scares Kousei, who stops visiting Kaori in the hospital because of memories of his mother. But, just as Kaori saved Kousei, Kousei must now save Kaori, who at one point during a hospital visit asks he if he wants to commit double suicide with her.
While it becomes clear Kaori is unlikely to survive, she continues to fight her illness after regaining her will to live from hearing Kousei play the piano at a competition via telephone. She eventually opts for a risky surgery.
Sadly, she doesn’t survive, as we learn in the last episode. She appears for the last time with Kousei as he enters a dream-like state in the middle of a competition. While Kousei quickly realizes what this means, he continues to play, accompanied by Kaori’s violin in his dream. He finishes with tears in his eyes.
The series ends with us learning Kaori’s illness is not the lie for which the series gets its title, but rather a lie she tells in April so that she could meet Kousei in-person. Like pretty much every other major character in the series, it is revealed the she too was inspired after seeing a piano performance by a younger Kousei. She gives up piano playing for the violin with the dream of one day accompanying Kousei on the stage.
Ultimately, Your Lie In April is truly a masterpiece. The plot, characters, small bits of humor, animation, and fantastic musical score all come together in perfect harmony to form a series that is without a doubt a must-watch and a strong contender for must-buy. However, given it will be an Aniplex dub, I hesitate to give that must-buy. If you can find an import copy with subs (Madman in Australia might) and don’t care about dubs, I would absolute recommend importing it.