What is your first impression of classical music? Snobbish, boring, enigmatic, reserved?
A couple of years ago “Nodame Contabile” presented to us a world of classical music that is creative, fun, deeply emotional and passionate.
A couple of years later, Naoshi Arakawa, a Japanese mangaka and the author and artist behind “Your Lie in April”, tries to show us the transformative power of classical music, how it hurts and how it heals, how it isolates and how it connects; how it leads people into deep seas of desperation and depression, and how it lifts them back up to great joy and ecstasy.
With poetic lines and passionate melodies, in “Your Lie in April,” we see, and feel, how classical music reaches into the depths of our hearts, revealing to us the truth of our existence, our fears and our hopes, and urges us, eagerly, to confront them, with the strength of music.
And of course, with anime we would always have love and struggle, music deals with the struggles, so people could reside in love.
Now let us review the six most transformative moments in “Your Lie in April.”
1. When Kousei Arima first met Kaori Miyazono (Episode 1)
This is the scene where Kousei's life changes. His life trajectory of playing the piano was dull, stoic, stressful, and full of hurt. Classical music to him was a mechanical instrument, leading him to numerous prizes as well as deeper into his mother's prison. The piano was his curse, but at the same time, it was also all that he had left.
His life after he stopped playing the piano, a while after his mother's death, was pale and stagnant.
As Tsubaki, Kousei's childhood friend, puts it, his time stopped, that day, on the stage, when he was no longer able to hear the sound of his own piano. He was never able to feel passion in anything since then.
At the moment when he sees Kaori in the park standing on a playground dome, playing the melodica, light and color comes back to his eyes.
The whole world lights up and starts to sparkle with a spectrum of colors of all possibilities and expectations. This girl, the beautiful, energetic, and cheerful girl who plays the melodica and who is actually a violinist, is going to pull Kousei out of the drowning deep seas of darkness, and back to life, with music.
2. Kousei and Kaori's duet at a competition (Episode 4)
Although Kaori's unconventional performance during the first round of her violin contest kept her from winning first place, she was highly adored by the audiences and entered the second round of the contest through audience nomination. She asks, more like coerces, Kousei to be her accompanist.
On stage, they enter the piece, Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, op.28, slowly and steadily.
Soon Kaori goes off trail, interpreting the notes and scores in her own ways, with Kousei closely catching up. As the chemistry between them grow, Kousei falls into the hallucinations of his mother. The notes and sound of his piano starts to slip away into bubbles of silence. He panics and lifts his hands from the piano.
Soon after he stopped playing, Kaori puts down her bow, turns to Kousei, smiles and says, “again.”
And this is all that is needed to pull him back up. Kousei focuses his gaze and mind on Kaori, concentrating on her vigor and life and music. Their music comes back to life. Their notes complement and compete with each other as the chemistry between them expands. The audiences are captured by their passionate performance.
The judges found soloists; Kousei found his piano.
3. Kousei carrying Tsubaki home on his back (Episode 6)
While Kousei's gaze follows Kaori and picks the piano back up, Tsubaki notices a widening distance between her and Kousei.
As much as she wants Kousei to play the piano and move on, she feels that Kousei is embarking on a journey to an unknown world, with Kaori, without her. Tsubaki has always been with Kousei and they are always together. Tsubaki is unable to grasp the true shape of her feelings and is deeply troubled by it.
In the mean time, most of the sports teams of their school are going through the last gaming season, and Tsubaki's softbal team lost their game.
While she is walking home with a teammate, Kousei meets her in the middle of a crossroad. He wraps her swollen ankle with ice-packs and carries her on his back. They walk quietly and slowly back home along the train tracks, chit-chatting about how Tsubaki carried Kousei back home with a sprained ankle when they were little. “Now it's my turn to carry you,” says Kousei, “you don't have to be strong in front of me.”
And Tsubaki starts to cry.
Despite the different worlds and diverse paths towards which they're heading, they are still together, with the trains rushing by, their ankles hurt, crying, and supporting each other.
4. Emi's performance (Episode 8)
When Kousei was still attending competitions and winning prizes as a young piano prodigy, he was the target of admiration and rivalry for most young (more accurately, children) pianists and musicians (including Kaori). Among the mass pool of admirers and competitors, Emi is one of the most fervent. Her obssession with Kousei started when she heard Kousei playing at a concert with emotional devotion and great compassion in his music.
Through his music, she saw a whole different world (of sunflowers and warm summer breeze). And it was at that moment, that she decided to give up everything else and become a pianist: a pianist who is able to create music that would lead listeners to the devotion of becoming a pianist.
However, Emi never heard the music of sunflowers and summer breeze in Kousei's music ever since. To her, the Kousei who is able to play the piano with utter accuracy is not the “real” Kousei. She wants the Kousei with sunflowers back; she wants the Kousei with devoted passion, not the Kousei with meticulous precision.
After Kousei disappeared from the stage, Emi fell into a state of loss.
She was playing well, but not well enough. Her music plateaued. This suffocating state dissolves when Emi hears that Kousei will be attending the competition.
On stage, her music screams with vitality.
She wants Kousei to see her, to hear her, and to know her. She wants to pull him back to the field of sunflowers and summer breeze with her music. Her music comes back to life, with Kousei's—her archenemy, her forever rival—return to the piano.
5. Kousei's piano and his image of Chopin (Episode 10)
Kousei's on stage the second time. Part of his own will and part of Koari's insistence (coercion).
After their ardent performances, Takeshi (another young pianist, male. who is also obsessed with Kousei, and sees him as his hero) and Emi waited for Kousei's appearance on stage with bated breath.
Kousei proceeds through the first few stanzas neatly and accurately.
However, as in his performance with Kaori, the sound of his piano soon leaves him and the deep sea of dark silence engulfs him once again. The notes of his piano becomes the noise of scattered marbles. He sees his mother. He hears his mother's curse. He lifts his fingers off the piano, again.
Sitting quietly in front of the piano, Kousei thinks of Koari. He thinks of why she insisted on playing when she knew that they wouldn't stand a chance in the competition after both of them stopped. He thinks of her smile, her curvy blond her, the sweat rolling down her forehead, and her voice, saying brightly, “again.”
Kousei takes his hands back to the piano. And plays Chopin (Etudes op.25-5). He sets his mind on Kaori, thinking of the hours during which they were practicing. He thinks of the old wooden music classroom where he would play on the grand piano and Kaori would be napping peacefully by the window.
Where flakes of cherry blossom petals would float through broken window panes with the smell of chalk and cheers on the playground. He thinks of Kaori, and feels that, he will be able to play, even when he's all alone, he will be able to play, for her.
This is when Kousei found his music.
6. Kousei and Kaori with fireflies (Episode 11)
After Kousei's performance, Kaori receives an invitation for a gala concert held by the TOWA classical music institute. Kaori arbitrarily decides that they should play Fritz Kreisler's "Love's Sorrow."
One night on their way home after practice, Kaori spots a field of fireflies.
While they are admiring the ethereal beauty of them, Kaori asks Kousei how he feels about the concert. Kousei says that everyone has their own purposes and pursuits for music. For some, music expresses the self; for others, music is a vehicle to show love and adoration.
Kaori then asks, “how about you, Kousei? What is driving you to play the piano?”
“It's because you're here.” Kousei replys.
The official trailer for “Your Lie in April”
And here are the 6 most transformative moments in the past 12 episodes of “Your lie in April.” We walk through them with tears of sadness, joy, and relief.
Now we see Kousei resurfacing from the darkness of silence by the guidance of Koari's brilliant light. When all seem to come back together and everyone seems to be moving on, we noticed that an imminent crisis is approaching, and Kaori is at the center.