Having finished up Tsuki ga Kirei on my flight down to AX, I had a difficult time not crying in happiness watching the final episode. Very few shows push me to this response, so I cannot thank the makers enough for giving us this gem. I waited until coming back home from the convention to write up my thoughts since I needed that crazy weekend to process what I had seen without coming across as an overly excited sap.
Without further ado, here’s my penultimate wrap on the spring season:
- Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka
- Kenka Banchou Otome – Girl Beats Boys
- Tsuki ga Kirei
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka
The third and final of fantasy adventures I watched this spring season, “SukaSuka” initially impressed me with its likability despite the light novel source material and generic setting. I feel like lately light novel adaptations are improving–I’m not sure if that’s because of the quality of the original writing, or mostly due to the production company’s decisions. Regardless, I’m happy as the viewer to receive a higher standard.
SukaSuka takes place in a sky-born, post-apocalyptic world that at first glance appears fairly well off despite the extinction of humans. The population is made of mixed races with animalistic and fantastical roots: cat people, dog people, trolls, goblins, leprechauns, you name it. Anyone missing clear markers of supernatural blood such as fuzzy ears or tails–like our protagonist–are shunned. The aforementioned leprechauns look no different from humans, which makes sense since they are engineered from humans for military purposes. This is where the ugliness steps in.
The force that destroyed the previous known world still exists on the surface below all the floating islands: monsters that destroy and consume everything within reach. Our leprechaun warriors are the only force capable of fighting with the human weapons of the previous age. Their shorter life span and mentality means that despite their little girl appearances and smiles they have a distinctly warped sense of life. They do not fear death for themselves or their peers, and will go so far as to sacrifice themselves to win if necessary. This obviously means that any emotional ties created with the girls will end in tears for both Willem and the audience. As much as I liked the leprechauns, I wish there had been a bit more diversity to their ranks race-wise. The drama felt one-note with most of our sympathies directed to human-look-alikes who look nothing like the majority of the population they protect. We are meant to pity the girls, love them. I could feel the writers penning in my emotional cues with Chtholly as our champion. Did it work? Yes, but I would have liked more subtle prompting.
Despite the obvious directing, I do respect the show for pulling no punches with its ending. SukaSuka knows how to rope in our affections and squeeze the heart to painful results. If you are inclined to fantasy and romance, then I suggest you give the show a try.
Rating: 0 dango
Kenka Banchou Otome – Girl Beats Boys
I vowed to cut down on shorts as much as possible a while ago, yet I persisted in picking up two this season, including Kenka Banchou Otome. At thirteen minutes per episode, the commitment seemed slight enough to warrant inclusion in my weekly queue, and I was hoping the slightly longer episode length meant we’d get more momentum in whatever short story we received. I liked the setting of a girl disguised in an all boys school, particularly a girl with the strength and know how to climb to the top of the boss hierarchy. Unfortunately, my final impressions aren’t as forgiving as my initial one, and I really have no one else to blame but myself. Shorts aren’t meant to break any ground in story, particularly ones with as generic a setting as Girl Beats Boys. There are exceptions with series like Danna ga Nani, but the overwhelming majority are seasonal filler.
Girl Beats Boys follows a formula each week: “Hikaru” meets the next name up in the ranks, impresses with her skill and kindness, and gains another follower. There are no deviations, no surprises, and perhaps most unique of all, no romance. Hikaru is a bro to her group, and will presumably maintain that relationship until graduation.
Rating: 0 dango
Tsuki ga Kirei
It’s not often we are gifted with a show like Tsuki ga Kirei, one that tells its story as natural as breathing. The situations are familiar and nostalgic. For those of us who have already grown up past our middle school years and have experienced first loves, Akane and Azumi’s interactions are bittersweet reminders of a time that can’t be regained. For those who have not yet hit that point in life, the two characters are a beam of light for what can be.
The epilogue aside, the show isn’t told with with rose-colored glasses. Instead, much of what makes this story so lovable is how real it all feels. I can believe that these are middle school kids with their own feelings, interests, and situations. The show also avoids pitfalls that may form from too much drama. I don’t feel manipulated into laughing or crying, so when I do laugh or cry, the response comes from deep inside affected by my own memories and emotions.
With so much realism portrayed in the series, the shortcomings in art and animation are more noticeable. I worry that a fair number of people may have dropped the show on physical appearance alone. The water color style of design is reminiscent of shows like Grimgar and Hourou Musuko, which I very much like. I’m inclined to take the story more seriously because of this style, and unintentionally open up my emotions to the characters. The animation, however, stumbles with the frequent CGI applied to both characters and backgrounds alike. There are plenty of cringe-worthy moments to be found in the setting when pausing playback, so I purposefully ignored them. I didn’t have as much of a problem as other viewers with character movements like Azumi’s dancing; I personally thought it looked pretty damn good. Visual shortcomings fade into the distance with stories as strong as this one.
I also saw a fair amount of complaints regarding the kids’ use of LINE to communicate. I didn’t find their use egregious. I know I touch my phone a lot throughout the day every day. There are plenty of people with whom I communicate solely by social media. And being that LINE is the most popular chatting app in Japan, it would be unnatural for the makers to choose anything else merely to avoid coming across as advertisement.
Now about that epilogue: it wasn’t necessary, nor was it even remotely realistic for the vast majority of people, but it was undoubtedly satisfying. First loves almost never pan out for most. The ones that do are the sort you hear about from old couples at weddings or on cruise ships, and their success always seem the stuff of fairy tales. Akane and Azumi’s end felt like a thank you card from the producers to the audience for our viewership. They gave us something we would have only imagined in our dreams, and made us love them even more.
Rating: 2 dango