No that’s not random gibberish. For some reason Crunchyroll and Funimation couldn’t use spaces making it “Tsuki ga kirei” or just the English title attached to the logo “As the moon, so Beautiful”, but I digress.
Anyway, romance is one of the most common themes in entertainment. Whether the story be based on it entirely or simply have it as a subplot, there is pretty much always some form of romance in any story. Anime tends to not have very satisfying romances however. This stems from the fact most are adaptations coming from either incomplete manga or light novels that haven’t made it to the pay-off or visual novels that are based around going through different routes and romancing different girls which doesn’t work well in anime (unless the omnibus approach is taken which has happened like twice). That leaves us with the few originals we end up getting and the even fewer with romance as their main focus.
Tsukigakirei follows 2 senior middle school students Akane Mizuno and Kotaro Azumi. Both are the shy/quiet type and hang around loud people. Akane is on the track team and has a purple plush she squeezes when she’s nervous. Kotaro is working to become a writer which instantly makes him relatable. There are a number of other characters but I’ll get to them later.
Something else that’s frequent in romance anime that do end up having the couple hook-up is either it happens right at the end after a bunch of teasing for the viewers and awkwardness for the characters or there’s some kind of drama that threatens (or actually causes) a break-up and lasts for a quarter (or longer) of the shows run time. Luckily, while I was worried at some points about the later, Tsukigakirei tells both these issues it isn’t interested in them. There is drama but it’s resolved quickly and usually by the characters acting how real humans act. They are middle school students so seeing one just suddenly stop talking to the other because of a misunderstanding, while annoying, does make sense and doesn’t waste too much time.
The other characters, aside from Akane’s best friend, the energetic Chinatsu Nishio (who also has a crush on Kotaro) and maybe the captain of the track team Takumi Hira (who has a crush on Akane) mostly get their development in short little stories after the ending of each episode. These take the style of a typically 4-koma adaptation and some even go through story arcs and complete character development without being relevant in the main show once. This was nice as we got to see a lot of development in side couples we probably never would have gotten otherwise or none (including the main one) would feel as satisfying because the focus kept switching.
The animation is pretty nice. Crowds are done in some pretty bad CG but I really like the visuals for everything else. The animation did start slipping later as the show went on. There was one really nice cut of Akane near the end of the show though.
Overall I really enjoyed Tsukigakirei. The main romance was really nice and it had an interesting and unique way of developing side characters and their romances. The animation did slip and I didn’t find anything on the soundtrack particularly memorable (including the opening and ending songs). My only real complaint is that stupid name.