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Your Lie in April, Vol. 2

After a longer than planned absence, I’m back with a new midweek manga review! The past couple of weeks have seen us go through San Diego Comicon and Anime Expo, so there’s plenty of manga related news bits floating around right now. This isn’t all of them by any stretch of the imagination, but these are the highlights that really caught my attention.

And now, onto the featured review of Your Lie in April, Vol. 2!

Your Lie in April, Vol. 2Your Lie in April, Vol. 2
by Naoshi Arakawa
Kodansha Comics, 224 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Young Arima Kosei is forced to confront his fears in an attempt to help Kaori Miyazono in her violin competition. Is this the push Arima needed to regain his confidences and embrace music once again, or will it break him even further? And just what is Kaori to him anyway? Love, music and more abound in the Naoshi Arakawa’s Your Lie in April, Vol. 2!

Naoshi Arakawa does a fantastic job at building up the various relationships that pepper this series. Clearly the primary romance is the burgeoning one between Kaori and Arima, and his depiction of how the duo connect through music is nicely done, with Kaori slowly opening Arima up to musical possibilities that his mother never thought to show him. That said, I couldn’t help but think that Kaori seems to be veering into Manic Dream Pixie Girl territory. She’s a bubbly, energetic young woman who’s pulling Arima out of his brooding funk and teaching him to embrace the wonders of music and enjoy life again in the process, and it’s a cliche that I’m not terribly fond of. The fact that she’s clearly ill just makes it worse and I’m left hoping that we don’t end up with her dying and her death serving to inspire or motivate Arima. For now at least, the relationship building is interesting and Naoshi Arakawa tosses in twists and turns by setting up love triangles, romantic rivals and more. Watching Arima attempting to negotiate his own feelings towards Kaori, mixed with his low self esteem and the feelings of his two friends is interesting and seems like it’ll provide plenty of chances for drama and tension as the series progresses. A page from Your Lie in April, Vol. 2

The big hook of the series is music and Arima’s relationship to it. While a musical performance might not seem like the most interesting or easy thing to depict in sequential art, Naoshi Arakawa does a pretty solid job at conveying the drama, emotional state and physicality of the performances in this volume. Shots of sweat pouring down his head, musical notes floating away from the paper and more all do a nice job at making his panicked state obvious. Likewise his style is cartoony enough, and he keeps the visuals light enough that the comedic over reactions don’t feel intrusive or distracting.

With Your Lie in April, Vol. 2, the series continues to be a enjoyable read, though there are some plot and character elements that seem like that could easily backfire or end up being rather disappointing if they’re not handled carefully in the future. I’m definitely curious to see how the various relationships will play out and hopefully it will avoid some of the more obvious cliches and pitfalls that this volume seems to hint at.

You Lie in April, Vol. 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

  1. July 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I am really happy that another person considered Kaori as a MPDG trope, i agree. I only watched anime though, so manga may be different in characterisation but as for the anime, Kaori feels like she totally exists for Arima only.

    Thank you for the review and take care! (^∇^)

    • July 23, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      I didn’t really notice it in the first volume, but it really felt obvious in this one. There’s a scene where he literally stares at her and says “You’re freedom itself.” o_O It’s a shame, ’cause I think it’s an otherwise really likeable series. Ah well.

      Thank you for the comment, glad you liked the review!

  2. July 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I am glad that another person took up Kaori. I only watched anime, so maybe the characterisation is different in manga but I, too, thought that she fit in the MPDG trope nicely. She seemed like she existed solely for Arima, dissapearing when her ‘job’ is done.

    Thank you for the review and take care!(^∇^)

  1. July 24, 2015 at 6:45 am

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