Your Lie in April 1 (Shigatsu wa kimi no Uso) (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 6-Jul-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-x 1
More…-Textless Opening Song
More…-Textless Closing Song
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 251:37
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Takehiko Shinjo
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Natsuki Hanae / Max Mittelman
Risa Taneda / Erica Lindbeck
Ayane Sakura / Erica Mendez
Ayane Sakura / Erica Mendez
Saori Hayami / Erika Harlacher
Yuuki Kaji / Erik Scott Kimerer


Case ?
RPI ? Music Masaru Yokoyama


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
Japanese Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Until he was 11 years old Kousei (voiced by Natsuki Hanae / Max Mittelman) was a child prodigy at the piano; driven by his demanding and sometimes abusive mother he won countless contests and trophies by being meticulously precise and accurate to the musical score as written, earning himself the tag of the “human metronome”. But when his mother died Kousei could no longer hear the notes he played so he stopped playing and withdrew into himself. Now 14, he attends Sumiya Junior High School with his childhood friends, tomboy Tsubaki (Ayane Sakura / Erica Mendez) and Watari (Ryota Ohsaka / Kyle McCarley), captain of the football team. Kousei’s life changes when he is introduced by Tsubaki to her classmate Kaori (Risa Taneda / Erica Lindbeck), who is also one of Watari’s many girlfriends. Kaori is pretty, vivacious, independent, aggressive and sweet by turns; she is also a consummate violinist putting her own personality and emotion into the classical music she plays in a way Kousei does not understand. Nevertheless, Kaori takes it upon herself to force Kousei to confront his demons and to return to playing music. But will it be the same Kousei that emerges?

     Based on the manga by Naoshi Arakawa, Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa kimi no uso) is a different slant on the early teen experience of growing up and finding yourself. The themes are not all that different to many such anime and manga, parental expectations, friendship, love, insecurity, jealousy, and a person being dragged from their hang-ups by someone with a very different perspective on life. But in Your Lie in April these themes are played out through music; specifically how music informs the personality while personality informs the music. This might seem a little dry yet Your Lie in April is anything but due to the small number of characters, intelligent writing and the beautiful music.

     There are only four main characters which allows each to be individualised and rounded. Kousei is the focus but in reality his story arc is the most straightforward; the “human metronome” whose playing is precise, unvaried and emotionless, facets drummed into him from a young age by his mother so he becomes unable to perform after she dies, is both dumfounded and stunned by the passion and emotion Kaori brings to her music, and her life. Will he be able to respond and put his mother’s influence behind him? Watari is also fairly straightforward; he may be the football jock and girl magnet but he is not as unimaginative as he sometimes seems.

    The female characters Tsubaki and Kaori are far more complex. Tsubaki is a tomboy and childhood friend whose feelings for Kousei are both as a bigger sister and as a possible love interest; she knows she cannot connect with Kousei through music and is jealous of Kaori but in any case she cares for Kousei very much. Kaori is a fascinating creation; beautiful, quick witted, certain about herself, vivacious, short-tempered and determined although she is still a young girl who can get very excited about food. Why she is so determined to force Kousei out of his shell into playing again is unclear, although we know that she has a serious health issue and refers on more than one occasion to wanting to be remembered, which may be connected. A couple of other characters introduced later into the anime, Emi and Takeshi (Saori Hayami / Erika Harlacher, Yuuki Kaji / Erik Scott Kimerer are rivals to Kousei whose careers have been a response to him in different ways.

     Your Lie in April develops its themes with economy and humour and with a sensitivity which is engaging and sometimes emotional, only occasionally verging on the sentimental. The music helps of course. The score by Masaru Yokoyama utilises piano themes which can be quite haunting while the classical performance numbers for violin or piano which sometimes spill through complete episodes are exhilarating.

     Twenty two episodes of Your Lie in April have been aired on Japanese TV. This Blu-ray release contains the first 11 episodes on two discs.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Your Lie in April is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a beautiful anime. There are quite a few sections with static characters but the lines are always firm. However, the backgrounds are stunning with pastel like watercolour images featuring the pink drifting cherry blossoms, the yellow and red sky and the greens of the trees. Colours are also used as contrasts: much of Kousei’s musical world imparted by his mother is monochrome until he meets Kaori who imparts colour to his existence in more ways than one while Emi’s red dress in her performance is bright, deep and vibrant standing out stunningly against the darkened auditorium. Blacks are firm and shadow detail is fine. I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     The English subtitles are in American English in a clear white font. The subtitles are not burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so they can be removed for Japanese speakers. I noticed no errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is a choice of the original Japanese or an English dub, both LPCM 2.0 48 / 24.

     Both tracks were surround encoded and were quite enveloping with music, voices, audience noises, rain and general ambience in the rears. The dialogue was clear. I did listen to a couple of episodes in English and there is nothing wrong with this dub but I still do prefer the original Japanese voice acting.

     The score by Masaru Yokoyama is haunting in places but the highlight is the frequent inclusion of classical music, including Chopin and Beethoven.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are on disc 1.

Commentary – Episode 1

     US ADR director Patrick Seitz and Erica Lindbeck, Erica Mendez, Kyle McCarthy and Max Mittelman) (the voices of Kaori, Tsubaki, Watari and Kousei) chat and laugh but they also discuss the music, the animation style, their exposure to the original anime and voice recording. Reasonably interesting.

Textless Opening Song (1:31)

     The opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song (1:31)

     The closing song without the credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our release is identical to the Region A US Blu-ray including the FBI anti-piracy warning.

Summary

     Your Lie in April is not an anime for those who demand action or violence. However, it is a complex, intelligent, gentle, amusing and sweet anime about friendship, hang-ups and growing up told through the central character’s relationship with music that draws you in and does not let you go.

     The second part of Your Lie in April has been released by Madman and will be reviewed shortly on this site.

     The video is stunningly beautiful, the audio fine. The extras are minimal but are the same as available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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