Category Archives: slice-of-life

Anime review: Inspiring Musician Love Story That Starts With a Lie

yourLie1Your Lie in April starts off as a simple boy-meets-girl romance with musicians, but it quickly turns into a intensely emotional roller coaster. Don’t be fooled–this show is a heart-wrenching drama about a friendship that turns into an uplifting commitment like no other.

At first glance, this show moves at a snail’s pace. The first episodes slowly introduces us to a depressed pianist boy, Kousei Arima, who struggles to maintain a normal life after his mother’s death. He was a child prodigy who played at classical music competitions. His mother trained him constantly to become one of the best pianists, but her vicious drills traumatized him to the point where he just couldn’t play the piano anymore.

The girl next door, Sawabe Tsubaki, is Kousei’s childhood friend. She thinks that a girlfriend could raise his spirits and possibly motivate him to play the piano again. She invites Kousei on a date to meet up with their other buddy, Ryouta Watari, and his new mystery date. Little does Kousei know that this meeting would change his life forever.

Ryouta’s new girlfriend is Kaori Miyazono. She’s a virtuoso violinist who often gets criticized for improvising too far from the written sheet music. She invites her friends to watch her performance at a classic music competition in Towa Hall. Kousei is quite impressed with her playing, but he keeps his distance from her. After all, Kaori seems to act as if she likes Ryouta. However, Kaori actually has a big-time crush on Kousei.

yourLie5One day, Kousei meets Kaori on his way home from school. Kaori says that she is waiting for her boyfriend, who seems to be running late. She decides to use Kousei as her new substitute date. Kousei has reservations about this outing, but Kaori clearly wants to know more him. She wants to know more about his life as a virtuoso pianist and why he suddenly stopped playing.

The entire show is focused on the growth in the relationship between Kousei and Kaori. Although they are both amazing musicians with incredible chemistry together, their whole relationship is peppered with personal struggles. Kousei constantly tries his best to deal with his traumatic memories with his mother. Throughout the series, Kaori also has plenty of medical emergencies that force her to more of her time in the hospital.

As the story slowly unravels over the course of the series, we learn that Kaori is struggling through one of the most difficult moments in her life. Although I really can’t reveal anything else about the story, I will say that their relationship is strikingly touching, heartbreaking and emotional.

yourLie4Even if the ending of the story is somewhat predictable, the voice acting in this show is exceptionally poignant. The animators somehow struck a delicate balance in texturing the episodes with just enough tragedy and compassion to make everyone shed tears of joy and sadness. If anyone only has enough time to watch one anime this year, be sure to watch Your Lie In April. It is definitely one of my favorite shows of the year, by far.

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Filed under masterpiece, music, romance, slice-of-life, Your Lie In April

>Abenobashi deserves more critical acclaim

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It’s a shame that Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi passed under the radar of so many anime critics, because it is one of the most original shows of all time.

Every part of this show shines with vivacious energy and animation. The entire span of the series is a big mind trip. In the same way that Paranoia Agent plays tricks on you with its scare tactics, Abenobashi fools you into thinking that this series will follow a tragic turn of events.

Yet, it’s not a series about the tragic human condition, where all people have to die at some point or another. The show is all about a boy’s coming of age. He learns how to turn his best moments into reality.

It certainly takes a while for the main character to fully understand every part of his dream world. However, this show is one of the few pieces of animation that takes you on a joy ride, to try and understand how movies are really supposed to enlighten us.

Somehow, the main characters change their real world into a culmination of shared experiences with faces they love. The Abenobashi characters cannot settle with accepting things as they are–they have to take action in order to turn their best dreams into reality. The final ending is a surprisingly hopeful vision, that we hardly ever see in an anime.

Many other series have tried to follow the Abenobashi formula, but failed. Kyoto Animation tried to pull off a similar storyline in their series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This saga, Endless Eight, was a hideous story arc, where the characters kept repeating the exact same events in every episode of the story.

Only Abenobashi truly nailed the endless dream formula. If only other anime shows would follow suit with this show, because it’s just that good.

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Filed under comedy, Endless Eight, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, slice-of-life

>Streaming video review – Avant-garde moe for the artist’s soul

>If you like watching four really cute art student girls on abstract art backgrounds, you’re in for a treat.

The Anime Network’s newest slice-of-life series, “Hidamari Sketch” turns the anime format into modern art by integrating actual photographs and various forms of modern artwork.

At first glance, this series looks like a low-quality rehash of “Honey and Clover,” a similar show which centers on the romantic lives of everyday art students. “Hidamari Sketch” takes a much simpler approach by analyzing the visual talent of young female art students in their day-to-day lives.

There is visual beauty in every part of this anime. The director of the show did an extraordinary job, by pasting actual photographs into the environment of “Hidamari Sketch” to portray the actual surface textures of wood and paint. There’s even a couple polka dot textures in the pop art style.

The nameplate of the girls’ apartment was created by actual painters. The main character uses tourist photographs, pop logos and anime-styled “postcards” in her photo collage. The crowds of people in the summer festival are abstractly represented by simple peg-like sticks.

Although the anime director’s “art exhibition” approach tends to get a little redundant, no one can deny that this show looks remarkable. The anime has many wonderful sections where each art girl get to discuss her own approach to her work.

The jokes and the dialogue is geared mostly toward young girls, so hardcore anime nuts might pass on watching “Hidamari Sketch.” However, the director of “Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei” did a incredible job in giving this moe series much more pizazz than I expected. Take the time to at least watch a few episodes, because the visual style of this series is very unique.

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Filed under comedy, Hidamari Sketch, moe, shoujo, slice-of-life