Monday, 27 November 2017

Anime Review: Your Lie In April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / 四月は君の嘘)

Funny how things turn out sometimes. I wasn't planning to watch this anime let alone review it. It all began with a search for Japanese high school uniforms with a pastel colour scheme. Google Images turned up nothing so I decided to scour through my other source of inspiration for colour schemes i.e. anime art. It was then that I chanced upon Your Lie In April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / 四月は君の嘘) which depicted Japanese high school uniforms in a pleasing pastel colour scheme. What I ended up doing was watch the entire series of this romantic-comedy/drama in two marathon sessions.  

Your Lie In April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / 四月は君の嘘)

What is the anime about? Well, it's a story of love, of suffering, of growing up pains, of friendship, of letting go, of music and ultimately of life. Former child music prodigy Arima Kōsei lost his ability to hear the piano pieces he's playing when his mother died. Two years after that fateful day he stopped playing music, Kōsei meets Miyazono Kaori - the girl who would forever change his life and the lives of his two closest friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryōta Watari. In essence, it's a romantic coming-of-age tale that both warms the heart and tears it apart in equal measure.  

Arima Kōsei is the main protagnoist and pianist who can no longer hear the pieces he plays
Miyazono Kaori, a free-spirited girl whom Kōsei meets under the full-bloomed cheery blossoms  

If you've read other reviews about this drama you would've quickly surmised that viewers fall into two distinct categories. They either love it or hate it. So you know, I loved it. Criticisms often revolve around the show being overly melodramatic; filled with monologues; and populated with characters mature and insightful beyond their age. While the first two are fairly valid observations, I felt both the melodrama and monologues were implemented adroitly within the context of a romantic sob story. Meanwhile, maturity and insightfulness isn't necessarily the purview of the old. Death and suffering can have a profound effect on teenagers and make them see things in a different light.

From the start, pastel hues overwhelm your senses in a beautiful kaleidoscope of colours 
It's April and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom

There is some slapstick humour thrown in which at first glance seems out of place in scenes that are unbearably sad and/or melodramatic. And true enough some reviewers felt them to have dulled the emotional scene. To me though, these comedic moments are badly needed emotional release valves that help mitigated the melodrama and sadness permeating this romantic drama. It turns your tears of sorrow into tears of laughter, recharging your batteries to face the sorrowful onslaught ahead.  

Romance is at the core of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso but music is what binds the elements together
Tsubaki Sawabe, the girl next door whom Kōsei has known all his life
Four fourteen-year-old high school students on a journey that will change them forever

For me, what stands out the most is the pastel colour scheme used throughout Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. It was the perfect choice which helps lightens the mood of a story that deals with tragedy and suffering. It was also an important story telling tool used to portray how the teen characters viewed the world around them i.e. either in colour or in monotone. And most importantly, the pastel hues allowed me to find the perfect Japanese high school uniform colour scheme for my project.   

Kaori and Kōsei play music together for the first time ... 
... with her on the violin ...
... and him as a piano accompanist

One thing critics and fans alike can agree on is that the music accompanying this anime is simply beautiful. Classical music and original compositions intertwine wonderfully to form the fabric that embraces this show in a symphony of sound. Add this to the already wonderful colour palette and you have an aurally and visually breathtaking story. Two of my favourite pieces of music from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso are the original piano arrangement Kimi wa Wasurerareru no by Masaru Yokoyama and the classical piano solo Ballade No 1 in G Minor, Op 23 by Chopin.

There is certainly something magical about school during the night
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are ...

I'm a big old softy but I still rarely cry when viewing shows. This one, however, made me bawl like a baby. [Minor spoiler alert] Although I kinda guessed how the story would end, I was still thrown for a loop when the lie was revealed. It caught me off guard. Not many shows can do that nowadays especially with viewers jaded with age. Just when you thought the show couldn't possibly be more heart-wrenching than it already is ... wham, the lie hits you, and hits you hard. [Minor spoiler ends] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso has been one of the best anime I've seen in years. But it's not for everyone, especially if you aren't a fan of slow-paced romantic dramas. For me, it gets 9/10. 

When the lie is revealed, prepare to bawl your eyes out
Did I reach you?

And what, you might belatedly wonder, was the pastel hued Japanese high school uniforms research for? Well, there are some 1/12 scale resin miniature figurines of Japanese Kawaii High School Girls I've been eyeing for a long time now. They are expensive, really expensive. But I'm thinking to take the plunge and get a few of the figurines to paint. Here's hoping I didn't get ahead of myself by doing the research before even obtaining the pieces to paint. Being garage/resin kits produced in limited quantities they tend to run out of stock fairly fast. Now that would make me bawl like a baby too!  

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  1. The does look rather beautiful, but not an art form I am over familiar with.

    1. No worries. Anime isn't everyone's cup of tea. :)
      At the very least, anime is a good source of colour combinations done well. I especially love those by anime directors Miyazaki Hayao and Shinkai Makoto. If you are interested, most western references to them would read as Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai. :)

  2. I like anime / manga very much. I love the models for painting , but like you say very expensive. And for me the lack of painting the bigger sized models. It requires a different kind of skill set.
    I'm looking forward to see what you're getting and how you will paint it !

    1. A fellow anime fan!!! Great to know ^_^ I'm a huge fan of Japanese garage kit sculptors and it's only recently that their work is more accessible to non-Japanese hobbyists.

  3. I also always love anime/manga climate!

    1. Yet another anime fan!!! Nice to know. ^_^

  4. Atmospheric, superb...and expensive!

    1. Yes. Japanese resin kits are expensive. But some of the works are fantastic and as a miniature hobbyist there are so many of them that I want to paint. :)

  5. I do like a bit of Manga I must admit they do such great Sci Fi tales.

    1. They do indeed as my next anime review will attest to. I'm currently on an anime watching binge. Feeling jaded and projects slowing down so this is one of the few ways I can recharge my batteries :)

  6. I didn't know of this one, but I have to say the use of colour is superb, you are right. Looking forward to your project!

    1. I'm sorry for this diversion but my next project-related post will be the one after next. That's because the next one will be another anime review. I know I know ... I'm getting distracted from my projects XD but I need to get rid of this jaded feeling and recharge my batteries. Watching anime is one of the ways I do that :)

  7. Replies
    1. It does indeed ... thanks for checking out my latest post! :)


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