It is true that school-life is one of the most common genres in Japanese animation. From specialty school (magic, cooking etc) to school-life with mysteries or supernatural. In short, it is a genre that has been widely exploited in all respects. As for Tsuki ga Kirei, it doesn’t pretend to revolutionize the genre and doesn’t propose an original plot at first.
In fact Tsuki ga Kirei is exceptional in its simplicity. The relationships between the different characters are particularly well developed. The series accurately combines the gestures, facial expressions of the characters without exaggerating the reactions, which in some scenes may seem surprising and unexpected. The series doesn’t necessarily focus on the dialogues and emphasizes the subtlety of the reactions of the characters making the relationships very realistic.
The other point is the meeting of our two protagonists: Akane and Kotarou. Initially they don’t know each other. They notice briefly in the classroom and do not talk to each other. Their relationship is built slowly but surely. At first, they look at each other several times discreetly, meaning that they are interested in each other. Then, following certain trivial events, they meet several times. Of course, you may be a little irritated by their behavior because they are shy and because they do not dare look at each other to discuss. But gradually they learn to know each other.
This relationship will gradually evolve into a romantic relation. And with this type of relationship come all the difficulties that go hand in hand, namely the acceptance of the relationship by the entourage and the friends. Jealousy? Envy? Different feelings that lead some characters to interfere in the Akane-Kotarou couple and possibly create love triangles. Do not expect ridiculous infidelities that would be completely out of step with the personality of our protagonists. Of course there will be difficult times calling into doubt the feelings of another or his, wondering how their relationship is solid. And thank God! the series does not propose forced drama with characters who cry to each episode in order to move its audience.
Furthermore our characters live with their families. Surprisingly and relatively rare in a school-life, we see the parents of our two protagonists. This aspect contributes to the realism of the series allowing us to see the relationship of our protagonists with their family. Especially that of Kotarou with his mother who regularly opposes his son because the latter privileges his dream of becoming a writer to his studies. Akane’s and her sister’s relationship is also very interesting, as she often gives advice on Akane’s love life. Besides our two protagonists also have their occupations: Akane participates in the athletic club and Kotarou at the festival of the city. The series devotes time to show their perseverance and motivation to achieve their goals
Concerning the secondary characters, Chinatsu and Hira receive a screen time sufficient for their characterization and develop their interests and objectives. For the other characters I wouldn’t say they are useless because regularly, in several scenes, some play a prominent role in the Akane-Kotarou relationship. I regret that the series doesn’t spend more time for these characters. Although at the end of each episode we see small short films showing funny moments among the various couples formed of these supporting characters. Contrary to our two main protagonists, they have already developed relations. I thank the writer because he has not censored allusions about the nights that the couples spent together.
On the technical aspects, the artistic direction has the merit of being unique with simple yet unique character design. The soundtrack plays an important role in creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. But many scenes have no background music, preferring to highlight the sound effects. No use of artifices to reinforce dramatic moments, just discrete tracks. I don’t forget the remarkable performances of Nao Touyama in the scenes where the characters don’t speak allowing the viewer to rest while contemplating the cityscapes or the daily life of the characters.
Some 3D is used throughout the Anime, you can see its use in the first few episodes when they’re showing a large crowd of students walking through the hallway. It was unnatural to say the least. In that scene in particular, it seemed very out of place because while the students surroundings were in that typical 2D art style, the students walking through that 2D were 3D and they stuck out like a sore thumb.
I personally had a great time watching this series. For what it is worth, and given that the concept itself is an original (though the story felt familiar, as does all school-romance anime do) it felt really refreshing seeing something “original”. Especially when all Anime seem to be blending into one another. Definitely worth the watch!