OP Sequence

OP: 「イマココ」 (Imakoko) by Nao Touyama

「春と修羅」 (Haru to Shura)
“Spring and Hard Times”

Initial Expectations

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.

First Impressions

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.

Concluding Thoughts

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 Sequence

ED: 「月がきれい」 (Tsuki ga Kirei) by Nao Touyama


  1. I felt 20 years younger just from watching this (I’m 34), the show portrayed the awkwardness and insecurities of being a teenager very well. Here’s hoping the show will stay like this all the way, just pure romance without any forced drama or plot twist like love triangles.

    1. Hey ET. Good job on scientifically proved that anime is an effective medicine against ageing! Happy to hear that you enjoyed the premier episode of Tsuki ga Kirei, and that it turned back the clock for you.

      Good times can’t last forever, but let’s hope that Tsuki ga Kirei does not lose sight of the qualities that make it so great, before the end.

  2. 月が綺麗だすな~!


    Hah, yeah right Natsume Souseki. Just admit that you’re a bloody Meiji era tsundere! So go ahead and KISS the girl!

    Anyways, interesting down-to-earth show. Though I simply cannot help but compare it to my own work which I’ve been going at for a good 3 years now, and frankly my own work is much more interesting (titanically so). That may seem like a bias but it actually isn’t, it’s simply due to what I’ve chosen to concoct my story with and the ingredients that I have chosen are indeed truly zeitgeist-defining. In any case enough of that, I’ll just end my comment with this:

    How in Terra did you manage to get THIS approved on the site you cheeky you! wwwwwwwwwww Anyways, nice going there Zaiden, nice going~~~!

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. Lo and behold, I should have known that you of all magnificent people would notice my wholesome and handmade meme.

      Thank you Nishizawa Mihashi, it was my pleasure!

      By the way, it’s no coincidence that if you rearrange Dazai to Zaida, and add an N to the end, that gets close Zaiden. I’m pretty poetic too!

    2. Ahh, you are far too gracious Zaiden. Such words are far too great to be given towards someone of my stature, as a matter of fact I believe that such words are far more befitting of someone like you dear sir!

      However, your substitution of a mere letter is much less poetic than it is an instance of cheeky pun-works I’m afraid. Indeed, even within the posting of your thoughts it can be observed that there are puns galore with less attempt at poetics. I am of the opinion that you are enjoying puntastic creations in a most sneaky and once again cheeky way, and for that I shall join in on the amusement.

      Wait a minute… Why are we talking like Romanticists? Come to think of it, isn’t this show adopting Romanticism for its own ends as well? Oh the irony!

      But I must say that I have come to like you even more with this harkening to the overflowing verbosity of the Romantic spirit, the charm is unshakable and so inviting!

      Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. Romanticism is overrated. Impressionism is more my style! Which would help explain why I adore the water colours. They remind me of Monet. I found myself loving the general use of water-colours and shiny lighting effects for the show’s art, and was reminded of Horou Musuko. Some people have taken issue with the usage of CGI, but from a personal viewpoint, it added depth to my viewing experience.

        Anime usually succeeds in making everyone look gorgeous, whereas we were occasionally showcased this plain aspect rarely seen in anime. Quite a few people claimed these background characters were ugly, and maybe that would be the case by anime standards considering how spoiled we are by the typical beautiful animation. But could you say with an honest conscience that these CGI characters looked any worse than your average person in real life? For that, I praise Tsuki ga Kirei’s ability to bring about a heightened sense of realism.

      2. My, my… It seems that I have misdiagnosed le animu, but I shall stand by my statement that our previous comments within this particular comment thread have turned into Victorian-lite, and thus by extension faux-Romantics.

        Anyway, looks like we have gone on into the deep end (i.e serious reply dropped) and I did not expect the change in gears but I guess we’ll roll with it. Le CGI was distracting jah, but my eyes were glad that there was far less of that. I did not for a moment go ooo-oooh-ooo-ack-ahhh (read: ape!#?&) over ‘le plainness’ of le characters. There have been several like it, One Week Friends comes to mind (though I must say, that when taken out of context le homo sapiens as of late will start to imagine much raunchy things when their eyes bear witness to that title) And that yes, that even applies to le art style. My, the uncanny similarity to One Week Friends in le art is getting even stronger~

        Speaking of Impressionism, do you have some grasp on the concept of Impressionism in music? Apparently from what my music lecturer said, it seems that much of the music found within an anime is heavily based upon Impressionism in music. He had us listen to some pieces my Claude Debussy but I still can’t quite have an intuitive feel for it yet as I don’t really know what it’s supposed to be. Do yoooouuuu know Zaiden?

        Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. Middle school doesn’t exist in the UK, but the associated ages definitely do!

      I’m not sure that Tsuki ga Kirei has the potential to be great for me, though it is shaping up to be something I will really enjoy.

    1. My goodness fellas, only now do you lads know the true divinity and sanctity of the ponytail? I must say, I am quite disappointed 😛

      Indeed, my heart was set aflutter when my it entered my gaze, it was heavenly~

      And more than just that, there’s far greater pleasures to be had when the hair is tied in many different ways. Plain my fellow companions is boring, the soul must be elevated with greater joy and this is the first step. Come, let us embrace the goodness that can be found within the ponytail~

      Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. Ahh, then I apologize comrade. I am glad to know that the passion for it within you is one that has been around for a very long time. I thought I was alone with my over-the-top fascination with it since young… ( ; _ ; )

        Nishizawa Mihashi
    2. I don’t know where all this appreciation for ponytails is suddenly coming from. A surprise for sure, but a welcome. For as Nishizawa Mihashi says, there is much goodness that can be found within the ponytail, and it is an example of SUPERIOR TASTE.

      1. By now, your trademark “SUPERIOR TASTE” must best be served by giving it the meme treatment; I cannot think of any other way to sanctify and legitimize it. The meme must be preached, and spread.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
  3. I laughed several times when they literally using LINE as plot device several times. I guess this is just like Shinkai’s magnificent advertisement PV, only one season long?

    Some of the earlier part might be a lil bit too slow for me, but the interaction part are really cute. Personally I hope it will reduce the silent scenery shots in the future in place of more character perspective.

    1. Hey zeroyuki92, One season long just means that Tsuki ga Kirei can be short and sweet.

      I thought that the silent scenery shots were eye candy, so I didn’t mind too much. Though I totally get where you’re coming from in terms of a show requiring substance. But I think it’s natural for shows like this to start off slow, and pick up the pace as it develops.

      1. I worded my sentences rather poorly, by “only one season long” I mean it’s like some of Japan’s animated advertisement for companies (some of them, especially by Shinkai, are really great) which turned into a season long series :p

        Yeah, it’s just a matter of personal preference, but I tend to like when shows with this genre picked a starting perspective from a character and then moved up from there. Still shots without words are visual candy, yes, but I think it might be too slow for some and could even be lazy at times.

        One clever way to incorporate visual candy imho is ARIA series, who spammed very gorgeous scenery porn in the OP (unique to every episode) and often became a great transition into the actual narrative.

      2. Ah yes, zeroyuki92, I’m a huge fan of ARIA! Not as much as one of my closest friends at university, but a huge fan nonetheless. The OPs are so peaceful, relaxing and gorgeous!

        But I think it is quite a different show from Tsuki ga Kirei. ARIA was about appreciating the small miracles in life, whilst this is about teenagers growing up, and gaining some semblance of self awareness through dealing with their awkwardness and insecurities.

        I’m okay with the slow burn type of shows, as characterisation and human interactions are what I value the most. Going with the flow of the experience and seeing where it takes you is part of the enjoyment.

  4. Zaiden you said it. I really like this anime right off the bat. One thing that cross my mind at the first few minutes was the character art reminded me of Hourou Musuko, while the story feels like 5cm/s.

    That feel of 5cm/s is maybe because despite of the big cast (family, classmate, club member), I can feel that these two is the main character, probably thanks to the use of monologue, which also apparent in 5cm/s iirc. When Kotarou quoted Dazai I love this anime even more (I’ve been a fan of Dazai since Bungaku Shoujo v1), I hope Kotarou doesn’t take Dazai’s Schoolgirl seriously though xD Because it’s definitely not a guide to understand schoolgirl.

    1. Can’t say I’m a huge fan of 5cm/s. I always feel like Shinkai goes for style over substance all too often, despite the gorgeous visuals of his animation.

      When Dazai came up, I couldn’t help but think of ‘Yare yare dazai’ from JoJo.

      The general feeling I got from Dazai’s two quotes is that he’s a misanthrope. Hopefully it won’t influence Kotarou too much.

  5. I’ve been laughing so hard on my own remarks about this show I’m already dropping dead laughing after reading your post Zaiden, you did a good job

    But damn, this show. Just what I wanted: nothing but romance. No time travel (sorry Orange), no extreme physical contact (sorry Kuzu no Honkai), just sweet, sweet romance.

    Then again, I’m very sure I’m going to cringe ALL THE WAY until the last episode. Maybe I need the stress toy too lol

    1. We were all overdue a little bit of vanilla romance, after the experience that was Kuzu no Honkai.

      Glad you enjoyed my post, Kaineng!

      Embrace the cringe. It’s of the nice, fluffy variety, as opposed to the Watamote variety.

  6. Went into this with zero expectations. I’m glad I did, because this ended up being cute. I love how the artwork is pastel-like (Hourou Musuko heeeeey), but I feel like the light effect on all of the clothes is a bit off? It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. At least it’s pretty fluid for the most part.

    I really hope this is a story about Akane overcoming her anxiety. As someone with major anxiety, that would be a treat.

    1. Your assessment is pretty spot on, Nikki. Tsuki ga Kirei not bad, but it’s not great. Nothing special just yet. However, the anime industry has been lacking in consistently enjoyable show as of late. So here’s to optimism.

      I already mentioned that would be my wish too. Also, I hope your problems with anxiety aren’t too bad, and that you overcome them sometime in the near future.

  7. I saw this anime as a recommendation for the spring season this year and I went into the first episode not knowing anything about this. Thank God that it is a great way to start off what looks to be a really well Thought out slice-of-life anime. I think the characters are very well written and of course, the art style is very different but in a very good way: a very very good way. It definitely stands out from other kinds of animation styles that I’ve seen over the last couple of years and it adds a certain tone of joy. I think the idea of young love mixing in with the struggle of having anxious thoughts about romance at a young age is a very sturdy base for a long developing plot like Tsuki ga Kirei is going to have. This was a great first episode and I am ready for next weeks episode: I cannot wait and I have a great feeling that this show will not disappoint.

    Nico Discenza
    1. Hey Nico.

      I agree it’s well thought out! Because it capture the slice of life so well, in a way rarely done so by animated medium. The animation stands out too for good reasons, moreso than bad.

      Copypasta from a comment I made above:

      Impressionism being my style would help explain why I adore the water colours. They remind me of Monet. I found myself loving the general use of water-colours and shiny lighting effects for the show’s art, and was reminded of Horou Musuko. Some people have taken issue with the usage of CGI but from a personal viewpoint, it added depth to my viewing experience.

      Anime usually succeeds in making everyone look gorgeous, whereas we were occasionally showcased this plain aspect rarely seen in anime. Quite a few people claimed these background characters were ugly, and maybe that would be the case by anime standards considering how spoiled we are by the typical beautiful animation. But could you say with an honest conscience that these CGI characters looked any worse than your average person in real life? For that, I praise Tsuki ga Kirei’s ability to bring about a heightened sense of realism, including the struggles of young love that you mentioned.

  8. Dude, you made me laugh out loud with all those “subtle” TV tropes references.

    It is true that the background scenery evokes some Makoto Shinkai vibes. Overall, I just thought Tsuki ga kirei will be the most adorable show of the season. I also loved the art style and the pace of this first episode. Let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    1. Glad to hear that my “subtle” TV tropes references made you laugh kishiu.

      Though the background scenery evokes feelings of Shinkai, let’s hope that the feelings of romance do not end unfulfilled. Then, it will not disappoint me.

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