Your Lie in April, Episode 22 [End]

Well, it’s been one heck of a wild, emotional, sometimes frustrating ride, but we’ve come to the end of Your Lie in April. Somethings have ended, but others stretch out for as long as we remember them. It took this episode a few minutes to get going, but when it kicked into high gear, it really kicked into high gear. As expected, the aesthetics truly took charge in this episode and, even if there was a little more digital work than I would’ve liked, the end results was something pretty special. So, now it’s time for one last look at Your Lie in April.

Your Lie in April

Okay, I’ll say it. I was worried at the start of this episode, worried we were going to get another performance of unimaginative camera angels attempting to drag an emotional reaction out of me with heavy-handed check-ins with everyone else as Kousei continued his performance, even if we were getting clever shots of the audience shading the frame with a mournful, subdued red. Despite all Kousei’s revelations about the importance of the other people in his life (the shoutout to Tsubaki, I thought, was especially precious), this is ultimately a show about Kousei and Kaori and the way they impacted each other’s lives and I think you can tell that the creators of the anime are drawn to that dynamic and that story.

You can see it in the startling shot of Kaori cradling child Kousei’s head. You can see it in the way the pastels start to take over the screen and in the way the pace of the editing accelerates along with the tempo of the song. You can see it in the shots that draw lines between Kousei and the light as he starts to think about Kaori. You can see it in the way the camera pans upwards along with Kousei’s refrain of “reach her.” But it’s really not until KimiUso liberates itself from the physical confines of the concert hall into the abstracted beauty of the lake foreshadowed in the OP that the episode truly began to resonate with the meaning.

And why? Because this is the sensual execution of everything KimiUso has been preaching to this point. “We’re musicians, so we communicate through music.” “Let your feelings, not your words reach other people.” The extraction of the scene from physical constraints, from the necessarily limited realm of location, into a vast, unlimited plane mirrors the way Kousei lapses into silence and the sound of the piano takes over, accompanied by the effervescent visuals. Yes, in this scene KimiUso truly embodies emotion communicated without words, breathes rather than speaks, exists rather than proclaiming its presence. In a sense, it’s a paradox. How can such an ostentatious display of pure sensory decadence be so understated?

It is, because KimiUso lapses solely into the realm of feelings, having exhausted the possibilities of words for a little while and leaning into the power of its aesthetics. The scene becomes precisely one with the thing it is attempting to communicate. The experience of watching draws you into the experience of feeling. A-1 Pictures took a page out of their Saekano playbook for this scene, using deep magenta color instead of black in many of the shots. It was a brilliant decision, as the additional colors add depth to the images while resisting the feeling of darkness. And, finally, we tumble into the gorgeous illustrations from the first OP—still shots, but incredibly beautiful, crystallized moments of music turned into image—and languish into the nighttime.

And Kousei’s words return as his image of Kaori begins to vanish, as the dream ends and reality begins to reassert itself. But, before we can return to the world of the stage, the visuals explode along with the song—along with Kousei’s grief—in a terrifying display of light that perhaps could be beautiful at another time. Chaos itself is the emotion now, and it fills the screen just as it fills Kousei. And then, only then, can we be thrown back into the shining mundanity of the stage—once a source of terror for Kousei, now the place where he faces the reality of his life and the truth of his identity as a pianist. And so, he must say goodbye.

This is Kousei’s true farewell. We skip straight from the end of the concert to him receiving the letter from Kaori’s parents because all that could have been said, all that could have been felt, has already been given to us through the piano. What follows is essentially one long montage as a sort of metaphor for the grieving process. If the chaotic moment at the end of the lake scene was the shock of loss, winter is the stage of sadness and, eventually, we come to the acceptance and reminiscence of spring.

Your Lie in April

I don’t remember from Emi’s episodes if little Kaori was always next to her, but I suppose it makes sense that it all would come full circle like that. For all the dialogue lines about connection, this sort of narrative construction communicates that idea with far more elegance and grace—and has the adorableness of child Kaori to boot. The backstory of awkward glasses Kaori didn’t do quite as much for me, although her description of watching Watari, Tsubaki, and Kousei together—”There was no space for me to slip in“—resonated with me. In a way, her backstory felt to me like an attempt to redeem a character who didn’t need redemption…until the all-important point where she decided, in the face of impending death, to truly embrace life.

To me, this doesn’t justify the lie she told and I somewhat struggle with the way KimiUso tried to romanticize it. Fortunately, we get a two shots of Watari—who it seems won’t forget Kaori as soon as she expects—which bring up at least a little criticism of her lie. But, in the end, it’s more a slap on the wrist than anything, even considering her apology to Tsubaki, because (as the framing goes) it brought her to Kousei. Because it changed Kousei for the better. Perhaps it’s not very gracious of me to complain about the lie, but it still feels a bit disingenuous to me to use glasses Kaori’s struggle to justify genki Kaori’s lie. I think she should have just talked to Kousei, rather than using Watari and sneaking behind Tsubaki’s back.

But, that’s how people are sometimes and, for all that, I can’t fault her too much for chasing after the person she loved, for giving herself a chance. Even if she had to say goodbye.

Your Lie in April

Speaking of Tsubaki, she’s still the hero of this show for me. She’s the person who found the color for Kousei, the person who can understand his pain of having the person he loves gone (as she indeed has faced down that same hurt with his impending departure), the person who won’t leave him alone, the person who loved him, screwed up, tried again, and will still stand beside him. In a way, her unrequited love is selfish, but in another way it is still incredibly pure and touchingly generous. I didn’t cry, you know, until Tsubaki showed up right at the end of the letter—as she shows up before the boy she still loves in her Tsubaki way, kicks him, shouts her love for him, and stands beside him as the train crossing levers fall in between him and the symbolism cat.

It may be a spring without Kaori, but it’s spring nonetheless.


Thanks to everyone who stuck with me through this show! It’s been great getting to talk about KimiUso‘s triumphs and failures with you guys! Hoping to get a comprehensive review out in the next couple days!

Your Lie in April

23 thoughts on “Your Lie in April, Episode 22 [End]

  1. As an ending and singular episode it was very good! And the best EP of the series!IMO

    Ill try to be brief!

    The backstory of how Kaori was so influcened floored me! She was in inspired , awed me . maybe even in love at the first site!Changing from piano to violin that a big step.

    I agree with you Kaori should have talked to him earlier but having an illness changes people to have less faith in themselves!

    I read the manga and I think an important part was left out about Kousei!Her illness was only part of why she intervened pushed him to play piano. Reads the Manga It’s a key point!

    But in the end I am not upset with her at all. The letter was well written and it conveyed all her feelings! I wish they could have been truly in love even for a short while!I forgive her for not feeling like she could fit in but she finally knew the clock was ticking!

    Now to Kousei he was right he should be thanking her, She gave up everything to play on stage with him! I still dont think he handled things good feeling sorry for himself when Kaori has the biggest hurdle an incurable illness!

    For Tsubaski she has a big task! She has to watch over Kousei by herself w/o Kaori but I think Kaori knew that all along that being in Love was wonderful even it not fullfilled but leaving Kousei to the right person!

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    • I think episode 10 is still the best episode of the series for me and then the Tsubaki confession episode after that, but this was still a pretty darn impressive outing by everyone working on the show.

      I’m not really intending to go back to the manga at this point. I’ve heard some people talking about different elements to Kaori’s lie that the manga brought up, but I’m content to just let the show be the show. I don’t have to agree with everything it did to like it—and I do like it!

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  2. I loved this final episode. I didn’t expect to get a Kaori back story, so that was intriguing. And I was so happy to hear the two play together one last time! That was one of the best moments at the beginning of the series, when the two played together on stage. Kaori’s passing was also one of the most stunning moments from the entire series!

    I’ve enjoyed reading these posts every week! ❤ I hope I end up watching whichever show you might cover next. 😀

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  3. Deep breath. Must remember to breathe…

    When the final credits rolled, half of me wanted to just curl into a ball. The other half, I felt like the kid at the end of The Incredibles – I wanted to shout That Was AWESOME. It’s been a heck of a frustrating ride, but we were rewarded for our patience with a practically pitch perfect finale.

    The letter, and Kousei waiting to read it, was an inspired device… too many shows concentrate on the blackest parts of grief. KimiUso skipped over that to the hardest part, to looking towards the future and walking forward into it.

    And Tsubaki’s confession was very endearing. And yeah, it was a confession, make no mistake, just as Kousei has grown and changed so has Tsubaki. The only person left in the dust was the true Friend A – Watari.

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    • Is it bad that I do feel a bit bad for Watari? Cause I really do. I still remember the scene of him in the bathroom after he missed that goal and remember thinking, “Man, this kid is a bit of a jerk and has some thing he needs to work out, but there’s still a lot about him that I like.”

      Ah, well, you can’t have everything. Getting a nice Tsubaki ending more than makes up for a lack of real closure on Watari.

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      • No, I think it’s OK to feel bad for Watari… Up until he lost the tournament, he was definitely portrayed as a much more central character than he turned out to be. As late as ep 20 (? when Kaori played hooky from the hospital), they kept up hinting to the same end.

        As you said, you can’t have everything, and even though several characters (poor Emi) drew short straws, Watari just happened to draw the shortest. Yet another symptom of the inconsistency that plagued the show from early on.

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  4. That’s how to end an anime on a satisfying note. The whole episode was really like a long goodbye – the first half as Kousei’s sublimely beautiful farewell to Kaori and the second half her (as usual) more upbeat farewell to him – and taken together it nailed everything just right. That was the type of musical performance we haven’t had enough of in the second half of the series, but they saved the best one for last. I didn’t cry at all with this series, although I might have had to blow my nose during that montage of Kaori photos with the ending song. Or maybe that was just my allergies acting up.

    Tsubaki’s confession was great, and definitely came straight from her heart (and for once, the slapstick actually worked well in that scene). Judging from the last look that Nagi was giving Kousei, though, she may still have some more competition to fight off. Which might actually be a good thing for her, because it’s much generally much easier to compete against a real person than it is to compete against a ghost, if you know what I mean.

    Kaori’s lie didn’t really bother me, just because it seemed to me like exactly the sort of thing that middle school kids do. It’s terrifying for most kids to just walk up to someone and confess to them at that age, especially if it’s someone you don’t know, so everyone engages in subterfuge: sending your crush anonymous notes and spying on her when she opens them to see how she reacts, playing the “ask her to ask him to ask her best friend if she has a boyfriend” telephone game, joining a club just because your crush is in it, that sort of thing. Pretending to like your best friend as an excuse to hang out with you falls right into that same pattern of behavior. I totally get what you’re saying about it, and yeah, it’s not a cool thing to do, especially to Watari, but you and I are also older and we know better. Middle school kids do dumb things like that and hurt each other because at that age they don’t know better. Eventually they learn, although it might cost them a few friendships along the way if they screw up badly enough.

    Final verdict: Still a 7/10, but a strong 7. The ending was so good that I flirted with bumping it up to an 8, but I can’t quite go that high. An 8 is a show I’m quite sure I’ll want to re-watch someday, and I don’t think this is one that I’m too likely to pick up again. If I do, it won’t be for a very long time. I might be interested in checking out the manga one day, though, if I can find a decent scanlation.

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    • Yeah, it’s not the lie itself so much that bothered me as the way the show romanticized it. Back at the beginning of the show, I remember Guardian Enzo, a blogger I really admire, saying that KimiUso adopts a dumb kid’s point of view a lot of the time without showing that it realizes that point of view is exactly that—a dumb kid’s. So, I guess I would have preferred just a little bit more of a sting on the lie, even just a few more shots of Watari, as a reminder that lying is a romantic way to get to know someone.

      In short, it’s not the act of the lie, but the way that it was framed that bothered me a bit. But not enough to really knock me out of engagement with the episode.

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  5. I really enjoyed how they ended the show. Instead of taking the easy way and letting Kaori live or getting depressed and dark at her passing they found an uplifting and pretty satisfying ending I thought.

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  6. Yohohohoho…. How long has it been since the last time I came here? RL is tough nowadays… >_<

    Anywaaaaaaaay……

    (5*(AnoHana-(“Menma, we found you”+Ghost)))+(Nodame/1.57) = Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso <— You get what I mean, bless? 😛

    Critically speaking, it is a very formulaic show. The plot is predictable, and the melodrama feels like it is a music version of AnoHana. Yeah, in a critical nutshell, it is your generic teen melodrama with music as a seasoning. Not to mention the cringeworthy slapsticks… If anything, critically, I’d give this show a 6/10.

    But then, let see this show in another perspective. With a beautiful visual and music, Shigatsu managed to bring a simple story about a person’s growth through pain. Of course, there are tons of story that did better than Shigatsu, but at the very least, Shigatsu still able to bring its message despite its melodramatic style. You can’t deny it, but sometimes, you don’t need a very “majestic” story-telling or characters to tell the viewers a “message”. So in a more common perspective, I dare to give this show an 8/10

    So, we have two scores. 6 and 8. Average both of them and you’ll get a 7. But at least for now, since I really am in love with the ending, I’ll add 1 to the score, making my current score for Shigatsu is 8/10. It might drop, minimal to 6. Depends on my mood.

    Now, time for me to go to Alaska to fight some giant bears to regain my manliness!~ I’ll be back, yohohohohoho!~

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    • Heyo, welcome back!

      That’s a nice formula you’ve got, but I…uh…haven’t seen Nodame OR Anohana, so a couple of your variables are a bit fuzzy to me. 😛

      Have fun in Alaska, I guess…

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  7. Someone please, tell me the name of the song that was playing when she said “I love you.” Its such a good song, but I have no clue what it is. Someone help me!

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  8. idk if it was just me but I did not cry at all on the last episode D: I really tried to but couldn’t :c in all the past episodes that were meant to be tearjerkers, I was a baby bawling my eyes out.

    though I really liked Tsubaki, I felt really bad for her AND FOR WATARI AFTER THAT LOST IN SOCCER! oh, my heart kinda hurts.

    the goodbye letter had a good impact and finished the anime on a good note, which made it very enjoyable. but the lie… it kinda bothers me… no, it really bothers me. I was really excited and anxious to know all about that lie, cause it was in the title yknow?, but then it was kinda weak.

    besides that, it was a good anime that I very much enjoyed. but I do not enjoy the fact that I did not cry on the last episode, hope it doesn’t mean I’m heartless.

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  9. It’s a bit late to write a comment, but after watching the last episode I feel the need to write some stuff out.

    The ending explains us everything and sets up Kourei with a new spring to conquer. Essentially, we are going back to how it started, but with some extra baggage.

    Now to unpack my own baggage I have garnered after this trip.

    I like sad endings, but this ending leaves me incredibly unsatisfied. In a way Kaori and Kousei were able to play one more time together, though the super natural / spiritual element was something that felt akwardly put in there. Of course, it could all have been in his imagination, but she defintely did die during his recital.

    Ryouta probably knew that his love was one-sided, twice he said to Kousei that he isn’t the one Kaori leans on. Ryouta’s role in the lie hit me a bit later, but I find it the saddest. He clearly cared a lot about Kaori and if he ever gets to hear the truth from the letter, I have no doubt that would leave him devastated. He obviously struggles a lot more than he lets on, as can be seen in the episode where his team loses the soccer tournament.

    Tsubaki got her recognition and will always a play role Kousei’s life, though it won’t ever be more than the second violin. Even if Kousei can give it a spot, Kaori will always be the girl that pushed him to play and put his emotions out there. It feels like Tsubaki will be chasing an image that left a permanent mark on Kousei, how can you compete with that?

    Last part of my rant is about Kousei and a bit of various stuff combined.

    How did almost everyone just ignore his mom’s outbursts. Yeah she was sick, yeah did it out of love, but that was honestly fucked up. He is emotionally scarred for life and would’ve been in a terrible place if Kaori hadn’t ever stepped in. It must be Japanese culture, because Kousei needed some serious therapy to figure out his feelings. And I find it disgusting how everyone just glosses over it and kept pointing at how great his mom was. Hiroko’s solution of making him find his happiness by playing the piano seems like a technique that could’ve worked a lot better than she also talked to him more. Maybe if he got better at expressing himself and dealing with his past, then he could’ve confessed to Koari. Maybe it’s one of those times where it can all be better left unsaid, but if you see how Kousei responded at situations that were similar to the past, then I can’t see how you can just push it through and forget about it.

    The shows that play with your heart strings tend to have these half open endings, where most things have come to completion, but you are left with this feeling of ”AND NOW WHAT!?”

    And that’s where I am now. I want to know where they will all end up, I don’t need the best case scenario, even one where everyone manages to keep it together is at least an ending compared to what I am left with feeling now.

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