Tag Archives: Your Lie In April

Review: Your Lie In April, Final Episode: Spring Wind

Review:

I’m going to post a fair warning here: this review will not be spoiler free. It would be ridiculously hard to give this episode a proper review without discussing the events that transpire, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet then I wouldn’t read past the first paragraph. Is this episode worth watching? Yes. Is there much to worry about in terms of content? No; if you’ve watched until this point, then there won’t be anything worse than what you’ve already seen. Now go, watch the episode, then come back and read my thoughts. Or stay. Your choice. But from here on out I’m not holding back.

The final episode picks up right where the previous one left off: Kousei is in the middle of his recital, and Kaori is on the operating table. Most—if not all—of the first half is devoted to Kousei’s recital, interspersed with scenes of Kaori in the operating room. Of course this portion of the episode also serves as a montage of all the people who have influenced Kousei along his journey up until this point, and of Kousei’s own internal monologue. The flashes to the operating room during these scenes are always white-knuckle moments, especially as the camera focuses on the heart monitor. Kaori passing away in this episode is almost a given, with the primary question being whether it will happen on the operating table or sometime later in the episode. As we come to find out, it happens on the operating table.

I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that we don’t actually see Kaori die. In fact, it’s not even fully confirmed until Kousei’s performance is over and he’s standing at Kaori’s grave site with her parents. During the performance itself, we see Kousei off in his own world, where Kaori appears and gives him that second duet he always wanted. Whether this is meant to be some kind of spiritual event wherein he performs with Kaori’s soul or if it’s just something that happens in his head is not explained; however, it is clear that he is acutely aware that Kaori has passed away, so it may be meant as a literal scene. As for the competition, we never do find out the results, which is fitting in the long run, as it was never really about Kousei winning but rather the impact that all these people had on Kousei’s life up until this point.

When I first saw this turn of events, I was content with it, but then the second half of the episode came. Much of this portion shows the seasons changing after Kaori’s passing while Kousei reads a letter that Kaori had written to him prior to her death. We hear her words posthumously read over these scenes, and it’s the first real glimpse we’ve gotten into the person of Kaori Miyazono throughout this whole series. What was worse was the fact that I actually had to stop and finish this portion of the episode later, which meant on my way to the gym I had time to think about it, and the more I thought about it the more I felt it wasn’t fair. Kousei was just now finding out about Kaori’s true feelings, her true motivations, and the lie she told (presumably in April). It felt more and more unfair the more I thought about it.

But life isn’t fair.

Your Lie In April may have had some fantastic elements, such as the conveyance of images through music and a seemingly spiritual duet at Kaori’s passing, but it was painfully realistic in a lot of ways. It would have been nice to see Kaori live through the surgery and play a duet with Kousei, followed by the two falling in love. Perhaps the series could have ended without actually showing Kaori’s death, leaving the viewers with the hopes that she could somehow survive, or at the very least having her die after the performance and after everyone’s true feelings were out on the table. That would have been more of an ideal ending, but the painful reality is that life isn’t real. People die with things unaccomplished. They die before we have the chance to know them as well as we’d like. They die in ways that are anticlimactic, such as during an operation while someone plays the piano. That’s the reality of life, and Your Lie In April didn’t shy away from that. Kaori was presented with a terminal illness, and the show saw that to the end.

Perhaps the most painful thing about Kaori’s letter is the fact that it reveals how little both Kousei and the viewer knew about her. It’s a fact that doesn’t really hit home without some thought. Sure, she was a major player during the first half of the series, with her presence (though not her impact) diminishing once she is hospitalized, but we didn’t know much about her. We were given enough so that she didn’t just feel like a plot point, but we never knew much about who Kaori Miyazono was. There was no real “viewer privilege” that the main character lacked. What he knew, we knew. So, in a sense, we share in Kousei’s pain of finding out how woefully lacking we were in our knowledge. Granted, the author of this series could easily make a side story that tells us more about Kaori, but hopefully he won’t, as that would destroy the beauty of this scene.

I’m sitting here at almost a page and a half of text—the longest review of a single episode I’ve ever written—and yet I still don’t feel like I’ve done it justice. There is just so much in that letter and this episode that moved me. Additionally, there was the tension of knowing that the episode was drawing ever closer to its close, and therefore to the end of Kousei’s story, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what was going to happen to him. What about Tsubaki? She certainly shows up quite a bit in the second half of this episode. While her name definitely comes up in Kaori’s letter and her role in Kousei’s life is certainly explained, nothing is forced. This much is left to the fans’ imaginations, which is ultimately a good thing, I think. After all, Kousei is still getting over the death of the girl he loves, so to put him with Tsubaki at the end would feel rushed and forced.

As far as any complaints and criticisms go, I still hold to the idea that Emi and Takeshi were horribly underutilized in the show, especially when Kousei credits them for part of his growth. The show could have done more with these rivals, and their almost complete absence from this episode really feels unfair. Then again, Watari doesn’t get much screen time or resolution as all, despite being one of Kousei’s two closest friends. Outside of that, it is really hard for me to find much to criticize in this episode.

I have previously compared Your Lie In April to a piece of music, and the comparison still holds here. Much like the final note in a song, the end of the show hangs in the air with a definitive conclusion. The journey is over—at least, the piece that we were allowed to be a part of, for more stories could inevitably be written about Kousei’s life. After all, he is getting ready to enter another spring, a spring without Kaori. Where will his life go from here? What challenges will he face? How will Kaori’s memory affect the rest of his life? We will probably never know the answers to these questions, but we can still ponder them and reflect on the impact that one single person can have.

A Christian Perspective:

Oh boy, I could say even more here, and this review has already gone on long enough! Well, first things first, there are a few issues that Christians may have with this episode. The first, of course, is the potential “spiritual duet” that Kousei plays with Kaori. It’s never officially stated that Kousei actually played with Kaori’s spirit, but it certainly is clear that he knew in that moment that Kaori had passed away. Later on, Kashiwagi encourages Tsubaki to listen to her heart, which is not sound advice, and Kashiwagi is revealed to be into Boys’ Love.

Beyond that, there are many positive elements that Christians can draw from this episode. Rather than go into exquisite detail (because I fear I may have lost some people by now), I will simplify what I have to say and also link you to another very good write up about this episode.

First up is the idea of building one another up. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.(1 Thessalonians 5:11). The penultimate point in this episode is how Kousei only reached the place he’s at because he was surrounded by people who built him up—people who wanted him to succeed and thus poured into him, or else people who challenged him in some way, shape, or form to grow. The same is true of spiritual growth. It is easy to become apathetic and not want to do the hard work that goes into learning more about God and growing spiritually, so we need people who can encourage us past our lethargy, our weaknesses, and whatever else stands in our way.

Secondly, there is the idea of selfless love that Kaori displays. It is not a perfect display, because it is in some ways selfish, as well. Allow me to explain. We find out that Kaori only pretended to like Watari to get close to Kousei. This is selfish. True, Watari is a womanizer who plays the field, but that doesn’t make using him any less wrong. The flip side, though, is that Kaori didn’t want to approach Tsubaki and ask to be set up with Kousei because she was well aware of Tsubaki’s feelings for Kousei, and she knew it wouldn’t be fair to take Kousei away when she herself was dying and wouldn’t be around for long. While her solution was selfish, her motivation was selfless, putting aside her own happiness in her limited time on Earth out of respect for Tsubaki’s feelings. This brings to mind what Paul wrote in Romans 14: 13-21, where he talks about not doing things that might make your brother stumble, despite the fact that you feel no conviction about it yourself. The point is that you sacrifice your own personal satisfaction and gratification for the benefit of another, much like Kaori did here.

The final point I want to make is in regards to Tsubaki’s final statements to Kousei before the episode ends. In essence, she tells Kousei that she will always be there for him, no matter what. We know that this comes from a place of love, because we’ve seen her love for Kousei revealed throughout the series. We don’t know how Kousei will ultimately respond to this love—the most we get is a smile—yet it’s hard to imagine not responding positively to this kind of love. After all, isn’t this the kind of thing we all want? Someone who will love us despite ourselves? How could we not fall in love with someone who would love us so completely? Yet many of us don’t. For no matter how much Tsubaki may love Kousei, it can’t compare to the love God has for us, and yet so many of us turn our backs on Him. Some do it permanently, making a lifestyle out of it, but even those of us who profess Jesus’ name tend to make mistakes, and sometimes we even turn our backs on Him. There are, of course, discussions on salvation that could be had here—if you turn your back, were you really saved? Does the length of time you’ve turned your back determine whether you were saved? Have you lost your salvation then?–but that is far from the purpose of this section, and far more advanced than I am equipped to handle. The point is that people will turn their backs on something so complete and fulfilling.

With all of that said, I will finally let you go, but not before linking to another very well written article on this episode. Check out what Charles from Beneath the Tangles had to say .

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “h*ck”, 1 “go to h*ll”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Tsubaki kicks Kousei in the shin

Blood/Gore: Some blood is shown on surgical instruments and gauze/cotton balls

Other: It is at least suggested that Kousei plays a duet with a deceased person; Kaori talks about not taking her regrets with her into heaven; Kashiwagi is revealed to be into Boys’ Love; Kashiwagi tells Tsubaki to listen to her heart; Seto describes Kousei’s playing as sensual

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 21: Snow

Review:

After watching the girl he loves hit a critical state and failing to save the life of a stray cat, Kousei is in dire straits. He’s lost all will to even play the piano, despite the fact that his next performance is right around the corner. With that set up, it seems like this was destined to be a very depressing episode, so it is surprising when it isn’t. To be honest, it almost felt a little too rushed. Kousei is certainly down and out, but he seems to snap out of it fairly quickly thanks to the inspiration he receives from another character. For the amount of depression he seems to be suffering, it feels kind of fast for him to get over it within the first half of the episode. Then again, the scene that sets him back on the pianist’s path is no small or weak scene, either.

One area that Your Lie In April continues to do well in is the area of realism. While the show is a drama, it doesn’t necessarily play up the dramatic elements as you would expect. The big changes and revelations come amidst the mundane, everyday moments of life. Take the previous episode: Kousei’s life is going normally right until he gets to Kaori’s hospital room. There is no dramatic music or some series of dark, foreshadowed events to suggest that the episode will conclude in the dark fashion it does. Likewise, this episode, despite being the second-to-last, doesn’t necessarily feel like some huge climax in the story. The events that take place are huge in light of the overall plot thus far, but they are not over dramatized.

Despite this, the episode still manages to end with a sort of cliff-hanger, as one character’s situation has yet to be resolved. While Kousei may recover and deliver an awe-inspiring performance, we are still left guessing on one character’s fate. Amidst all the joy, triumph, support, and even love that is felt between the characters in this episode there remains an element of tension, which it seems will carry us up until the very end.

A Christian Perspective:

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

This verse seems to sum up the relationship between Kaori and Kousei perfectly. Throughout the whole series, one has always spurred the other onto not giving up their craft—or on life, for that matter. Without Kaori, Kousei would never have gotten back to playing the piano, and Kaori would have given up on her life and her health if not for Kousei’s influence. In both cases, each character considered how they could best influence the other to do their best and not give up.

The Christian life is not an easy one, and we could stand to observe Kousei and Kaori’s relationship as an allegory of how we can spur each other on to not give up on our faith or our journey with Christ.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “da**it”, 1 “d**ned”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Kaori throws a stuffed animal at Kousei’s face

Blood/Gore: Kousei has a flashback to blood on his hands

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 20: Hand In Hand

Review:

This is one of those episodes where not a lot happens, yet a lot still happens, if that makes any sense. Much of the first half is dedicated to the Kousei/Tsubaki relationship, between flashbacks to their childhood and to the present day events. Not much has changed here—Tsubaki is still pushing herself harder in order to stay close to Kousei, and Kousei is still oblivious to Tsubaki’s feelings for him. The difference is that Tsubaki finally seems to be getting fed up with the way things have been going. Without spoiling anything, there is a particular conversation where Tsubaki essentially breaks and tells Kousei what she thinks. She is also the first person to finally call him out on his interest in Kaori.

Speaking of Kousei, he is still much the same, swinging back and forth between wanting to visit Kaori and wanting to avoid the hospital whenever Watari is around. One would think that he’s finally be over that after the revelations from the previous episode, but apparently not. It probably doesn’t help that Kaori sends mixed signals his way. She tells him to check in, but then yells when he comes to the hospital because he’s not using that time to practice. Then she calls his cell phone and says that talking on the phone is alright. Kousei may not be handling the situation well, but it is easy to argue that he may not even know how to handle it, all things considered.

Watari, unfortunately, continues to be more of a background character. He is there, but mainly as a plot point. Throughout the whole series he hasn’t gotten nearly as much screen time as the other characters, despite supposedly being a close friend to Kousei. That’s not to say that he hasn’t played some important roles—the cell phone at the concert was a big deal—but he never really got fleshed out beyond being the perverted, womanizing friend. That doesn’t really change in this episode. At best, his role is simply love rival.

While it may not sound like a particularly exciting episode, it is surprising how fast it goes by, and the mundane happenings of the episode are completely shaken off of their foundations by the episode’s conclusion. No spoilers will be mentioned here, but it is not an ending that would be expected, and it is totally at odds with the tone of the rest of the episode. In short, it was really well done.

A Christian Perspective:

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

(Luke 12: 16-21)

To clarify before I begin: money and the storage of possessions have nothing to do with this episode. The point I want to make here actually rests in the fact that, in this parable, the man is suddenly faced with his own mortality: his life is to be demanded from him the very night he thought he could beginno taking it easy.

As I mentioned in the review, the ending of this episode comes out of nowhere. There are little glimmers of hope, especially prior to the ending scenes, that Kousei may finally be growing as a person again, only to have the hopeful atmosphere obliterated in one scene. To be fair, it is unclear whether anyone actually dies at this point (well, something definitely dies, but we’re left wondering about the person). It harkens back to this parable that Jesus told because no one saw it coming—not the characters, and not the viewers (at least, not this viewer). Everything was business as usual and then in one moment everything changed. That’s how life is, and it’s easy to forget that. We tend to get caught up in the comfort and the predictability of the day-to-day, not giving much thought to our own mortality until we’re slammed in the fact with her, either by something that happens to us or by something that happens to someone close to us. Then we think about it. I’m guilty, and I’m sure all of you reading this have been guilty at some point in time. This isn’t meant to condemn, just to draw a lesson that I think we can all relate to.

How can we escape this trap? That’s one I don’t have the answer to. I imagine the textbook answer would be to fix our eyes on Jesus and fill our minds with Scriptures talking about our eternity, but sometimes simply giving the textbook answer isn’t enough. How many people miss out on the gift of eternal life because they don’t want to think about the unpleasantness of their mortality? Or worse, how many of us miss out on opportunities to tell our friends about Jesus because we don’t want to think of the unpleasantness of them refusing to accept Him and ending up in hell? Everything can change in a moment, in a second, and I fear I’m just another hypocrite sitting here, saying that we must do something, with no clue what to do himself.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*rn”, 1 “sc**w you”, 1 “smart***”, 1 “p***ed”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Tsubaki kicks Kousei in the knee

Blood/Gore: Kousei is shown with blood on his hands

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 19: Goodbye, Hero

Review:

This is quite possibly the most emotional episode of Your Lie In April yet. As time inevitably progresses on, Kousei’s classmates ultimately take their mock entrance exams for high school, with one primary character scoring unexpectedly well on her exam. At the same time, Kousei is preparing for his own entrance exam by practicing for his upcoming piano contest, while also taking time to visit Kaori in the hospital. Interspersed through the episode (and especially during one particular visit to the hospital) are flashbacks to Kaori sitting in a doctor’s office, giving a speech of sorts about why she doesn’t want to give up, but instead wants to try everything she can, even if it only grants her a little bit of a longer life. It is one of several scenes that can make a grown man choke up in this episode.

In terms of male/female relationships, Tsubaki and Kousei also share a moment this time around, which involves Tsubaki taking food to Kousei and cutting his hair. It’s not really the most impactful moment of the episode, but it has its amusing points, particularly when Tsubaki first walks into Kousei’s room. The end of the episode focuses on Kousei’s relationship with his two “rivals”, as they all sit down and share Kousei’s egg sandwiches before Takeshi’s performance. It’s a bitter sweet scene to think about, because it really shows friendships that could have been. While the three are rivals (or at least, Emi and Takeshi see Kousei as a rival), there doesn’t appear to be any animosity between them, and it certainly seems that Emi has a crush on Kousei based on past episodes(this reviewer would still like an Emi/Kousei angle), so the potential for friendship is there. Sadly, Emi and Takeshi did not receive the type of screen time that I personally would have liked to have seen.

With all that said, it still doesn’t diminish the power of Takeshi’s performance, or the emotions and feelings that he is expressing while playing. This whole series of scenes is powerful and emotional in its own right, but the real clincher is when Takeshi “moves on”, for lack of a better term. Perhaps it’s because we all eventually reach a point in our lives where we have to move on from dreams or notions we once had that this scene feels particularly impactful. In the end, it is certainly clear that the story is beginning to wrap up. The series is only slated to run for twenty-two episodes, and we are beginning to see character stories wrap up. The big question now is whether the ending will be favorable to our favorite characters.

A Christian Perspective:

Off-hand I don’t know of a particular verse for this, but I think a common element that comes up in Christianity is the fact that we may (and most likely will) have to give up some thing(s) as a result of following Jesus. Maybe it’s because these things were harmful to us, maybe they just distracted us to much from Jesus, or maybe they simply weren’t what God wanted for us, but they have to go. We are supposed to relinquish anything, and if I may be so transparent that is a concept that I still haven’t quite grasped myself, especially when I see people who are far better Christians than I still maintaining their hobbies and interests while effectively and powerfully serving Christ. Anyway, continuing down this path would take me off the point of this perspective, so allow me to put it back on point.

One thing that many Christians have probably had to sacrifice is personal dreams. Let’s face it, we’ve all had dreams in our lives of doing some great thing—at least, by our definition it was great. Whether we’ve allowed those to fall to the wayside or whether we’ve poured out blood, sweat, and tears into them, they meant something to us at some point. The problem is, our dreams aren’t always God’s dreams, and that means they may have to go. After all, if we are too fixed on trying to accomplish our own goals then we may very well let God’s will and desires fall to the wayside, which is not the way things are supposed to be for Christians. It can be hard and painful beyond compare, but sometimes that’s the cost.

In this episode, we see Takeshi finally moving on from a sort of different dream. As we know, Takeshi had looked up to Kousei as some sort of super hero when they were kids, and it would appear that this somehow stunted Takeshi’s growth as a pianist. Perhaps it was Kousei’s abandonment of the piano followed by his less-than-stellar return—I’m not entirely sure what, exactly, injured Takeshi’s progress, but it is clear that in this episode he has finally found his return to his craft and at the same time has bidden adieu to his dream of Kousei as a hero. This scene, along with the closing scene of the episode, will truly tug at the heartstrings.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “h*ll”, 5 “d*rn”, 1 “d***it”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A kid is hit in the face with something gray; a young Takeshi is shown kicking a kid

Blood/Gore: A cartoon bear is shown with blood on its claws

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 18: Hearts Come Together

Review:

As with a lot of the recital episodes, a decent chunk of screen time is devoted to scenes of piano playing this time around. Kousei and Nagi take the stage together, with both of them playing the piano at the same time. As the performance goes on, Kousei begins to really step up his game, which challenges Nagi to keep step or be outperformed, while a third party listens in the whole time. By the end of it, the two have given a performance that Nagi seems to have never imagined, Kousei has a new challenge laid at his feet, and another character has again found inspiration.

There is, of course, a lot of introspection in this episode as both Kousei and Nagi spend a lot of time inside their heads, particularly as Kousei begins to pick up the pace, which challenges Nagi to step up her game, as well. As you may have caught at the end of the previous episode, Kaori is listening in on the performance via Watari’s phone, and even she is moved by what she is hearing. What you ultimately have, then, is three characters who are benefiting from this performance: Kousei, who is pouring out whatever he is feeling into the pianio; Nagi, who is being challenged to grow and play beyond what she thought she could; and Kaori, who is having her passion reignited. They aren’t the only ones, though, as Takeshi also finds himself being challenged while sitting in the audience.

Perhaps one of this episode’s most amusing moments is when Kousei finally discovers that Takeshi is Nagi’s brother. Or, perhaps it’s when Takeshi challenges Kousei and runs off like a child. Whatever the case may be, there can be no question that Takeshi has certainly been “fixed” because of the performance, as evidenced by Nagi envisioning a young Takeshi running away. Also amusing are the two little girls who begin to beat up Kousei when he visits Kaori at the hospital, though less amusing is the abundant use of the word “jacka**” during this particular scene. Maybe the end of this episode was kind of predictable, but it only makes sense that after getting Kousei back to himself the next step should be getting Kaori back to herself. From here, I suspect the show will move into its final arc. I plan to follow it until the end.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Timothy 4:8 – For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Okay, so this one may be a bit of a stretch, but we certainly see the results of training in this episode. Sometimes, when we train for something, it can feel futile, because we don’t see the results of things right away. In many cases, it may not be until well down the road that we can look back and see that we are only where we are because of the training we did. In the case of this episode, all of Nagi’s training doesn’t really pay off until the moment she and Kousei are on the stage, and then it makes all the difference, as she is able to keep pace with Kousei no matter what he throws at her during the performance. The same can be said about life. Perhaps we spend time every day praying and reading the Bible (well, we should, anyway), and perhaps it doesn’t feel like we’re really accomplishing much. Sure, we’re learning, and we’re seeing things we need to work on, but we are unable to see the bigger picture. If we press on, though, then we may discover down the road—maybe months or even years later—that there was some bigger purpose. Who knows what God will do with us except for God, after all? And even if we don’t end up doing something “big” as a result of all that time, we should eventually mature to the point that we realize that spending time with God is purpose enough for doing these things.

This admittedly turned into a bit of a rambling section, but the main point is to not be discouraged in whatever you’re training for—whether to be a missionary, a pastor, or just a Christian in general. It’s advice that I am ill-equipped to give and need to take myself, but the truth is the truth, and Nagi is a great example of what happens when you stick with your training.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”, 1 “h*ll”, 1 “da**it”, 2 “h*ck”, 3 “d**ned”, 7 “jacka**”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Takeshi repeatedly jabs his finger into Kousei’s chest; a little girl pounds on Kousei

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Kousei recites the elohim essaim thing that Kaori uses in earlier episodes

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 17: Twilight

Review:

A word of advice before I begin: Never watch two episodes of a show back to back without reviewing the previous episode first. I currently have a backlog of shows to watch, and at the end of this episode I couldn’t help but watch the next. The problem is that it becomes very easy to forget the events of the previous episode, or at least to the point that doing a decent review becomes difficult without revisiting parts of said episode. Anyway…

While I have praised this aspect of the show in the past, I feel it deserves praise again: Your Lie In April does a great job of balancing multiple character stories without every taking away from the fact that Kousei is the main character. Even Kaori plays more of a supporting role when you consider the fact that the whole show seems to be centered around Kousei’s wounds and scars. In this episode, we have a very brief foray back into Tsubaki’s story along with a considerable chunk of time devoted to Nagi’s story, yet neither of these detract from the overall point. Tsubaki has made a big choice about her future, and while we already know the reason for it, it is further reinforced that Kousei is her reason (of course, she covers up her true intentions).

Nagi’s story is a little more interesting. While we’ve seen her mostly as Kousei’s covert enemy with a bit of a brother complex, we really get to see her in a better light this time around as she struggles with her preparations for the school festival. We’re given insight into her daily life as she relives comments that have been made regarding her upcoming performance. While some seem to be loaded with pressure, others are simply derogatory, either stating that she is just a pretty face or that she is “lolicon bait”. While these things are not nice in and of themselves, it is nice to see some depth given to her character, and yet it all comes back around to Kousei. Her motivation seems to pick up when he asks to participate in the festival, and the two begin working together on a song. Nagi even skips out on spending time with her friends for the sake of practicing with Kousei. Yet, none of this would have happened it if weren’t for Kousei’s growth in this episode. Which brings us around to….

Kousei. In a way, his growth in this episode is more like him coming back to where he had fallen from. While his piano playing hasn’t suffered as a result of Kaori’s condition, his attitude has. Kaori has played a big part in Kousei’s life, and he has all but shut her out of it by the beginning of this episode. In all fairness, it would be wrong to be too hard on him; after all, he is essentially reliving his childhood if the flashbacks to his mom are any indication. The problem is that refusing to face a situation does not make the situation go away, it only creates more hurt feelings, so this was a very positive episode for Kousei and Kaori’s relationship.

In the end, perhaps Your Lie In April is best classified as a show that proves we don’t exist in a bubble. My world is not my own little space where I can do whatever I want without consequence. My actions have consequences not only in my own life, but also in the lives of others. Kousei’s refusal to face reality had certainly put a damper on his friends’ moods and caused them to worry over him, and when he finally recovers from his poor attitude, his new found resolve ends up giving Nagi a strong push to really devote herself to her preparations for the school festival. This all also moves towards a plan that will ultimately help Kaori. The point is, everything Kousei does seems to affect those around him, and we would be wise to learn from that and to consider how our own actions may affect the people closest to us.

A Christian Perspective:

Honestly, that last paragraph would make a great entry for this section, but it will stay where it’s at. For the “official” Christian perspective, let’s take a look at this verse:

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Throughout this episode, we see examples of Kousei’s friends showing love for him. Tsubaki has decided to try for a school that will let her continue to be near Kousei. While this may be a bit of selfish love on her part, it is still love. More powerful examples include Watari’s insistent pursuit of Kousei and Nagi’s intervention. Watari refuses to give up on Kousei, despite the fact that Kousei is doing his best to pretty much cut all ties with Kaori. In that particular scene, Watari shows a much more serious side of himself, admitting that Kousei is really what Kaori needs. When everything is all said and done, Watari even agrees to help Kousei with his upcoming scheme, despite having no clue what the plan even is. Throughout the series, Watari hasn’t exactly been shown to be the deepest character, but in this episode he does shine through as a beacon of support for a friend.

Nagi, though she has declared herself Kousei’s enemy, also shows compassion for him in this episode. Near the beginning of the episode, she pursues Kousei (admittedly prompted by Seto), sits with him, and talks with him. We can nitpick at this scenario, to be sure, but generally speaking you don’t attempt to console someone you despise, no matter if you were commanded to or not (although that is the kind of love we are called to as Christians, so let’s reflect on that). Seto herself could even be an applied example of the above verse, as she has worked in the background to help Kousei out in this whole situation.

I’m not really sure how to wrap this up. I don’t necessarily have any way to tie this back to some kind of Christian lesson other than to say that we should consider these acts of friendship and ask ourselves how we can do the same for our own friends. Perhaps that’s all that really needs to be said.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*rndest”, 1 “d***it”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Seto hits Kousei n the head with a slipper; Watari grabs Kousei and spins him around, causing him to hit the wall; flashbacks of Kaori kicking and smacking Kousei

Violence: Seto puts Nagi in a headlock; Nagi imagines herself kneeing Kousei in the groin

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Nagi is referred to as lolicon bait; Seto tells Nagi to throw out her non-existant chest; Tsubaki comments that Watari is like a walking hard on

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 16: Two of a Kind

Review:

It’s fairly safe to say that any teasing out about Kaori’s condition is off the table now. While we still don’t know the exact nature of it (or what it’s called), the nature of the disease seems to have been made clear. One thing that the creator of Your Lie In April should be credited for, though, is the fact that these revelations don’t toss the show into a single emotional direction. We certainly see the effect of Kaori’s illness on Kousei—especially when he begins connecting it to what his own mother suffered from—but Kousei is not consumed by this one particular event, and neither are the other characters around him. Even Kaori herself exhibits her usual carefree attitude when she manages to get out of the hospital for a day.

Another noteworthy aspect of this episode is the continued development of Nagi’s character. Nagi receives some screen time without any of the main cast members around, and there is also a nice bit of screen time with Kousei and Nagi together, and while Kousei still seems oblivious to the attempts on his well-being, we the viewer are (sort-of) given an explanation as to why Nagi is trying to do what she is. It is in this segment that we also see, yet again, the deeper effect that Kaori has had on Kousei’s life. This ties into the point made in the previous paragraph: although Kousei’s general attitude is not one of gloom-and-doom despite everything that is happening with Kaori, the show doesn’t abandon the impact that Kaori has had on Kousei, either. Everything in the show seems to tie together in the grander scheme without sacrificing the events of the current scene.

All-in-all, Your Lie In April continues to please with its slow drama interspersed with bits of slapstick comedy. The drama continues to be done right, never seeming to delve into the area of melodrama. It continues to be a highly recommended show for anyone who likes character-driven plots.

A Christian Perspective:

Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

While Kousei may still be ignorant of Nagi’s intentions towards him, we (the viewers) and Seto certainly are not, so whether or not the scenes with Kousei and Nagi would have happened had Kousei been in the loop no one can say. Nevertheless, we can still draw a lesson from this: how we should treat those who are our enemies. In the above Scripture, we see Jesus instructing us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Now, granted, you may not sit down to a hot sweet potato with your enemy if that enemy is ISIS or some other militant extremist group, but the attitude that Kousei shows towards Nagi is a good one for us to imitate. While it’s easy for Kousei to do (being ignorant of the situation as he is), it doesn’t change the fact that he is still sitting with someone who has made herself his enemy and wishes to do him harm. May we be intentional in showing the same kind of love (at least in spirit, if not necessarily in action) towards our enemies.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Kousei is shown being (figuratively) cut in half; Nagi fantasizes about slamming the piano key cover on his fingers and then poking his eyes; Kaori hits Kousei with a book after throwing multiple things at him; Tsubaki picks Kousei up by the lapels; Kaori hits Kousei with a slipper

Blood/Gore: Kaori is shown with blood on her face and hand, and said blood is also dripping onto her sheet music; Kousei is shown laying face down in a pool of blood

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 15: Liar

Review:

Much like a piece of music, Your Lie In April manages to soar between a variety of emotions. Roughly half of this episode is devoted to further exploring Tsubaki’s feelings, giving her the spotlight as her feelings about Kousei (and his decision to leave town and possibly the country) are exposed. This portion of the episode plays out with a sombre and mournful tone, as Tsubaki reflects on herself, her selfishness, and her denial, ultimately losing what little bit she had in terms of romance along the way. In some ways she does seem to make her peace with Kousei, though, so it’s not all bad. Where their relationship will go from here is questionable, but Tsubaki seems to have some kind of peace about her before her segment of the episode concludes.

From here, the focus shifts back to Kousei again. Whether we consider this a shift in the tone of the music or a completely new piece can be debated, but whatever the case we pick up with Kousei and his feelings for Kaori again. He is shown to be in conflict about whether or not to visit Kaori in the hospital, and while this is initially presented in a humorous light (such as his excuse of seeing a black cat and a crow being a bad omen), there also seems to be something more serious about it, as well. Maybe it’s just that he doesn’t like hospitals because of what happened with his mother. Whatever the case, Your Lie In April continues its saga of confused adolescents dealing with problems that are beyond their years, and this episode does not end its segment on a very positive note.

A Christian Perspective:

Acts 1: 9-11 – After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

In this episode, Tsubaki admits to herself that she failed to acknowledge her feelings for Kousei because she wanted things to stay the same forever. Rather than face the truth, she continued to deny it to herself, and ultimately stood still while the world moved around her. This reminded me of the scene described in Acts 1, where Jesus was taken up into heaven, while the disciples continued to stare into the sky after Him. Rather than go on about their business (or their Master’s business, rather), they stood staring. Perhaps they expected Him to come back down. Perhaps they were thinking, “What now?”. Whatever the case, it took an external force (the two men) to get them moving again. The same is the case with Tsubaki. She never acknowledged the truth until external circumstances forced her hand, and she could no longer deny the truth. The difference here is that everything ultimately worked out in the disciples’ favor, while Tsubaki’s fate is very questionable.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “cr*p”, 1 “fre*kin”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Tsubaki seems to stomp on Kousei’s foot; a character kicks over a trash/recycling can; Kousei is hit in the head with a water balloon and a rock

Blood/Gore: A still shot shows Kousei’s hand with blood on it

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 14: Footsteps

Review:

This episode picks up right where the previous episode left off, with Kaori in the hospital and our three childhood friends finding out. Despite what you may think, though, this doesn’t really constitute the focus of this episode. There is certainly some time spent on the subject of Kousei’s feelings about Kaori being in the hospital: his reflections on his mother’s illness and their effect on him in the current situation, as well as questions that he asks himself but can’t bring himself to ask Kaori are certainly brought up in this episode, and will probably play a role later on down the road. The spotlight in this episode really belongs to—or is at least shared with—Tsubaki.

As we have already been made privy to, Tsubaki is in love with Kousei, but is in denial of that fact. We see this explored more deeply in this episode, but the nice thing is that we get to see it from Tsubaki’s perspective. Instead of the story focusing solely on Kousei and just letting us find out about these kind of details from Kousei’s perspective, we actually get to see the story behind all of it. Undoubtedly this also helps to stretch out the plot along with increasing the tension of the Kaori situation, but it also adds another level of realism to the story. The fact of the matter is that the world doesn’t get put on hold while people deal with their problems—the people around them also have their own problems to deal with, and we get to see that in this instance.

With all of that said, things don’t exactly seem to be moving in an overtly positive direction for our characters. While it’s true that Kousei actually comes to an important decision in this episode, the situation with Kaori is still very much real. Then there is the fact that Tsubaki is still wrestling with her own emotions, and Kousei’s decision ultimately makes that situation even worse. So, in a nutshell, things are bound to get worse until they get better. Thankfully, the writers make you want to care about these characters, which makes you want to stick around to see what happens.

A Christian Perspective:

2 Corinthians 6:2 – For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

While the verse above is clearly about salvation, I want to look at it more from a general standpoint of don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today. It is certainly a concept that can be garnered from this Scripture, I think. The application in this episode is that Tsubaki has known Kousei all of her life, and has suppressed her feelings for a long time. Now that she is being forced to confront those feelings—and maybe even beginning to admit them—she has to face the possibility of not being able to do anything about it. What she has always assumed would be there now has the possibility of no longer being there.

In the same way, we can do the same thing with salvation. We can put it off, telling ourselves that there will always be more time to think about it or consider it, but as the Scripture says “now is the day of salvation”. It’s easy to say we’ll do something tomorrow, but at the end of the day we are not guaranteed to be here tomorrow, and so we would be wise to not put off anything—and salvation most of all—at all costs.

Content Guide:

Language: 3 “h*ck”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 13: Love’s Sorrow

Review:

As the saying goes, there are three sides to every store: his side, her side, and the truth. With this episode of Your Lie In April, we get to see the truth behind Kousei’s mom’s actions whereas up until this point we have only seen Kousei’s point of view. Granted, the situation was still dark and deplorable, regardless of her reasoning, but it helps to know that there was more to the story than a mother who was simply abusive, and I’m sure we can all relate to having the right intentions but the wrong implementation.

Much like the other episodes where the real-time events involved piano playing, this episode spends its time between the real-time events and flashbacks, focusing on the emotional states of its characters. Kousei’s transformation from the kid who plays by the rules and follows the score to a “T” to a character who allows his emotions flow into his playing continues in this episode as he stuns the audience by taking the stage at a violin gala despite missing his violinist.

Throughout the episode, we see Kousei’s internal struggle—and ultimate reconciliation—with his mother struggles. We also get to see inside some of the other characters, as well, and Seto in particular. It certainly keeps the episode more interesting (not to mention deeper) to see how these events have affected the people around Kousei and to see the reactions from other characters to Kousei’s changes. Your Lie In April continues to be an intriguing show, as it’s pacing remains slow while its character development powers on. In other words, not a lot happens as far as progression of time goes, yet within this time the characters sometimes grow considerably, as evidenced by Kousei ultimately finding peace with his greatest inner demon. It really is a well done show, and well worth your time even if you don’t typically like this genre of anime.

Oh, and we find out what’s up with Kaori at the end. So there’s that, too.

A Christian Perspective:

After making his peace with his mother and finishing his set, Kousei makes a comment to Seto about his mom being a part of him or being within him. While I don’t have a direct quote, you will certainly recognize it when you see it (or if you’ve watched the episode, you should know to what I’m referring). My point in bringing this up is that it reminded me how we are to be with Christ. Interestingly, I couldn’t find a verse that stated exactly what I was trying to say, but this reminded me of the idea that Christ dwells within us. The closest verses I could find stated that the “love of Christ” may dwell within us, and of course there is that great verse that tells us greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. The point is, though, that Kousei’s proclamation that his mother is within him drew parallels in my mind to the idea that Christ dwells within us. The difference, of course, is that the souls of our departed loved ones don’t actually live in us outside of memories and influences. Christ, on the other hand, is actually with us.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “p***ed”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None