Do you like cute things? I like cute things.
When someone I follow sends a selfie with their pet, I instinctively leave a heart. I enjoy petting tame doggos, and instinctively "aww" whenever my infant relatives burp. There! Now that that's out of the way, let it be known to the jury that OP isn't a soulless loser who's incapable of enjoying cute things at surface level. I feel it's kinda necessary to point this out, as it seems that any discussion surrounding Tonikaku starts and ends with these three words: "It's so cute!" If this was seen as pure fluff and nothing more, I wouldn't bat an eye. Instead, we're dealing with what is supposedly the SOL blockbuster of the season, and I'm not content with ending my observations by stating the obvious. So without further ado, let's figure out where this seemingly innocent show goes wrong as we take a closer, cynical look at the undeserving SOL darling of the season. This review is spoiler-free, but feel free to skip ahead to my Tl;Dr if you'd like to go in completely blind.
"Wait, you're telling me we get to see them get married?"
We've seen the same love story play out countless times before. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they struggle to confess, and the show ends right as the relationship finally gets off the ground. It's tried, it's tested, it's tropey as all hell. Aside from the "Will They, Won't They" conundrum, shows typically avoid romantic conflict like the plague. For whatever reason, audiences are sadly subjected to this constant retreading of material.
Tonikaku's solution to all this seemed like a breath of fresh air: Put a ring on it!
The series forgoes platonic courtship in favor of finally giving audiences a lighthearted take on married life. Our newly-wedded husband is Nasa Yuzaki, who at 16 almost had his life end abruptly in a disastrous accident. Miraculously he survives, thanks to the intervention of his future wife Tsukasa. On that fateful night, the infatuated Nasa asks Tsukasa out. Two years later, they get hitched, and this all happens in the span of the first episode. Sounds wholesome and sweet… cute even. But in spite of its promising premise, one can tell right away that Tonikaku has little interest in doing what we've already seen before.
The building blocks are there to support Tonikaku's exploration of what being a married couple entails.
Several segments of the show are fun mini infomercials, dedicated to going over the spending habits and practices of middle-class residents in Japan. The Yuzakis face practical problems on a daily basis, and learn what it's like to share a living space with someone from the opposite gender. The young couple also spend time dealing with the consequences of suddenly getting married, and Tonikaku does an impressive job with making their matrimony make sense in a lifelike setting. Topics include purchasing marriage rings, property guarantor laws, and dreaded visits to the In-Laws. These tidbits may be enough to placate audiences looking to get invested in some semblance of realism. While I did find those parts of the show inoffensive, any goodwill I may have had gets thrown out the window once the show settles into its repetitive groove.
For most, Tonikaku's central conceit is the show's greatest strength; for others, its biggest weakness.
On one hand, you have a show poised to deliver its spin on relationships not often popularized in anime. On the other, you have a show that intends to explore marriage only in name; even though Nasa and Tsukasa are a registered couple, they aren't married. They may go through daily-life struggles and share moments similar to those between married couples, but fail to put on a convincing relationship. Watching Tonikaku was watching two innocent children, whose pairing makes no sense outside of its shotgun-marriage premise, declaring sweet nothings and grandiose monologues about romance. The show trivialises and simplifies life-long intimacy to the point where the Yuzakis are barely indistinguishable from your stock "puppy-love" couples. That's not a bad thing on its own; not every romance SOL is required to provide some insightful truth on the subject. However, it's worth stressing that what the show is attempting is woefully at odds with what is advertised. Tonikaku is fully content with leaving its ambition at the altar, in favor of playing on familiar ground and formulaic jokes. The former greatly diminished my excitement for the story. As for the latter… well, let's get into it.
The series suffers from its poor use of characters.
By far the biggest offender is Nasa, who is kind, ever-prepared and intelligent… except when he's not. Tonikaku constantly destroys this positive image by instead handing us a daft teenager, who simped so hard it accidentally scored him a wife, almost at the cost of his life. Unless the plot demands him to be the purest snowflake alive, Nasa is possessive and downright horny. He finds strange obsessions within the most unassuming of situations; ranging from following his wife to the lingerie section, to awkwardly cuddling his wife as she sleeps, to undressing his wife in his mind as she changes in the other room (this occurs multiple times, mind you.) Not all these instances are bad, such as the scene in Episode 2 where the newly-wed couple share their first night together. It's at least a scenario unique to the show, and in small doses I'd find these scenarios to be mildly amusing… cute even. But then the joke just keeps going... and going… and going, ad nauseam. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Horny Hyde dichotomy does the character no favors. I'm constantly told he's this unselfish and thoughtful individual, but I'm witnessing a child given the means to act out his flights of pubescent fantasy onto a fellow virgin. Speaking of Tsukasa, her utilization in the show is equally irresponsible. While her charming character is inoffensive, what sucks is that she's constantly objectified by her Hubby Dearest. These disturbing interactions make up a huge chunk of Tonikaku, leaving me unimpressed and unconvinced whenever the show indulges in preaching how kind and compatible and lovey-dovey our power couple are. It's kind of appalling how immature these characters are at times, and how they get away with their creepy implications and one-dimensional characterization just because "they're married."
If the main 'ship is insufferable, the secondary cast is largely unremarkable.
Kaname's sketches are the saving grace of the series and always put a smile on my face. Most of her gags are low-brow comedy, but they're enjoyable in a way that Nasa's simping is not. The key difference is that Kaname's jokes are very clearly meant to be provocative, while Nasa's testosterone-driven desires are framed as "wholesome." Aya's cluelessness is also pretty entertaining, with some of the series' funniest bits under her belt. Nasa's parents received quite a lot of build-up but fell disappointingly short of expectations. Lastly, Chitose and her maids are pretty awful, with Chitose in particular playing an uninspired tsun. She somehow makes Nasa look less dumb when she's on-screen, so that's quite the impressive feat.
The show is disappointing to look at.
Some shows' chibi slapstick asides look more detailed than the entirety of the series. Sure, it keeps in-line with the mangaka's drawing style, but the simplicity of the presentation makes me wonder if the studio picked up this adaptation knowing they could get away with a cheap cash-grab. The monetary cost-cutting devolved to unintentionally silly levels, when about 1-2 minutes of Street Fighter V screen-capture footage was spliced in throughout Ep 11. Tonikaku's OP could have nearly been the best of 2020, if the budget had not run out as the title card dropped. Nothing stood out to me in the score, and the VA performances are nothing special. Konomi Kohara (Chika Fujiwara, Yuuko Yoshida) sounds like she's phoning in her performance as Chitose, and doesn't sound like she's having nearly as much fun as she did in Machikado Mazoku.
Tonikaku is no love story, it's wish fulfilment. There is no honest attempt at exploring married life, outside your everyday I-Love-Yous and embarrassed kisses. What we have instead are immature characters involved in a series of formulaic sketches that are either unfunny or disturbingly horny. I'd like to think that Truck-kun really was waiting in the wings to transport Nasa's soul into another world. A world only slightly different from our own, where the perfect girl falls into your reincarnated lap and is wholly submissive to your every request. And judging from the love Tonikaku is getting, there may well be an audience for this proposed isekai. Unfortunately, I'm just not a huge fan.
In forgoing the confession phase, Tonikaku attempts to mislead you into thinking it sets itself apart from a typical romance story. Unfortunately, it's hard to see much merit with this decision when the characters are written with the same, if not greater, lack of maturity that plagues its contemporaries. Missed opportunities with exploring married life leaves a sour taste in my mouth. There are some moments that make for laid-back viewing, but Tonikaku's warped perception of love ensures that such opportunities are the exception and not the norm. Tonikaku comes across as a cheaply-produced "flavor of the month" SOL, that I wouldn't get nearly so riled up about if it wasn't so widely hailed as the Romance of the season. 4/10~
OK, that's it from me. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to write about an actual good romance story… more on that soon enough. Thanks for making it this far in my rant, I apologize if I failed to communicate my critique effectively here. If you happen to like my verbose rants (they're a lot more civil I swear,) feel free to check out my other reviews for seasons past and present, peace~
Hands down one of the best shows I've seen in the last few years.
Its rare in my expirence to have a romantic show with a tag like sudden girlfriend apperance actually have good romance scenes that aren't ruined by comedic interuption. It happened occasionally but so many of the scenes where you're screaming just hug her or kiss her now the MC actually does another frustrating rarity in the genre. A lot of the issues they have with suddenly becoming married, their awkwardness, meeting the parents,simple things like doing laundry together are all from personal experience quite realistic. I like how the MC was a good guy but not your typical 2d rightous moron or thick as a brick goof. He has his eccentricties but they serve to humanize him and move the plot in addition to their comedic value.
The female MC wasn't your typical dere or dere varient, she was well rounded and with suprising depth if maybe a little too understanding but even thats debatable.
The side characters were comparativly shallow but given their relative unimportance it didn't really detract from the show and the sterotypical little sister in love with her big sister so is jealous and acts like tsundere was refreshingly tamed pretty early on and didn't disrupt the MCs as much which I really appreciate.
I did give story a 9/10, there was a fairly important at least to me question that was never explicitly answered even if blatantly hinted at. Based on the pacing and end point I doubt we can expect another season and thus the question will likely remain unawnsered.
Simply put, Fly Me to the Moon is a lovely show. When protagonist Nasa Yuzaki gets hit by a truck, he is saved by a mysterious girl named Tsukasa. Falling in love with her, he asks her to become his girlfriend, which she does...in return for him marrying her. A few years later, she returns with a marriage form in hand
Most of the characters are likable. Nasa is a total geek who sometimes lacks common sense, but he tenderly loves Tsukasa. Tsukasa herself tends to like to tease her husband; she is a total movie buff; and her smug smile is endearing. There is also a recurrent mystery to her as it is heavily implied she is not human. My theory is that she could be Princess Kaguya from the Bamboo Shoot story who was an alien from the Moon. Some points seemingly fall into place such as her having a moon rock as a cherished possession or how she is disinterested in history...likely because she lived through it already. But from what it seems...looks like it's unlikely to come to fruition.
The side characters are also good such as Aya and Kaname who work for a bathhouse the couple frequents. Aya is the more out there of the siblings who had a crush on Nasa, and Kaname is the more "mature" one despite being the younger sister. She often likes peeping at the main couple if any hints or intimacy arise.
The animation is also cute, almost saccharine in its designs. Which makes sense given how much of a dream-like aura it gives off. Lastly, the music is also good with the opening in particular being rocking.
Overall, a wonderfully wholesome show that hits you.
This is just Awesome. I was not sure if i gonna like it at first, but second episode take me to the stream of full enjoyment.
This was a very unique yet cute anime.
It was refreshing in the sense that the couple actually are together and not just a character who struggles to convey their feelings for another character. It was solely focused on Nasa & Tsukasa's daily life as 'newlyweds', with little to no stupid things intervening between the two.
Both main characters had good voice actors and were written well. I have not much to say about truck-kun but it was also a key character to the story.
Soundtrack was also very calming and one I like to listen to in my freetime. One of the better soundtracks from what I've heard. The OP is catchy but unfortunately, there's a part where it looks like a 7-year-old's YouTube channel which slightly altered my 10/10 rating.
Can't wait for the OVA on August 18th!