Anime is something truly special. Within the medium, there stand multiple shows that are one season long without any action, fights, or overly dramatic scenes with beautiful animation to accompany it. Tsuki ga Kirei and Your Lie in April are two excellent examples of shows that tell a down to earth story beautifully without taking it to one extreme or the other.
Tsuki ga Kirei perfectly encapsulates being a teenager in love. Akane Mizuno and Kotorou Azumi are two awkward middle schoolers who meet each other on the first day of class. When they see each other, they both get nervous. Through a series of circumstances, they begin to message each other on their phones. The process to which they start to talk to each other is so organic; they’re awkward at first in person, but as they connect on the LINE messaging app on their phones, they begin to get more comfortable meeting each other in person. The rumor mongering of the classroom about who’s going out with whom also brings back memories of middle school life. What works really well in Tsuki ga Kirei is the distance that is created between Akane, her friends, and Azumi; without spoiling too much, this aspect is effective within the plot and feels heartbreakingly natural. One fault that could be brought up is that the side characters aren’t as fleshed out as they should be. Most of Akane and Kotorou’s friends are really generic and don’t add to the story.
What also works is how Akane and Kotorou progress as characters and how it shows how much they care for each other. Without spoiling too much, Kotorou goes to great lengths for Akane. The series ends in a satisfying conclusion due to the wonderfully crafted progression of their relationship. Another aspect to bring up is that I appreciated how much of the culture was shown in this anime with the Kawagoe Festival (which is actually a real event) and the town’s locales; it made me want to go to Japan even more. There are a few points that linger too much in the narrative, when situations have already been solved. But perhaps that uncertainty of a middle school relationship is ever more present because of this.
The characters have a cutesy art style that works with the premise of the story, and the environments are simply to the standard but beautiful. Character expressions are beautifully illustrated within Tsuki ga Kirei as Akane, Kotorou. The rest of the cast awkwardly talk to each other and express how they feel (in sometimes desperate ways). There are some memorable scenes due to its art direction as well, and the festivals are drawn in a vibrant manner. However, they start each episode with a really awkward scene with horribly made CG characters going to school. It’s really off-putting.
Every voice actor nails their characters. Their performances are believable and they time their lines perfectly. You can hear how hurt or elated each character is from their deliveries as well. The soundtrack contains wonderful melodies that compliment the sweet and sad scenes in Tsuki ga Kirei; they may be repeated a little too often within the 12 episode series, but the themes work well with the melancholic nature of the anime.
Tsuki ga Kirei (As the Moon, So Beautiful) is a down to earth story that successfully hits all the melodrama of a middle school relationship and how it affects those around. The animation greatly illustrates the awkwardness of being a teenager, which is complimented by good vocal talent, and the anime has a natural progression with its storytelling, which crescendos in a satisfying fashion.