Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Your Lie in April episode 22, “Spring Wind.”
Among all the sad anime, one show stands apart with its deceptively colorful animation and lively characters. Your Lie in April tells the story of high school pianist Kousei Arima (Max Mittelman) and violinist Kaori Miyazono (Erica Lindbeck) as they inspire each other to play together at the highest levels of competition.
Based on the 11-volume manga by Naoshi Arakawa, serialized from 2011 to 2015, the 22-episode anime adaptation from A-1 pictures was Kyōhei Ishiguro’s directorial debut. Published in English by Kodansha USA, Arakawa would go on to serialize his girls high school soccer manga Farewell, My Dear Cramer while Ishiguro recently made his film debut with 2021’s Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, now streaming on Netflix.
What was the lie?
The lie itself is a small thing, and Kaori admits to Kо̄sei herself what it was. In the show’s final episode, “Spring Wind,” Kоusei reads a letter left by the late violinist in anticipation of her death in which she pulls back the curtain on her motivations driving the entire show’s plot, revealing that she was inspired to play violin after watching Kousei perform when they were kids. And in that letter, she writes:
“And then… I just told a single lie. Kaori Miyazono likes Ryota Watari…that was the lie I told. That lie… Would bring before me… Kousei Arima… It brought you to me.”
That’s at 14:43 for anyone itching to hear Kaori say it herself.
Following a terminal diagnosis of some unspecified illness in middle school, Kaori reinvented herself, partly so she would be happier, but mostly to get closer to Kousei. That required some tricky maneuvering around Kousei’s childhood neighbor and best friend Tsubaki as the other girl begins to fall for him. Kaori lied that she liked their other friend, Ryota, in order to enter the group without disrupting them too much.
You’re not alone in thinking that sounds like a manic pixie dream girl trope taken to the extreme. Kaori got contacts, changed her wardrobe, and became the lively extrovert that could inspire, or rather mother, Kousei to play. As Caitlin Moore writes at Anime Feminist, “Kaori is an obvious device, perfectly constructed to heal Kousei’s psychological wounds.”
You can stream Your Lie in April on Crunchyroll