When I first picked up this anime approximately 6 months ago, I did not realize what I was getting myself into. What starts off as a seemingly upbeat and “slice of life” anime gradually became more than just that for me.
The series starts off with a cheery schoolgirl’s encounter with a jet black kitten. She playfully chases the kitten around as cherry blossom petals drift on the spring breeze around her. Not long after, she catches up to the restless petite kitten. “NYAA,” she exclaims as she extends her hands and offers the kitten a canelé, a simple yet thoughtful gesture. Later on, she introduces herself as Miyazono Kaori, a schoolgirl with a high level of proficiency with the violin. With that, the opening credits roll.
Flashback to a child in a deep blue suit. A grand piano towers over him as he begins to play. This kid is clearly in his element. His fingers gracefully and effortlessly dance across the piano keys as he delivers a stunning performance. Fade to black, and he reappears, older, still seated in front of a piano, with the same ruffled hairstyle, except this time the piano is silent. Rather, he is penning notes onto a score sheet, transcribing the music but not playing it. Apparently, the trauma of his mother’s death has robbed him of his ability to hear the piano’s notes, and he no longer plays.
One fateful encounter between Kousei and Kaori leads to an emotion-filled journey not only for them, but the audience too. Filling out the main cast are two other characters, Kousei’s two childhood friends. Sawabe Tsubaki, who takes on the role of Kousei’s “big sister”. She has difficulty expressing her emotions which could explain her tomboy persona. Her foil is Watari Ryouta, is a suave athlete who is Kousei’s best friend. In subsequent episodes, we delve into their personal lives, especially that of Kousei who is particularly haunted by her dark past.
Being fastidious about the type of anime that I choose to follow, I usually browse through the current season’s selection chart before picking a few to focus on. The poster for Shigatsu seemed promising enough, and I was hooked from the first episode. The art style was absolutely gorgeous, with the animators putting the finest detail to the even the background mattes. it made the experience of watching this series all the more stunning on an HD screen.
From the start, I knew that Shigatsu was a combination of the romance and music genres. This seemed like a novel combination to me and this series did not disappoint. On one hand, it was musically and artistically pleasurable; on the other, the plotline and characters were engaging and believable. The producers did a great job of merging the two genres together and delivering a series that has done great justice to both.
Accompanying the breathtaking art of this series is the remarkable music that fits in extremely well with the variations in mood and atmosphere. Never would I have thought that I would enjoy classical music as much as I did throughout this series. I found myself looking up the various pieces in the soundtrack which has grown on me. The opening and ending songs (OP & ED) were a joy to sit through before and after every episode, I’d even hum along. The transition between the first and second set of OP & ED also seems to have been done at an opportune moment of the series, in which events take a turn sideways. And of course, the original soundtrack (OST): need I say more? Loved every track, from the upbeat to the melodramatic. My personal favourite is ‘Friend A’ (a.k.a Spring’s Melody) played by one of my favourite anime pianists, Theishter, in collaboration with a fellow YouTuber:
Starting off as a rather cheery anime with hints of Kousei’s scarred past, things gradually get emotional as we delve deeper into Kousei’s and Kaori’s personal lives. I found myself captivated by the development of such a beautiful story, of how things in Kousei’s life had come to be and how it would turn out. With the various ups and downs, prepare to buckle up for one heck of an emotional roller-coaster ride. I really loved every bit of this series, from the cheeky bits of humor to the invigorating performances that were truly wonderful to hear. Shigatsu is one of the few anime series that has left a lasting impression on me.
Every journey begins with a single step. This story begins right here, with one fateful encounter in Spring.