While E3 is a hectic time with many game announcements and lots of amazing games being shown off, sometimes we need that emotional experience that touches our hearts. Something that makes us realize we are human, understand out internal emotions and help us better appreciate the connections we have with others.
Before E3, I watched this anime due to high recommendations online. And, I have to say; it was a magical experience. Should you give this musical adventure a watch?
The story is of a young boy named Kosei Arima, who gave up playing the Piano despite being gifted playing the instrument after the tragic death of his mother. He moves on with his life and has friends in the form of Tsubaki and Watari, who stuck by him his entire life. Tsubaki tells Kosei to join her on a group date to make Watari feel more confident in meeting a girl he likes. Koesi tags a long but then he spots her; Kaori Miyazono. She is a violinist with a bright heart and quite the temper.
She pushes Kosei into playing music again and the show kicks into gear from this point onwards. The drama with Kosei playing the Piano is honestly heart-breaking, as he was abused by his mother and his fear of not hearing the notes prevents him from enjoying playing the Piano.
A number of emotional scenes overtake the show and this is the brightest point of the show; it tackles depression, heartbreak, death and more themes with grace and respect. One episode toward the middle of the show had me in tears, with his conflict regarding his passing mother comes to a head.
The character of Kaori was handled well and was used well. She was the main romance of the show and her bond with Kosei was strong. When both were on screen, they had great chemistry. Her character also has a dark backstory and her outgoing personality is the result of seeing the reality of her life.
Romance in the show and its done well however, I was more invested in following Kosei as a character rather then seeing who would he end up with. Despite that, the final two episodes resolved the love triangle the show built up with a lot of grace and with some skillful writing. In many respects, everyone in this love triangle wins at the end and that is hard to accomplish in most shows like this.
The side characters are fantastic, as they have clear roles and seeing how Kosei’s internal battle effects them is a highlight of the show. One thing to note is the humor of the show, as it has a lot of slapstick towards Kosei and it can be a problem if you treat the show seriously; seeing him get hit consistently by his friends after learning about his relationship with his mother might annoy one greatly. But the slapstick and humor are greatly needed, as the show gets very dark over time.
Overall, the story and the characters of the show are done greatly and it tackles serious subject maters with a lot of grace, respect and care.
The presentation of the show is a utter sight to behold. A-1 Pictures, the makers of SAO and SAO II have shown in the past to produce amazing looking productions. But this show has animation that can make you cry.
Color, Gradients, Shadows, and different animations styles are used all over the place but there is a level of care put into everything that makes everything ‘connect’. Some of the Piano pieces during the show are linked to the amazing animation and when the story wants to make you feel something, the animation and music help this so much.
Musically, it has a number of tracks pulled from work of past musicians and they fit the show like a glove. The original tracks like the main theme that plays at the first half of the series is great too. One theme I have to point out that connected with me is this one.
Production values of this show is through the roof and is a literal sight to behold.
The dub is something I have to talk about, as this is the first dub I watched of an anime since Dragonball Z Kai in 2011. It is well done, with every VA pouring their heart and soul into the roles of these characters. Kosei’s VA has to be noted, as he faces such hardship in the show, that there is the threat of his voice becoming to ‘winy’. But that never happens here, so that has to be noted.
Oh, and a fun fact about the show; if you enjoyed the English VA of the Persona 4 series of games, you will recognize a few voices. Whenever Tsubaki and Watari spoke in the English Dub I kept thinking about Yosuke and Chie due to the similar voices.
Of course the show has a JP Dub, but I never watched that. Other reviews commented on how similar it is to the English Dub however, so it must indicate that both the original voice actors and the American Voice Actors wanted to do a great job with this production.
If these 800 words of consistent praising haven’t cementing things, I loved this show a lot. It does so much right and I really connected with these characters. You should give the show a buy if you want to own it but it is on Netflix (English and JP Dub) and Crunchyroll (JP Dub) for streaming if you want.
Just have a tissue box and be ready to tear up at a few points in the show.