Kousei plays for all of the people who have helped him in his life. His imaginings(or Key magic, not sure) predict Kaori’s fate. In spring, he learns of her lie in April.
Man, this was melodramatic as all hell. Granted, with this being the final episode, it’s a bit more excusable to have such theatrics than normally. Kousei was always sure that Kaori would not survive the surgery, but it didn’t make the weird dream sequence any less weird. It also seemed to take a lot away from his revelation to have Kaori once again come into clear focus. At the beginning of the episode, it seemed like he finally realized that his friends were always there for him, and that the people in his life still matter in the ways the touched and continue to touch his life. Then, suddenly Kaori butts her head in and dominates the show once again. Not only is their duet made in the most overwhelming fashion, she has to die by literally having her soul shoot out of her like she’s the final boss of an RPG or something. I suppose it’s because I’d been feeling the inevitability of Kaori’s death since near the beginning of the show, but it just did not impact me as much as I imagine fans of this show would be.
Following this up, we find out that the lie in April was a super dumb lie. Apparently, Kaori really did love him the whole time, and was lying about Watari. This entire sequence was just baffling and screamed of trying for a starcrossed lovers kind of angle. Since Kousei ended up falling in love with her anyway, why would it have been worse if she actually reciprocated that love? Tsubaki realized it, Watari realized it, so the entire idea that she lied about who she truly loved to spare Tsubaki’s feelings is absolutely nonsense. It’s such melodramatic drivel that I had to quiet myself from just shouting “Really?” over and over again. Apparently Kousei being a total dits is like an aphrodesiac since apparently two girls fall in love with him just for that. It shows just how much of a teen romance story this is that she sees him once and is like I WILL LOVE HIM FOREVER. I’m glad that Kaori realized that the Kousei in her head was different from the real Kousei once she met him, and that she still loved him despite his own deficiencies. That still doesn’t completely excuse her crappy behavior, no matter how much it was satisfying to hear her admit she’s a brat. I understand that dying causes serious trauma, but she took it to a level that was abusive to a person who already struggled with abuse. It just didn’t feel right that Kousei had to suffer like this, and then never even got to experience the romance that they both wanted. I guess the one good thing about the letter is that it finally hit Kousei over the head about the idea of Tsubaki being in love with him. Considering even in the following spring Tsubaki is still acting like a total spaz, maybe that was meant to finally be the push to have him move on after her death.
One might remember that I came into this show with all the enthusiasm in the world. Romance? Musicians? A beautiful art style? This show seemed focus tested for me. Just goes to show that the best premise amounts to absolutely nothing without the proper narrative chops to make a satisfying story. Quickly we saw that Your Lie In April was not the coming of age tale I wanted it to be. It celebrated abuse in a way that was incredibly disturbing, and never walked back from its completely backwards stances. At first, I was willing to forgive it, as it seemed its own characters did not know of the damage they were doing to Kousei. It was only later on when it became clearly abusive that I realized it for the problem it was. The icing on the cake was how the story then continued to try and redeem Kousei’s monster of a mother by painting her as some tragic figure who had to abuse Kousei so he would be able to support himself, like she had no choice in the matter. And this was only the beginning of April‘s problems.
Its characters started out a little rough, but the problem was they never got any better. Kousei started out a complete sad sack who couldn’t stand up for himself. By the end of the show, it seemed he learned all the wrong lessons about how to stand up for himself. He became incredibly selfish, and especially in the musical space he abused his position as a respected artist to pull ridiculous stunts. Kaori started out as a bossy punk and never really escaped that shallow personality. Time and time again Kousei would muse on her terrible personality and time and time again I would be in exasperated agreement. I was also always confused by Watari. Now that the ending was revealed, his presence seems solely to be this love interest that generates Kousei and Kaori’s star crossed behavior and nothing else. He doesn’t really add to Kousei’s development the way Tsubaki or hell even Nagi do, and his interactions with Kaori are always about shallow gossip. He’s a stark contrast to Tsubaki, who almost amounts to an incredibly important character in this story. Once again, the biggest reason why Tsubaki acts like such a spaz is because she knows Kousei likes Kaori, so the whole “I didn’t want to get in Tsubaki’s way” bit that Kaori talked about was a total failure. I could go on and on about how many of these characters are hamstrung in some manner or another by the bad narrative structure of this story, but suffice to say, it was enough to sour the experience by the halfway point.
Your Lie In April is something I wish I never watched. I didn’t gain much genuine enjoyment out of it. It doesn’t hit those musical highs nearly as well as Nodame Cantabile did, nor did its romance have nearly as much depth as Nodame Cantabile did by its first season finale. I think I was so desperately wanting April to be something I knew it wasn’t that I couldn’t let it go. I wanted it to have a genuine narrative, I got a melodramatic disappointment. I wanted complex characters, I got archetypes. I wanted a romance, I got the kind of unsatisfying tale worthy of Romeo and Juliet. One of these days anime will give me another romance to swoon over. For now, I’m going to just keep reading Nozaki-kun.