I’m crying! Sympathize with me! – college girls trying to convince their professors to bump their grade up¹. And it’s even more pathetic when this anime does it.
I was trying to watch the third episode of Your Lie In April recently and I just couldn’t finish it. For all its prettiness, this show is boring, stupid, and most of all, it’s tasteless. I’m not even going to perform my usual spiel regarding how A-1 Pictures can’t make a good anime to save their life, because this is the first time since Tsuritama that they produced something that didn’t look like it was made by colored farts, so it’s clear they care about this product. My problems go more towards the fact that the product they’re adapting is more Catherine Tramell than it is Jessica Rabbit.
I’ve been reading some of the positive word that’s been thrown around regarding this show and I haven’t found a single one that isn’t grounded in anything resembling logic apart from some people relating to these kids (in which case I’m sorry you had to go through what Kousei does). They’re always fueled by emotion, praising the visuals and the innocence with no regard to what’s actually happening on screen. Yes, a good chunk of what makes anime good comes from the visuals. Yes, making sense is overrated. But whilst a good chunk of what I love about, say, the Speed Racer movie comes from the visuals, the actual story has to be passable at the very least. It has to have some grounding in a logical sense. Even obtuse stuff like Paranoia Agent had grounding to its mindfuck nature.
And Your Lie In April’s biggest problem is that the core story is inherently flawed when even the slightest bit of logic is applied to it. It’d be one thing if there was some actual grit (not the same thing as dramatics) to the situation between Kouhei and his magical girlfriend that takes an interest in him for the most contrived of reasons, Saturday Night Fever-style, but there’s none. It’s more along the line of manipulative crap like Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora. You know. That short hospital drama anime that was supposed to be a touching love story between two hospitalized teenagers, and yet she nearly kills the main dude when she catches him with porno mags (amongst other things) because she’s the one who’s going to die, and thus she has the right to do whatever she wants?!
– Oh, and don’t think I didn’t notice that girl getting off at the hospital. If that means what I think it does, it’s proof that Your Lie In April has even less taste than Kanon. At least Ayu didn’t realize her condition when she was leading the main dude on, y’know?
The show is desperately lying to both itself and the audience that it can pull off the troubled teenagers falling in love story, but it’s using elements that are out of its league. It’s possible that these childishly stupid methods that the other characters use to try and get Kousei out of his slump will end up backfiring on him later, but why not have it happen now? Why have the dude fall for Kaori’s shitty sobfest? And I don’t buy the “using music to run away from problems” excuse either, because Kousei’s trauma is inherently rooted to music itself. None of the trauma that John Travolta suffered in Saturday Night Fever had anything to do with disco, and that’s why he uses it to run away from reality. Don’t even get me started on what this anime thinks qualifies as comedy. Family Guy levels of tasteless is all I have to say regarding it.
It’s almost like this anime is trying to have its cake and eat it too in regards to being a serious story whilst still being “fun” for the audience, and it’s doing a far worse job of compromising than Amagi Brilliant Park. Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what’s happening here. Terrible compromises happen all the time in anime-land, and Your Lie In April drew a really short straw on their end of the deal. And it’s a shame, because all it needs is a little bit of a tonal change to fix its problems. I’m not going to blame people for getting sucked into the atmosphere or anything, but if you try to deny to me that your product is toxic, you’ll just be fighting a losing battle.
– Opening song is still catchy though.
¹ I’m not joking. There were some girls at my university who did the sob fest routine to bump their Cs into Bs. And it worked too.