With its dull premise, bland character designs, and production values that seem to be funded entirely with change that's been dropped in the street, you can be forgiven for overlooking Tsuki ga Kirei. There just isn't anything about the show that draws your attention.
Unless, of course, you happen to catch 15 seconds of it and realize--oh, hey--it's a goddamn masterpiece.
Tsuki ga Kirei is every inch the old writer's adage "show, don't tell," taking us through a tale of first love told as much through silences and facial expressions and body language as through its actual dialogue (which, for the record, is some of the most realistic ever to grace an anime romance)--which is especially fantastic because it translates into the world of the show, as well: every character notices, infers from, and reacts to how everyone around them behaves. Y'know, like actual people do. (Not to say I don't enjoy a good running narration or series of unrealistic expository soliloquys, but having to suss things out from facial expressions and behaviors is pretty satisfying.)
And, as such, the characterization is, not surprisingly, equally brilliant, with everyone, from the protagonists to the most tertiary of the tertiary supporting cast, being fully realized and in some way essential to the story. They are so charming and relatable and lovingly crafted that it's as though they are the performers, rather than just being the avatars for the voice actors. That is, they don't just exist in this world--they live in it.
And, ultimately, that's the show's strength: everything about it is grounded, unadorned, bereft of cliche. It's filled with the mundane, but only insofar as it is fixed in the recognizable, the believable. No one's conveniently oblivious. No one's given a melodramatic speech detailing every one of the emotions they've felt all season. The characters talk like people, react like people. There's nothing contrived about the dramatic situations or the people involved in the dramatic situations. And real-life bustles on despite the drama.
Oh, and the protagonists are about the most adorable thing ever. (Ever.)
If there is a problem with the show, it's the animation, which may as well have been cobbled together from the husks of cancelled film school projects. But even that mostly works in its favor, as it, by necessity, further emphasizes the truly important elements of the story--albeit by handwaving the less important areas with cheap CGI. It's a damper, but it's not a dealbreaker--by any stretch.
Not with characters this charming. Not with a story this crafted--and surprising and heartfelt and honest.
It's an instant classic.
That is, if you happen to notice it.
Spoiler Free Review
As an accurate depiction of the typical middle school existence, Tsuki ga Kirei may be ideal as it perfectly captures the nearly endless tedium punctuated with excruciating moments of awkwardness. But as an entertaining anime goes, it’s only so-so. Now you may be thinking, “This guy just doesn’t like slow paced stories” to which I would respond, “You don’t know me!” I think a slow-burn story can be quite compelling when done correctly, like Hyouka or Mushishi. Hyouka overcame its slow pace with interesting characters and an interesting plot while Mushishi had compelling individual stories. Tsuki ga Kirei only has dull main characters and a generic plot to offer.
If you really want to see a Romance, Coming of Age, Love Triangle, School Life anime, try Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!). It deals with all the same issues with a similarly aged group (first year high schoolers instead of third year middle schoolers) with much more interesting characters and story. And while the action in Ore Monogatari!! is a little less realistic, it’s far more interesting and that’s okay as these are works of fiction. If you have already seen Ore Monogatari!!, wasn’t it great? I might watch it again now.
There isn’t one.
Okay, there is a budding relationship between two shy, awkward middle schoolers. That’s it. The entire story can be summed up in one boring sentence. That’s not good, feel.
I’m not usually one to complain about the animation style of an anime. Usually my opinion is as long as it doesn’t look like Speed Racer or detract from the story it is fine. The problem here is the animation occasionally detracts from the store. The close-up shots of the characters are fine but the use of computer animation for background characters in wide shots is sometimes scary. The characters move like mannequins brought to life by black magic.
It has sound. Who has ever decided to watch or not watch an anime based on the sounds? Not me.
As stated before, the main characters are tedious and boring. Perhaps if you are at a similar age and are similarly shy, speak Japanese, and are two-dimensional then perhaps you can relate, otherwise they two main characters are boring. The supporting characters are far more interesting, especially in the little vignettes occasionally shown after the end credits. Those short bits are the only reason to watch this anime.
I hope this review is helpful. I feel kind of bad coming down so hard on this anime, but it really is not worth the time. Toadora!, Ore Monogatari!!, Hyouka, or even Silver Spoon would be better use of your time.
Tsuki Ka Kirei is probably a series many will miss out on and skip past, and even if you try it and drop it on episode one, we could forgive you, but i will state now the show is brilliant.
I will sum the review in one big section over splitting it as i feel it will work better. I wont include any real spoiler, some extreemly hardcore minor ones might be present refferencing the couple at hand (but it's a romance, if you can guess these spoilers... then yeah)
So we get into the story, it is essentially a story of first love, boy likes girl, one thing leads to another, thate date ect. It's a bland way to describe the plot but lets be fair, we all have to be honest and admit romance stories are boy x girl with maybe some drama at best. The thing i love here is the characters (i will explain this more later), they seem quite err dull? It's not so much they are dull but they are both shy and quiet, combining two of these results in more dialouge consisting of agreements in the form of 'Un, Um and Hm' and opposed to conversation. This worked though, aside from getting a laugh out of how socically awakward they was, it was nice to see how from them hardly saying words they grew to become a strong couple. The side characters whilst quite minor had small role which only helped our main two together.
The story reflects well on a actual real feeling relationship and one reason i felt to rate it so well as i find no anime covers a real romance, there is always a harem, magic or just convinient circumstances which let people find one another, I'm not saying real love stories aren't out there but this just had a real feel to it (and i mean the good kind of real). In short Azumi likes Akane, who whilst isn't miss popular by any stretch, has a bit more of pressence than Azumi, she is the ace of the track and field team and has a close circle of friends but still rather quiet outside them, Azumi is a quiet member of the Litrature club (you wouldn't know it has other members really) and keeps to who small circle of friends, in short, LINE conversations (a messaging app for smart phones, very big in Japan) and a bit of helping one another, They begin dating, no beating around the bush for 20 episodes, i felt the build up to this was great, Azumi and Akane didn't string us along forever and gave us just enough time to know them without rushing or boring us.
From there we first watch the two learn about their new relationship, they are both first timers here, and equally it is both their first love, we go from struggles to talking to one another to wanting to follow one another long distances (i will keep this part spoiler free, its minor but still). It is actually very refreshing watching the two grow to care for one another and develop their relationship, unless you was blessed with confidence, chances are you might have been through the same thing, this series strongly reminded me of my first girlfriend actually, we was both quiet and knew little what to do or say, awkwardness in this series felt so real to me, none of the lets get on with it, go on dates and be love-dovey, that isn't how it works when you are young and shy and this captured that perfectly. - One reason i rated it so high.
Watching Azumi and Akane together is... adorable! They are a brilliant couple (who don't realise it from an outsiders view), they might not seem too interesting at the start but they really are what makes this series, they are so great to watch and really do give us a great romance.
I could babble on about how they develop but i think i got the basics of it, i do strongly recommend if you want to watch a pure romance story, none of the harem crap, no enemies become lovers, a genuie story about boy like girl, things happens romance story is born, feels legit and is interesting to watch. Some might hold issue with the animation style, it was deffinetly different and i worry could put others off but i say to look beyond that, it isn't horrible or anything.
As said, give it 3 or 4 episodes and you should know how to feel about it, by episode 4 you should have a feel for who Akane is, Who Azumi is and how the story might go.
A Strong recommend gem, probably a series which wont be given much attention but is worth every drop of it should you find it, a needle in a haystack describes how much i enjoyed this as in comparison with other romance, oh and whilst i love comedy, it was quite nice not to rely on some fun comicical sub character or jokes to pull the story along, a true love story through and through.
I have to say i liked the ending, whilst the final episode had some lovely moments splashed around you could say its ending didn't clear us all up, as they rarely do, romance we want to see it all, but as mentioned below, the credits give us some snippits into their life beyond what we see and it actually works as a easy way to say 'yeah this and this happens'
A Favourite for me for sure!
PS - I liked Chinatsu... not more than Akane don't get me wrong but i still felt bad for her xD
Last of- WATCH THE CREDITS, READ THE TEXTS (they are conversations taking place over time which hint to the stories progress beyond what is shown) and enjoy that final CG image presented to us... it gives us a very nice feeling to the true ending, one i so madly needed to see, yes a single image made me very happy xD
A pure romance anime with a tiny sprinkle of "drama" and I'm so thankful for that.
It's so simple that nowadays it almost seems abnormal. If there's something we tend to forget it's that Simplicity is divine! No need for aliens, robots, big-ass weapons nor "melons" to make a romance story fun to watch.
It was very enjoyable, in my book that's a 10.
That's it, I won't spoil absolutely anything, if you're a romance fan just go watch it, it'll warm your heart up nicely.
It's a lovely first love story. The characters are well conceived and the plot works well to fulfill its porpoise — which, I believe, is to show the development of a young and inexperienced couple.
Overall, a well-done light novel.