Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or Kimiuso) is a popular manga and anime series. The manga was featured in Monthly Shōnen Magazine (Kodansha) from April 2011 to May 2015, and has a total of eleven volumes that were written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa. The twenty two episode animation aired on the Noitamina block of Fuji TV, and also has an OVA titled “Moments”. A film adaptation is also planned for September 2016.
The story follows piano prodigy Kousei Arima (voiced by Natsuki Hanae with piano performances by Tomoki Sakata), a dominant pianist who was unbeatable in competitions and recitals since he was a child. The music he played was an exact replication of the original, earning him excellent scores in recitals, nicknames like robot and slave, as well as a rather negative reputation amongst others. Following the death of his mother (Saki Arima, voiced by Mamiko Noto), who was also his instructor, Kousei became incapable of hearing his own music. His breakdown and struggles against the issues he experienced with his mother drew him away from the piano. Kousei was considered to be a fallen hero by some of his competitors, but all of this began to change the date he met Kaori Miyazono.
Kaori (Kawori) Miyazono (voiced by Risa Taneda with violin performances by Yuna Shinohara), commonly referred as Kao-chan, is a talented and passionate violinist who was inspired by Kousei’s performances. Due to an unnamed disease, her body and strength deteriorated at a rapid pace, leaving her without much time to live. Despite the situation she was placed in, she made the most of her time, and made her dream of having Kousei as her accompanist a reality. Kaori and Kousei were first officially introduced to each other when Tsubaki had set up Kaori with Watari, who she claimed to have a crush on. The relationship between Kaori and Kousei started off as a bumpy one, and Kousei was referred to as “Friend A” and a replacement for Watari in the beginning.
Tsubaki Sawabe (voiced by Ayane Sakura) was the one who unknowingly brought Kaori and Kousei together. Tsubaki is a member of the softball club, and often hit balls so far that they break the windows of the music room, sometimes even hitting Kousei inside. She is often together with Nao Kashiwagi (voiced by Shizuka Ishigami), who is a fan of boys love (BL) and offers romantic advice based on what she learned from her hobby. As Kousei’s neighbor next door and childhood companion, Tsubaki spent her entire childhood with him. She tried her best to assist him with his personal issues following the death of his mother. After seeing the developing relationship between Kousei and Kaori, Tsubaki began to accept the fact that she has feelings for him, and later on directly confesses to him.
Like Tsubaki, Ryota Watari (voiced by Ryota Osaka) is also a childhood friend of Kousei. Unlike Kousei, Watari is athletic, expressive, and extremely confident. He is the captain of the soccer team, and is very popular with girls. While he does like Kaori, his reputation as a playboy makes the audience doubt whether or not he was serious. Despite his image, he offers Kousei plenty of useful advice throughout the story. Watari even encourages Kousei to become his rival in earning Kaori’s heart.
As the story progresses, Kousei and Kaori spend more and more time together in the music room, on shopping trips, at dessert shops, and also at the hospital. With the help of Kaori, Kousei gradually finds a reason to play the piano again, and gains the confidence to face his issues with his mother. He also discovers that his music does not need to be a replication, and that he is free to play as his heart desires. Kaori performed so that her audience would remember her even after she was gone, and Kousei performed for Kaori, who served as his inspiration and brought color back into his world. When it seemed like the two was on their way to a positive relationship, Kaori’s condition worsened, and she became hospitalized after losing the ability to move her muscles effectively. Being incapable of even holding her bow, she was forced to miss the gala concert, leaving Kousei alone in Towa Hall to perform on her behalf. Even in her final days, she continued to encourage Kousei, and urged him to practice and pursue a future in music.
Of course, Kousei gave back as much as he had received from those around him. His musical talent challenged and motivated his rivals Takeshi Aiza (voiced by Yuki Kaji) and Emi Igawa (voiced by Saori Hayami), who also became highly skilled pianists after losing to him for years. Kousei affected Hiroko Seto (voiced by Mie Sonozaki), a famous pianist who took care of him after the passing of his mother, and also helped Nagi Aiza (voiced by Mamiko Noto) - younger sister of Takeshi - in her efforts to become a better pianist. Kousei also encouraged Kaori to never give up. By inviting the bedridden Kaori to play the violin with him again, Kousei gave her the motivation she needed to fight her disease.
After countless emotional conversations, packages of caneles, and moments spent together with Kousei at the hospital, Kaori underwent surgery on February 18, the same day as Kousei’s piano competition. As Kousei played, he was able to feel Kaori’s impact one last time, watching as she faded away into his memories. Kaori never woke up from her surgery, and at her funeral, her parents Yoshiyuki and Ryoko gave Kousei her final message to him. The person she truly loved wasn’t Watari.
“Was I able to live inside someone’s heart? Was I able to live inside your heart? Do you think you’ll remember me at least a little? You’d better not hit the ‘reset’ button! Don’t forget me, okay? That’s a promise! I'm glad I chose you, after all. Will I reach you? I really hope I can reach you.”
The touching story and beautiful classical music featured in the series made it very popular among fans. In addition to the anime and manga, a variety of soundtracks and other merchandise like figures - often focused on Kaori Miyazono - is also available. Not only are the openings and endings like Kirameki, Orange, Hikaru Nara, and Nanairo Symphony featured in special CDs, piano and violin performances are also available. In September 2016, the series will receive a film adaptation that features Kento Yamazaki and Suzu Hirose.