But you guys aren't here for that, you're here for Review Rednesday! And this is a very special Review Rednesday, because it features the final volume of the beloved classic, Your Lie in April. Spoiler level: it's the last volume, dude.
The last volume of Your Lie in April. Oh my gosh you guys. It's so good. So, so good. And so sad. And oh my gosh, I have to tell you. We had translated through volume nine when Gaston watched the anime, and if you've read all our reviews, you might remember that we had hope that Kaori didn't die after all and that we had reasons to support this theory, which I think we came across again when we were checking to see if Kaori's pessimist line came from Ichigo Domei. But the point is, we had reason to believe that Kaori died, and we had reason to believe that Kaori didn't die, so we did NOT want to be spoiled for the ending, so we made sure, when Gaston brought it up, to say that we hadn't seen the end yet so don't spoil it for us. Big mistake. Now we'd brought it up, which means now he's going to respond, and his response is, "Well, you know how it's going to end." And since we know he doesn't know a single thing about Ichigo Domei, which is the obscure (at least to American readers/viewers) reference that tells us there's hope for her, now we knew she was going to die. Ugh.
[ETA: Incidentally, we read in an interview that at one point Arakawa-sensei thought maybe he would change the ending (actually, we think it was at AX, so we heard in an interview?), after all, but by then they'd already decided to end the anime that way, so he figured it was set in stone. I want to go back in time and say to him, "It's okay! You can be your own person! You don't have to follow the anime!"]
But anyway, it's so well done that it still really gets you anyway. And not just when she dies, but the whole volume. The whole entire volume. It's just a big tear fest. I mean, it wasn't when we were editing it, because a lot of the emotional impact comes from the pictures, and we were hyper focused on the dialogue when we were editing, but then we read it again for the final check, and the timing was just right that the CD started playing Chopin's Ballade No.1 right when we got to his performance, and oh man. But of course the most emotional was the first time we read it, since we were paying more attention to the visuals, and because it was new. And oh man, when he makes himself play, but then he freezes up...and then Tsubaki sneezed. That's when I lost it. It was all, "He...he does have people who care for him!! *sniffle sniffle*"
And then there was Kaori's appearance on the stage. There's no speaking or sound effects for this part, so technically I've only really seen it twice--once for the manga and once for the anime, and I have to tell you, I like the manga version soooooo much better. I was re-doing the scene for the anime version. I wanted the camera to focus on him playing, then we hear Kaori off-screen, and he gasps and looks up, and then the scenery changes and they have their magical moment. And when she left...oh man, the anime version made me upset. Kaori was all writhing in agony and there were beams of light and I don't remember if it looked like they were shooting violently out of her or attacking her, but it was scary, which annoyed me. Because when we read the manga version, I interpreted it as her having died in the surgery, so her spirit came to play with Kosei one last time before she passed on forever. The anime version was more like Kosei had some kind of psychic vision of her death, which I guess gives him cool psychic powers, but isn't nearly as warm. So it kind of bums me out that one of the most important symbols of love in the series is color, but the only way to watch the scene in color is annoying.
But let's not focus on that too much. The point is, it was a very touching scene, and it was beautifully done in this volume and we cried and cried. And not just for that part, either. I loved how Kosei started to look back and remember and realize that it wasn't just his mother and Kaori who made him who he is, it was all the people he met and interacted with along the way (interesting note: his father is never included, sad). I totally recommend reading this chapter with Chopin's Ballade playing in the background, because then you can really feel it.
Then there was Kaori's letter at the end. It's kind of funny how something that really is an info dump can be depicted in a way that's not just, "Oh and by the way, I should probably explain all that stuff that I couldn't explain before." Of course we all knew that Kaori really loved Kosei and not Ryota, but she did do a pretty good job of fooling us sometimes. And most of all, she points out...see, because at the beginning of the series, she talks about how musicians live for that brief moment on the stage followed by the applause. But when she's in her final moments, she realizes that everything she remembers fondly is the little things like jumping off a bridge or racing a train. ...Thinking about it, jumping off a bridge could be a pretty big thing, but we all know it wasn't a high bridge. (If everybody was jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too? Apparently they would.) And singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together. In the anime, they left out the comment about being out of tune, because they weren't, but I think the anime finished before the manga did, so the production team wouldn't have known that Kaori was going to make that comment. Anyway, I guess it's just another one of those movies that reminds you that life is all about the little things, which is one of those messages that needs to be in a lot of movies because people have such a hard time remembering it.
It's cute that Watari still has a little crush on Kaori. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I don't really think he deserves her. And Tsubaki is adorable as usual. And here's another interesting thing that you don't necessarily notice because the story is so well done and that's not the point--they never let us know how Kosei did in the competition. There is a short scene of Emi and Takeshi commenting about how they'll never be able to catch up to him, so from that it may be safe to conclude that he got first place, especially since nobody commented on how the music changed, but nothing is stated for certain. I guess we do have another clue in that Tsubaki says she's going to stick to Kosei like glue, and she couldn't really do that if he decided to go overseas...but on the other hand, it's possible that he really did give up music. Unlikely, but possible.
But you see, that's not the point! ...And then you have to wonder what is the point, exactly? Well...I guess it's what we were talking about earlier. Even if we lose some people that we care about, we're never truly alone.
Anyway. I admit that when we first started this series, it was something we were interested in more because people seemed to really like the anime than because we had any active interest in it ourselves, and I wasn't even really sure why it was so popular. Not that I thought it was bad, of course. But it always had a nice feel to it, and working on it sometimes felt like a breath of fresh air amidst a busy schedule...until they started getting more heavily into the competition stuff, because figuring out how to word all the audience's comments was tough. But it's a great series with great characters and a whole lot of heart, so I'm really grateful that we were able to work on it, and I hope everybody enjoys/enjoyed it!
Ahh, good times. Incidentally, if there's anybody out there who wants to binge read the series and read our reviews as they go (she says, as if our opinion of the series is so important), go ahead and click the "your lie in april" tag at the bottom of this post, and I think most of the posts with that tag will be reviews of the manga.
As for this weeks releases...we have nothing! So tune in next week for our review of In/Spectre 2!
Today I'm thankful for getting some payments today, getting to translate such a lovely series as Your Lie in April, having some non-pizza food for dinner, getting caught up on the Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi story again (although it occurs to me that they may have just added more story today...), and having plans to call Mom tonight.