"Miyazono, Kaori" | Art by FritzVon. Used with permission.
By: Allison Barron | Anime | May 15, 2015

here’s a reason why Voldemort can’t touch Harry. There’s a reason why the Elric brothers stick together no matter what on their quest for the philosopher’s stone. There’s a reason why Frodo manages to get the ring to Mordor.

Love is powerful. And that’s why I’m afraid of it.

Loving someone opens yourself up to a world of hurt, like Kousei experiences when he loses his mother. It’s hard to watch him struggle over falling in love with Kaori, because I have a sneaking suspicion of what’s going to happen to her.

I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I started watching Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso); I just knew it was about performing music, something I could relate to.

I was immediately caught up in the story of Kousei Arima, a boy who is famous for his piano playing by the age of eleven, but his mother’s death results in a mental breakdown during a performance. Two years later, he hasn’t touched the piano since.

Until he meets a girl who changes his perspective on everything, of course.

Kaori Miyazono is a free-spirited violinist who loves to perform her own interpretation of the score, much to the chagrin of the judges and delight of the audience. She becomes friends with Kousei and persuades him to start playing the piano again. Even though playing the piano again takes Kousei through traumatic memories, Kousei is encouraged by Kaori’s vibrancy and agrees to be her accompanist. He begins to see colour in a world that used to be monotone.

It’s not until Kaori collapses during their first performance that I realize where this story is going.

“A lump of steel, like a shooting star. Just seeing the same sky as you makes familiar scenery look different. I swing between hope and despair at your slightest gesture, and my heart starts to play a melody. What kind of feeling is this again? What do they call this kind of feeling? I think it’s probably… called love. I’m sure this is what they call love.” —Kousei Arima

He lets himself fall in love with her, just as he lets himself fall in love with music again. He even tries not following the score like the “human metronome” he used to be, but searching for freedom from the past by mimicking Kaori’s style of playing.

There is a scene I found beautiful in the second-last episode where Kousei is visiting Kaori in the hospital and tells her he is again giving up music, claiming that it is taking everyone he cares about away from him, that he’s afraid of being alone. But she tells him that he has her, that she is going to struggle to live so she can spend more time with him, and he should struggle to.

“We risk our lives to struggle, because we’re musicians, remember?” —Kaori Miyazono

She breaks down and tells him not to leave her, because she is also scared of being alone and wants more time with him.

As if that isn’t heart wrenching enough, Kousei, encouraged by Kaori’s words, does go to his big performance, and it is during this same time that she is having risky surgery.

Love is powerful and brings powerful emotions along with it. There’s no avoiding joy and there’s no avoiding hurt when it’s involved. I wonder if I was Kousei, would I have been brave enough to step out of my lifeless world when love had scarred me so?

I think I would have, and I think I have already done so in the past, but that doesn’t make it any less scary or any easier moving forward. I can’t be the only one that feels that way. I like to think the tones of colour in my world are worth it.

Allison Barron
General Manager / Executive Editor
Allison is like Galadriel, offering wisdom where needed but turning treacherous as the sea when competitive games are involved. She is the executive editor of Area of Effect magazine, co-host of the Infinity +1 podcast, and staff writer for Christ and Pop Culture. When she’s not writing, designing, or editing, she is often preoccupied in Hyrule, Middle-earth, or a galaxy far, far away.