Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso: Episode 01

モノトーンカラフル – Monotone・Colourful

KimiUso - title

It’s all a(key)board the feels train, as A-1 Pictures brings us Autumn 2014’s token Music / Drama / Romance / Noitamina, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. Get your tissues ready, because this is surely going to be one very emotional rollercoaster ride.

Story

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Meet our protagonist, Arima Kousei. It was his sickly mother’s dream for him to become a world-class pianist. And under her tutelage, he gritted his teeth and practised for hours on end, just so that he could fulfil her dream in the hopes that it would make her happy and healthy. However, his mother passed away and in the autumn when he was eleven, he could no longer play the piano. Now, aged fourteen, life, as he sees it, is in monotone – just like music scores, just like a keyboard… He is apathetic, jaded, and very lifeless.

And then, he gets that one fateful encounter that changes everything. Under full-bloomed cherry blossoms, he came across Kaori playing on the melodica and was transfixed. Maybe it was the tears, maybe it was her spirit, maybe it was the carefree way in which she and the children went about playing their instruments… there was just something about that entire scene that he was very drawn to, so much so that he simply had to take a picture of them. And that is where the misunderstandings begin. Cue a strong gust of wind, and the untimely click of the key, the poor boy takes what one can only reasonably assume to be an up-skirt photo. Poor boy indeed *snickers*

Moving on… it is this fateful encounter that changes Kousei’s fate. Presumably, this meeting marks his return to the classical music world. With Kaori’s help of course. How the story will unfold, I am honestly very thrilled to find out.

Characters

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Episode one introduced us to our four main characters, and I’d say we have the pretty standard set of characters with these four. We have the protagonist with the traumatic childhood in Arima Kousei (Hanae Natsuki), the energetic and supportive childhood friend of his in Sawabe Tsubaki (Sakura Ayane), the playboy best friend in Watari Ryouta (Oosaka Ryouta) and the free spirited ‘new girl’ in Miyazono Kaori (Taneda Risa). Can’t we already see that love quadrilateral?

So more on our main character… Kousei hates the piano. And even though he can’t play the piano anymore, he still clings on to it. He even said that without the piano, he would be completely empty. His desperation for some sort of familiarity is something that I am sure many can relate to. Kousei might profess to disliking something, to the point of hatred, and yet in spite of all that, he can’t bring himself to really give that something up. In fact, abandoning it might just cause him even more suffering. This, I am pretty sure, Kousei himself is aware of. And it is this exact inability to give up something that he claims to hate, that is what’s eating away at him. My guess is that the piano is symbolic of his mother’s existence. And he is desperately clinging on to it because he never wants to forget her. The death of a parent would surely be too much to deal with at such a young age. And that really, is the crux of Kousei’s misery – he feels entirely conflicted that he simply can’t abandon his mother, in spite of all the harshness that she made him go through.

While Kousei is a suffering pianist, Kaori is a peppy violinist. At first glance, they seem worlds apart. And for me, this contrast reminded me of another music favourite of mine, Nodame. Now, I don’t mean to compare the two, because they are both very different anime. But that bit about a tortured male protagonist and a seemingly happy-go-lucky female protagonist, and in a musical setting, had me thinking about Nodame on more than one occasion. On one hand, Nodame might seem more mature, appealing to a more mature audience. And this show, with characters that are only fourteen, looks to be a show for a younger audience in comparison. On the other hand, given the depth and heaviness of this first episode, I do think that KimiUso really isn’t as young and innocent as it appears to be.

There are two more important characters that have yet to be introduced – Igawa Emi (Hayami Saori) and Aiza Takeshi (Kaji Yuuki). From the series cast announcement clip, we know that they are fellow pianists as well. And I presume that these two will also give Kousei that further push back into the classical music world. Anime only viewers like me shall wait and find out~

Art

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The animation for this episode was beautiful, and the visuals stunning. I was so awed by the use of colours and monotone (like the title) to put across to viewers the feelings of our characters. With the other characters, the art was lush, warm and colourful, showing us that there is so much love and hope in the world. Then the focus shifts to Kousei, and everything goes black and white. Cold, empty and unwelcoming, the monotone was Kousei’s view of the world; it was as if we were seeing the world through his eyes. From his internal dialogues, Kousei was portrayed as someone who had gone past the point of hurt. Having experienced all that suffering since young, he was by now simply numb from the pain. This juxtaposition further emphasised Kousei’s grief/agony/pain, and I thought it was brilliant usage of colours & non-colours.

Seiyuus. We have got quite the likeable the lineup of seiyuus. Summer 2014’s flavour, Hanae Natsuki, voices Kousei, and more Hanae is definitely always yay. We also have another past flavour, Hayami Saori. She was pretty mia last season, so it is good to be hearing her voice again after awhile. Another voice that I have missed is Taneda Risa’s. Last heard her as Kuriyama Mirai in Winter 2014’s Kyoukai no Kanata, and so once again, it’s nice to hear a familiar voice. Speaking of familiar voices, one seiyuu that’s been everywhere since goodness knows when, is Oosaka Ryouta. And although he appears in so many shows practically every single season, I am quite the Oosaka fan, and hence really can’t complain that he was cast as one of the four main characters. Then there’s Sakura Ayane, the youngest of the bunch, who is also in this season’s other Noitamina anime, Psycho-pass 2.

The cast of KimiUso is young; very very young. So young in fact, that when Kaji Yuuki appeared during the cast announcement get together, he apologised for being quite older than the rest of them (even though he is still rather young himself!). Although our cast is young, they are by no means green. And I think that their youth, coupled with the experience that our (still very young) cast has obtained through other works, will enable them to bring to bring lots of depth to their respective characters, and yet maintain that refreshing feeling that young ones often seem to be capable of.

What made me decide to cover this show was of course, the Oosaka-Hanae combination. Yes, it is these two again – co-hosts of their Ouhana radio programme, co-stars in Nagi no Asukara, as well as the currently airing Diamond no Ace. These two have worked together quite a bit, so chemistry wise, very certainly no problem at all.

First episode thoughts. Although I haven’t seen many shows in this genre, I daresay this first episode itself was filled with the usuals. From the character types, to that fateful encounter, to the potential love rectangle, pretty much every aspect is playing it by the book. And yet, I was so in love with this episode. While it might seem like your average romance/slice-of-life/drama series, this first episode executed the tried and tested so flawlessly. And this just goes to show that you don’t need something totally avant-garde to really impress.

We have only just scraped the surface, and already I can sense the onslaught of emotions that the episodes to come will stir up. It is only a matter of time. Having not read the manga, I don’t know exactly what to expect, but whatever comes our way, it’s definitely going to be heavy. Don’t be deceived by this fairly light and peppy episode, the title does contain the word ‘lie’ after all. In this sleepy autumn season, this is one that is definitely going to steal much sleep from me. All the hours spent agonising over their relationships… I’m sure it’ll keep me awake. Ohwells, bring on them feels I say. Looking forward to next week’s episode. Kaori playing the violin~

Classical music heard. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in C-sharp minor, 3rd movement. Click ♪ ♫ to listen~

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso airs Thursdays, 2520hours (i.e. 1.20 a.m. on Fridays). This is with reference to Japan time, GMT + 9 hours.

~kiseki is covering Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso to fulfil both the Noitamina Challenge and the Shoujo Challenge, because us at koekara just love challenges. And also because Hanae’s the main protagonist~ (^_−)−☆

OPHikaru Nara by Goose House

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