Everything is monotone for Kousei Arima, a former piano prodigy who three years ago suffered a mental breakdown during a concert due to his abusive Mother’s death, rendering him unable to hear the piano. He now lives a mostly flaccid life, working part time jobs and hanging out with his two best friends Watari and Tsubaki. Tsubaki wants Kousei’s life to light up again, so in a desperate attempt to get him to be more active she decides to arrange a double date between Kousei, Watari, herself, and her classmate friend Kaori who plays the violin. Kousei opposes the meet up, but begrudgingly accepts, and as he meets Kaori under the blooming sakura trees, his life begins for the better.
Now I’m going to be quite honest, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is probably one of the my favorite shows this season. Sure, it’s in the vein of Nodame Cantebile like shoujo romances, but it’s a very good one! It’s direction is spectacular, its characters are interesting, and in general it’s gotten off to a great start. So if you want a verdict right out of the gate, I’d recommend that watching it and seeing if it’s your cup of tea!
Anyways, let’s start off this post with the best aspect of the show so far, aka the animation. Now if you’ve read some of the my other seasonal posts, you might have noticed I often compliment A1 Pictures, mostly because they have always had pretty good production control with their products. However, if you really want to see a series where they put in their full effort animation wise then you really should watch this show! The visuals here are great, and the animation has amazing quality control, containing consistent character models and a great use of color saturation and lighting to enhance the mood of every scene. This is all helped by the great direction, which executes the dramatic scenes perfectly. From the way Kousei’s world gets flushed with light after meeting Kaori in the park, to the intensity of Kaori’s violin performance, the visuals are simply stunning throughout. It’s clear A1 Pictures has a put a lot of effort into making this show look top notch, and as such the final product is definitely a treat for the eyes.
The soundtrack is much the same, featuring nice and calming slice of life pieces throughout most of the show. When it gets to the concert though, the music becomes even more electrifying! Kaori’s performance was absolutely magnificent, featuring a beautiful rendition of Beethoven’s No. 9 Violin Symphony that was really an absolute delight to listen to. This, combined with the amazing animation, created one of the most beautiful and visceral scenes I’ve seen in quite some time. Also did I mention this show has a great OP and ED? Because it’s got those too.
That’s enough with the surface level stuff though, because at the end of the day it’s really the characters that matter in the final product. I mean you can have an amazingly animated show and still have it be absolute tripe due to uninteresting characters (Cough cough, Sword Art Online Season 1), or you could have a mediocre looking show be elevated in status by its likable cast (Cough cough, The World is Still Beautiful). Luckily Shigatsu definitely isn’t falling into the former category at the moment, because, while the story seems like a Nodame Cantebile rip off on the surface, there’s a lot of good shoujo drama happening here.
I think a major part of what makes this series good to me has got to be the characters. Kousei is a great protagonist, and I find his tale extremely interesting. Due to his abusive mother music seems like a chore to him, an obligation that he lost all motivation for after his Mother’s passing. In a sense everything to Kousei is procedural and colorless, but Kaori is opening his eyes up to the possibilities of the artistic medium. This is what makes their chemistry together so great, because underneath all the bickering and jokes, Kaori is broadening Kousei’s horizons, and showing him that music isn’t just about getting first place in a competition, it’s about moving an audience and giving them an experience they’ll never forget. It’s because of their dynamic that I find their relationship extremely endearing, and I can’t wait to see how it blossoms in future episodes.
The other characters are much the same so far. I’ll admit Tsubaki comes off as a little pushy in the first episode, I mean she calls Kousei lame for not playing the piano, but throughout these episodes you start to learn that she truly wants Kousei to be happy; and the expression she makes when she sees Kousei enjoying Kaori’s performance truly encapsulates this. Watari, while seeming pretty aloof on the surface, is also catching my interest, and I feel like he’ll be playing a much more important in later episodes. All of the characters are intriguing, and while I get this feeling this might turn into another clusterf*** of crushes like Nagi no Asukara, I’m still interested to see what happens to this group of friends.
All this praise being said though, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, like all things, isn’t completely perfect. The comedy is definitely the weak link here, with it mostly being unimpressive slapstick that doesn’t really have the timing or creativity to back it up; but that’s a very minor complaint considering this show is mostly about drama. That being said, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is, as I’ve already started, really impressive. The production values are spectacular, the characters are filled to the brim with potential, and I’m definitely excited to see where this musical curiosity goes in the following months. And with that, I bid you adieu! I’ll see you in the next post.