tsuki ga kirei; review

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nothing says stereotypical shoujo than a title containing “moon” and “beautiful.” i’ve been looking for another series to pull my heart strings for a while – and i hadn’t found one quite yet. the synopsis for this series was lack luster, but something in me said “give it a try” and i’m glad i did.

tsuki ga kirei follows the story of azumi and akane, two third-year middle school students who meet and fall in love. it’s a simple story, so i didn’t expect much, but there’s a special charm about it that made it stand out. the story begins with the third year class announcements. akane finds she’s in a class without her track club friends, and notices azumi for the first time. azumi, an aspiring writer, has a few friends in his class but mostly keeps to himself. after they are assigned to the equipment committee for the sports festival, they end up interacting more through a chatting app called line, and their interest in each other grows.

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at first i was worried because more often than not anime plays on the trope of people not confessing. it can become a long agonizing series very quickly when two characters who very obviously like each other refuse to express it, and thus an endless loop of misunderstandings happen. luckily, the pace for this series was very steady, nothing was too drawn out, so i didn’t experience any frustration with the progression of their relationship. in fact, there wasn’t any over-dramatic conflict in their relationship, which i really appreciated. sometimes i find myself rolling my eyes because simple situations are overplayed for the sake of drama in the story.

despite the fact that feel (the studio) only has one really notable anime in their repertoire, my teen romantic comedy snafu, they really upped their game with this one. after watching this series, i’m going to check out hinamatsuri next for sure. this anime, though about their relationship, really grew the characters individually through their own personal goals and struggles. their relationship was a support for them, and didn’t make up who they were – which added to the depth of their personalities. you see their individual quirks – akane’s love for her squishy plushie, her passion for running, and her struggle with not wanting to stand out; and azumi’s goal of becoming a serious novelist, constantly quoting dazai osamu, practicing hayashi, and being a fan of boxing. they didn’t behave like any archetypes or tropes, and truly seemed like real people.

the art was lovely, and i absolutely adored the character designs. i feel that too often, they make the characters really thin, which is obviously more popular, but they made sure to keep akane’s face a little wider, which i liked. the scenery was also stunning. they sunlight peaking through on the school grounds, the cherry blossoms, and the shots of the view of the city, all were absolutely gorgeous.

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the budget was so geared towards the integrity of the main characters and the scenery that what suffered immensely was the faceless masses. not only did they animate them with cgi, they used clunky coding. this made the walking and movements horribly unrealistic, and it was as if a vast number of zombie-robots were walking around. sometimes, they didn’t line up with the sidewalks quite right, making it almost unbearable. i can’t even count on two hands how many times my excitement for a scene was ruined by a cut to scenery with this terrible animation. i kept trying to remind myself that this was the price for the rest of the anime being so good, but in some ways it was almost too careless and lazy.

– spoilers ahead –

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i was incredibly frustrated with akane’s best friend. i thought she was so selfish, especially knowing that akane was already with azumi. this conflict, although realistic, made me shout at the screen a few times. also, the students trying to pair her with her fellow track club member was annoying – however, azumi quickly squashed that by boldly proclaiming they were in a relationship.

it was interesting that their biggest conflict was that she was moving so far away and i was even impressed that they didn’t make it a win-win situation by letting azumi get into the same high school as her. i was very worried that they would let them go on without any issues, and thus i was pleased with the route they took. it was also refreshing to see parents more involved in the series, and family conflict being a huge part of the story. the fact that azumi’s mother was really overbearing yett loving was a great touch and kept the story more three dimensional.

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at the end of the series, azumi’s wildly strong confession through his story and shouting after the train as akane left, made me cry! it was such a powerful moment, and i think that with such soft gentle interactions between them, the height of their expressions once they reached such an obstacle truly showed how strong their love had grown. once the credits began rolling, i was beside myself wondering what would happen to them. the line messages between them and subtle artwork that flipped through during the ending song revealed their story and gave you a nice little summary of how they never gave up and ended up together in the end. rarely do i find that a series told the story just right – and this one did.

tldr; this series was truly great. simple, sophisticated, the exact right pace and length. i was so happy with it that i couldn’t wait to write my review on it. i’d give this a solid 8/10! i recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet love story.

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