Tsuki Ga Kirei is a good show. It’s also a very flawed one. While the artstyle is very appealing it’s actual animation was often lacking just as a singular example. I however feel a show can overcome it’s flaws if it plays to it’s strengths often. Tsuki Ga Kirei does exactly that crafting likable and realistic characters and giving (what I would consider) a pretty realistic depiction of a functional middle school relationship in the 2010’s.
Azumi does a lot of shit I might have done a few years ago, Akane reminds me of people I used to know. The characters created were very realistic, no quirks or gags were included that removed them from reality, this could’ve just as easily been a live action show. The show almost always feels natural and that’s it’s biggest strength. Unfortunately the key word in that previous sentence is “almost”. It’s time to talk about the one flaw that kept popping up in the show, detracting from it’s biggest strength.
What do I mean by this? The problem the show has is that despite creating such realistic characters it could not find a way to have them move the story forward by themselves and as such it was almost always pushed forward by coincidence. A really good story should be moved forward by it’s characters not by external forces (in most cases). Akane and Azumi like each other too much for there to be consistent issues with their relationship and as such external factors cause those problems, think Akane’s phone shutting off just as she’s about to message Azumi, Azumi’s phone getting taken off him by the teacher after he has to wrestle it back from his friends, Akane dropping her stress toy, things of that nature. Individually there is nothing wrong with these scenes but when they start piling up on each other it wears my patience thin.
This is one thing in which fiction has a disadvantage in relation to reality, to stay believable it sometimes can’t be as crazy as reality can get. You’ve heard the saying before, truth is stranger than fiction and it certainly holds true here. I’m sure far more coincidental things have happened in order for actual middle school relationships to occur but that doesn’t mean I don’t question it in fiction. The problem being that every coincidence after a certain point made me remember acutely that what I was watching was in fact fiction and in a show where believable character relationships are it’s strength this is a major problem. I want to be consistently invested in Azumi and Akane’s relationship, not questioning the absolute perfect timing with which things happen for the benefit of dramatic tension. Every time Hira and Akane are together it seemed to be timed to perfection for maximum effect.
I know this is obviously what a show does and is meant to do but Tsuki Ga Kirei didn’t do a good job masking that fact. A good show usually has one main coincidence, it’s set up, from there the story should arise in a way that feels like it’s the result of the characters decisions. One or 2 coincidences are fine but too many stretch one’s immersion beyond repair. Unless fate or external influence is explicitly implied to be a thing in any given shows universe (think Kokoro Connect) then I can never get behind a show where coincidence is as big a narrative influencer as the entire cast.
I do think the show does a hell of a lot right, if you watched it at a certain age I could even see it being your favorite show, I’d say it connect on a real level to kids of similar age to the cast. But not me, maybe I’m too much of a cynic. As good as this show was at one particular thing I don’t think it fully made up for the rest of it’s shortcomings.
Expect a more personal response to the show in the future though because even the parts which I thought were good were pretty unenjoyable to me, this show was a pain to watch exactly because of what it did well. For another day though.
Thanks for reading,