Genre(s): Drama, Music, Romance, School, Coming of Age
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Occasional language, blood, and emotionally difficult themes)
Platforms: Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll
Episodes: 22 (+1 OVA)
TheAwersome Rating: 8.0 / 10 (Much higher if you know classical music)
Premise: After the death of his mother, piano prodigy Kousei Arima falls into a downward spiral and is unable to hear his own piano playing. Two years pass and he still avoids the piano, living a rote, colorless life with his friends. Everything changes, however, when he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazano, who throws his entire life paradigm out of whack and sets him on a journey to face music again.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: There is SO much to praise this piece for. Being an anime about music, naturally, the music in the show is fantastic: both the pieces performed by the characters and the original soundtrack as well. Performance scenes feature gorgeous, stellar animation that shows immense detail of the instruments and those playing them (they actually animate them hitting the right keys/strings, etc.!). Character soliloquys (thinking monologues) are surprisingly poetic, and beautiful symbolism is employed that truly makes this a piece of art.
A piece of art that gets tragically upstaged by trying to be targeted at middle-schoolers? There’s a lot of “shonen funny scenes” that really derail the vibe of everything happening. And then some random characters have Yu-Gi-Oh hair which is very out of place and distracting. While the main characters are deep and complex, the supporting cast become 2D shonen tropes and it just doesn’t fit.
TLDR: Watching this show is akin to going to the most gorgeous symphony/play in your formal attire while every ten minutes the kid behind you loudly laughs at the most inappropriate times and another pair of kids start fighting three rows in front of you.
I want to clarify that the good parts on this anime are the caliber of around a 9.2, 9.3 range, but then it loses points for including unnecessary distracting content. I honestly feel like a master artist was assigned to make this anime and was given way too many tropes that he was contractually obligated to integrate (Manic pixie dream girl, childhood friend, tsundere, shonen rivalries, etc.). If you can train yourself to ignore those bits, or Stockholm syndrome/lie to yourself (ha pun) that it’s an artistic choice, you can really get into this show and be emotionally moved. I was able to ignore most of the unfortunate elements (most of the time) enough that I was emotionally moved frequently with Your Lie in April. It’s definitely worth watching, it just mostly depends on your tolerance for annoying tropes.