As one of the few romance-themed school anime airing this season, Tsuki Ga Kirei is much like taking in a deep breath of cherry blossoms lingering in the spring air. Tsuki Ga Kirei focuses on the blossoming romance between two middle schoolers, Akane Mizuno and Koutarou Azumi, who are classmates for the first time. These students aren’t first years in middle school; they’re already in their final year. Due to their pre-existing circumstances and social groupings, they aren’t able to exchange words and instead trade awkward glances across the classroom. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but after multiple coincidental meetings, they start to notice each other. In the process, they fall for each other, much like two petals finding themselves next to each other again after a slow drift from a branch of a tree.
The show’s done a great job at describing the characters in detail, especially with their quirks. Akane is considered one of the more “popular” students in the class, which most likely comes from her status on the track team. Despite the fact that she is easily one of the top runners, it’s surprising to see that she actually is extremely nervous not only before races but before doing anything social in general. She’s got this sweet little pink potato doll that calms her down and gives her the small boost she needs every day. On the other hand, Koutarou also has his own little gimmicks, like boxing the light string whenever he achieves a small victory over a text. He’s a writer at heart and is involved in cultural things in his town. When he’s not with his group of friends, he spends much of his time alone, conjuring up scenes for his next piece, or reading for reference and ideas. As a dedicated writer, he’s also capable of mustering up the courage to ask for things that he wants, whether it is Akane or her friend’s attention, and answers to his questions. Koutarou also constantly quotes literary authors, most notably Osamu Dazai, whom might not be the best author to look up to in terms of finding love, but hey, can you actually blame Koutarou? He’s never dated before, and his close references are from those that he’s been exposed to from literature.
The social awkwardness is something that is both characteristic and special to Tsuki Ga Kirei. I find the shyness to be quite realistic and telling of what happens at the beginning of a romance in the real world. Plainly put, it’s quite adorable and cute for the two to interact this way. For Akane, she doesn’t want her friends to associate her with Koutarou. Not because he’s an outcast or an unruly kid, but mostly because he’s not in her circle of friends. He’s neither athletic nor popular, and while Akane’s friends think that Hira is best for her, she doesn’t wish to bring attention to herself. For Koutarou, it’s a bit different in that he actually does talk to one of Akane’s friends, Chinatsu. However, Koutarou only puts up with Chinatsu’s eccentric and friendly behavior, he would rather not talk to girls other than Akane. Other than that, Koutarou for the most part only interacts with his other two friends from class.
The animation in Tsuki Ga Kirei is decent to say the least, as it not only has its own watercolor-esque style, but it also switches to some generalized CG in certain scenes. Moreover, it has some good close-ups of the characters within the anime. In addition, the scenic landscapes that constantly appear in Tsuki Ga Kirei are a feast for the eyes. There are countless in-between scenes of nature, like the cherry blossom trees and the sparkling bodies of water, giving the show its spring theme. But what makes Tsuki Ga Kirei really special is its direction and use of sound. There are certain parts of the anime where we follow one character, and then the other, keeping the audience waiting for that moment when the two characters meet. In this way, Tsuki Ga Kirei shows rather than tells in terms of storytelling. Similarly, the way that the characters and their stories or viewpoints are added to each episode, and the usage of sound and silence occur within good balance in Tsuki Ga Kirei. Where one might expect to be sound there isn’t, and that tells volumes as it weighs in heavily on the situation. For example, when Akane and Koutarou are together with no one else around, they refuse to look at each other in the eye. And with no background music or sound, you can literally feel the awkward silence hanging in the air between them.
Another thing that makes Tsuki Ga Kirei special are the shorts after the ending song and credits. These shorts expand on the interactions between the other couples within the middle school or family members around the characters. These are all quite funny and enjoyable to watch, so if you’ve been leaving the episode hanging right before the ending starts, make sure to take a look at the comedic segments at the end of each episode. Many of these have the charm of leaving a happy, bubbly, joyous feeling when you complete each episode of Tsuki Ga Kirei.
Overall, Tsuki Ga Kirei has the ability to evoke emotion out of its audience, whether it’s cringing to see the two get together or bursting out in laughter at the things they do. The show’s able to bring out the middle schoolers in ourselves, or better yet, remind us of the greatness of youth.
Tsuki ga Kirei is currently streaming on Crunchyroll