Your Lie In April, known as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, is an interesting case for me. Normally, I choose the anime I want to watch, watch it in Japanese with subtitles, and then maybe try the English dub on a rewatch. With Your Lie In April though, it was one of the dub voice actors that drew my attention to the series, back when I was experiencing her wonderful voicework in Megadimension Neptunia VII. I noticed the show when I was looking up Erica Lindbeck while playing Megadimension Neptunia VII, so when All The Anime, one and a half months later, announced they were releasing Your Lie In April, I was overjoyed. I was tempted to watch it when Crunchyroll and Aniplex made the dub available to stream, but I held out for the Blu-ray release. Your Lie in April is animated by A-1 Pictures, who have also animated Sword Art Online, Saekano, and Erased, among many other fan-favourite anime. The director is Kyohei Ishiguro, who has directed Lance N’ Masques, Danchi Tomoo, and currently airing Occultic;Nine.
“Kousei Arima was a genius pianist until his mother’s sudden death took away his ability to play.Each day was dull for Kousei. But, then he meets one violinist by the name of Kaori Miyazono. Thiscare-free, independent, and sometimes short-tempered girl has an eccentric playing style thatimmediately fascinated Kousei. His once monotonous life was about to change forever.Winner of the 37th Kodansha Manga Award! “A story of youth, music, and romance!” – All The Anime
Your Lie in April focuses on Kousei Arima, a once child prodigy when it came to playing the piano; after his mother passed, he became unable to hear the notes as he was playing and thus retired. This emotional disability is confined to only affecting music he plays himself. Having departed the world of music, he lives a reserved life, void of any true meaning. Childhood friend Tsubaki invites Kousei and another friend, Ryota, out so that she can introduce Ryota to Kaori. During this meeting, Kousei learns Kaori plays the violin and will be participating in a competition; despite Kousei’s reluctance, he is dragged along. Kaori’s playing is different from that with which Kousei is familiar, pushing the boundaries of acceptability, and free-spirited in a way that forces inspires him to play again. No two musicians should play the same piece of music identically; they take the piece and fuse it with themselves to create a unique performance. This is definitely true of Kaori and is completely at odds with Kousei’s preference of playing the song exactly as it is written. Though Kaori does seem to force Kousei into playing, it’s clear that this is a positive force in his life, with her challenging of him able to drive him towards developing as a musician. Your Lie In April is easily the most impactful music anime I’ve experienced so far, and while others such as Hibike! Euphonium are incredibly enjoyable, I feel Your Lie In April is likely to be infinitely more rewatchable for me.
A1- Pictures have really outdone themselves with this series, animating a bright and colourful world that is a sight to behold. It has that “A1-Pictures” feel, but it goes above and beyond that. This is especially true of the animation in the musical performances – the 3DCG blending in seamlessly. The music in this series is handled by Masaru Yokoyama, and though many of the tracks are classics from the likes of Beethoven, there is also enough original music to impress. The music in this series is soothing to listen to, and a soundtrack CD would’ve been a nice inclusion in the CE. The opening and ending tracks are both upbeat tracks, and I assume they had some relevance to the anime, but without and translations on-screen, I’ve no idea how relevant they may or may not be.
Your Lie in April left me with a difficult choice I don’t think I’ve actually faced before – dub or sub? I found both the Japanese audio and the English audio tracks to be excellent, I was pretty much just alternating between the two. I think for the first time ever, I’ve managed to find an anime with equally good Japanese and English language tracks. The standout cast member in the dub is Erica Lindbeck, who does a great job at portraying Kaori, I’d even go so far as to say she does a better job than Risa Taneda. However, Natsuki Hanae provides a better Kousei than Max Mittelman, who falls a little flat when it comes to emotion. Overall though, you’re in good hands whether you choose the dub or the sub for this release.
Unfortunately, on-disc extras are limited to an English commentary track for Episode 1, and textless Opening and Ending songs. However, the Collector’s Edition does come with an art box to hold both the art box for Part 1 and the art box Part 2. Considering the focus on music, it would have been nice to see the soundtrack included, but this release is still definitely one worth picking up.
Your Lie in April is, simply put, perfect so far. Both the Japanese and English audio tracks are a joy to listen to, and the animation is magical. It's not quite the romance I was expecting going in, but I cannot wait to get my hands on part 2 to see if it manages to live up to the first cour.