「学問のすすめ」 (Gakumon no susume)
“An Encouragement of Learning”

Kotarou and his Mother

“I must live up to my promise. That is all that matters to me now” – Dazai

Episode 8 remains my personal favourite episode. Kimonos, wishing by the wind chimes and a first kiss… you’d be insane not to like all of that! However, this episode comes in a very close second, the focus on family making it particularly special. My favourite anime ever is Clannad: After Story, a sentiment that outlines my appreciation for focus on familial themes. This also means that I will be referring to Clannad at length within this particular area of discussion, so please avoid clicking the links if you want to avoid getting spoilt.

I don’t know squat about raising kids, and imagine I won’t for another decade or two. However, as a teenager in the process of being raised, I’ve been nagged at fairly recently so I can say a thing or two about that side of the experience. In that heat of the moment, you don’t really appreciate the things your parents have done for you and easily relent to an angry outburst. Yes, parents can be irrational and naggy, but most parents really do mean all the best in their own way. Human nature is to be inherently flawed.

A hormonal teenager’s volatility usually doesn’t make a great case for rationality either. That’s not to say everything should be calculated based purely on logic and reasoning, since it doesn’t consider emotional inclinations. So, part of being a parent calls for balancing these two aspects. I found it really touching, when Kotarou’s mother fought to give him a chance at chasing his dreams, despite her initial misgivings. Not quite Akio Furukawa, but I think her actions gave across a similar sort of vibe to his inspirational speech from Clannad – that a child’s dream coming true is one of the biggest dreams that can come true for their parents.

Going back to another similar vein to Clannad: After Story, the scene that spoke the loudest for me was the moment of reconciliation, as parent and child quietly came to a mutual understanding. Seeing Kotarou’s mother prepare him onigiri, and watching him eagerly chow down with a mixture of regret and gratitude (FOLLOWING LINK CONTAINS HUGE SPOILERS FOR CLANNAD) somehow takes me all the way back. Anyway, I think it might be a universal thing for mothers to just know best. Mine is already onto the fact that KFC Hot Wings are my ultimate comfort food, capable of calming me down after almost any kind of fight.

Christmas Date

The months sure roll by faster than hippies cheese-rolling down a hill, now that Christmas is upon us in Tsuki ga Kirei. Scarves and handkerchieves were nice presents. Nothing too expensive, but certainly thoughtful, especially Akane’s adorably hand-knit scarf. Between the two emotionally confiding during the festival, every little activity we got to see was heart-warming – praying at the shrine, floating a paper doll down the river, taking love fortunes, and I suppose there’s the kiss too. Not sure if it’s just me, or if the kisses keep on getting better and better.

From the shy girl dependent on her sweet potato plushie, Akane’s growth since the start of the series has been absolutely astounding! She’s much more straightforward and confident, her puckering motions towards Kotarou indicating that she’s the one now asking for kisses! The two have definitely come a long way, as sadly the end is nigh.

Concluding Thoughts

“To decide I’m hopeless before I even begin is nothing but laziness” – Dazai

Here’s to holding out for a completely happy ending without drawbacks, but I’m still wary of getting Shinkai’d. If you want to avoid the terminal depression of being smacked unawares, I would suggest you follow me on this one. Kotarou worked hard and has done me proud with his steadfast persistence. However, it would be something of a miracle if he pulled off a pass.

Even then, his difficult path would only continue. Ayane makes a poignant remark on Akane bearing a huge responsibility. If the two broke up, Kotarou would be stuck with 4 hour commutes, potentially in the same class as his middle-school ex-girlfriend for hours upon end. For a single choice, the way it can affect their lives cannot be understated. Regardless, the dreamer in me denies these possibilities. I refuse to stop rooting for Akane and Kotarou, because apart from Hira and Chinatsu (as well as their sympathisers), who wouldn’t want to see these two make it all the way?


  1. Based on maps kawagoe to Chiba was more or less 87km, if kotarou need 4hour to commute that means his speed was at least more than 500cm/second don’t worry kotarou you have done 10x or mores effort than shinkai’s.

      1. That’s 200x, don’t worry kotarou with that speed before the cherry blossom petals fall you’re already take a bath, have a breakfast and waiting under that tree :p

  2. I love these sort of Episodes with family themed focus too, and If I had to chose my favourite episode I would actually reverse your order and place episode 8 second and put this one on top, simply because it had everything I wanted to see.
    Akane is so great and hardworking as if she could do anything and it seems so easy for her. The fact that she finds time for studying AND knitting a scarf is like magic! Koutarou is really a lucky guy.
    I enjoyed this and how despite all the things he’s been through, Kotarou proves he has the patience and dedication. I have to apologize though, I never watched Clannad, nor the after story. So I really can’t say anything to your referring here. However the scene itself with Kotarou’s parents was so easy to follow and so heart warming. There isn’t really anything else to say you already made so many good points!
    The meet up between them was so casual and sweet. I enjoyed their time together and these beautiful visuals and their following conversation and exchange about their families was so good. I don’t really need anything special everytime they have a date. This was more than enough for me.

    I refuse to stop rooting for Akane and Kotarou, because apart from Hira and Chinatsu (as well as their sympathisers), who wouldn’t want to see these two make it all the way?

    I won’t stop rooting for these either, but Akane’s sister sure was right when she said it. And I do think as well that it’s stupid to apply for the same school because your significant other is going there..(especially because of the time it takes to get there!!).but if that’s what they chose it can’t be helped. Also there might still be a chance that Kotarou doesn’t pass afterall and that the series will take a complety turn and end up with a long distance releationship. However I’m sure they would still make it.

    1. I’d actually concede that Episode 11 is the better episode. It may have had a bit of everything, but Episode 8 was just way too satisfying for me. Probably helps that coloured wind chimes are my visual catnips.

      Akane sure can multitask, and her fashion sense is totally on point from my perspective. Scarves are probably my favourite piece of clothing, and were an immaculate choice on her behalf. While I had to improvise makeshift scarves with my school sweater back in the days, once I become a working adult, I look forwards to amassing my own collection of personal scarves.

      Kana-chan, you should definitely watch Clannad and Clannad After Story if you get the chance! It has an absolutely huge focus on family as a theme, and challenges the conception of how such a word can be defined. Mind you, don’t go in with expectations that are too high. Near the start, I almost dropped Clannad because of a certain girl who was obsessed with starfishes. She was pretty insufferable, but now that I’ve said that, I can expect to be plonked on the head by a wooden starfish. I guess she had her charms too.

      I actually felt like I had to limit my points this week. Sometimes I look at what I write, and feel that if I was a reader, I might have lost interest based on the quantity of content. It’s definitely a struggle, since Tsuki ga Kirei truly has too much to talk about. But I’m on a quest to develop my own writing style, and part of that entails specifically focusing on certain things. This episode, I chose family and the date, the two things I considered most important.

      Disliking myself for it, but I’m actually beginning to become convinced that a long-distance relationship might work out better. Provided we get a 10 year time skip where they’re grown up, married and with kids as compensation. If it’s those two, I believe they can make it work.

      1. Don’t worry. I never once thought that I would lose interest and I’m sure many others who watch this show or follow your writing think the same. I believe that writing about romance / school / slice of life genre might be be really hard. This especially isn’t for everyone. Most people consider it boring and in my opinion they’re somewhat right, however If I had to put it into words what I like most about them I couldn’t really give any good explanation.
        Sometimes there are certain things that can be better understood if you had a similiar expierence and can relate even more to it. In this case, it might be that Tsuki ga Kirei created two wunderful main characters where the focus isn’t just their releationship but also their struggles with growing up and I enjoy watching this show and feel like in whatever direction in goes it can’t do anything wrong.

        I actually thought about it at some time if I should watch it. But like most people my “what anime will I watch next list” has gotted way too long in the past years. I know from some anime recommendation videos, comments here and there that Clannad is really sad. So I can’t really say if I actually would like to watch it afterall. But I won’t judge unless I actually watch it.

        I have like two scarves (exactly the same bought on the same day, just different colors) and I keep wearing them every fall / winter and that’s it. They were such a lucky find I don’t even want to buy a new one because these two are already my treasure for the past 5 years. But I wouldn’t say no to handmade scarf haha.

        Disliking myself for it, but I’m actually beginning to become convinced that a long-distance relationship might work out better.

        Same here. Both of them seem to be capable of handling it. Have faith Zaiden!

  3. I swear if Tsuki ga Kirei doesn’t give Akane and Kotarou a happy ending I’m going to be very upset haha.

    Unrelated, but when will you guys be posting your Summer preview? I love you guys’ previews.

      1. There’s mute people, and there’s people who don’t talk even when they’re fully capable of doing so. These groups aren’t the same entities.

        I feel like this could have been better as a friendship and self-acceptance series rather than a romance. If these two people were real-life classmates around me, I would feel like they have no chemistry and everything was really forced.

    1. 1 – Well they are both introverts who need some time to warm up and relax. The majority of their dates starts with the awkward phase and then proceeds to the cheerful closeness, which is always depicted by a montage of nice events.
      2 – Both of them have been there for each other when it matters the most.
      3 – They are attracted to each other because they feel good together, they feel safe and capable of going over any obstacle. If one feels that the other can do it, the latter believes it and builds upon his own confidence upon it. There’s a hidden power in such a thing, a power that often may lead you straight to love.

  4. Parents (will usually, most of the time, 99%+ of the time) only wants the best(to be exact: what THEY THINK the best) for their children. Sadly, most of the time, what parents think the best for their children, is not truly -really- what’s the best for their children. Surely human nature is to be inherently flawed, and mistaking what’s truly the best for their children and what they think the best for their children is one the -so called- human nature, and sometimes, this nature could prove fatal.

    I know I am nitpicking, but seriously, one episode of anime can’t be used as global answer to parenting…..each human is different, so is kids, teens, and parents.

    My parents always tell me: all middle and high school romances are bullshit, and even if one out of 1000 couples does finally reach the end and gets married , their life will not really be as good as you see in the fiction (eg: anime). If you believe that “parents -ALWAYS- know”, then I GUESS you will agree with my parents, and you should stop praying for this couple to make it to the end, because their romance is either bullshit, or even if they make it to the end, they will likely be unhappy……

    1. FYI one of my middle school friends ended up marrying his crush from back then & now they have a happy family with two kids. Thus, I don’t see a reason for Kotarou & Akane to not follow their footsteps.

    2. You’re not wrong in thinking that parents often think they know what’s best for their kids, because it’s often true due to experience and exposure to the world. And yes, sometimes parents can be wrong but that doesn’t prevent them from trying to protect their child from making mistakes they may or may not have gone through. But because Koutaro’s mom does care she see’s that he’s trying hard and wants to give him a chance.

      All this may have happened within the one episode we saw but in their time it’s been a couple months, and did we really want to watch them duke it out at home? Kotarou isn’t exactly a vocal person so I would imagine their fights being mom vs long sullen silences while Kotarou glares at the floor.

      And yes most middle and highschool romances usually don’t work out in the end, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility of one that does happen. One of my aunts and her husband knew each other since childhood and actually started dating when they were in highschool and they’re still together to this day. Sure they have problems like any other couple, but they work it out because they love each other. With the amount of certainty you put into your statement you probably haven’t seen it yourself, but that doesn’t mean that it’s non existent because I assure you there are people out there who’ve loved each other since their teens. It’s a rare occurrence so perhaps this is why most of us would like to see Kotarou and Akane succeed.

      We’re invested in this couple and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hoping that they get a (relatively) happily ever after (somewhat). So don’t be a debbie downer and just join the posse to root for this adorable couple. 😀

  5. Ahh, mother’s love.. Parents can never win their kids.. This was such a heartwarming episode and I got a bit teary towards the end. A mother’s nag is only out of love.
    I’m really curious how this series will turn out. Up until now, it seems like they will end up going to the same high school now that Kotarou’s parents have his back.

    1. A mother’s love can take on many different shapes and forms. This manifestation is pretty common, but I like to think there are other kinds that win over kids, though I suppose arguments and confrontations are impossible to completely avoid. And this was a heartwarming episode that made me feel a bit teary towards the end too.

      At this point, I feel quite resigned to a bittersweet ending. Something keeps telling me that there’s no way things will turn out perfect. Real life is not perfect, and I like to believe Tsuki ga Kirei has faithfully depicted real life in a down to earth manner so far. Here’s hoping, but I wouldn’t get the hopes too far up.

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