This isn’t just a beautiful love story – there’s a hidden message that underscores the true meaning of the whole show.
First things first – I love Your Lie In April to pieces. So there’s clearly a massive personal bias right out of the gate. But it took me a couple of runs through the show and an outside opinion to realise that I had been missing something. I had completely glossed over a hidden message of the story that I feel needs to be addressed.
Obviously, spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the show or read the manga, PLEASE READ NO FURTHER UNTIL YOU DO! I promise it will be worth it.
The heart of the story lies at the similarities between Kaori and Saki.
At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Kaori Miyazono – a fiesty, free-spirited violinist. She lives by her own rules and plays music the same way. As we see her start to lift our protagonist Kousei out of his depression, we start to see the reason behind it – his mother.
Saki Arima was a musician with dreams of her own. That is, until she fell ill. She knew that her time was limited, so she tried to teach Kousei the piano to set himself up for later life. However, as her condition worsened, she became desperate to teach him more. Her strictness turned to physical abuse.
After years of putting up with it, Kousei finally stood up for himself. But his outraged words to her turned out to be his last, as she died shortly after. This damaged Kousei psychologically, to the point where he could not hear his own notes. That is, until Kaori came along.
However, when Kaori falls ill too, she starts exhibiting behaviour similar to Saki’s. Yelling at Kousei to practice more, unpredictable mood swings, constantly fretting about time. These similarities concern Kousei, and others around him worry that if something happens to Kaori, he will fall right back into his old ways.
But Kaori had been trying to teach Kousei to be his own person.
Kaori only wanted Kousei to go back to the piano because she knew that he loved it. She saw the conflict in his heart – that he loved the piano but hated the ties it had to his mother’s abuse. She tried to help him find his love for music again, and in turn his love for life.
Her outlook deeply affected Kousei; she helped him to move past what happened with his mother. She helped him focus on being positive, moving forward and taking chances. Whether it be jumping off a bridge or being excited by the small things, Kaori gave Kousei the courage to develop and even take on a student of his own.
So when Kaori finally died and left a letter for Kousei explaining everything (that scene punches me in the heart every time), he is able to take what he has learned and move forward. He could very easily have treated her like his mother, become attached and co-dependent. But instead he is able to move on and just be glad for the time they had together.
The hidden message of Your Lie In April is self-sustainability.
The story of Your Lie In April isn’t just about Kousei and Kaori’s love. It’s about how Kousei learned to be his own person and not live purely for the sake of another. Kousei never thought about his future until Kaori came along. She helped him stop looking at the ground, and instead look forwards.
Saki and Kaori exhibited many similar traits throughout the show. They even fell down a similar hole when things got rough. But while Saki tried to set Kousei up for life, Kaori taught him how to live. So Kousei in turn was able to pull Kaori out of her own sadness and fight for her own life.
And that’s the true message of the story – living for yourself. Finding your passion and being able to appreciate what you have while you have it. That’s what should be taken away from the experience. And if you re-watch or re-read Your Lie In April, once you’ve finished wiping away the tears, that message might be a bit clearer.
For a list of the best winter anime of 2017, click here.