Or: A review of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso [Your Lie In April], Episode One.
First things first: I just finished watching the episode for the third time, and the sheer detail they put into the instruments is fantastic. I mean, wow. That hammer action on the Steinway, that finger positioning as Arima Kousei (the MC) played the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – Presto Agitato was pretty much exact note-for-note. I was grinning two seconds into this episode.
Although, I have to admit that I have some umbrage with the fact that little Kosei could actually hit those chords properly. Chords within octaves would be nigh on impossible for a kid his size, especially if he needed a pedal extender to use the pedals. Granted, he could have had big hands for his age, and this is a totally minor problem that only a piano autist like me could take offence about.
Introduction of other members of the cast is done smoothly, with decent enough insights into their personalities packed into just a few scenes, nicely done. The standard trope of the childhood friend that secretly likes the MC (Poor Tsubaki, your chances were doomed from the start) is nicely offset by the fact that Kousei and Kaori (violinist, best girl) do not seem to fall love at first glance, and the anime looks like it will take the direction of slowly developing their relationship. I could just read the manga and find out, but that would ruin the fun of watching!
A little bit of backstory in this episode too – Kousei relates that his mother, ill and infirm, taught him piano from a very young age with the goal of making him a world-class performer, able to perform on the European stage in her stead. Hours of practise every day and very harsh teaching methods (standard Asian teaching methods, really) led to Kousei breaking down after his mother’s death at a performance, and made him start thinking that if you took the piano away from him, he was empty as a person.
All in all, a strong first episode.
Stay angry my friends.