An original school romance created by the studio, feel, Tsuki ga Kirei tells the story of two teenagers that fall in love. Directed by Kishi, Seiji – who also had the same role in Danganronpa: The Animation, Fate/Prototype and Persona 4 the Animation – it takes you through Akane and Kotaro’s final year of middle school as they adapt to the changes it brings.
A Story of Young Love
Tsuki ga Kirei unfolds quite slowly but keeps your interest all the way through. You’re introduced to Akane and Kotaro as they start their final year of middle school and, throughout the series, follow them through that year. Both characters get a lot of development over the course of the series and avoid being one-dimensional. No matter what their actions, they have their motivations quite clearly presented and it narrowly avoids falling into school drama cliches by ensuring that Akane and Kotaro are kept grounded.
As both Akane and Kotaro are very different people, she’s an athlete and he’s a writer, there’s bound to be some element of them that you can connect to. Even you don’t find a part of yourself within them, the problems they face within their relationship are probably pretty true for most people of that age.
Leave No Stone Unturned
The side characters, on the other hand, suffer from being left behind. I believe they’re covered in more detail in the after credit skits, but I found that they derailed the show. They really didn’t appeal to me so I ended up not watching many of them and I would recommend not watching them. It is just a little bit of a shame that the show itself decided not to cover Kotaro’s two best friends, nor Akane’s friends from class.
Chinatsu and Hina get a small amount of development but only within the roles they’ve been cast as opposing forces for this relationship. As Chinatsu is more closely linked to both Akane and Kotaro she gets a lot more development than Hina, but even that is lacking somewhat as we never get to see her motives. Due to this, I have trouble understanding why Akane and Chinatsu were friends. Her motives seemed very selfish and not what a friend would do. A bit more development might have fixed this rather glaring plot hole.
Pretty In Colour
Tsuki ga Kirei was a very pretty animation to watch. It seemed as though there was always a lot of colour without them being overwhelming. Everything felt very crisp and fresh for the spring scenes and cold for the winter scenes. The little effects like breathing in cold weather were nice and subtle; obvious enough that you could tell just how cold it was but not something you deliberately paid attention to. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever noticed it in an anime series.
The story was also expertly told through the way the characters were drawn as well as the words they said. I don’t want to rehash what is already out there so if you’re interested in how Tsuki ga Kirei relates to real world locations have a look at Wilhelm Donko’s Crunchyroll post on the subject. There’s no spoilers in that past the first episode. There’s also Nick Creamer’s post on framing that I recommend if you don’t mind a few early spoilers and want to get a sense of how the story is told.
All in all, I found the art style fit perfectly with the real world setting that was being presented. Each character was identifiable and the story flowed through the art as well as the writing. Every moment was a joy to experience.
OP and ED
The OP and ED of Tsuki ga Kirei were both very enjoyable to watch and listen to; I found myself watching them every single episode and smiling throughout. Both were performed by Touyama, Nao with Imakoko being the name of the OP and Tsuki ga Kirei the ED.
The ED has line chat conversations that change each episode. Unfortunately the version I watched didn’t have them translated and I didn’t realise the importance of them until I stumbled across them later down the line. If they had been translated over the ED it would have added another, deeper, level to the entire show. I found a blog that has all of these chats translated along with this episode they occurred in. You might get spoiled if you’ve not seen the series in its entirety so maybe come back to them after you’ve watched the finale.
One thing to note, writing this review a few months after watching it and I cannot recall the OP and ED at all. I really remember enjoying them but they didn’t stick around the same way other songs do.
Voice Actors & Translations
The character voices really matched the characters that they portrayed.
Akane was voiced by Yu, Apphia (Love Live! Sunshine!!), Kotaro was played by Chiba, Shouya (The iDOLM@STER Side M), Tamaru, Atsushi (The Asterisk War) stepped in to the role of Hira, and Chinatsu was picked up by Murakawa, Rie (Non Non Biyori).
The translations were well done on the most part. There was one or two times when I was a little confused as they left Japanese cultural references in, but it was nothing that hindered my enjoyment. In fact it helped me learn more about the Japanese culture, especially with regards to the festivals and the taiko.
One To Watch And Re-watch
This is one series that I recommend to everyone. If you don’t normally like school dramas, if you don’t normally like romance, give this show a chance. There’s something very unique and refreshing about its story that lets it stand apart from other series in its genre. It’s one of those shows I give to people wanting to get started on anime.
I really want to own this series to watch time and time again, from start to finish. I think knowing the story gives another dimension to the show and allows you to pick up on framing and other visual cues that may have been missed the first time around.
This show left me with all the indescribable feelings once the final set of credits had rolled. It’s stuck with me every since I watched it. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did.
I started watching Tsuki ga Kirei on April 7, 2017 and finished it June 30, 2017 with English subtitles and Japanese voices. At the time of writing you can watch this series on Crunchyroll.