Tsuki Ga Kirei

October 20, 2017

Normal boy meets girl. Normal middle school drama. Normal teen romance. Normal love between youngsters. If you like all that normalcy and can’t take anymore of today’s crazy love stories with bizarre twists, settings and plots, then Tsuki Ga Kirei is that right normal love story for you. Nothing very overly complicated. Nothing that is so overly confusing. Nothing so dramatic that it makes your heart stop. Nothing so emotional or tear jerking that you would finish a box of Kleenex in no time. Nothing that is so controversial and outrageous that would stir up unnecessary feelings throughout and after the end. So normal that it is abnormally normal. Or could it all be just one big yawn fest…

Episode 1
A new start of the school term. Kawagoe City Middle School starts its opening ceremony. Nothing really much. Akane Mizuno notes all her friends are in different classes. Kotarou Azumi visits the library. After school, both their families go out to eat at the same restaurant. Akane and Kotarou see each other and get embarrassed. They try not to make contact. But the awkwardness gets real when they are at the drink bar at the same time. Akane’s sister, Ayane finds out that the boy is her classmate. She tells this to her parents. Before you know it, both parents get acquainted with each other! Super awkward! When both families are done and are leaving, Akane hopes he won’t tell this to anybody. It’s embarrassing. But wearing the track and field club jersey is not for her? In school, the students are divided for their roles to help prepare for the sports festival. Kotarou skips out and visits a bookstore. He sees a book called Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai, which is about a woman’s inner thoughts in first person. After he buys it, the bookkeeper gives him some record album as well as what it seems to be a swimsuit magazine (on the house) so he could read a variety of stuffs. Kotarou is now forced by the teacher to help out with the preparations. Akane sees this and remembers her friends were asking her to get group contacts for everyone. She sums up her courage to go talk to him (although it startles him at first). Since he doesn’t have his handphone now, she gives him her contacts. She helps him out to ease his workload. Later after Kotarou joins the group, Ayane teases her about talking to her boyfriend in which she strongly denies.

Episode 2
Kotarou has been up all night writing. That’s why he looks somewhat tired in the morning. His dad knows what he is doing because he too was once like that. He tells him to continue doing so since you can only be young once. As the sports festival begins, Akane is the fastest sprinter in one of the early races. It makes her looks cartoonish! Kotarou isn’t so thrilled to be in the 200 metre race. Takumi Hira looks as fast and cartoonish as Akane. What’s more embarrassing for Kotarou being zoomed past by others? He tripped and bruised himself. That’s got to hurt outside and inside. As he tries to see the teacher at the infirmary to get his wound treated, the teacher isn’t in but Chinatsu Nishio is. She knows a bit about him as Akane is her friend. Not sure why she’s feeling ticklish and laughing at lots of things. Heck, she gave him a sloppy treatment. If this was the real world, she would be sued for negligence. No disinfectant and just look at how horrible the way she bandages his bruise! Hira makes a pass at Akane so her friends think they should just date each other. While preparing for the scavenger hunt race, Akane accidentally drops her ‘pressure relief’ doll in one of the baskets. Because of that, her mind is elsewhere and there are a few ill-prepared bloopers like the scavenger hunt had not slips and Akane dropping the baton in the relay race, forcing her team to forfeit top spot to another in the overall points. Her friends have Hira talk to her but I don’t think it would do anything much. At the end of the day, it is Kotarou who returns it to her (he found it while putting things away). It made her so happy that she becomes talkative? As she mentions about her nervousness and how embarrassing it was today for her to mess things up, he tells her she is fine the way she is. Her happiness gives him motivation to continue writing. He starts showing his writing to the bookkeeper for feedback. Meanwhile, teacher Ryouko Sonoda is in a pinch. Her student, Roman Yamashina took her as his scavenger item. His slip said the person he loves. She couldn’t believe it. So that’s why she’s drinking? Even more so when she hears Roman say he actually likes her! Well, this teacher looks so young to be a fellow student…

Episode 3
Kotarou seems to have submitted his writings to a publication but I guess he didn’t make the cut… You can tell he is a bit dejected and furthermore at a time during the exams. Nothing like a little messaging with Akane to help lighten the mood, eh? Once the exams are over, the sports clubs are busy with their trainings for their meets. Kotarou heard Chinatsu talk to her friend that Akane should just date Hira and is sure she wouldn’t turn him down. Akane and Chinatsu are at the track meet. They have decent times. Chinatsu vows to train harder to match Akane. As Kotarou keeps in touch with Akane, he is itching to ask if there is any guy she likes but can’t bring himself to do it. Next day at the track meet, Hira goes up to Akane. He wants to tell her something but something else distracts them and eventually the mood. So while the meet is in full swing, Kotarou prays at the shrine before heading to some traditional drum practice. I guess they’re using tyres so as not to be noisy to others. They look like a weird zombie cult if you ask me… Kotarou can’t help look at his handphone for Akane’s reply. She never did. He even waited there until night fall. What if Akane never shows up? Of course she did as she has returned from her meet. She thought he might be here. So they talk. Sheepishly. And then it’s like they’re talking with puns of moon (tsuki) and love (suki) till it gets serious when Kotarou asks her to go out with him (tsukiatte).

Episode 4
Akane’s answer was “I don’t know”. Because of that, for their school trip, the 2 have this awkwardness between them. The teachers are spot checking their belongings and confiscating those that are prohibited. See how creative some came up to hide them. Like Roman hiding handphones in a snack wrapper. Even the oldest trick of tricking the teacher while pretending to sleep. After they are gone, it’s staying up late to chat. As usual, the girls talk about who they like. They pressure Akane for an answer so she hints there is someone she is interested. They get excited but assume that guy is Hira. Back at Kotarou’s side, its’ so funny to hear Roman and Daichi Ogasawara playing some mobile game together. The funny sounds they make when they’re winning or losing back and forth. It’s hilarious! 4 combo? 5 combo? 16 combo?! WTF?! I guess Kotarou was so engrossed with his messaging with Akane, his friends pull a fast one over him to steal his handphone. Luckily he manages to steal it back and runs out. Unfortunately it was quickly confiscated by the teacher. Not before making an appointment to meet up with Akane tomorrow. So as the next day arrives, Akane seems to be finding it hard to ditch her friends to go meet him. She tries to give excuses but they don’t see the picture. Man, she is running 2 hours late… When they finally wise up and ‘split up, Akane rushes there. Kotarou not around. I guess he didn’t wait. So she waits. After all, she texted him but he never replied. Actually they keep missing each other. Kotarou spots Chinatsu and asks to borrow her handphone. However she doesn’t know Akane’s number and can’t let Chinatsu find out so he gives it back to her. However Chinatsu can tell he wants to call Akane. She observes he was always looking at her. Chinatsu calls Akane and then hands it to Kotarou. Akane doesn’t sound impressed. So they change the place to meet and this time they really meet. You can tell she is mad despite he explained the teacher took his handphone. But why from Chinatsu’s handphone? Aha. Gotcha. I see where this is going… But when she says she wants to talk more with him, that’s supposed to be her reply to his confession? Man, I’m still a baby in trying to figure out a woman’s thoughts.

Episode 5
Kotarou and Akane are secretly dating. Chinatsu sees Kotarou being lectured by his teacher about his poor proficiency test scores. She is probably in the same boat so she asks him if he goes to any good cram schools. Akane must be finding it hard for love advice online. So she asks Ayane for advice. You have to live with the teasing that comes. Ayane promises not to tell their parents. Similarly, Kotarou is looking at online forums for dating tips. I don’t think it helps either. The duo message each other and he is quite happy when she agrees to come with him for the festivals. During lunch, they are supposed to eat with each other at the school’s library. However Akane can’t break free from her friends without suspicions. I guess Kotarou has to eat alone. Just when he thought it is her, it’s actually Chinatsu. And when Akane comes, she sees them together. What’s the meaning of this? Don’t worry. She was just asking about the cram school. After Chinatsu leaves, you can see that pout. So does Akane want to come to the same cram school? Baka! This effects Akane that she has no form in running. Hira picks it up and wonders if she would like to talk about it on her way home. Maybe that guy isn’t interested. Or he’s just hinting very vaguely. “We don’t have much longer to run together”. Although Kotarou and Chinatsu attend different cram schools, they walk the same path home. Some girls confront Akane to ascertain if she is dating Hira because they saw them together one day. No. Phew. What a relief. Kotarou has Akane meet up at the bookstore. So this is their first outing together? I guess when you have no money and don’t want to frequent a place where there is lots of people (who goes to a bookstore these days?), this is your only option. The bookkeeper was kind enough to allow them a few hours or so. As they chat, he says he would like to come to her meets to cheer on her. The timing is right for them to hold hands. But it is interrupted when Akane gets a message from Chinatsu. It says she has a crush on Kotarou! Oh no… Lastly, Akane’s parents are walking home when a noisy car passes by. Then it turns out to be Ayane’s boyfriend who is sending her home! This punk seems quite polite. Mom likes him but dad will not acknowledge him. Until he gives him some plushie doll?!

Episode 6
Kotarou gets a call from the publisher to meet up about the work he submitted. Akane’s parents want to come cheer for her for the next track meet but she doesn’t want them to. Ayane then hints she has a boyfriend. Traitor! While mom looks excited, dad looks worried. It’s that age where he is going to lose his daughters… Great timing or not, Akane gets a message from Kotarou to meet up. It seems he can’t come to cheer on her on that day because it is the same day he is going to meet the publisher. They hope each other for the best. Kotarou lies to his mom he is going to the library when he goes to town to the publisher. Once he meets the guy, he is being instantly told that he has no talent! Albeit in a nice way. Plus, he suggests Kotarou shouldn’t be doing serious literature for his age since it doesn’t make money and should go into light novel. Meanwhile at Akane, she tries to tell Chinatsu she is dating Kotarou. But Chinatsu knows since it was so obvious. Thanks for letting her know? When it is Akane’s turn to race, she can’t focus and her time ended worse than before. So why does Hira have to come lecture her about what’s wrong? Oh, now she’s crying. Too late to change your tone to positive. She’s not saying anything. When Kotarou comes home, mom confronts him and is furious. She heard from dad and doesn’t like he is dabbling in writing. Akane is also depressed since she failed to make the cut. The parents leave it to Ayane to talk to her. So Akane reveals the thing that bothered her: Her best friend confessed she likes the same guy. Instantly Ayane baulks. Too much drama? Her advice is to immediately cut ties with her best friend but she won’t since friends are important to her. Kotarou and Akane later meet and learn how both failed to make the cut. But they won’t give up and will continue doing what they love. Later Akane meets up with Chinatsu to clear things up. Wow. Such nice happy ending because they understand and continue remaining as friends. Just one thing: Chinatsu seeks her permission to confess to Kotarou so she can have proper closure. Looks like they’re not out of the woods yet.

Episode 6.5
WTF?! Why do they need a recap and summary so far?! I see they couldn’t meet that week’s episode deadline. So we have to relive recycled clips of the important moments between Kotarou and Akane again? I know repeating love is important but progression is also more important… Just kidding. Just made that up…

Episode 7
Kotarou and Akane join their big group of friends to the amusement park. The more the merrier? Because of their odd number, Roman always volunteers to take the odd seat to fill up the rides and is often on his own. During the roller coaster, Chinatsu wants to sit next to Kotarou. She even has him try to call her by her first name. Akane doesn’t look impressed. When Kotarou gets a call from Roman as he is in the infirmary for mild heatstroke, Roman can tell he is dating Akane. So obvious. He wants to support them when he reads the group message that Akane is spotted together with Hira. Kotarou returns to the group with everyone supporting Akane and Hira to be a couple. He goes off to find them. He summons his courage to tell Hira that they are dating. Akane agrees. Hira is left in shock. Chinatsu is also there in shock. But with added tears effect. When Hira returns to the group and asks if Akane is in a relationship, everyone is aghast. Really?! For real?! Are you sure?! Because Roman knows, they bug him for answers. Kotarou and Akane do lots of stuff together and are pretty looking like a real couple. When Chinatsu returns to the group, the girls can tell she has been crying and that love triangle. They try to console her. During the fireworks, the mood is great for Kotarou and Akane to kiss. Only to be interrupted by a cheeky little girl pointing out the obvious. Well, they were going to kiss in public! Chinatsu apologizes to Hira for inviting him here. However he isn’t bothered by it. On the train home, Akane receives a ‘teary’ message from Chinatsu that she couldn’t confess. Why you have to go make her feel bad?!

Episode 8
Now the rumour of Kotarou and Akane spreads throughout school. They’re going to be so ‘famous’. Akane’s friends pull her aside to find out more. It’s funny they ask what she likes about him and yet nothing. They promise no more secrets between each other. This means she has to tell them when they first kiss! Though, they can’t envision Kotarou as a guy who would do that. After Akane finishes her practice and meets up with Kotarou at the library, she invites him to come watch his practice his dance for the festival. Now here is another place who knows he has a girlfriend. Akane dresses in her lovely yukata to join Kotarou for the festival. She learns his birthday is already way past. She would want to buy something for his birthday but Kotarou hardly celebrates his birthday with his friends as it usually falls during summer break. Akane’s feet has a little sore from the sandal straps so Kotarou helps put band aid over it. Then she gives him a ‘pressure relief’ doll which is identical to hers as his belated birthday present. I think he might get addicted in pressing it. This time the mood is right and there are no interruptions so the duo share a kiss. Both wrote the same wish at the festival: To be together forever.

Episode 9
Kotarou is still thinking which high school to go to. It is the same for Akane. But Akane’s dad drops news that he might soon be transferring to another place for his work, probably to Chiba. Akane is worried but no cause to press the panic button yet. Kotarou’s mom continues to bug him to stay focus and choose his high school. You can see on Kotarou’s face that he is just not interested and like a blatant protest when he doesn’t answer or just ignore her. Later Kotarou and Akane text each other. Since it will be Akane’s last track meet, he wants to come watch her. She is taken aback and doesn’t want him to come since it will be embarrassing. Little does she know, he secretly came to watch her. When it is her turn, the moment the gun is fired, she runs the fastest and leaves the rest trailing in her dust! OMG! Just reminds me how Usain Bolt did it to his opponents! In fact, not only she reaches the finish line first, she broke her personal best time. Kotarou leaves satisfied and Chinatsu spots him. Now seeing him is like automatic heartbreak, huh? During the break, Akane and Chinatsu start crying that things are soon going to be over. Hira tries not to interrupt while he gets his stuffs but Akane spots him. Awkward. Then he couldn’t help smile since her nose is as red as some reindeer. Later when Hira talks to Akane, he learns that she might be moving away. Thus he invites her and her friends to go to the festival together since it will be their last time doing club activities together. Chinatsu wonders if Hira has not given up yet. He replies he hasn’t even begun. She doesn’t blame him. You can’t change how you feel. Kotarou gets a little encouragement when father talks to him about the school he is supposed to choose. It doesn’t need to be good. As long as he can do whatever he loves. Take it easy. Later Kotarou messages Akane and to her surprise when he says he was there watching her. Now it’s her turn to surprise you. She’s moving to Chiba. This one’s more devastating?

Episode 10
Kotarou was so surprised that he immediately calls her to confirm. Your ears aren’t deceiving you. Akane will be applying for a well known high school in Chiba, Koumei and she can get in via recommendation based on her grades. Kotarou thinks of applying there too via general admission. He is happy to hear she wants to go to the same cram school as him. During the festival, Akane and her friends watch Kotarou do his dance. Although he is in a mask and costume from head to toe and on a float, they could still recognize him. During his break, he wants to meet up with Akane but since she is with her club friends, she wants to it to be a little later. Hira and Akane got ‘punishment’ to throw away the trash. He takes this opportunity to confess he likes her. Want to bet Kotarou is there watching? Of course Akane rejects him since she is already in a relationship. What Hira wants to know is why Kotarou. He knows her better than anyone else. She just considers him as her important friend. He understands and just wanted her to let her know how he felt. When Akane meets up with Kotarou, that guy is obviously acting different. She knows he is mad despite he denies. She thinks it is about her moving away but he hints about a certain guy. It was just really odd for them spending time together like that with that kind of tension before Kotarou returns to continue his shift. Poor Akane, she cried alone on her way home. Later back home, Kotarou must have realized too late how much of a dick he was and regrets it. But even in school they aren’t talking to each other. When Akane spots an application for Koumei, she immediately goes to confront Kotarou. He admits he applied for it. He hasn’t told his parents yet and is sure they will be against it but will try to convince them. He wanted to tell her after he talked to his parents. Akane feels happy as she falls and cries in his arms. They apologize to each other for before. Kotarou didn’t see this coming as Akane kisses him on his lips.

Episode 11
When Kotarou and his mom are talking to his teacher for his high school recommendation, he shocks them by saying he is going to Koumei. Of course back home he gets an earful from mom. How can he claim he thought hard about it when he said he just decided to go there? She believes it is because of a girl since she heard the teacher mentioning a classmate is applying there. The most shocking moment in this series when Kotarou tells his nagging mom to shut up! OMFG!!! So he goes to his room and just lies there… He tells Akane he got into a fight with his parents. She on the other hand is knitting him a scarf. Ayane tries to be practical about their long distance relationship and that they might break up but Akane remains positive they won’t. Rumours of Kotarou applying for Koumei spread all over school again. Akane’s friends tease her they should just get married right now. Kotarou continues to be a study zombie. He goes home every day and study. So much so it is making mom feel bad. He has a little reprieve when Akane asks him out on Christmas. She gives him her hand knitted scarf. It made his day. But I guess the best part is at the end of it when they kiss. Then it’s back to the daily grind. One night, Kotarou’s dad talks to him. He can apply for Koumei but if he fails, he will have to apply for a nearby municipal school. He then tells him how mom went to talk to his teacher again. With his grades, getting into Koumei is impossible but mom fought back and wanted her son to be given a chance since he is trying so hard. I guess it makes him awkward. He goes to talk to mom but sees her making onigiri for him. Only can be filled with mom’s love. Yeah, tastes so good with a mother’s love. The day to take the entrance exam is here as Kotarou leaves early and his parents giving him their blessing. He takes his first step to fulfil his destiny.

Episode 12
The results are in. He is NOT accepted. Well, that was fast. Destiny failed. No laughing matter… Not sure why Ayane seems to bug her sister to give up on him. I hope she isn’t just testing her. Kotarou applies for a municipal school and gets in. Chinatsu is also here and got in. On the way back, she finally confesses to him. As Akane’s friend she didn’t want to hurt her. After she hugs him, she leaves. Chinatsu then messages Akane about her confession. She hopes they can still be friends. After graduation, Kotarou and Akane hang out. All is going well when suddenly Akane’s mood changes. She becomes gloomy. What gives? She tells him about Chinatsu’s confession. Oh. He admits. But the problem that is bugging her is why he did not tell her. Oh sh*t. She was so worried. She starts crying. But then apologizes for causing him trouble, then kisses him, then runs away. Man, this is very confusing! After that she cries so hard like as though she got dumped! No wonder Kotarou is so blank back at his room. The day Akane’s family moves out is here. She leaves her ‘pressure relief’ doll behind. Akane has a teary goodbye with her friends but dad gives her permission to catch the later train. Chinatsu then shows a story that Kotarou posted online. It is a real love story between them. She reads some of the lines at the end and is overcome with emotion. You know, the lines that say how much he loves her and his feelings will never change no matter how far they are apart. Kotarou’s story is popular enough that there are many comments posted. He reads one of them from Akane as she asks what happens next. Not sure if this reminded him or gave him motivation to move his ass to go see off Akane. Too late. Chinatsu already said she is boarding the train. So he starts rushing there? Since when did he become a sprinter?! Actually it is some point where the train passes him. When it does, he screams out how much loves her. Well, let’s hope that is the correct train. In the ending montage, we see them maintaining their long distance relationship until they finally get married and have a beautiful child.

Love, So Beautiful
And there you have it. One of the world’s most normal love stories and the happiest and normal ending too. At first I thought they were going to leave us ‘hanging’ with the finale showing how our main lovers will not be together (at least the distance will be the greatest obstacle in having them spend more time together) but they fast forward and do some time skip to prevent us from speculating our own twisted stories that they may have broken up or be dead (yikes!) and hence coming up with the ultimate ending of them finally becoming a happy family. It might look so normal but if you are living in today’s era, this is like a fairytale dream come true! The best possible ending that all of us would have wanted. It might be boring but hey, they are happy. That is what counts. Making how this whole thing sound like a ‘fairytale’ is that both of them are their first loves. If they grow old and are still together, it would have been a commendable feat and an achievement that not many can achieve in today’s world. So congratulations to Kotarou and Akane. You made it in life! Why do I have to make it sound like a game?

There is nothing much happening as you can see in the overall plot. It is just your basic average love romance drama in young teens. The obstacles they face as seen here aren’t very overall dramatic or that would make your heart sink so low that it would drop out of your body. That’s why I considered Kotarou talking back to his mom to be the most shocking moment ever in this series. Yup, not the love triangle or when Akane had to move. Those help add some drama and effect but they are quickly done over with and without much fanfare. With Chinatsu and Hira holding unrequited love in their hearts, you’d think they won’t give up on them easily but being the very normal anime this has to be, hence nobody holds a grudge and the love triangle ended before it could even start! So if you’re looking for some delicious scandalous drama, you’re not going to find any here. Therefore even if the pacing of this series is reasonable, to some it may be a drag and just boringly normal. It doesn’t hover over a scene too long and moves over.

Despite many side characters in this series especially Kotarou and Akane’s friends and classmates, a big bulk is focused on them. More about them later. But for Kotarou and Akane, their relationship may not be perfect but in today’s standards, it is considered a miracle and a fairytale. They are just very normal kids who happen to be in love with each other. They hesitate and aren’t sure simply because this is their first time in love. So it is given there has to be some anxiety and some worries. But other than that, it is a love relationship perfect and beautiful enough that the paparazzi would fall asleep and go somewhere else.

Apart from their practically normal relationship, so normal that even when it spreads throughout school, it’s like nobody gives a damn (probably they are not hot shots or popular enough to have fan clubs of their own in the eyes of others). So I somewhat observed a bit some of their quirks. Like how when they often message each other, they tend to use very big and elaborate emoji in their text. Not your standard yellow face emoji or those typical and simple ones. But really cute and elaborate ones. Sometimes when Kotarou gets happy, I kept wondering why he likes to do shadow boxing with his light string in the middle of his room. Then I saw that Ali picture on his wall (the only picture he’s got in his room?). He never mentioned anything about his aspirations to be a boxer but I am digressing that if he wasn’t going to be a writer, novelist or anything to do with literature, he’s be a boxer. I know. Unimaginable, right? From time to time, he loves to quote from Dazai on love. I guess that’s part of his source of motivation. And then there’s Akane who keeps pressing that doll each time she is nervous (a habit Kotarou picks up after she introduced him to it). I can’t help but snicker each time looking at her do so because it’s like as though she is doing some voodoo thingy on that doll by pressing it with her fingers. Also, reminds me of that video game logic whereby if you’re losing and you can somewhat hit harder in-game when you press your buttons harder. Funny…

I always find it strange that Chinatsu has this very sunshiny and happy personality. Sometimes it feels unreal because behind that laughter feels like as though she is hiding something. While it is not explicitly mentioned, I think the way she bursts into such laughter is to hide her crush on Kotarou. Well, we know how things turned out. So is it better for her to be in fake smiles (assuming it is) or be true to her feelings and show her depression? I also thought Hira was a bit strange. From the looks of it, his body language gives mixed signals he might or might not be interested in Akane. You see him wanting to be there for her but then he goes off. It’s like he isn’t interested in her or doesn’t know how to approach or deal with the finer parts of soothing a girl’s heart. But to think about it if it was the latter, if I was in his shoes I would probably act and do the same.

Now let’s talk about the other side supporting characters especially their friends. Many of them are not given a lot of prominence in the main story and sometimes it makes them feel like nameless unimportant extras just to show that our main duo have got some friends. Hence at the end in some episodes, we have a few short skits that shows their funny side. It is really interesting and the funniest bits of the series. For example, there is this Sakura girl who thinks she is hell of a beautiful and charming whereas in real life she is just a plain normal loner girl in glasses and braids. She has one heck of an imagination that’s for sure. She’s the kind of girl who thinks everybody wants a piece of her or how she is such a good and heroic person when in reality nobody gives a damn about her and it’s all in her mind. Can you believe that this girl is actually in the same literature club as Kotarou and he didn’t even know she exists until they take a club photo?!

Aside Kotarou and Akane being in a relationship, it seems that a couple of Akane’s friends are already ‘established’ in this dating game with them having their own boyfriends. It is very amusing to see how they interact with each other here. Like Setsuko and Nagahara, the latter always talk and act big like with an air of confidence but at the end of the day he is just broke and Setsuko always have to end up covering for him. No wonder they broke up. For Miu and Inaba, Miu looks like the very sweet girl but can be also very demanding. You must have lots of patience with her as Inaba learns the hard way. When he presses the right buttons, she is all cute and happy. Just the slightest mistake, she’ll click her tongue. Yeah, it makes her look like a selfish b*tch sometimes. Never judge a book by its cover because that is what Ayane’s boyfriend is. But I suppose I can understand why all fathers worry to have their daughters date this kind of guy. Not to worry. At least from this point of view he looks very much like a good guy. Not a couple, but it feels weird for having a few skits on Roman and Ryouko since the latter feels like she is being dragged into his pace.

Sometimes Kotarou and Akane’s friends have the best one liner quips especially when teasing about their relationship. Like for example when Kotarou was adamant to take the test into Koumei, there is a high chance it may not be possible for him to get in based on his grades. So how does Roman respond to that? He’ll make it up with the power of love! Oh, Roman. If only real life was this easy. Roman and Daichi feel like your typical average friends to always tease normal Kotarou. Because like Daichi who is a big chubby guy, he loves to wrestle and lock Kotarou in his arms as part of his teasing. The unsung heroes of the series goes to Kotarou and Akane’s parents for their unwavering support of their child. Like Kotarou’s father who looks easy going but he gives the freedom to his son to do what he wants at his own pace. Don’t force him. Every guy would like to have him as his father. His mom might sound like a nag but she is just like every other mother who is worried about her child’s future. In the end, all they want is the best in them and continue to support them through thick and thin.

In fact, there is an entire special episode dedicated into showing these short skits on these minor characters. Like as though they can’t fit everything into the season so they just compiled the rest into a 15 minute special to be sold with the BDs. Sure, getting us to part with our cash but that’s not the point. Some of the skits include boys and girls can have an entire conversation of one word only and unless you’re part of the group, you won’t understand its context; When Inaba is being popular and chatty among girls, Miu surprisingly takes him away to walk home together. That never happened before. Because she doesn’t want him to be taken away by other girls rather than being truly in love with him; Sakura tries her hands at tarot cards. All bad readings… Better give up; Daichi notices different people cheering differently for other clubs and notes how unpopular his judo club is; Whenever fellow teacher Hidaka talks to Ryouko, she always blushes and goes away (because they’re inadvertently topics relating to marriage and being single). This has him to start deluding that she likes him; Even Sakura starts deluding Hidaka likes her after mishearing his words but eventually dismisses he is her type; Several boys hit on Miu so she agrees to go karaoke with them. Eventually she rips them off by having her treat lots of food and when it’s time to go, she leaves them with her fake social media contacts. Brutal…;

Nagahara sends a cringe video of him rapping his Christmas love to Setsuko. Because they got into an argument later, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned so she forwards that video to everyone! Guess who is the laughing stock now?; Akane’s dad still can’t accept Ayane’s boyfriend. But despite his exterior, he is a good guy and even has plans for their future! You can’t hate this guy!; Kotarou’s mom seems to be taken in with the Korean wave. Though dad dismisses it, late at night he tries to imitate it himself. The same thing when his wife starts fawning over kung fu guys and cute mascots. Yeah, Kotarou must feel weird out to see that like that; After lots of bugging, Setsuko finally gives Nagahara a leftover chocolate from her friend. Nevertheless he is very happy. But this has bigger implications because since he has no money, this feel good thingy has Setsuko forgiving him and will cover it for him; Inaba doesn’t get any chocolates from Miu as she doesn’t see him as a friend. Or a boyfriend. Sad…; Sakura is deluding again about how all the boys in her class will be fighting to give her chocolates. Probably they haven’t given her any yet is because they’re waiting quietly… Keep waiting.

One of the striking things of this series is the visuals. It strikes you as very simple and plain at first. For a normal anime, this kind of art feels fitting as you don’t need all the complicated details. Therefore the art style may sometimes look like simple sketches. This art style kinda reminds me of another anime series that looks similar to this: Hourou Musuko. One of my 2 complaints about the art style for this series is rather the shading or the toning hue of the characters’ side face. There is this one huge strip of whiteness on the side as though their faces didn’t get complete in the colouring. Or they may have put too much face powder and forgot to rub it off. It is very obvious and it feels weird once you noticed it. You can’t take your eyes off it. I know this is part of the simple art style of the series but this is too obvious that I can’t help feel weird overall about it.

The other complaint is the use of CGI. I don’t know if it is today’s trend that CGI must be employed no matter how miniscule it is into every anime. I don’t see a reason why this anime needs to use CGI even if it is for variety. Although not used very often, CGI can mostly be seen when there is a crowd of people. Usually this scene lasts 1 or 2 seconds long. But the animation is glaring. It feels so stiff like as though the characters are those NPCs you see in video games. Totally weird and unnecessary. This anime is animated by Feel who produced Locodol, Dagashi Kashi, Jinsei, Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigattieru series and the Da Capo series.

Something about the voice acting that makes it feel realistic that they sound like real middle school kids than grownups trying to act like them. I don’t know why I kept thinking that the voice behind Akane or even Ayane was Aoi Yuuki. At points they sounded close but definitely there was something off. Akane is voiced by Konomi Kohara (Akane in Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E) and Ayane by Ryouko Maekawa (Yumine in Mahou No Stella). The rest of the other casts are Shouya Chiba as Kotarou (Kenji Gion in All Out), Rie Murakawa as Chinatsu (Ageha in Kyoukai No Rinne), Atsushi Tamaru as Hira (Shouichi in Seiren). Eishin Fudemura as Roman (Hitoshi in Nanbaka), Makoto Kaneko as Daichi and Nao Touyama as Ryouko (Chitoge in Nisekoi).

Despite having a very minor and cameo role in this anime, Nao Touyama sings the big bulk of the songs in this series. Not only the opening and ending themes but the various insert songs peppered throughout the series as well. Like the ending theme (named exactly after the name of this series) and a lot of the insert songs are slow and lovely ballads. They fit into the romantic atmosphere very well. Even if this is just a normal romance show, the insert songs actually help give off a very powerful emotion in many important scenes of Kotarou and Akane together. So if their dialogue wasn’t enough to help make you feel connected, the insert songs will. The opening theme, Imakoko is hence by far the liveliest of them all. It’s not too shabby at all this anime pop.

Overall, this is a beautiful romance series with great character development and pacing but the normality of many things may put off some looking for something edgier and controversial (Kuzu No Honkai anyone?). However its normality is what made this series a novelty in its own right. Yes, so normal that it actually stands out on its own apart from your other typical fanservice, slapstick comedy and bloody gore animes for the season. Yes, this anime somewhat ‘detoxifies’ all the ‘corruption’ from other series I have watched. It stands as one of those ‘healing’ animes in my books like Aria The Animation, Tamayura and Non Non Biyori. Only difference is that we have the beauty of ‘normal’ romance and falling in love. So give love a chance (like how you should for this series) and everything becomes beautiful. Because, the power of love. It makes up for everything. Normally. Normal is the new beautiful.

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