When the world becomes dark like the bottom of an endless sea; one young man must find a way to save himself from drowning in the music world and find the light that exists in his heart. That is the premise for a movie that brings romance, comedy, and classical music to the forefront for your entertainment. It’s time to take a look at the theatrical release of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, or better known as, Your Lie in April.
Kousei Arima is a musical prodigy. Often referred to as the human metronome, he has won several competitions with his God-like piano playing skills. His mother was an extremely strict teacher, but she was also very ill. When she passed away, a void opened up in Arima’s heart and he lost the ability to “hear” the notes he was playing, causing him to freeze during any performance that he tried to give. One day, a girl named Kaori Miyazono was playing a song in a park and it caught Arima’s attention. Little did he know that Kaori would become the key to rejuvenating his interest in music and pulling him out of the dark abyss he had sunk into.
This is a slice of life movie that did an admirable job of adapting the source material. While things had to be cut out as you can’t fit a whole 22-episode anime into two hours of film, I was still rather surprised at how well it came across on in a live action movie format.
The story itself had many facets to it in the anime, but the movie focused solely on main story of Arima and Kaori. Some of the supporting characters like Watari and Tsubaki don’t really get as much detail as they did in the anime, but due to the nature of the movie, it’s something that had to be expected. While I found some faults with the anime dragging in the back half of the season, the movie doesn’t really have that problem. Cutting out a lot of the extra points in the story ended up being a good thing as it actually improved the flow of the main story and kept everything concise and to a point.
The musical scores throughout the movie were still very well-done. That was one of my concerns going into this because it’s very easy to play a music track over some animation and then just cut in a couple of key parts of the characters playing the instruments to match the music, but how would something like that in a live-action setting? Pretty flawlessly as the characters (or the stand ins on the other side of the camera lens) did an amazing job of matching the musical scores and it never broke my suspension of disbelief even once!
The characters in the anime really shined, but with a reduced cast, Tsubaki and Watari kind of suffered, but Arima and Kaori still got about the same level of build up as they did in the anime.
Here is our main character and his personality is one we’ve seen a thousand times over. He’s the one who starts out weak and full of self-doubt and has to work to climb that mountain and reach the top. While Kousei did grow as a character throughout the movie, they really never gave a definitive conclusion as to whether not he completely changed. Much like in the anime with it’s final episode, I was still left wondering if Kousei would continue on given the final events that took place. Despite that, Kousei remained as a very relatable main character that we could apply to ourselves for many different reasons and I think he was developed rather well.
She’s Kousei’s childhood friend and next door neighbor. She’s taken on the sister role for Kousei as she’s always looking out for him. She has a bit of a crush on Kousei and they have a nice little scene in the movie where they really drive that point home, much to Kousei’s ineptness. That’s about the only role Tsubaki seems to play here. The rest of the time, she just shows up when she’s needed and disappears when she’s not. Her character felt a little bit on the empty side compared to the anime, but then again… time constraints and all that.
She’s a friend of Tsubaki’s that Kousei discovered in the park when she was playing a song to a bunch of little children. Kousei wants to take a picture and Kaori mistakes him for a pervert. Kaori is pretty good at playing the violin and she ends up talking Kousei into entering a competition to help bring his drive back. This would be the beginning of Kousei’s journey to recovery. Kaori’s personality is also a bit tomboyish in the film. The tsundere tendencies she had from the anime seemed to have disappeared in this live-action adaptation. She seemed more like a fun character which makes the plot points in the second half hit just a tad harder. I liked her a bit more here in the film than the anime.
Despite its flaws, I felt that Your Lie in April was a VERY solid adaptation of the anime. While a lot of the competitions were cut (not to mention about half of the characters, including Kousei’s rivals), it kind of made you realize that all of that was unneeded fluff in the anime. The story didn’t really suffer all that much and I felt it flowed a bit better in the movie. Even though the flow felt better, a two-hour movie wasn’t really enough time to really drive home the finale. It did feel just a little bit rushed as I don’t think there was enough inner conflict with Kousei to really make the ending seem believable. It was like he recovered just a tad too quickly.
Again, taking 22 episodes and squeezing it into a two-hour movie is not an easy task. Takehiko Shinjō did his best with the source material and really put together something special that I truly believe fans of the series would be proud of. I would still recommend watching the anime first, though as it was one of the best shows to come out of 2014/2015. Once you’ve watched the anime, give the movie a try. I think you will appreciate it more that way.
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Until next time,
Your Lie in April
While the anime was one that scored four stars from me, the movie scores just a little under that with 3.5 stars. The semi-rushed ending kind of turned an already truncated adaptation into something that left me feeling as if there was just that little extra something missing to make this great. Do not take my rating to total heart, though. I still think this is a movie worth seeing and I encourage you to do so.