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Your Lie in April - Part 2 Collectors Edition [Blu-ray]
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Kousei Arima was a genius pianist until his mothers sudden death took away his ability to play.
Each day was dull for Kousei. But then he meets one violinist by the name of Kaori Miyazono. This care-free, independent and sometimes short-tempered girl had an eccentric playing style that immediately fascinated Kousei. His once monotonous life was about to change forever.
Contains episodes 12-22 with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles, presented in collectors packaging
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This is the animated series that got Japanese audience in tears when it aired. And by that I don't mean just a couple of episodes, but EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. It's not just a story about music, but also love, friendship, family, and everyone around you - and why these things are worth fighting and living for.
The story is unbelievably touching. Don't be put off by the presumption that it's just a shabby teenage love story. (It's not.) Just like 'The Fault in Our Stars,' why must people assume that it can't be deep when it involves teenagers?
You'll cry every single episode. It's that good. You will care for every single character in the story. No particular character is bland and there's a reason for every character to be there. Many of you might wonder how I would compare this one to 'Nodame Cantabile.' Well, to be blunt, this one is WAY better. Nodame is bland (including the musical understanding that's shown in there - so many hermeneutics and music critic-approach of describing music, which I loathe), the love story is shallow, and the leading male protagonist is always presented in a god-like figure with practically no flaws (which drives me nuts since no one is born like that - not even Mendelssohn.) 'Your Lie in April' beats it all in every possible way. The musical understanding is much deeper and focuses more on the emotional level (though I admit some musical cliches are still there). The artwork is much more exquisite and better executed. The love/drama story... that's one of the best I've seen so far. I'm placing it in the same league as 'Your Name.' (And that's way above 'A Silent Voice.')
If you just read the synopsis, it might read like another ordinary Japanese/Korean drama, but there is something about this series that makes it stand out. I think much goes for the narrative. The words that are used are just... perfect - not in the sense of being poetically beautiful (it does have that sometimes though) but more in the sense of being blunt and therefore striking the right chord to your heart. The characters are very relatable and are real (especially in the musical world of competitions and sorts) and this also means they have multiple sides and emotions (I still wish the character of Watari were explored a little bit more though - he seems to be more or less the only one-dimensional character in the series.) Also, the characters are not perfect - as is portrayed in 'Nodame Cantabile' - on the contrary, they are humans, filled with bursting emotions and love and pain (but like I said, I wish Watari were given more role.) This is what makes this anime series so touching throughout. I'm very picky when it comes to music films as being a classical musician myself, I find many of them are too superficial. I've watched Hilary & Jackie, Copying Beethoven, Whiplash, August Rush, Amadeus, Nodame Cantabile, and Your Lie in April and I dare tell you I can only approve (like, giving four stars up) of August Rush, Amadeus, and Your Lie in April. I might even go to the extent that Your Lie in April is my favourite music film/series of all time, if this says anything.
This is the second series in my life I'm definitely going to watch again really soon (the first one being Natsume Yuujinchou.) However, at the same time I must tell you I had serious struggles getting through Part 2, already guessing how it would end. Seriously, I don't want to spoil the ending here but the series had already broken my heart once I got through the first 11 episodes in Part 1 - the only other film to have managed to do that was 'Your Name.'
The music - both the film score and the classical pieces used for the series - are great. They don't exactly compliment the series. Why? Because they form part of the essence of the series itself - and that's as good as a film or a film series can get. The performances are top-notch and you can see loads of work and care were put into this project. I haven't heard the Japanese dub yet (but I'm sure it's great) but you must hear the English dub - it's one of the best out there. Actually, I didn't think any series could surpass Death Note in terms of English dub, but this one probably does - by a tiny bit. I'm usually concerned of the annoying girls' noises that happen a lot in anime (think of Misa Amane in Death Note) but I'm so happy (and relieved) that Your Lie in April has none of that. The girls' voices here are very pleasant to listen to and Kousei's and Kaori's voices in particular are worthy of mentioning.
Still, there are three tiny bits that I think could be improved. First, as I already mentioned twice before, all of the characters are truly dimensional except perhaps for Watari. Second, there are always narratives whenever a person plays the piece. While this is not a big deal for most, just be warned that you're not going to hear full pieces of classical music without any sort of interruption. Third, some musical cliches are there, but they are done in a way that are not at all annoying (unlike Nodame Cantabile.)
Another reviewer from Amazon.com gave this series one star. I think it's due to the fact the it's zone locked and nothing else. (Yeah, totally frustrating, I know, but that's what prompted me to write this review to compensate that one.)
While the series speaks of many things from love and friendship to pursuing your goals and following your dreams and accepting who you are, it ultimately delivers you the message of transcending your fears and being sincere to yourself. The phrase 'give it your all' is used multiple times in the series and I totally agree that the first and foremost duty as a music performer is to pour your heart and soul into what you do. After all, music comes from the mind and the heart and only there does it exist.
All in all, I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Despite some minor bits I found, it is a totally stunning work that's definitely worth watching and rewatching (if you can manage to go through all those tears again and again, that is.) While I gave it 5 stars, on a more detailed scale out of 10, I would give it somewhere around 9.5 (I never give out 10/10). By comparison, 'Your Name' would get pretty much the same score - maybe 0.1 or 0.2 higher due to the stunning visuals (you've got to admit there's nothing like a Shinkai film.) 'Nodame Cantabile' would get about 7.0 while 'Amadeus' would get a 9.0 from me.
I should stop now, but let me encourage you to watch this series even if you have no interest in music. I'm sure 'Your Lie in April' will reach you one way or another.
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