Your Lie In April

Your Lie in April
Kousei Arima is a musical prodigy who has lost that sparkle in his eye, according to his lifelong female friend Tsubaki. Everything begins to change when he meets a fellow musician named Kaori, who instantly recognises him as the well known pianist of his generation who used to effortlessly scoop first prize in countless competitions. When she learns he has abandoned the instrument she determines to bring him back to his passion of piano playing which had been tainted by painful memories.

Kousei and Kaori’s relationship to the complexities and beauty of classical music come to mirror the complexities and wonder of the feelings unfolding between them. As she watches them bond, Tsubaki’s jealousy and romantic confusion is convincing and heart rending to watch.

The music and visuals really underline the warmth of burgeoning feelings for the teenage characters with an array of soft sunsets, cherry blossom breezes and bittersweet piano melodies that continually provide a romantic backdrop that has you feeling like you’re falling in love right alongside each character.

Will Kousei fall for Kaori?
Will Kousei fall for Kaori?
Or will Kousei realise his feelings for childhood friend Tsubaki?

The real strength of this anime is its believability. The characters really feel like young teenagers, their maturity and adolescence just beginning to surface. Kousei and Tsubaki’s childhood friendship feels like a genuine bond that isn’t overstated, which is what makes the introduction of Kaori so heartfelt and convincing as we witness each character struggle with their own feelings. The addition of Kousei’s ongoing struggle to reclaim his passion and talent for the piano from a shadow of pain and suffering adds a mature depth to this anime.

Although Your Lie in April specialises in those scenic, romantic moments, it also provides  an excellent study of all universal human emotion – not feeling good enough, not wanting to let others down, not wanting to be consumed by fear.

Emotionally honest and visually captivating, Your Lie in April is not an anime to miss. If you like romance, emotion, and classical music – what are you waiting for?

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BONJOUR Sweet Love Patisserie

It’s not too hard to guess what kind of anime BONJOUR Sweet Love Patisserie is. If the title alone didn’t give you a clue, the rivalries and love interest are introduced within minutes, and the attractive array of head patissiers are all accompanied by trite anime sparkle and rose petal sequences. Although I enjoy light and fluffy anime, the characters here fall so much into tropes – the sweet, mild mannered heroine, the goofy friend, the bitchy rival and the aloof male – that it’s hard to feel invested from the offset.

This anime is based on a mobile game which I presume is a dating sim as in the anime Sayuri (our pink haired heroine) spends different episodes with the different male patissiers and has clichéd romantic moments with each. These moments are occasionally serious as Sayuri learns a little about each guy, but it’s hard to get into any character developing moment as it’s often interrupted by a cliched over the top romantic occurrence such as a hand touch or Sayuri falling against one of the men’s broad chests.

Each episode is also only five minutes long, including start and end credits, but even after several episodes I didn’t really feel I was developing an interest in the characters or the storyline.

If you’re happy with bishie boys and nice cakes to look at, and some light fluffy romance this anime will do the trick. If you’re looking for a teen drama with a bit more depth, it’d be best to look elsewhere.

Michiko & Hatchin

Any port in a storm right? At least, that’s what orphan Hana thinks when the beautiful and mysterious Michiko Malandro crashes (literally) into her life on a green moped. Faced with a choice between staying with her cold adoptive parents and their cruel offspring or boldly stepping into the unknown, Hana takes her chances on a new life.

michiko and hatchin

So begins Michiko & Hatchin, a tale of two young women doing their best to survive in a dog eat dog world. Michiko is already on the run from the law, so the pair can never stay in one place for long. Wherever they go they meet with turf wars, gunfire and gang hierarchies as they search for faces from the past in the hopes of finding answers and a brighter future.

This anime is a colourful, sophisticated affair that handles action scenes with playful pizazz, danger with gritty realism and emotional moments with understated and mature honesty. With stylish visuals and a vibey Latina soundtrack, our heroines tumble from one adventure to the next against a background of desert paradises. As the title would suggest, Michiko and Hana and their developing relationship form the heart of this anime. Michiko’s unpredictability and Hana’s need for stability create clashes and conflicts which are skilfully depicted. Hana in particular is impressively presented as a girl on the brink of adolescence, already mature for her age but needing a parent figure in her life which Michiko struggles to be.

If you want to break away from the high school anime tropes of perky introduction sequences, over the top humour and fanservice, check out Michiko & Hatchin.