Your Lie In April series is a Japanese manga and anime series set around the musical-drama theme. The musical-drama genre is a little-known genre in the manga industry; however, Your Lie In April is one of the most popular series in this category and the overall manga industry.
The series focuses on the lives of two instrumentalists, Kousei Arima, and Kaori Miyazono. Kousei is a child prodigy pianist who, due to a certain childhood incident, loses the ability to hear his piano vocals, even though his hearing is perfect otherwise. Kaori is a free-spirited girl and plays the violin. Her playing style reflects her frantic personality.
Your Lie in April manga series was written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa in the spring of 2011. The series was published by Kodansha in its Monthly Shonen Magazine. Arakawa started the series as a one-shot comic to enter into a competition. It was later adapted into an anime series in the autumn of 2014.
The anime adaptation of Your Lie In April was digitalized by A1 pictures and directed by Kyohei Ishiguro. The series has a total of 22 episodes, 1 OVA, and 1 live-action film. A1 pictures were also responsible for the animation of popular anime such as Kaguya-sama: Love is War and Fairy Tail.
The manga series received mixed reviews on its release but became popular among the fans quickly. It won the award for Best Shonen Manga in the 37th Kodansha Manga Awards and also was one of the best manga at Comic-Con International 2016. The anime version was highly praised for its soundtrack and storyline.
Your Lie In April Storyline
Kousei Arima is a fourteen-year-old piano prodigy who has won several competitions. But things start to go downfall when his mother dies. He loses the ability to hear the sounds of his piano, his hearing abilities being intact.
Two years have passed, and Kousei has not touched the piano and shares most of his time with his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryota Watari. Kousei meets a lively girl named Kaori, who is a violinist, and they soon become good friends.
Kaori helps Kousei to return to the world of music and motivates him to play with her. In the process, Kousei realizes that he has fallen in love with Kaori but later finds out that Kaori is in love with his friend, Ryota Watari. It was later revealed to be a lie, and she was, in turn, in love with Kousei.
The story continues, and one day, Kaori collapses during one of her performances. It is revealed that she is anemic and has to undergo risky surgery for her treatment. Kousei encourages her through one of his performances to go for the surgery, and she gets ready for it.
Unfortunately, the treatment went unsuccessful, and Kaori died in the process. Kousei sees Kaori’s spirit accompanying him during his performance and realizes she has died during the surgery.
The Japanese title of the series “Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso” can be linked to Kaori as “Shigatsu” means “April,” and Kousei always said in reference to Kaori as “She exists inside Spring.” The other reference that can be extracted is the word in the English title “lie.”
2. Reference to spring
Your Lie In April was first released in the spring of 2011 and had other references to the spring season. Despite the fact that it was published in the spring season, spring has also been used to describe and symbolize Kaori throughout the show.
3. The Kimi Uso Effect
After the airing of Your Lie In April, several phenomena occurred across Japan. These phenomena are dubbed as “Kimi Uso Effect” by the anime’s director due to the show being the cause of people’s actions.
One of the phenomena was an increase in the sale of “Canele” all around Japan when the 21st episode aired. Canele was the favorite treat of Kaori Miyazono. It was speculated that the fans wanted to show support for their favorite character, who was undergoing surgery at that time.
Another Your Lie In April fact that was related to a phenomenon was one of Chopin’s ballads rose to the top of the musical charts in Japan when its 22nd episode aired.
4. Human metronome
Kousei has been represented as a child piano prodigy who mastered the art of piano at the mere age of 14. His excellence in the field has been able to grant him the title of “Human Metronome.” He was granted the title for his mechanical accuracy and ability to control the rhythms precisely.
5. Link with death
Your Lie In April is, without a doubt, one of the most heartsick anime out in the industry. The reason for that is its link to “death.” A saddening Your Lie In April fact, death has been a constant appearance in the anime, and the major twists in the story are caused due to the demise of characters.
Kousei, after the death of his mother cum master, lost the ability to hear the piano vocals and also made his distance with music. He was somehow able to regain his interest and overcome this childhood trauma due to Kaori. But, later in the series, Kaori’s death again was a major setback for him.
6. A musical manga
Arakawa started the series as a one-shot comic to enter into a competition and based it on a musical drama. But due to other musical manga, such as Beck, being based on rock music and Nodame Cantabile, which also fused on a musical theme, Arakawa decided to base his manga on classical music.
Making allowance for his lack of knowledge of classical music, Arakawa interviewed composers and pianists and also read several books on music and instruments. He also photographed pianists and violinists to help him in his description of classical music.
Also read: 44 Musical Anime Shows To Watch
7. Fixation on violin and piano
When Arakawa decided to go with a musical theme manga, he also decided to go with a single instrument. After seeing a female violinist performing, he decided to go with violin.
Arakawa initially wanted a male and a female pianist as the main characters for his manga, but it was difficult to draw them. So, he went with the idea of a violinist and a pianist.
8. An appeal to non-anime watchers
The anime director, Kyohei Ishiguro, wanted Your Lie In April to appeal to people who don’t usually watch anime. To make the series interesting and stirring for the viewers, Ishiguro appointed certain bands for the opening and ending themes of the series. Ishiguro also wanted to provide a beautiful melody to the theme of the series, so he chose a band to perform the theme.
9. Request to stop the broadcast of an episode
A particular scene in the anime adaption where two students are seen sharing the same bicycle was reported to be cut out from the TV release in Japan. According to the report, the parents complained that the children might try and copy this, which can lead to unusual accidents. The episode was reported to the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement, Japan, to stop its broadcasting.
10. Peanuts comic
Fans of the anime Your Lie In April observed in several instances that the main character, Kaori Miyazono, uses certain phrases over the span of the series. The Your Lie in April fact that was later revealed concerning these phrases was that these were picked up from the ‘Peanuts’ comic strips.
11. Homage to Chopin
Your Lie In April is a series based on classical music, so it has tried to give tribute to music masters, one of them being Chopin. Over the series, Chopin’s melodies appear for the most time out of all other artists. A total of 5 melodies of Chopin are included in the anime.
Also read: Best Anime To Watch If You Are A Music Lover
12. Kaori means fragrance
Throughout the series, Kaori is shown as a free-spirited, frantic girl who is a great piano player and is famous among the audience. Her name “Kaori” is translated to “fragrance” in Japanese. She dares to smile and live life to the fullest, even after knowing of her condition and the fact that she might not live for long. Kaori is also referred to and depicted as “spring” in the series.
13. Kaori is a sweet tooth
Kaori being the sweet girl she is, tends to like sweet foods such as cakes and chocolates. It is a common Your Lie In April fact among the fans too. When Kousei gives her cheesecake in one of the episodes, she looks super elevated and loves to munch on the sweet gift.
14. Arima being Kaori’s idol
After the death of Kaori, when Kousei reaches her funeral, he is given a letter by Kaori’s parents. In the letter, he finds out that she has always loved Kousei, and it was her lifetime dream to play with him once on a stage.
Kaori saw Kousei play at a concert when she was five and was inspired to play the violin so that one day she could have a performance with him.
15. Kaori is adaptable to other instruments too
The introduction scene of Kaori showcased her playing a tune on melodica quite sharply. Although this was the only instance that showed her with an instrument other than the violin, however, it is speculated that she is rather adaptable to other instruments too.
The possibility of her knowledge of playing the piano is also in the picture, as the basic principle of melodica is quite similar to that of a piano.
16. Kousei means “composition.”
Arakawa based the characters of his series on music and wanted them to be close to it as much as possible. Hence, he decided for the main protagonist to be named “Kousei” as it meant “composition” in Japanese.
17. Kaori’s hair turns less blonde
Kaori suffers from an incurable disease, and her health deteriorates as the days pass by. It can be noticed in anime as well. As her health declines and she reaches close to her demise, her hair color changes from blonde. Throughout the series, the fans noticed that Kaori’s hair turns less blonde, showcasing her deteriorating health.
18. The author had several plots
Arakawa had decided on several plots when designing the manga. These plots would have reached several conclusions and might have decided several outcomes for the characters too.
Arakawa had devices with a total of 16 plots. A less-known Your Lie In April fact is that for the anime ending, Arakawa was not sure about the same ending as the manga, but the director liked the ending, so Arakawa didn’t change it.
19. Kousei could have died
Among the several endings plotted by Arakawa, one of the endings was to have Kousei die instead of Kaori.
20. Reference to Beethoven
Your Lie In April falls under the classical musical theme, and it includes harmonies of many maestros, being it Chopin or Beethoven. When Kousei is first introduced, he can be seen playing Beethoven.
Beethoven can be a retrospect to Kousei’s childhood as both have been beaten by their parents and are musicians too.
21. Kousei had a rough childhood
Kousei’s mother, Saki, in order to teach her son and make him a brilliant piano player, might have gone a little overboard. She was harsh, strict, and also sometimes abusive towards Kousei, which can be a product of misguided love. As a mother, she feared Kousei being left alone and being hurt, which guided her to take such extreme steps.
While Kousei hated her mother and wished for her to be dead, she was unable to get out of the childhood trauma that she left on him, she later realized she loved him very much, and it was his delusion.
22. Various lies
The title of the anime “Your Lie In April” is a hint at the lies that are spoken in the series and has a huge impact on its story. Throughout the series, there can be two instances to deduce the word “lie.”
One is that Kaori said in the beginning that she likes Watari when in fact, she was in love with Kousei throughout the time. The other instance is when Kaori promises to play again together later. However, she knew that soon she might meet her demise and would not be able to keep the promise. Although, it is unclear which lie the character referred to.
23. Staff filmed a violinist
Ishiguro wanted Kaori’s performance to be as dynamic and detailed as possible. Since it was difficult to do it themselves, as they have close to zero knowledge of it. The staff filmed a violinist as a reference to Kaori’s performance. The animators took the citation from the model to draw out the physical emotions during Kaori’s performance
Rotoscoping is the method that animators use to digitalize a scene. The animators trace over the given live-action scenes to give their drawings more realism and fluidity.
Ishiguro decided to ease the animation phase, and he would draw the parts of Kaori’s performances from top to bottom. This decision of his helped in more dynamic details and also eased the animation process. Another anime that used the method of rotoscoping was Kaguya-sama: Love is War to animate the famous “Chika dance.”
25. Real-life locations
A less known Your Lie In April is that many of the locations in the anime are real-life locations. Arakawa visited several of these locations and consulted with Ishiguro for him to use these locations in the animated adaption.
Towa Hall, in the series, is an impression of a cultural center, and Kaori’s cake shop, which is a hair salon in real life, is some of these locations.
26. Make the editor cry
Arakawa’s main motivation for finishing the mangaka was to make a certain someone cry with the panels. In an interview, Arakawa specifies that he intended to make his editor, Shinichi Aida, cry more than his audience. Later in an interview, Aida revealed that he did indeed cry reading the Your Lie In April.
27. Lots of preproduction
In an interview with Ishiguro, he told that the Your Lie In April anime series was given five times the preproduction time provided to any anime series. He also revealed that most of the time was spent figuring out the musical performances and their depiction through animation.
28. Solo animator episodes
Your Lie In April anime series had one of the most solo animator episodes in anime history. Three episodes of the series were animated by a single animator. This is a very rare occurrence in the anime industry due to the tight schedules and is also the reason behind the anime’s high preproduction time.
Episodes 5, 10, and 12 are the solo key animated episodes.
29. Oda’s link to the series’ success
It is a common occurrence in the Japanese anime industry for authors to give tribute to each other’s works. A similar incident happened when the author of the series “One Piece,” Eiichiro Oda, said that he was indeed jealous of the series and its ability to portray music as a manga series.
Soon after the release of that interview, Your Lie In April’s sales touched the sky, and the publishers had to order reprints of it.
30. Light action movie and novel
The manga series “Your Lie In April” started as a one-shot comic converted into a popular mangaka and then was later adapted into an animation. The series is one of the popular ones and still, after years of its completion, is active among the fans.
In September 2016, a live-action film was released, directed by Yukari Tatsui. Instead of the original story based in a junior high school, the live-action film was set up in a second-year high school.