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Tsugumomo – An Exciting Guilty Pleasure

Probably the most iconic image from the series, adapted into anime form.

Tsugumomo is a rare breed of ecchi action show that has been dying out over the last decade. Back in the days, adaptions from manga like Sekirei or Sora no Otoshimono were pretty common. However, they are being slowly superseded by the likes of ecchi action light novel adaptations. So, what sets Tsugumomo apart from its dying brethren? It takes generic, puts an unconventional twist and promises something wholly different.

For this finale post, I will be going with an experimental self-imagined Q&A structure, which should provide more digestible portions for you readers to gobble up. Here goes.

What did you enjoy?

The aspects of the series I really enjoyed were characters, action, comedy and… yeah, the fanservice. There, I said it.

Why the fanservice?

No doubt there is more substance to the series than just fanservice. That said, I can see how fanservice alone would put off potential viewers. But with Tsugumomo, it feels like the fanservice goes hand in hand with every other core aspect of its identity. Often comedic in delivery, there were no giant white bars of doom to detract from the viewing experience. Though we were never treated with the genuine article, which usually remained hidden behind well-placed objects.

Who was your favourite character?

I pretty much liked all the characters apart from Chisato (for being downright boring in her conception as a character) and Shirou (for being a pervert with no redeeming features). Other than that, Kiriha completely stole the show. I was incredibly impressed with Oozora Naomi, who did a fantastic job bringing Kiriha to life on the screen.

The sassy snark was ever-present in her voice, as she seamlessly transitioned between a wide variety of actions and emotions: completely whipping both men in the Kagami household, angrily reprimanding Kazuya for careless mistakes, patiently imparting her knowledge of tsukogami, being seductively sensual, and demonstrating childish behaviour in matters coming down to pudding. Her pudding song served as a comedic highlight of the anime adaptation. For such a facile joke, it made me laugh pretty hard.

Would it be fair to say the Tsugumomo anime exceeded your expectations?

Yes. I was expecting a much more watered down adaptation, but they captured much of the essence you could hope to find in the original manga. While the fanservice was somewhat diminished for reasons pertaining to broadcasting regulations, the character designs remained delightful and true to form.

Essential plot points were covered, and the comedy never really missed its mark for me. Divine Possession made for an epic series finale. The choreography stood out in the action scene particularly where Kazuya and Sunao were trading blows, with the animation sequence and backing soundtracks working together extremely well. It was honestly much better than what I had hoped for.

What can we expect of a second season?

What you gleaned at the end of this Tsugumomo adaptation would only be the tip of the iceberg. A very massive iceberg at that. There is honestly so much more, the universal consensus amongst fellow manga readers being that the beginning was probably the weakest part. In my opinion, things only start to heat up once Sunao appeared. And even then, it comes nowhere close to what we get much later on.

Hopefully there will be less censorship as well. The devil is in the detail!

Concluding Thoughts

Like Mayoiga, Tsugumomo isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But I can promise you that it becomes something really special later on. The best parts are yet to come, where Tsugumomo plunges down a proverbial dark rabbit hole. Gruesome shock plot twists are weaved in and complex moral dilemmas are introduced, giving ample opportunity for people to greatly contemplate Tsugumomo in an introspective manner. Specifically the Tsukogami’s nature as sentient creatures, with an application similar to tools. Whether you’re willing to wait and see what it’s all about is entirely up to you.

June 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm
  • June 20, 2017 at 9:31 pmLonghaul

    In my opinion, things only start to heat up once Sunao appeared. And even then, it comes nowhere close to what we get much later on.

    I approve this choice of words.

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:29 pmZaiden

      Longhaul, thank you for the kind words! The honour is truly mine.

  • June 20, 2017 at 9:36 pmzztop

    The Blurays will have uncensored nudity and more lewdness.
    That’s Kazuya’s own “bath gel” on the girls.

    Censorship is unfortunately a must for these types of animes to even pass censorship for airing on terrestrial TV channels in Japan. Unless they’re made for satellite TV, then you can show more.

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:23 pmZaiden

      The AT-X channel is our only hope. Anyone else want an OVA of the Kokuyou Ch.29.5 omake?

      • June 21, 2017 at 4:37 pmRedRocket

        Yes would love it.

  • June 20, 2017 at 9:43 pmRedRocket

    I have really loved this show.

    And the art in the Manga is some of the best art I have seen anywhere. The Backgrounds in particular.

    • June 21, 2017 at 1:38 amAngelus

      The Backgrounds in particular

      You managed to look at the backgrounds???

      Seriously, though, I was pretty impressed with how faithful the anime was to the manga both in terms of storyline and artwork. I was expecting something totally watered down, and of course there is plenty of censorship in the TV version, but the BDs are looking very promising indeed.

      • June 21, 2017 at 4:38 pmRedRocket

        Well at least on the second read though I noticed them. ;)

  • June 21, 2017 at 7:28 amMaou

    Reading the manga, this kid’s really going places, skipping straight into third base to almost every girl he met haha…

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:28 pmZaiden

      Kazuya’ naïvety as a young boy reminds me of Goku from the original Dragonball. Pat pat XD

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:23 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Definitely loved this series. I wish there was more Kokuyou though, lol, and more Taguri and Honoka.

    • June 21, 2017 at 11:02 amZaiden

      For me, I wanted more Bakura and Sunao. Bakura’s pillows were especially a thing. Kanaka is still probably the best though.

  • June 21, 2017 at 2:05 pmKenshin

    Is the anime actually worth watching? Been a big fan of the manga for a long time, but I avoided the anime since the previews looked bad. It doesn’t seem very popular and has pretty low scores everywhere I’ve looked…

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:22 pmZaiden

      I’d say it’s worth a gander.

      An explanation for the low review scores is that the only part of Tsugumomo that has been adapted so far is the first part, which many agree is the weakest part in the series. People who have come in off of rave recommendations from manga readers would probably have been left pretty disappointed.

      As someone who has read the manga, you should probably be looking at what other people who have read the manga say. Would you trust a review where someone read the first few 20-30 chapters of Tsugumomo and wrote a review based off of that? I personally wouldn’t. Not because their opinion is invalid, but because you know better and are allowing your opinion to be shaped by someone who knows far less.

      You might want to wait for a second season and start there instead. However, I feel there’s enough in this adaptation to warrant giving it a chance.

  • June 21, 2017 at 3:10 pmET

    The show felt like a blast from the past, a good old-fashioned harem, ecchi, and action series that wouldn’t feel out of place if it aired 10 to 15 years ago. I liked it a lot!

  • June 22, 2017 at 6:46 amManny Fresh

    Had to bow out when they started doing loli ecchi. Not my cup of tea.

    • June 22, 2017 at 12:25 pmZaiden

      No worries Manny! There are many things I hate that I let pass, simply because anime is the medium. I’m usually pretty uncomfortable with that kind of stuff too.

  • June 22, 2017 at 8:07 amSnippy

    Might give the manga a shot because while the anime wasn’t anything spectacular, it was still a lot better than I expected, especially the fight scenes. And it does seem like the sort of story that builds up more and more.

    Just not a big fan of the fanservice, in particular the loli bits, but it’s more tolerable in this case. There’s no censor bars (seriously, don’t include nudity if you’re gonna cover the bodies up anyway) and the ecchi is deliberate instead of accidental, hurr durr sneak peeks.

  • June 22, 2017 at 4:42 pmChromeNova

    I’m about halfway with Season 1, and so far my impressions are “meh”. You’re right, I heard a lot of great things about the manga, so I’m a bit disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. Though since the beginning is the weakest part, I might push through to the end and read more of the manga when I have time. Kiriha is definitely the driving force so far though, with big help to her VA (who also did Satania in Gabriel Dropout, bless her soul), which gave me quite a few laughs. Was slightly awkward with the loli ecchi scenes though when watching with a friend, but I don’t mind it myself, lol.