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Your Lie in April, Volume 2: Rondo…

Your Lie in April, Volume 2: Rondo Capriccioso

by Arakawa Naoshi

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There's not a whole lot of story in this volume; it's mostly one very long scene covering just a few minutes. Still, it's packed with feeling and some really nice art. We're essentially seeing internal changes, shifts of emotion and attitude, rather than anything more visible.

I'm still feeling like this is all the Arima show, and I'd really like to see Kaori stepping forward into a co-protagonist role. I feel like we know what's going on with Arima; Kaori is a mystery, and starting to unpack that would help her move from being a muse for Arima to being a serious character in her own right. So far it feels very much like Tsubaki and Ryouta are more established and rounded, which just isn't right. I suppose at this stage, I'm just not sure whether Kaori is going to get that limelight, or whether she's doomed to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for Arima - I feel like the story hasn't given me enough hints one way or the other. That uncertainty meant I gave it a lower rating, because I can't decide how much I'm looking forward to the rest. ( )
  Shimmin | Dec 9, 2015 |
Your Lie in April is an eleven-volume manga series created by Naoshi Arakawa that began serialization in Japan in 2011. The manga is one of Arakawa's earliest professional works. Even so, Your Lie in April would go on to win a Kodansha Manga Award in 2013 and in 2014 the series' anime adaptation debuted. Although I haven't actually seen it yet, it was the anime that first brought Your Lie in April to my attention. As a lover of both manga and music (in addition to being a musician myself), the basic premise of Your Lie in April appealed to me a great deal. I was glad that Kodansha Comics licensed the series since I'm always excited to see more music manga released in English. I largely enjoyed the first volume of Your Lie in April and so was happy to receive a review copy of the second as well. Your Lie in April, Volume 2 was originally published in Japan in 2012 while the English translation was released in 2015.

Kosei hasn't played the piano publicly for years, having tried to give it up after the death of his mother and a disastrous performance in competition. He has become so psychologically distraught that he literally can no longer his own music; the sound seems to disappear when he begins to seriously play. Very few people actually know why Kosei no longer performs or competes, and his closest friends continue to encourage him to play despite his reluctance. Somehow Kaori manages to bully him into serving as her accompanist in the second round of her violin competition at the last minute. She's a passionate and headstrong musician who other pianists find difficult work with, sometimes even refusing to accompany her. But Kaori wants to be remembered by her audiences and she is convinced that Kosei, who was once well-known as a child prodigy, can help her do that. Except that he's never been an accompanist before, they've never practiced together, and he hasn't even had the change to study the score.

Though Your Lie in April can be somewhat melodramatic at times, I appreciate that Arakawa is leveraging the psychological states of the series' characters in order to further the story. Kosei being thrust into the spotlight and once again experiencing the thrill of performance doesn't simply make everything all right or solve his problems. If anything, it actually makes matters more complicated. He continues to be torn between wanting to play and never wanting to touch the piano again. Hovering over Kosei is the shadow of his dead mother, an abusive woman who demanded perfection from him and his playing. But she was also the person who first taught him to love music. By the end of her life she had become cruel, but Your Lie in April, Volume 2 reveals that before she became ill she was much kinder and gentler person. It doesn't excuse how she eventually treated her son, though it does help to explain in part why Kosei remained and continues to be devoted to her throughout the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon him.

What little is known about Kosei's mother so far in Your Lie in April provides an interesting counterpoint to what little is known about Kaori. They are both musicians, they both are partly responsible for drawing Kosei into the world of music and, as the second volume of the series shows, they both struggle with physical illness. However, whereas Kosei's mother became cruel, Kaori's illness has caused her to devote herself to her music, striving to leave a lasting impression on those around her. No matter what happens in the future, Kosei's relationship with Kaori, like the one with his mother, will be a formative one. He, at least, will never be able to forget her. She is an inspiration dragging him out of his personal darkness. This is something that is visually reinforced in the manga as well. Kaori is almost always shown in the light, sometimes she even seems to be the source of light, while Kosei is frequently seen in shadow, especially when he is playing. But Kaori is challenging and changing him. The time may come when Kosei will be able to freely stand in the light, too.

Experiments in Manga ( )
  PhoenixTerran | Aug 7, 2015 |
Such a beautiful story! The characters are really intense and the concentration on the young musical prodigies is a unique topic for me to come across in a shojo manga. So far it has been comical along with the serious theme but this volume hints at a possible sobering of the tone in the near future. As far as relationships go the three friends remain close even though rivalry of feelings for the same person(s) is coming into play. Really looking forward to the next volume. ( )
  ElizaJane | Jul 11, 2015 |
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After the death of his mother, child prodigy Arima Kosei gave up the piano forever -- or so he thought. That vow turned out to be no match for the persistence of sprightly violinist Kaori Miyazono, who's roped Arima back into the world of competitive classical music. But after so many years, will Arima be able to sit down at the ivories again like nothing happened? Or will history repeat itself, with Arima crumbling unde rthe pressure?… (more)

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