OP: 「イマココ」 (Imakoko) by Nao Touyama
「春と修羅」 (Haru to Shura)
“Spring and Hard Times”
Tsuki ga Kirei’s premise sounds fairly simple. A fateful encounter between boy and girl ensued by romance, with perhaps dashes of drama along the way to make things exciting. Since it’s more common for these kinds of shows to embark down the path of mediocrity, I took a massive gamble and made Tsuki ga Kirei my first-choice blogging pick for the Spring 2017 season. Suffice to say, the gamble has paid off so far – the faithful shall be rewarded.
A multitude of sakura blossoms, bright lighting effects, alongside the occasional beautiful background scenery, really gives Tsuki ga Kirei the kind of vibe typically reserved for Makoto Shinkai movies. The springtime of youth has arrived. Romance is on the agenda as our characters enter their final year of junior highschool, and this is actually an odd place to begin our journey. But I won’t complain, at least not until those highschool entrance exams start causing problems!
Throughout the episode, Akane and Kotarou were both so synchronised in exchanging stolen glances and acting nervously around each other. So it comes as no surprise that the restaurant scene stood out as the best part to me, as it served to exemplify their human interactions at depth. Much more delicious than the food on the table and certainly more delicious than that iced coffee Kotarou acquired to impress Akane with a façade of mature taste. All this excruciating tension emanating from our young teenage characters really takes me back to my school days.
The older sister had amusing interactions with Akane and lived up to the mantle of exemplar wingwoman. She thoroughly embarrassed both Akane and Kotarou through her successful meddling, that involved some surprisingly ordinary parents. Akane getting back at her sister towards the end of the episode was a nice touch, as the family dynamic makes the series seem even more realistic and down to earth.
On a side note, Akane sported a ponytail worthy of Kyon’s praise! Of course that did not escape the Hira’s attention, who will definitely try to contend with Kotarou for Akane’s affection. But that doesn’t really matter, because despite being the Track and Field Club President, Hira is destined for failure by virtue of not being our main protagonist. What makes me so confident in my assumptions? Kotarou’s main character status is solidified through the fact that he sits at the back of the classroom by the window. Absolutely no chance he can lose this one.
Kotarou also seems to be a person of classical literature, and as the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. Here are some of the literary quotes Kotarou used this episode to express his feelings:
“How excruciatingly arduous and unbearable it is to live.” – Dazai
“The feeling of joy is perhaps like a speck of gold, glimmering faintly at the bottom of a river of grief.” – Dazai
Ah, I see you’re a man of culture as well, Azumi Kotarou. But beware. That adult magazine is Chekov’s Gun waiting to go off. I guarantee it. It will come back to bite Kotarou when he’s least expecting it.
You will notice that the gender roles have been somewhat reversed in a small but refreshing twist. It is Akane who has the high ground, being part of the track and field club, while Kotarou is the quiet and bookish guy who spends his spare time in the library. At the beginning of the year, that library might be empty, but it will definitely become packed around the exam season. So hopefully, Kotarou has his final manuscript sorted out before then.
Akane’s struggle with anxiety seems like it will be a future focus of the series, and it is my hope that Kotarou will be there for her when the going gets rough. The series itself seems unafraid to tackle mental health issues like anxiety, but has plenty of cheerful moments to lighten things up. We will have to see if Tsuki ga Kirei can continue to tread the fine line in exploring serious problems without losing its fluffy tone.
Other than that, this first episode felt so realistic based upon my memories of a younger, more naïve Zaiden. When watching Tsuki ga Kirei, my thought goes: This feels real. This makes me feel alive. This is the human experience that I wanted from anime. Some would say that writing about slice of life is particularly challenging, as nothing out of the ordinary happens that makes for straightforward writing. But Socrates said: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’
Let’s hope our characters can take a further step next episode by establishing a better LINE of communications. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!
ED: 「月がきれい」 (Tsuki ga Kirei) by Nao Touyama