Kousei was a child prodigy on the piano, drilled by his mother in a bit of a lifeless style that follows the score completely -- perfect for winning concours after concours. But his mother's ambition was all-consuming: she was very ill, and wanted Kousei to succeed where she failed: to become a great pianist who would win all contests in the world. Her methods were harsh, and when she died, Kousei sort of cracked: his PTSD made him unable to hear his own playing...
Years pass, and Kousei is in his last year of middle school. He meets Kaori, a friend of his neighbour-and-childhood-friend Tsubaki, who claims to have a thing for Kousei's friend Wataru-the-playboy. Kaori plays the violin, and she forces Kousei to take up the piano again, in order to accompany her on the piano when she plays a concours. She keeps pushing him, even when her illness makes it impossible for her to play herself.
Sad and romantic love story. Kousei has a lot of things on his plate, and unlike most main characters with a sob-story background,it only occurs rarely that you feel like punching him to get him to move again. Kaori does a great job of bullying him into submission!
Halfway through, it threatens to turn into some sort of sports anime (with rivals at concours and long internal monologues on-stage during the most difficult technical pieces), but that gets smoothed over nicely. Kousei's dramatic past also gets revealed bit-by-bit, so that's nice too: good storytelling that keeps you interested.
The ending is kinda predictable, but that's probably not too bad of a thing: the pleasure in this series is in the journey, not in a big or dramatic reveal at the end.
I liked it: a competent addition to the genre.