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 However, they are being slowly superseded by the likes of ecchi action light novel adaptations.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!
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.