I still remember a lot of the feelings I had back in middle school and high school. I tended towards embarrassment, yet liked attention just enough to get me in the good graces of others. I wanted my teachers to praise me, students to envy me, and boys…well, they were a whole different area altogether.
Some of my favorite books are geared towards older children and young adults. Though they span a wide range of topics and styles, they do have one thing in common: they evoke a sense of authenticity. The young characters sound and act their ages, usually. If they take more mature or jaded views, there’s always a good reason for it. Tsuki ga Kirei (as the moon, so beautiful), an original television series that aired in the spring, shares this precious trait. Azumi and Mizuno act like the middle school kids they are, reminding me so much of what I was like at that age.
As I mentioned before, with middle school and puberty came a boat load of insecurities. The unquestionable word of my parents suddenly seemed suspect. Without a doubt, they were not cool. This scene in the first episode sealed my fondness for the characters and their families. The way the two groups eyed one another across the restaurant—the parents delightfully curious and their children embarrassed—could have been a scene from any one of my own days as a student.
Just as quickly as the adults were to notice the possibilities between Azumi and Mizuno, so was I to recall my early crushes, the feelings that seemed to overwhelm yet passed as quickly as seasonal trends. Tsuki ga Kirei conveys sexual curiosity and first loves so well thanks in large part to the characters and strong script. The way the two main characters acted, their stolen glances and fiddling, gave their emotions away more clearly than any voice over or dialogue. And while there were mixed responses towards the show’s heavy use of LINE texting, I thought it a clever way of inserting dialogue in otherwise voiceless scenes. Given how much I text these days and the popularity of LINE in Japan, Azumi and Mizuno’s frequent texting fits.
The final gift the story gives us not only fulfills the audience’s wish, but also flies in the face of most first loves. Even before the ending, I would have already considered Tsuki ga Kirei the romance anime of the year. If you haven’t seen this show and are a romantic like me, then I suggest you watch it before the year ends.
Watch Tsukigakirei on Crunchyroll.