Your Lie in April Vol. 6 - Manga Review

Having discovered his reason for playing, Kosei prepares to accompany Kaori in her latest performance. Meanwhile, his mother’s best friend Hiroko Seto is determined to make up for lost time and support him however she can as his teacher.

The Lowdown

Kosei has gained confidence after his performance in the Maiho Music Competition, and has come to terms with his memories of his mother. Spurred on by Kaori, Kosei begins to prepares to perform once again, this time as Kaori’s accompanist. She picks Kreisler’s “Love’s Sorrow”, a favourite of Kosei’s mother that brings back memories of his very early childhood. Meanwhile, famous pianist Hiroko Seto has re-entered Kosei’s life determined to take care of her best friend’s son after two years of running away. With Kosei still recovering his ability to play, Hiroko does her best to work with him as she recalls the time she spent with him as a child.

How Was It?

Considering the intense emotions absolutely packed into the previous volume, it makes sense that first half of this volume slows the pace down a little bit to re-position Kosei as he heads into his latest performance with Kaori. We’re quickly reminded that for all the maturity that they demonstrate on the stage, our main characters are still just 14-year olds, and it was nice to see them goofing off a little bit and getting to know one another as they prepared. We also get a few nice moments with Kosei slowly acknowledging his feelings for Kaori, but the development continues to be slow. However, I liked that every step forward felt earned, and he continues to be believable as an indecisive young-man.

Naturally, the pair’s preparation led to some thematically significant moments such as an epiphany that Kosei has after he falls into the pool, or as he and Kaori look up at the stars, and I enjoy that the series continues to maintain such incredible thematic cohesiveness throughout. The humour is significantly bettter than in previous volumes and is less reliant on slap-stick comedy to get the point across. An enjoyable scene saw Kosei inadvertantly meeting Kaori’s parents for the first time, and I enjoyed that this scene was both hilarious while also revealing just a little more about Kosei’s past. Even when the emotional intensity isn’t turned up to 10/10, Your Lie in April remains a thoroughly entertaining series for its thematic cohesion.

One of the most interesting plot threads that runs throughout this volume was seeing the interactions between Hiroko and Kosei as she re-enters his life for the first time in years. I really liked seeing Kosei finally get a mentor figure in his life, and it was interesting to see the unique role Hiroko has begun to play in this story as part older-sister, and part teacher. I liked that we got to start seeing Kosei through another set of eyes, and this helped to add some extra context to the his development in this volume. We got to see this very readily in scenes such as Hiroko, her daughter, and Kosei heading to the festival, and scenes such as this really helped explore Kosei’s relationship with his dead mother from a perspective outside of Kosei’s singular view which has dominated the story so far. Hiroko’s own story is captivating as well, and the added drama this brought to the story as an interesting secondary plot-line which helped to contextualize the main-plot nicely.

The second half of the volume follows Kosei as he launches into his latest performance, wonderfully showcasing the growth that he’s experienced so far in the series. We see very tangibly in his demeanor how much he’s changed, and I liked that this volume built upon the events of the previous one to incorporate everything that he’s experience in a clear way. I liked that his confidence really came through in a number of the scenes, but even more than that it all felt extremely natural thanks to the previous context shown. Although the performance itself took up a good chunk of page-space, I got the impression that the pacing was just a little bit too rushed to really get across the journey it tries to portray Kosei as being on. That said, it’s still yet another wonderful and thematically rich performance from this series, and I enjoyed it all the same.

The art in Your Lie in April continues to improve, and I felt (once again) that this volume was the most consistent effort yet. There were a number of nice full-page spreads in opportune places, and I enjoyed that these were employed more frequently in this volume to complement some of the more dramatic moments. The character designs in the first half of the volume continue to be more consistently drawn than in the previous volume, and I liked that some more shading was incorporated to make the characters look a little less flat in some cases. Although there were a few instances of the facial expressions looking a little bit off, generally this was much better done than in previous volumes. The performance scene was very well done as well, but it didn’t quite reach the height of the previous volume since a lot of the visual effects and intense shading were things seen before in the series. That said, the art in this volume didn’t disappoint and I enjoyed it on the whole as a more consistent effort even if it didn’t quite reach the flash the high-points of this series have demonstrated.

Final Thoughts

Your Lie in April Vol. 6 is an excellent transition volume after the emotional highs of the previous one. It moves the story along effectively, providing some good character development mixed in with humour that hit the mark better than has been seen thus far in the series. I particularly enjoyed the presence of Hiroko in this volume as a mentor for Kosei, and she provided some great context for his continued development as he performs in yet another dramatic instance. Once again, don’t miss this series.


Your Lie in April 6
By Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April Vol. 6 was published by Kodansha Comics USA on March 29th, 2016. Authored by Naoshi Arakawa, the series originally ran in Kodansha’s Monthly Shonen Magazine from 2011-2015, with an anime adaption by A-1 Pictures airing from October 2014 - March 2015. Volume 7 will be released on April 26th 2016 in English.

Verdict:

A-

Date of Publication: April 26th, 2016

Translator: Alethea and Athena Nibbley

Author: Naoshi Arakawa

Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA


Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka