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Manga / Your Lie in April

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"I met the girl under full-bloomed cherry blossoms,
and my fate has begun to change."

"We're all afraid, you get up on stage. Maybe you'll mess up. Maybe they'll totally reject you. Even so, you grit your teeth and get up on stage anyway. Something compels us...moves us to play music."
Kaori Miyazono

Kousei Arima used to be a Child Prodigy at piano. Winning many competitions and earning himself a name in the classical music world, he seemed to have a future that was bright, colorful and full of possibilities. However, after his mother Saki's death, his breakdown at a concert made him stop playing.

Kousei, now in middle school, spends his days living in a monochrome world, having spent two years without playing piano but managing to live every day thanks to his friends, his cheerful neighbor Tsubaki and his best friend Watari.

That is, until Tsubaki introduces him to Kaori Miyazono, a mysterious and beautiful classmate who plays the violin in a way he's never heard before, and that introduces colors into his world again.

Your Lie in April (known in Japanese as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso note  or just simply Kimi Uso note  for short), is a shounen manga written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa, which was serialized in Monthly Shonen Magazine from 2011 to 2015. An anime adaptation started airing in October 2014 produced by A-1 Pictures. It can be watched legally on Crunchyroll.

The manga ran from April 6, 2011 to February 6, 2015. The anime which adapted the entirety of the manga aired from October 2014 to March 2015 at noitaminA programming block.

A prequel manga telling the story from Kousei, Tsubaki, and Kaori's childhood, Your Lie in April: Coda is bundled with the DVD releases of the anime. Similarly, an OVA episode telling the beginning of the childhood rivalry between Kousei, Emi, and Takeshi was released with the last collected volume of the manga on May 17th, 2015.

Aniplex USA confirmed that there would be an English dub for Your Lie in April from Bang Zoom! Entertainment with Patrick Seitz as the ADR Director. It is noted to be the first non-action anime title from Aniplex USA's catalog to get an English dub (as Aniplex USA has historically dubbed only action shows or titles with Urobuchi's name on them).

A live action film was announced and released in 2016, starring Kento Yamazaki (L from the Death Note 2015 drama series) as Kousei and Suzu Hirose (Chihaya from the Chihayafuru 2015 live action film) as Kaori.

A stage play ran in Tokyo and Osaka through Summer 2017.

A stage musical is planned for July 2020 in Tokyo.

See also Naoshi Arakawa's other works Sayonara Football and Farewell, My Dear Cramer.

This series shows examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The piano playing shots rely on CG, especially in order to show the keys and the fingers of the pianist moving in detail since this would not be feasible to hand-draw.
  • Accidental Pervert:
    • When Kousei first sees Kaori playing music with a bunch of children, his first instinct is to take a picture... but the wind made Kaori's skirt blow up, so he accidentally takes a picture of her panties.
    • Kousei and Watari sneak an accidental peek at Kaori receiving a sponge bath when visiting her at the hospital. So does Tsubaki, but naturally only the boys get hit by Tsubaki for it.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Kaori isn't nearly as hotheaded in the live action film, and for pragmatic reasons, the stoic, emotionless Nao is a bit more expressive here.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Tsubaki is shown to have bluish hair on the cover of volume 3 of the manga, while the anime gives her brown hair (in the film, her hair is black). Also, Kousei says his eyes are brown early in chapter 1 (and in the first episode of the anime), but all of the covers and the anime depict his eyes as blue.
    • Live action Kaori is a brunette rather than a blonde. Same goes for Koharu, who now sports black hair.
    • An early advertisement for the manga shows Kaori with brown hair, Watari with blonde hair, and Tsubaki with her previously mentioned blue hair.
  • Adapted Out: Takeshi Aiza, Nagi Aiza, Emi Igawa, and Saitou do not appear in the live action film, presumably because their subplots would've overcomplicated the main story.
  • Age Lift: Whilst Kousei and Kaori are junior high school students in the manga, the live-action film adaptation portrays them as second year high school students.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In episode 21, Tsubaki kneels before Hiroko as she begs for the latter to check on Kousei following Kaori's condition suddenly worsening.
  • Airplane of Love: In Episode 20. Kaori makes a phone call to Kousei on his way home from his lesson with Hiroko just to inform him there was an airplane flying by on its night flight. According to Kousei, the plane looks just like a shooting star across the sky. This makes him realize his true feelings for Kaori and decides to visit her again.
    Kousei: A lump of steel, like a shooting star. Just seeing the same sky as you makes familiar scenery looks different. I swing between hope and despair at your slightest gesture, and my heart starts to play a melody. What kind of feeling is this again? What do they call this kind of feeling? I think it's probably called love.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: One of the main themes besides the music. Tsubaki likes Kousei, who develops a crush on Kaori, but she's interested in Watari, who is fond of her but also goes after other girls and is oblivious to her feelings. Emi meanwhile is in love with Kousei as well while Watari has displayed attraction towards her. By the end of the series, this trope becomes incredibly depressing. Tsubaki is still in love with Kousei but there's little indication of her feelings being reciprocated. Simply put, Kousei is confused by her confession and simply shakes his head the day after, completely oblivious to what has occurred. When she runs to reassure him that he still has people who won't leave his side, he simply smiles through his pain, allowing her to stand by his side as he thinks about Kaori. As it turns out, she had, in the end, reciprocated Kousei's a letter she wrote that Kousei didn't receive until after she passes away.
  • Always Someone Better: Kousei, Emi, and Takeshi are this towards every other participant in almost every piano competition those three participated in, but Kousei takes the cake by being this towards both Emi and Takeshi.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In Episode 12, Kaori's parents show Kousei old pictures of Kaori, including the ones of her naked as a baby, to her great embarrassment.
  • An Aesop: Music can be used to connect everyone on an emotional level, as it has no language barriers. Best vocalized by Hiroko in episode 13.
    Hiroko: Music connects us with the people we know, and the people we don't. All of the people in the world.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Kaori makes her emotional confession to Kousei, in the letter he receives after her passing.
  • Anime Hair: Takeshi has very pointy, bright blonde hair. His hairstyle looks even more striking compared to the rest of the cast, whose hair colours and styles are more realistic.
  • Arc Words: "Do you think you'll be able to forget?" was Kaori's question to Kousei, which has about three contexts as the show goes on: the piano in Kousei's life, their duet performance with cheering audience, and finally her short existence in Kousei's life. Kousei returns that question while asking her to once again perform together with him.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The non-fanservice Kaori and Kousei nude dancing scene in the first opening features this.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: In Episode 6, Kousei watches Kaori sleeping while she's accompanying him practicing piano in the school's music room. While covering her with his jacket, he mutters that she looks like an long as she's quiet. Cut to Kaori suddenly frowning in her sleep. This situation later becomes a Chekhov's Gun for Kousei since he uses this exact scene as his imagery for his playing in the piano competition in Episode 10.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After being fed up with Saki's abuse, Kousei spitefully tells her to die. She dies months later.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Reliable childhood friend Tsubaki and the wild and cheerful musician Kaori play these roles for Kousei respectively.
    • Also seems to apply to Kousei, Kaori, and Watari, with Kousei as the reserved and insecure Betty to Watari's Casanova Veronica. However, it's subverted at the end of the series, when the titular lie turns out to be Kaori claiming she liked Watari, when she's been in love with Kousei since she was five. And, in a certain sense, Kousei could be seen as the Veronica, being more mysterious, while Watari could be seen as the more outgoing Betty.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kousei successfully manages to overcome the mental trauma he gets from playing piano and proceeds to improve further as a pianist as a result. However, Kaori ends up dying from complications during the high-risk surgery and Kousei receives a letter from Kaori posthumously via her parents, thanking him for introducing her to music, for bringing color to her world and admitting that it wasn't Watari she loved but Kousei. Tsubaki tries to comfort Kousei by reasserting her feelings for him and determination to never abandon him. Despite his reaction being muted, it's clear that he realizes now that he isn't alone, even if Kaori isn't around anymore. The next shot is Kousei lamenting the idea of a spring without Kaori.
  • Bowdlerise: Disappointed by young Kousei's performance during a competition, Saki brutally beats him over the head with her cane. Multiple times until he bleeds. In front of everybody. In the live action film, however, this is reduced to a single slap on the face.
  • Bridal Carry: Kousei holds Kaori like this in a brief scene from the first opening.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kousei and Kaori respectively. Kousei is a sad and Troubled, but Cute guy with a Dark and Troubled Past, who gets involved into music again thanks to Genki Girl Kaori, who is a wild, playful and happy musician. However, Kaori hides the fact she's seriously ill and may die soon. She dies during her operation.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kaori plays without worrying about being successful in tournaments, and she's kind of an airhead... but that doesn't make her any less amazing at violin.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Kousei reads the letter from the late Kaori, she reminds him of various moments when they were together before.
    • Every ending of this show previews scenes of the next episode. The ending of the OVA episode features the scene from Episode 1 when Kousei first meets Kaori.
  • The Cameo: In chapter three of Sayonara Football,note  three children are seen playing soccer in a park and accidentally kick the ball directly into Nozomi Onda's face, knocking her back into a fountain. These children are the same ones seen playing music with Kaori in the beginning of the series.
  • Central Theme: According to Arakawa, the main theme of the manga is a contrast and interrelation between "death and rebirth". We meet Kousei at a time when he's deeply scarred by Saki's death, and he can't hear the music anymore, but he meets Kaori who puts so much life into her playing, and she pushes him to wake up to his potential. But at the same time that Kosei is regaining his strength and confidence as a musician, Kaori's body is weakening more from her illness every day. Finally, Kaori dies at the same moment that Kosei is reborn on stage as a classical musician. An important secondary theme was to depict the feelings of a person who is jealous of someone else, or envies what they have.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The little girl sitting next to little Emi when she first hears Kousei playing the piano. The final episode reveals she is young Kaori.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Since the series starts in April, there are plenty of cherry blossoms. They serve as a symbol of Kaori and her relationship with Kousei, as they first meet in a rain of cherry blossoms. In the finale their symbolism is bittersweet, since just like the short blooming of cherry blossoms, Kaori's life was over too soon. The way Kaori's spirit, or possibly Kousei's hallucination thereof, disappears in the final chapter/episode even looks like sakura petals being blown away by the wind.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Kousei and Tsubaki grew up next door and they have a close sibling-like relationship, but once Kaori shows up and begins to catch Kousei's attention, Tsubaki realizes she likes him as more than a brother.
  • Childhood Friends:
    • Watari, Kousei, and Tsubaki, who have known each other since they were kids.
    • Also Emi and Takeshi who've known each other ever since they started competing in piano competitions as children.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Kousei used to be one thanks to his mother. He got the nickname "Human Metronome" because of how accurately he played from the music score no matter how difficult it was, despite being a mere child.
    • Takeshi and Emi were also very good for their young age, but got overshadowed by Kousei's performances.
  • Close on Title: Episode titles only show right before the closing credits. The one exception is the final episode that both inverts this by having it right after the opening credits and plays it straight with the work's title as the one that precedes the closing credits.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: One of main reason for people who dropped this series (as pointed out in one anime review site that skipped reviewing between Episodes 6-11) is because its traumatised main character, Kousei, is prone to abuse such as being kicked, slapped, or having stuff thrown at him by the girls, Tsubaki and Kaori. This lessens during the latter half of the show, though. Also, in the end, one of them (Kaori) apologizes to him via her posthumous letter for being mean and hitting him all the time.
  • Coming of Age Story: With help from Kaori, Kousei manages to overcome the traumas of his childhood, he stops feeling like his mother's puppet, he manages to accept that he's a pianist and learns some valuable life lessons.
  • Connected All Along: One of the big twists in the final episode is that Kaori was the little girl sitting next to young Emi when Kousei first played piano.
  • Cry into Chest: Kaori cries into Kousei's chest in Episode 21 under the snow because she was afraid to be apart from Kousei in case she didn't survive the surgery. She didn't, and that was their final moment together while Kaori's still alive.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Kousei has stopped playing the piano and has become a very cynical boy since his mother died.
  • Dead Man Writing: In Chapter 44 / Episode 22, Kousei receives a letter Kaori left for him before she died from her parents as he visits her grave. There she confesses to him that he's the reason she became a violinist and that when they met in April, she lied about wanting to meet Watari, she actually wanted to meet him all along.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: The Kousei/Kaori/Tsubaki Love Triangle gets "resolved" at the end with Kaori's death. While Kousei and Tsubaki don't really end up together, she has confessed her feelings for him and promises him to never leave him alone so they might get together sometime in the future.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Kaori, first hinted in Episode 4 when she collapses after her performance and further shown in Episode 9 when a lot of pills can be seen in her bag. Then in Episode 15, her legs give out in the middle of the hospital hallway at night. And in Episode 16, her arms can't hold up her bow or even a bottle of juice Kousei hands her.
  • Determinator: Kaori is very determined to be able to do the duet performance with Kousei once again after she was hospitalized due to her growing illness, to the point where she starts walking therapy and takes the high risk surgery, which sadly fails and claims her life.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The music Kousei is transcribing in the first episode is the opening song, Hikaru Nara by Goose House.
  • Disappears into Light: The fate of Kaori after finishing her long-awaited duet with Kousei in the final episode. It's unclear whether the Kaori playing alongside Kousei was indeed her spirit before going to the afterlife or just Kousei's imaginationnote , but it makes him realize that she has died.
  • Disease Bleach: Kaori's hair color becomes lighter shades of blonde after she is hospitalized in Episode 13.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: As a child, when Kousei made even the slightest mistake when playing the piano, he would often get beat up by Saki.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The entire main cast prefers to be barefoot, especially Kaori Miazono, who takes off her shoes and socks and plays music barefoot in a park on top of the playground equipment on a warm spring day.
  • The Dog Bites Back: You know you've done something very wrong, when you're capable of causing your own child to wish death upon you, and Saki did too many things wrong to Kousei.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Most of the females hit the two main males a lot, with Kaori and Tsubaki being the main offenders. Subverted with Kousei's mom as Seto said she went too far. Subverted with Kaori in the finale when she apologizes to Kousei for hitting him all the time.
  • Duet Bonding: Playing together, and even the prospect of playing together, bring Kaori and Kousei together. As revealed at the end, an intentionally Invoked Trope on Kaori's part.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness:
    • Played for Laughs at the start of episode 5. Kaori's eyes suddenly become this when the gang visit her without knocking at the door and sneak an accidental peek at her while she is naked and receiving a sponge bath from a nurse.
    • Played straight in Episode 20 by a traumatized Kousei on his way home after visiting Kaori only to see her health take a sharp turn for the worse.
  • Dying Candle: In Episode 12, Kaori's handheld fireworks go out prematurely, foreshadowing her impending death.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: An early advertisement for the manga shows Kaori with brown hair, Watari with blonde hair, and Tsubaki with blue hair.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The same early advertisement for the manga shows Kousei, Kaori, Watari and Tsubaki standing in a basketball court, which unlike soccer and baseball, is not a sport heavily featured in the story.
  • Elegant Classical Musician:
    • Kousei was already a Child Prodigy pianist that inspired many people with his piano playing before the events in the series began. Though in the start of the series he's in a Heroic BSoD and has somewhat lost his edge, he starts to become this again when he returns to playing piano and tries to overcome his obstacles with the help of Kaori. He finally fully becomes this after the death of Kaori, making Hiroko, Nagi, and even Koharu stunned by his performance.
      Hiroko: Look how you've gotten more sensual. You've grown up, have you?
      Koharu: So cool!
      Nagi: (blushing) I-it's not like I want to be able to play like him, all right? What a cliche!
    • Though she seems to fit the category, Kaori averts this: she plays violin and has an elegant appearance, but her style of play is wild and full of energy.
    • Both Takeshi and Emi are pianists who play quite elegantly, although Emi's style is also very personal and energetic.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: In the final episode Kaori's goodbye letter reveals that she was inspired to become a musician by Kousei during his child prodigy days, that she had wanted to play music with him ever since she was a little girl, and that she lied about liking Watari in order to get close to Kousei.
  • Everyone Can See It: Kousei and Tsubaki - even Kaori knew about it, and apologized in her final letter for getting in Tsubaki's way.
  • Evolving Credits: The second opening changed a bit of its lyrics after episode 17. From "boku wa ame, kimi wa taiyou, te o tsunagou" note  to "nee, ima kono isshun o dakishimeyou" note . Some scenery also changed. This includes:
    • The changed lyrics part initially features Kousei, Tsubaki, and Watari playing together, but after Episode 17, it features Takeshi and Emi smiling at the sky.
    • The scene while Kousei plays piano and Kaori plays violin accompanied by flying birds changes to a scene of Kousei and Kaori double riding on a bike together.
    • The scenery with both of them playing in the opening changes from a sunny sky with white clouds into a clear night full of twinkling and falling stars. Kaori also changes, going from her usual sunny appearance to almost translucent in the final episodes in line with her deterioration in the show.
  • The Faceless: We never see Saki's face, even when shown from a first-person perspective, until episode 13 where we're given more insight into her character and past.
  • Family Business: Kaori's parents runs a cake shop named "Ma Fille", French for "my daughter", as revealed in both the OVA episode and in the fifth chapter of Coda.
  • Foreshadowing: Several in the first half of the show. It becomes more and more obvious as the show goes on, especially on a second watch.
    • In the first OP, Kaori slips and falls seemingly apropos of nothing.
    • Episode 2. Kaori's shaking left hand after asking for Kousei's opinion about her performance. She is also the fourth performer to play.
    • Episode 3. Kaori's stop at a hospital.
    • Episode 4. Tsubaki is stunned by Kousei and Kaori's performance and realizes Kousei's passion for music has finally been reignited because of Kaori, starting her jealous streak. Later, Kaori collapsing after finishing said performance.
    • Episode 5. Kaori's words after finishing their duet performance: "I won't forget, even if I die".
    • Episode 11:
      • Opens with a seemingly unrelated superhero genre clip where the narration mentions that heroes are lonely and end up alone. Takeshi sees Kousei as his hero... and Kousei ends up alone at the end.
      • Kaori embracing and apologizing to her violin because she dropped it when she collapsed.
      "I'm sorry. As someone who dropped you, I don't deserve to be a violinist. I'm sorry, please bear with me for just a little longer."
    • The scene featuring two hands holding each other and an opened envelope on a piano in the second opening. Both of them revealed in final episode: Kousei's love for Kaori is indeed reciprocated, and the opened envelope encased Kaori's letter explaining it all.
    • Episode 12:
      • Kaori's parents' attitude toward Kousei. Despite Kousei just meeting them for the first time, they already have a very good opinion of him because Kousei is the only reason Kaori is still motivated to live her short life.
      • When Kashiwagi asks about what kind of high school Kousei and Kaori will be attending, Kaori replies with an uncertain answer about her future while her handheld fireworks shut off prematurely compared with the others' fireworks which remains lit.
      • Kaori missing the gala concert.
    • Episode 13. Kaori is hospitalized again, with her faded hair color and paler skin indicating her disease is getting worse. Later, the gang visits Kaori and brings her a bag full of books to read, but as they leave, she says: "I don't have time to read all these..."
    • Episode 16:
      • Kaori dropping the drink Kousei gives her.
      • The camera lingers on a copy of Ichigo Doumei/Alliance by Masahiro Mita while Kaori quotes from it, a love story which ends tragically for the ill girl.
    • Episode 17: When Kousei is saying that he didn't want to hear Ravel, the music being played is Pavane for a Dead Princess.
    • If you listen to full version of Kirameki (first ed song), you'll come across these lyrics foreshadowing later events:
    You're no longer here by my side, I'm well aware of that. Even then, I glanced back once more, thinking that you called out to me. And the times we spent together, are all irreplaceable in my heart, I'll treasure these memories you gave me, so thank you, and good bye.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The main four characters: Kousei is The Cynic, being highly pessimistic and melancholic; Kaori is the Optimist, Watari is the Realist and Tsubaki is the Conflicted.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Again, the main characters' quartet. Thoughtful Kousei is the Melancholic, passionate Kaori is the Choleric (although more a mix of Sanguine and Choleric), lovable Casanova Watari is the Sanguine and friendly Tsubaki is the Supine (she's mostly a mix of Sanguine and Phlegmatic but also has a short-tempered side).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Episode 9, Little Kaori can be seen among the audience (behind Tsubaki's seat) watching Kousei's first performance just after his mother's death. The same scene was already shown in the first few minutes of first episode, but at that time the audience has not yet been given any clue about the context of the scene.
  • Friend to All Children: Kaori. She's playing the melodica with a group of children when she's first introduced, and later we see she's very good with kids.
    Kousei: She sure knows to get along with kids, I guess her mental age is low?
  • Funny Background Event: In episode 18, as Kaori and Kousei are talking, the two girls who she was with are shown playing with a bedsheet.
  • Geeky Turnon: Part of why Kousei is attracted to Kaori is because of her ability with classical music.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The main characters, two boys and two girls. Even if you add Takeshi and Emi, this trope still applies.
  • Gilligan Cut: In episode 11, Kousei's mom tells Hiroko that she doesn't want to turn the infant Kousei into a pianist... then immediately cuts to Kousei's mom telling Hiroko to make him one... and then cuts to Kousei curled up in fear of his mother's abusive methods.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Kaori was a cute girl who initially wore glasses. Prior to properly meeting Kosei, she started her "change" in looks by wearing contacts (which she previously were too scared to use) as she said in her letter.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Kaori loves throwing random heavily-accented English and German words into her conversations.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Tsubaki doesn't seem to realize she likes Kousei until she starts to become jealous of Kousei hanging out with Kaori. She thinks of him as her younger brother up until then.
  • The Hero Dies: If you have a serious illness, reality won't load the dice in your favour even if you're a main character. Despite taking up a high-risk surgery in an attempt to stave off her illness, Kaori doesn't survive.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Kousei had one two years before the series began when his mother died and it left him very depressed.
    • It happens again at the end of Episode 20 when he and Watari come to visit Kaori and her health takes a turn for the worse. He stays in a depressed state for a whole week, especially after he visits Kaori after that event and realizes that she's getting worse and worse.
  • History Repeats: In episode 21, Kousei is shown curled up in a BSOD due to the events of the previous episode, which is juxtaposed with his previous breakdown 2 years ago.
  • Informed Attribute: More of an 'informed crush' - we're told Kaori likes Watari in the first episode, but by Episode 7, they still haven't shared so much as a one on one isolated on-screen conversation, and Kaori hasn't made so much as a longing glance in his direction. Discussed in the finale: the titular lie is that Kaori liked Watari instead of her actual crush, Kousei.
  • In-Series Nickname: Kaori "Kao-chan" Miyazono. Kousei's nickname, "Human Metronome", is a more Red Baron-styled nickname for him.
  • I Wished You Were Dead: Kousei told Saki to die after being fed up with her abuse and harsh critique of his playing. She died shortly afterwards, and Kousei always regretted that he had said that to her.
  • Last-Name Basis: Ryota Watari and Nao Kashiwagi are rarely referred to by their first name, not even by their close friends.
  • Like a Son to Me: Hiroko to Kousei. Even though she doesn't make an appearance until The Stinger in Episode 10, she's been established as something like Kousei's second mother and even refers to him as her son.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: In Chapter 32 / Episode 16, Kousei begins to realize that Kaori and his mother are quite similar; they're both obsessed with music, they're constantly pushing him into becoming a better pianist and are prone to drastic mood swings. They also both suffer from unnamed but fatal diseases. This is lampshaded when Kousei, Watari and Tsubaki visit Kaori in the hospital and Kaori yells at him for not practicing for the upcoming competition in such a way that in Kousei's eyes, the room begins to glitch and Kaori turns into his mother.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Because they're also Childhood Friends, Tsubaki's feelings to Kousei eventually become this, but she always assumed it's just a Like Brother and Sister-type relationship until he meets Kaori and Tsubaki starts to get jealous.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl:
    • Played straight with Kaori towards Kousei. As he explains, she's the one who introduces colors back into his life. Then it's played for drama.
    • It's revealed that this was invoked by Kaori because it turns out, just like Takeshi, Nagi, and Emi, Kaori was also moved by Kousei's music and it brought colors into her world, prompting her to immediately swap to violin because she wanted to be able to play a duet with him.
    • As shown in Takeshi's and Nagi's flashbacks, Kousei himself was a gender-flipped one for them - he inspired them to become excellent musicians as well. Kaori admits in her final letter that she was similarly inspired.
  • Mirror Character:
    • As the series goes on, Tsubaki is envious of Kaori because she can communicate so well with Kousei due to her vast knowledge of music. It turns out that Kaori also envies Tsubaki because she knows everything about Kousei's life due to their shared childhood.
    • Nagi realizes that Kousei and herself are this; both are always gazing, pursuing, and loving someone they can never have no matter how hard they try. In Nagi's case, it's her own brother; in Kousei's case, it's a girl who likes his best friend. She also realizes that Kousei is afraid because of the sheer pressure before giving their duet performance in Episode 18.
  • Mood Whiplash: This series can swing from happy romantic comedy to tragic and tense drama in mere seconds.
    • At the end of Episode 4, Kaori and Kousei finish their performance to massive applause from the audience... and a few seconds later, we hear Kaori collapsing. This is the start of Kaori's declining health.
    • In episode 16, Kousei explains to Nagi the kind of person Kaori is, calling her a "strong person". Cue a scene of Kaori crying because she can't hold her violin bow properly anymore. Seconds later, we cut to a scene of the gang visiting Kaori at the hospital, with Kaori's anger at Kousei for not bringing her any gifts entirely Played for Laughs. After Kousei reveals he's giving Nagi piano lessons, Kaori's further enraged because she thinks he's not taking his upcoming competition seriously to the point she starts crying and makes everyone in the room speechless. The next scene has Kousei visiting Kaori alone at night, her attitude beforehand drawing parallels to Saki's behavior shortly before her death, further foreshadowing Kaori's eventual demise.
    • In episode 20, Kousei finally admits to Watari that he's also interested in Kaori, prompting the latter to joke about having competition. Then, when they reach Kaori's hospital room, they see that her condition has taken a sudden turn for the worse.
    • In episode 22:
      • After Kashiwagi gives Tsubaki some sage advice, Tsubaki asks how she knows so much. The answer? Yaoi books.
      • While Kousei is standing in front of some train tracks thinking about Kaori's posthumous words, Tsubaki shows up and kicks him in the shin again.
  • The Namesake: The meaning behind "Your Lie in April" is revealed in the final episode/final chapter of the manga. Kaori lied about liking Watari and used their relationship to get closer to Kousei, the guy she truly loved all along.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: The last time he saw his mother Saki alive, Kousei had just wished for her to die after he was fed up with her abuse. He learned about her death while performing a piano recital. Years later, Kousei is shown to be haunted by his last memories of Saki and is deeply saddened by what he did to the point where he can't play like he used to.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • Kousei trying to take a picture of Kaori while performing with the children, only for him to accidentally take the photo at the exact moment Kaori sees him and the wind blows her skirt up.
    • After jumping in the river, Kousei lets Kaori change into his dry clothes at his house. Kaori, in a fit of rage over the neglected state of his piano, slams open the windows in the piano room... and Tsubaki, who lives next door, sees the two of them through her window at that moment. Of course, Tsubaki gives Kousei a good beating.
  • One-Steve Limit: The English dub has two voice actresses named Erica: Lindbeck, who plays Kaori, and Mendez, who plays Tsubaki.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the start of episode 21, Watari is completely downcast when telling Tsubaki and Kashiwagi about Kaori's health taking a turn for the worse during the previous episode.
  • Opposites Attract:
    • The cynical and reserved Kousei and the optimistic and wild Kaori.
    • Also, the calm musician Kousei and the energetic sports girl Tsubaki, as lampshaded by Tsubaki's baseball club senior, Saitou, after he broke up with Tsubaki because he feels their relationship is just a casual friendship rather than a romantic one.
    Saitou: You and I... We should be with people who are the total opposite, probably.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: After Kaori's death, her still-living parents are last seen onscreen passing Kousei a letter from her and thanking him for being in her life.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kousei's mother is dead, and his father is usually away for business, so he lives alone.
  • Parental Substitute: After Episode 10, Saki's best friend Hiroko becomes this to Kousei. Though it was implied she already became this immediately after Saki's death, it was just she didn't want to be near Kousei if her presence would bring his bad memories back.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Kousei's last words to Saki were that he wanted her dead. His guilt over it is an important part of the trauma that keeps him from playing piano.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Tsubaki is in the baseball club and is much more passionate about it than her studies.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame:
    • Done in the first opening featuring Kousei and Kaori performing together with their respective instruments. Used again in the finale, but it's later revealed that their final duet performance never happened, since the real Kaori was in surgery during that time and it's suggested the Kaori playing alongside Kousei was either her spirit before leaving for the afterlife or just Kousei's pure imagination.
    • Also done in Episode 10, with the Beautiful Dreamer scenery.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: Tsubaki has liked Kousei since childhood, but their relationship has always been sibling-like. She's fine with it until Kousei begins to become closer to Kaori.
  • Piggyback Cute:
    • Kousei carries Tsubaki on his back after she injures her leg during a baseball game.
    • He also carries Kaori like this when she asks him to carry her out of her hospital room, since by then her disease has become so serious that she can't walk anymore.
  • Prelude to Suicide: Kaori is Secretly Dying and displays some signs, such as asking Kousei if he wants to commit double suicide (using a book quote). It's never specified how serious she is but it doesn't matter much as she dies only a few weeks afterwards.
  • Product Placement:
    • It seems that the only piano manufacturer in this series are the New York City-based Steinway & Sons.
    • Glico also referenced in some scenes in the anime.
  • The Promise: Kaori makes a promise to Kousei that they will perform together once again, which fuels her determination to take the high-risk surgery. She fails to keep it.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Show shades of this, as Kousei is still surrounded by loved ones after Kaori's passing, and as Tsubaki puts it, he isn't or ever will be alone, something she promises to see to. So in a way, while it will take time for Kousei to move on from Kaori's death, his future is still far brighter than when she first meet him, which was her greatest final wish for him.
  • Real-Place Background: According to this blog, much of the series takes place in Nerima-ku, Tokyo.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Playing music with passion versus following the score, multiple examples.
    • Kousei "the human metronome" is blue and Kaori the feisty and erratic violinist is red, and people make comments on how badly they're matched when they first play together.
    • Igawa is red, and Aiza is blue. Igawa plays differently depending on how she feels each particular day, and Aiza is much more consistent. Episode 9 of the anime color codes them this way for us, before Kousei's recital.
  • Rule of Drama: Unlike the Amusing Injuries caused by Kaori and Tsubaki, Saki's mistreatment of Kousei is played exactly as the child abuse it really is.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • In Episode 20, Kousei and Watari visit Kaori only to see her health take a sharp turn for the worse. Later, a traumatized Kousei on his way home sees the black cat that Kaori usually plays with fatally run over by a car, symbolizing Kaori's untimely death two episodes later. Another black cat appears at the railroad tracks in the final scene of Episode 22 and disappears behind a passing commuter train symbolizing the loss of Kaori.
    • In Episode 12, Kaori's handheld fireworks shut off prematurely just as she answers Kashiwagi's question about her future with uncertainty.
    • During the first half of the series, Kousei symbolizes his inability to hear his own piano playing as being dragged and forced to playing piano under the dark ocean.
  • Running Gag: The bruise Kousei got on his forehead after being hit by a baseball in episode 1 keeps opening at various points in the series, and nobody seems to care despite the stream of blood on his face.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Kousei is the cynical Only Sane Man while Kaori is a cheerful Genki Girl.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses:
    • Kousei's glasses become this after he decides to go into serious playing mode while he's accompanying Nagi in a four-hand piano duet in episode 18.
    • Kousei's glasses also become this in episode 17 when he initially refuses Watari's invitation to visit Kaori together because he doesn't know what he should say to her, or how he should act when he sees her after she starts losing hope in life.
  • School of No Studying: Though examinations and the results thereof come up a couple of times, no character is ever shown studying onscreen at any point in the series.
  • Shopping Montage: In episode 16, Kaori has Kousei accompany her to the mall, shopping for various items ranging from clothes to dolls to stationery for her one day out of the hospital. She makes him bring a lot of her belongings and miss his lesson in the process.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The tune Kaori plays on the melodica in the first episode is "A Morning of the Slag Ravine" from Castle in the Sky. This seems to be what she's playing in the manga as well, since the kids who are with her lament that her playing isn't attracting any birds and Kaori says it worked for Pazu.
    • There are some references from Peanuts Kaori quotes throughout the series:
      • In episode 6: "It takes courage to sail through uncharted waters" by Snoopy.
      • In episode 7: "When you're depressed, it always helps to lean your head on your arms. Arms like to feel useful" by Charlie Brown.
      • In episode 11: "You know, I'm not always going to be around to help you" by Charlie Brown again.
      • In episode 21: "We all need someone to kiss us goodbye" by Marcie.
    • The dub slips in a sly reference to the first opening's music group when Tsubaki realizes a song Kousei's listening to in the first episode is by Goose House.
    • Nagi is a fan of The Phantom of the Opera and sometimes quotes from it.
  • Snow Means Death: The last time Kousei sees Kaori alive is on a snowy rooftop. The way glowing particles fall to the ground during their possibly-imagined final performance together strongly evokes snowfall. He later retrieves Kaori's letter from her parents in front of the cemetery she's been buried in under the raining snow.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Kaori's is usually romanized as "Kaori" but in Japanese, instead of "かおり/カオリ", it's spelled "かをり which is romanized as "Kawori" and is even romanized that way in episode 11 on a sign on Kaori's door saying "Kawori's room".
  • Stage Mom: Saki Arima wanted Kousei to become famous and perform in Europe, which she couldn't do due to illness. She demanded he play the piano to perfection and made him practice for hours, often beating him for small mistakes. Turns out she actually wanted him to become successful so that he could live on his own when she was gone.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Despite their obvious chemistry, Kousei hesitates to make a move on Kaori because he believes that she's in love with Watari. She also has an illness that gets worse over the course of the story. By the end of the story, the illness claims her life, and it's only in a posthumous letter that she admits she never had any feelings for Watari and had always loved Kousei, far too late for him to act on it.
  • The Stinger: Done in episode 10, to show audience reaction toward how Kousei's piano playing has changed since his last piano competition from robotic, down to the notes becoming more colorful; and also to introduce Hiroko, his mother's best friend that later becomes his Parental Substitute as well as his mentor.
  • Stunned Silence: The typical reaction of an audience once Kousei finishes a piece that he plays, rather than simply recites.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Kousei's friendship with his rivals is cemented when he shares his egg salad sandwiches with them.
  • Tears of Remorse: As part of her understandable "My God, What Have I Done?" reaction, Saki's crying after hitting Kousei to the point he was bleeding can be counted as this.
  • Technician vs. Performer:
    • Kousei is the technician, since Saki drilled into him that he must always stick to the score and memorize it inside and out, while Kaori is the performer whose wild and energetic playing greatly deviates from the sheet music.
    • The show as a whole focuses on the importance of technique vs performance while advocating the latter, with the emphasis about "Speaking to the audience" through the music, and the only reason Kousei's mother pushed him so hard on the technician front was due to not having enough time left in her life to emphasize the importance of the latter.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The more Kousei rejects the similarity between Kaori and Saki, the more relevant those similarities become.
    • Also, shortly after Kousei wished Saki would just die, his mother passed away due to her illness, making him felt guilty and traumatizing him to the point he can't hear his own piano playing even after the main story begins a few years later.
    • Late in the work, Hiroko muses that loss has played a major part in Kousei's development and that he might have to lose someone again to make another breakthrough. True enough, the loss of Kaori is what enables him to become a full-fledged Elegant Classical Musician.
  • Theory Tunnelvision: Early on, it is shown that Kousei's late mother Saki once beat him bloody for underperforming at piano, causing him to wish she was dead. Later, we see the same event from her point of view, where she confesses to a close friend that she pushed him to abusive extents because she was terminally ill and convinced that piano mastery was the only way he could make a living after her passing. Whether this puts a sympathetic sheen on a secretly-broken woman's tough love or just makes her more monstrous for being blind to any other ways Kousei could have gotten by remains one of the divisions in the fandom.
  • There Are No Therapists: Just from the backstory alone, Kousei loses a parent, then develops a condition where he can't hear his own piano playing. Nobody even thinks to suggest that he see a therapist of any variety. (Possibly justified in that seeing a psychologist is widely regarded as a taboo in Japan.)
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kousei keeps one from Kaori. It's an old photo from before Kousei gave his first performance, featuring Kaori and her friend, with Kousei walking by behind them, making it the first and only photo Kaori has with him.
  • Training from Hell: It's suggested that Kousei received this from his mother in context of piano practice. In an OVA episode, Takeshi secretly spied on Kousei practicing from Tsubaki's house only to hear repetitive practice from Kousei since he finished school in the afternoon until about sunset.
  • Tsundere: All four of the girls that are attracted to Kousei, either because of his Nice Guy personality or because of his piano playing note  have this in some form towards him.
  • Unknown Rival: Emi and Takeshi are this to Kousei, at least before they reunite in the story. Surpassing Kousei, who always took first place from them as a child, seems to be their only motivation to compete in piano competitions at all. However he never noticed them back then and doesn't recognize them when they reunite.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: In the final episode, Kaori states in her goodbye letter that Watari will probably forget about her. As her voice says this, the viewer sees that Watari has a picture of himself and Kaori on his cell phone.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Hiroko was the one who convinced Saki to make Kousei a pianist after seeing his great talent. After Saki became sick, she became more demanding and abusive towards Kousei, eventually damaging their relationship beyond repair and leaving Kousei with deep emotional scars. Hiroko always blamed herself for Kousei's problems because of it.
  • Vehicle Vanish: In episode 22, Kousei sees a black cat on the other side of some train tracks that is gone after a train passes, symbolising the loss of Kaori.
  • Was Too Hard on Him:
    • Kousei's mother, also a My God, What Have I Done?. In episode 13, we get a look at the situation from Hiroko's point of view and despite the numerous instances of abuse she put Kousei through, Saki loved Kousei and only wanted to make sure that Kousei would be able to live on his own after she was gone. Her last moments in the hospital were spent lamenting that she wasn't a better mother to him and that she hoped that "her treasure would find happiness."
    • In a way, Kaori towards Kousei. In the posthumous letter she wrote to Kousei, she tells him how much she loves him and that she is sorry for being so mean to him and hitting him all the time.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Despite the abuse he suffered from her, Kousei's motivation for doing well at piano competitions as a child was to please Saki and make her feel better. Then he snaps after being publicly beaten and says that after doing so much to try and make her happy, including not playing with his friends, practicing, and getting beaten up by her, he just wishes that she'd die already. He regrets them shortly afterwards.
    • In a way, Takeshi and Emi to Kousei. Takeshi and Emi have been in the same competitions with Kousei since they were children, and Emi even became a pianist after being emotionally moved by Kousei's performance, but they could never beat him and he never paid them any attention (justified however, because he was busy being abused by his Stage Mom). After Kousei left, they spent two years becoming amazing pianists with Takeshi getting ready to go overseas and when they find out that Kousei is returning, they're excited and sign up for the same competition that they've gone through year after year, just to show Kousei how much better they've gotten and how they believe they can stand side-by-side with him. And when Kousei praises Takeshi on his performance, he is incredibly happy.
  • Wham Line:
    • Kaori in Episode 5: "I won't forget, I won't forget even if I die." Also in the same episode: " Ah. I passed out again."
    • In episode 11: "'You know, I'm not always going to be around to help you...' -Charlie Brown."
    • Episode 16: "Want to commit double suicide with me?" Admittedly, Kaori is quoting from a Japanese novel named Ichigo Alliance, but Kousei is frozen in place the instant he hears it.
    • The final episode/chapter has one that even shocks Kousei in-universe. " Kaori Miyazono was in love with Watari Ryota... that was the lie I told." See The Ending Changes Everything.
    • " Goodbye."
  • Wham Shot:
    • Kaori collapsing at the end of episode 4.
    • Kaori in the hospital 'again'' at the end of episode 13.
    • The last two minutes of episode 15 in which Kaori, walking around in the hospital at night alone, suddenly falls because she loses all feeling in her legs.
    • The first sequence of episode 16 has the moment where Kaori's limbs give out again when she's walking around her house while reading sheet music. She falls on her head, opening a wound she doesn't notice until she sees blood on her hands and sheet music. Then she passes out, making her miss the gala concert in episode 13.
    • In Episode 20, the black cat that's been around the whole series gets fatally run over and all Kousei and the audience see is the cat lying lifelessly in a pool of its own blood.
    • Episode 22. Kaori disappearing in front of Kousei during his performance, symbolizing her death.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: In the final episode, Tsubaki asks how Kashiwagi is so versed in romance, and reveals that her knowledge comes from her collection of BL doujinshi. In the manga, however, this is revealed to the reader through a gag strip where Kashiwagi fantasizes a gay relationship between Watari and Kousei.
  • You Are Not Alone: Tsubaki is certain to make sure that Kousei knows this after Kaori's passing.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Two of the characters close to Kousei have this in their backstory. How they act regarding this builds the main story of the series.
    • Saki (Kousei's mom) realizes she doesn't have much time left in her life due to her unknown illness, so she teaches Kousei as much as she can about how to play piano accurately according to the score, despite Kousei being a mere child, giving him the nickname "Human Metronome". She's doing this with the hope that Kousei will be able to make income and have a decent life with his piano playing after she was dead while her husband is away on business. Her plan backfires horribly after Kousei gets fed up with her abuse and harsh critique following his one special performance, dedicated to her purely from his heart and ignoring the music score in the process. She died shortly afterwards, leaving Kousei dealing with trauma that makes him unable to hear his own piano playing at the start of the series.
    • After seeing her parents crying in the hospital waiting room one night, Kaori realized she didn't have much time left to live. She decided to live a full and happy life before passing away. She put on the contact lenses which she never had the courage to wear before, ate a lot of foods (particularly cakes) since she was now ignoring her weight, ignored the appearance aspect of her performances and played the music the way she wanted to. Finally, she told the titular lie about liking Watari, for the sake of approaching Kousei, the guy who becomes her reason to become a violinist and also to help him overcome his trauma so that he could return to the music world once again and continue his journey as a musician.

"Soon it will be the time of year it was when I met you. Soon, it will be a spring without you."

Alternative Title(s): Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso, Your Lie In April