OP: 「光るなら」 (Hikaru Nara) by Goose House
「モノトーン・カラフル」 (Monotōn ・Karafuru)
“Monotone ・ Colorful”
One thing’s for sure; April is Your Lie is one of the more gorgeous series to premiere this season.
This season I seem to be in good luck as far as anime adaptations go; both Shigatsu and Yona (which I’m now covering, yay!) are manga I read and enjoy, and both are series with solid premieres and beautiful art direction. Of the two shows, however, Shigatsu is certainly my favorite.
The premise revolves around a fourteen year old former child prodigy, Arima Kousei (Hanae Natsuki), who stopped playing the piano at age eleven after the death of his mother. He lives alone and spends his time with his friends, Tsubaki (Sakura Ayane) and Watari (Ohsaka Ryouta), though he clings to music in small ways here and there. Nevertheless, he refuses to pick up the piano despite Tsubaki’s encouragement and continues to live in a “monotone” manifestation of his depression. One day, however, he stumbles upon the beautiful Miyazono Kaori (Taneda Risa) playing a melodica (attempting to imitate the trumpet from Castle in the Sky in order to attract pigeons) in a park while waiting to meet with his friends. After a misunderstanding in which Miyazono mistakes Arima for a pervert, it turns out that she’s interested in Watari and being set up with him by Tsubaki, and as a result, all of them have been invited to see Miyazono play a recital.
This premiere was, in a word, gorgeous, and astonishingly lush in the art and in the direction as well. The color palette is warm and absolutely breathtaking, and it really helps highlight the character’s youth and, for the most part, their bubbliness. I loved the way the series approached Kaori’s free-spirited personality with plenty of nature motifs, and also the way it didn’t shirk away from much darker tones for use with Arima’s abusive treatment and subsequent depression. It’s a great work of contrast, and really helps to visually depict just how isolated Arima feels from everyone else’s normal lives.
More so than the visuals, however, I love this story. Arima has a complex problem with music; it doesn’t just stem from the grief at losing his mother, though that is certainly part of it. In playing music, Arima thought that he was doing something for his mother. He believed he was making her happy by playing the piano how she instructed him to, and no matter how much she hit and reprimanded him, he childishly hoped it would somehow heal her. On top of that, his mother imposed a very specific musical philosophy on him, one that he has been unable to break away from, and one which Kaori ultimately rejects with her entire being. It’s no wonder then that meeting Kaori is such a striking moment for him, and no wonder that a vibrant and happy person like her would shake up and color his world.
That being said, I’m ecstatic to see one of my favorite manga adapted so nicely, at least for now. I fervently hope that the two cour format will help do it some justice and, so far, this is running as candidate for best anime premiere of the season in my book.
ED: 「キラメキ」 (Kirameki) by wacci