Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tsukigakirei Episode #02 Anime Review

Be laughed at. Be laughed at and become strong.

What They Say:
It’s the third year of middle school. Kotaro, a bookish boy aspiring to become a novelist, and Akane, a track girl who loves to run, meet in the same class together for the first time. They’re put in charge of the equipment for the sports festival, and slowly grow closer via LINE. How does Kotaro deal with his growing feelings for her? Meanwhile, Takumi has been in love with Akane since first year, and Akane’s friend, Chinatsu, becomes interested in Kotaro. A refreshing story of young love set in Kawagoe.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
The life of a middle schooler is filled with many moments that, when looking back at them, seem minuscule when compared to the many experiences that follow after. But when you're just a kid, everything seems so much bigger than it really is. Whether it be summoning the courage to talk to a girl that you like or simply trying not to look stupid in a class relay race, every second of that tender age seems pivotal. And, in this week's episode of Tsukigakirei, we are greeted with even more of those seemingly climactic moments.

Even though we're just two weeks into the series, it's already time for the annual sporting competition that so typically accompanies slice of life anime. Akane, being a budding member of the track team, is no stranger when it comes to athletic competition. Kotarou, on the other hand, is being forced to venture outside of his comfort zone. But fortunately for him, he finds inspiration in none other than Akane herself. In the midst of moving around some equipment to prepare for the final relay event, Akane drops her little stress-potato and spends the rest of the afternoon panicking -- ultimately causing the red team to lose in the final round. Kotarou, however, makes use of his time in searching for the stress ball, knowing well that Akane can't really focus without her. And while there are many other flashes of nostalgia in this week's episode, I would label this scenario as the focal point and the only major step forward.

While on the topic of steps in general, there are several other small plot points in this episode that serve to insinuate how certain characters may act as the year goes by. Kotarou has a run in with one of Akane's friends in the nursing office after he falls and scrapes his hand. And while Kotarou doesn't necessarily seem interested in the girl, the event as a whole may be the first in several that will lead up to the short-haired girl showing some feelings of her own. On Akane's side, we begin to witness a bit of an awkward relationship between her and another boy from the track team. Being a lot more 'out in the open' (literally) than Kotarou's aforementioned run-in, several of Akane's classmates are quick to begin pressing the whole, "You should go out with him!" shtick that we know is going to become a problem somewhere down the lines.

And even though these brief happenings do a bit of work in derailing the main love story, they further the idea of Tsukigakirei being a believable, adorable tale of young love and growing up.

In Summary:
The series inches forward slowly but surely as several new characters push their way into the frame. With foreshadowing aplenty and a budding relationship between Kotarou and Akane, Tsukigakirei remains just as precious as it was in its first episode. Thanks to a boatload of nostalgia and an absolutely enchanting art style, Tsukigakirei holds firmly the ribbon of 'Best in Show' for Spring 2017 -- at least in my book.

Grade: A-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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