Your Lie in April Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 17, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Your Lie in April” left me wanting to see the second half because the storyline was captivating, heartbreaking but also inspiring. It is rare to watch an anime series that captivates you on all levels, may it be animation, music, storytelling, this series is fantastic! “Your Lie in April” vol. 1 is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2015 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Your Lie in April Vol. 1
SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014-2015
DURATION: Episodes 1-11 (250 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16:9 HD Widescreen, English and Japanese 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English and Spanish
COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.
RATED: 13 and Up
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Originally Created by Naoshi Arakawa
Directed by Kyohei Ishiguro
Series Composition/Screenplay by Takao Yoshioka
Music by Masaru Yokoyama
Character Design by Yukiko Aikei
Art Director: Hisao Usui
Anime Character Design by Tomoaki Takase
Anime Production by A-1 Pictures
Featuring the following voice talent:
Natsuki Hanae/Max Mittelman as Kōsei Arima
Risa Taneda/Erica Lindbeck as Kaori Miyazono
Ai Kayano/Stephanie Sheh as Nagi Aizato
Ayane Sakura/Erica Mendez as Tsubaki Sawabe
Mamiko Noto/Wendee Lee as Saki Arima
Ryota Ohsaka/Kyle McCarley as Ryōta Watari
Saori Hayami/Erika Harlacher as Emi Igawa
Shizuka Ishigami/Julie Ann Taylor as Nao Kashiwagi
Yuuki Kaji/Erika Scott Kimerer as Takeshi Aiza
Kousei Arima was a genius pianist until his mother’s sudden death took away his ability to play. Ever since then, each day was dull for Kousei. One day, he meets one violinist by the name of Kaori Miyazono. This care-free, independent, and sometimes short-tempered girl had an eccentric playing style that immediately fascinated Kousei. His once monotonous life was about to change forever.
Back in 2011, Naoshi Arakawa created the manga series “Shigatsu wa Kimi n o Uso” (Your Lie in April).
The manga was serialized in Kodansha’s “Monthly Shonen Magazine” from 2011-2015 and would be adapted into an anime series from October 2014-March 2015 on Fuji TV’s noitamina block.
The anime series was produced by A-1 Pictures and was directed by Kyohei Ishiguro (“Lance N’ Masques”), series composition and screenplay by Takao Yoshioka (“Elfen Lied”, “High School DxD”, “Ikki Tousen”, “Sekirei” and “Sky Girls”), music by Masaru Yokoyama (“Freezing”, “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans”, “Queen’s Blade: Rebellion”), character design by Yukiko Aikei (“Accel World”, “Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere”, “Aikatsu Stars!”) and art direction by Hisayo Usui (“Saint Young Men”, “Fairy Tail”, “Angel Beats!”).
With a live film adaptation of “Your Lie in April” to hit theaters in Japan in Sept. 2016, the first volume of the anime series (featuring episodes 1-11) was released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.
“Your Lie in April” is a series that revolves around a former child prodigy in playing piano named Kosei Arima. Known as the “human metronome”, he was also emotionally and physically abused by his mother who was very strict on him when it came to playing the piano and being perfect.
While he dominated piano competitions all throughout Japan, when his mother died of an illness, he suffered psychological trauma in which caused him to no longer hear the notes of the piano after playing for several minutes.
One day, he comes across violinist Kaori Miyazono, a free-spirited violinist who doesn’t follow the rules of adhering strictly to the score but is beloved by audiences for her music.
While walking home, she hears Kosei playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, only for a few minutes before he starts to lose the ability to hear the notes, once he starts to concentrate.
Immediately Kaori appoints him as her accompanist for the second round of preliminaries, which he refuses and tells her that he can’t play.
But eventually, she convinces Kosei to play for the preliminaries and their musical journey together begins.
The main characters of “Your Lie in April” are:
- Kosei Arima – A former child prodigy pianist known as “the human metronome”. Because of his domination at competitions, showing up to school and competitions with bruises and scratches and people seeing his mother abusing him, a lot of rumors have followed him everywhere he goes. But when his mother died, it left him in psychological trauma for some reason and he is no longer able to hear the notes when he concentrates. So, he has given up piano and is focusing on a normal life.
- Kaori Miyazono – A free-spirited violinist who walks to the beat of her own drum, playing music the way she wants to. Despite drawing the ire of judging panels, the audiences love to see her play. She develops a strong friendship with Kosei when she asks him to become her accompanist.
- Tsubaki Sawabe – Kosei’s childhood friend who has been with him since they were younger. She is athletic but she also has feelings towards Kosei and is jealous of the time he is spending with Kaori.
- Ryota Watari – Kosei and Tsubaki’s childhood friend and the captain of the soccer team. He tells Kosei that Kaori is his love interest, so Kosei respects that, despite feeling a little jealous towards Ryota.
- Takeshi Aiza – A rival pianist of Kosei. He has always respected Kosei’s domination at competition and looked to him as a hero. But as Takeshi has dominated competitions in Kosei’s absence, he has been waiting to compete against him.
- Emi Igawa – A pianist who began after listening to Kosei play when she was five-years-old. Unlike Kosei, she wants to reach the audience through playing with emotion. She hopes to reach Kosei the same way, as she may have feelings towards him.
- Saki Arima – The mother of Kosei who was very strict and abusive emotionally and physically towards him. She accepts nothing less than perfection. She was very ill and when she passed away, it sent Kosei into psychological trauma.
- Hiroko Seto – Saki’s close friend from college and a renowned pianist. She is the person responsible for discovering Kosei’s piano talents. She blames herself for the abuse of Kosei, that she becomes his guardian.
“Your Lie in April” features gorgeous animation by A-1 Pictures. Character designs are well-done, because the anime series often takes place outdoors, the animators chose to show a wonderful amount of detail, vibrant colors and backgrounds and structures are well-detailed. Overall, picture quality is vibrant and the series looks fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Your Lie in April” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo. Dialogue and music are crystal clear and subtitles are in English and Spanish.
Both English dub and the Japanese soundtrack features awesome performances by the voice talent. I was impressed by bot soundtracks as they are done very well.
“Your Lie in April” vol. 1 comes with the following special features:
- Textless Opening
- Textless Ending
- Audio Commentary (Ep. 1) – Featuring audio commentary by ADR director Matt Seitz and voice talents Max Mittelman, Erica Lindbeck, Erica Mendez and Kyle McCarley.
“Your Lie in April” vol. 1 comes with three collectible postcards and a 10-track CD soundtrack (Duration: 19 Minutes) featuring music by Masaru Yokoyama.
Once in awhile, there are anime series that captivates you with its vibrant animation, its beautiful music, humor but also a deep storyline.
“Your Lie in April” is one of those series that I watched and found myself instantly hooked on its characters and its moving storyline that got better with episode after episode.
The story revolves around a former child prodigy pianist named Kousei Arima who literally has lost his will to play the piano after suffering psychological trauma after the death of his mother.
And while a loss of a family member of loved one can be banal in many storylines for film or TV series, “Your Lire in April” is different in the fact that Kousei was raised by his mother, but his mother was strict and abusive.
She never let him have any fun, disciplined and beat him when he didn’t get his notes correctly. She didn’t care about anything else about him, only that he plays the piano perfectly and she was his harshest critic.
He is looked at by many people negatively because of that lack of love or emotional demeanor. His piano playing was methodic and not emotional, he played the way his mother had taught him and beating his piano rivals at competitions were the goal. Being the perfect pianist was the only way to live his life.
But when she passed away, each time he would play, he would be swallowed by his memories of his strict mother angered at him. So much to the point that he would be unable to play the piano when trying to concentrate and literally not be able to hear the notes.
So, he has quit playing the piano for two years and living a normal school life with his childhood friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryota Watari.
But life changes for Kosei when he befriends and watches the violin performance of Kaori Miyazono.
While talented, she is free-spirited and doesn’t play for the judges, she plays for the audience.
Surprised by the way she approaches her music and the way she is as an individual, he is intrigued by her. But is shocked when she chooses him to be her piano accompanist for her preliminary competition.
Fearful and doubting himself of playing the piano again, he eventually decides to do it for this one time. But Kosei is unaware that this new friendship with the vibrant Kaori Miyazono, will change his life forever.
“Your Lie in April” vol. 1 comes with the first eleven episodes. On Blu-ray, the animation is vibrant, detailed and looks fantastic in HD. I absolutely love the colors, the character design, the animation and background art for this anime series. And the lossless audio, may it be with the English dub or the original Japanese soundtrack, are both well-performed.
The first volume of “Your Lie in April” comes with three postcards but for those who were captivated by the music of this anime series, will be happy to know that the first volume comes with a CD soundtrack featuring ten songs from the anime series (note: the solo piano and violin segments featured in the competitions are not included in this soundtrack).
Overall, “Your Lie in April” left me wanting to see the second half because the storyline was captivating, heartbreaking but also inspiring. It is rare to watch an anime series that captivates you on all levels, may it be animation, music, storytelling, this series is fantastic!
“Your Lie in April” vol. 1 is highly recommended!
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