The subtle greatness of Your Lie in April

Is music something solely technical, something above that of common folk? Can a person truly be defined by their past, even their own failings? The answer is and isn’t yes.

Your Lie in April is quite an interesting show. It grasps the complexity of depression from all sides, and even delves into the intricacy of music. Each core character is given enough development to feel real, and for a show so vibrant, for every feel-good scene there’s a bitter sweet moment of complexion.

“Piano prodigy Kousei Arima dominated the competition and has become famous among child musicians. After his mother, who was also his instructor, died, he had a mental breakdown while performing at a piano recital at the age of eleven. As a result, he is no longer able to hear the sound of his piano even though his hearing is perfectly fine. Two years later, Kousei hasn’t touched the piano and views the world in monotone, without any flair or color. He has resigned himself to living out his life with his good friends, Tsubaki and Watari, until, one day, a girl changes everything. Kaori Miyazono, a pretty, free-spirited violinist whose playing style reflects her personality, helps Kousei return to the music world and shows that it should be free and mold breaking unlike the structured and rigid style Kousei was used to.”

Perhaps it’s from my lack of avid anime watching, but there was something that just clicked with this show.

As a musician myself, it struck each and every note of a story perfectly. Your Lie in April captured the sinister side of professional music, one that requires rigorous skill and perfection, but also bought light to the talent needed to make music sound good.

The art of performance is shown to be much more than bland technicality and metronomic-precision. It’s something that must come from within.

The show asks a simple question that applies to everyone, regardless of whether they play an instrument or not. Who are you doing this for? Do you succeed in life to conquer someone, or do you live to make an impact on someone?

Paying tribute to something is a common feature in Your Lie in April, with both Kousei and Kaori having to find their own answers.

Even the darkness of abuse is given a twisted sympathy, with Kousei’s own mother terrified over whether or not her son will be good enough. She wants to know that her only child will be prepared enough to live alone in this world, knowing fully that she’ll never see him grow old.

Each character is running from something, whether it be Kousei from his mother, Takeshi from his long-gone idol, or even Tsubaki, an isolated girl who only wants her beloved childhood friend to succeed, though it mean losing him.

For a show with such a bitter sweet ending, it still makes you happy. The viewer grows with the characters as they develop over the show, with each and every small interaction feeling human. It’s now that I look back on this show, as a fan of big-bang action scenes and whatnot, and realise that Your Lie in April did not come close to any of the blood-pumping awe.

What it did however, is something simple but complex.

It made me care for these characters in a way that I haven’t felt for quite some time, going all the way back to my first viewing of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shows like Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, Steins;gate, Trigun and so on were cool, but I wasn’t involved with the characters. I don’t feel like their journeys could hit as hard as they did in Your Lie in April.

As a writer, I strive to write characters even half as emotional as the ones seen in Your Lie in April. As a viewer, I’d love to see much more of what the Your Lie in April team has to offer.

Your Lie in April gives the simple premise of music an overwhelming depth of characterisation, and even if you don’t care for the classics, the body of this fine show is much more robust. And that’s something I can’t say for a lot of shows.

There is certainly a lot more I’d love to add, but I don’t feel as if words alone can justify the connection I had with this show. The one thing I can recommend is that you watch it.

But until then, this is ZeAnime sounding out.

Should You Watch Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance?

What is it?

Picking up pretty much straight after the events of the first film, You Are (Not) Alone, You Can (Not) Advance once again follows Shinji Ikari, the pilot of Evangelion Unit One, and his journey as he works to save the world from the mysterious monsters known only as Angels.

Continuing on from the plot of You Are (Not) Alone, Nerv works to implement it’s own scheme for the path of humanity alongside Seele, a secretive organisation working behind the curtain to head the Human Instrumentality Project, ultimately leading to the death and rebirth of humanity (Death and Rebirth… see what I did there? I’m proud of myself).

Given the movie is only 90 minutes or so long I wont say much more other than I enjoyed this film a lot more than You Are (Not) Alone.

Continue reading

Should You Watch Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone? [SUBBED]

What is it?

You Are (Not) Alone follows the story of Shinji Ikari, a child living after the calamity that was the Second Impact and can be otherwise be explained as a pretty bad time for life in general. Massive monsters appear from nowhere without warning called Angels  so the remaining humans commission Nerv to build giant robots called Evangelion as one does in an apocalypse. After seeing his father, the commander of Nerv, for the first time in several years Shinji is forced to come to his own epiphany; does he stand and fight or does he run away from his problems?

You Are (Not) Alone is the first Rebuild of Evangelion, a reboot to the much loved Neon Genesis Evangelion that aired in 1995. The film is licensed by Madman and is available for streaming and also on DVD/Blu-ray.

Continue reading

Should You Watch Kill La Kill Volume One and Two?

What is it?

Kill La Kill is many things. On one hand it’s soft-core porn and on another it’s a great action comedy. The truth is that it is – to put it lightly – bizarre, and thankfully pulls off what it is trying to be extremely well.

The show follows Ryuko Matoi on her quest to find her father’s killer, ultimately leading to her confrontation with Honnouji Academy’s student leader Satsuki Kiryuin, a fascist ruler who believes that everyone is beneath her and that the only the true humans are the ones that can prove themselves, and as a matter of fact she often refers to her underlings as pigs in clothes. With the belief that Satsuki killed her father Ryuko goes on a path to defeat Satsuki’s elite student council who each have special powers of their own.

Using special clothes called Kamui, both Ryuko and Satsuki confront each other at several stages in the show with their clothing not only transforming the show a borderline hentai but also allows the show to do what it does best; comedy and action.

Continue reading

Should You Watch Trigun?

What is Trigun?

Trigun follows the story of Vash the Stampede, the sixty billion double dollar man, and his journey through the old western styled wasteland home to countless bounty hunters wanting his head. Enter Meryl and Milly, insurance workers looking for Vash so they can halt his path of destruction because, as is often explained in the show, things tend to go disastrously wrong when Vash is involved. Over the show’s approximate eleven-hour runtime the viewer follows the group’s misadventures in the wasteland, providing both endless enjoyment but also a darker undertone as the show develops.

Made in the late 90s Trigun failed to amass much popularity in the West until it aired on Cartoon Network back in 2003. As of this review you can buy Trigun on DVD or Blu-ray. Alternatively you can stream it from Funimation’s website.

Continue reading

Should You Watch Blue Exorcist? [SUBBED]

What is Blue Exorcist?

For a while Rin Okumura was your average rebellious teenager, living life day by day, regularly getting into fights at schools and just generally being a nuisance. Living in a monastery with his adopted father Fujimoto and his brother Yukio, Rin attempts to find out he is as a person and to make his own way in life.

However, that wouldn’t make for an interesting plot now, would it? So on one fateful day Rin learns about his true ancestry, discovering that his true father is in fact Satan, the strongest demon to ever live and the ruler of the demonic realm Gehenna. In order to save his son from the demon lord’s influence Fujimoto sacrifices himself for Rin, asking that he only grow as a person.

With the knowledge of his true heritage and the world as he knew it, Mephisto, the principle of the True Cross Academy, offers a scholarship to Rin and his brother so that Rin can meet his destiny and kill Satan. This integration is not something done easily, with Rin having to come to terms with his own life as well the others around him, both the ones who call him friend and the ones who wish only to see him dead for his father’s deeds.

Continue reading

Manga Vs. Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE for short) is an anime that people either love or hate, for reasons that I believe are justified in part. As someone who loves the original anime I will openly admit I might be a bit bias and I think that’s something I should say before I continue this, but even I see a lot of the reasoning behind people’s bad blood towards the show.

Continue reading