Friday, April 21, 2017

Tsukigakirei Episode #03 Anime Review

The moon is beautiful tonight.

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)
In just the past two weeks, Tsukigakirei has already left a lasting impression on me. Being what I would refer to as the most realistic adaptation of middle school romance to ever hit any visual medium, it's subtle aesthetic and believable main characters sculpt an experience that becomes more and more enchanting with each passing episode. That being said, the third installment of the series is not only the best thus far, it's one of the most precious episodes of any romance series I have ever seen. I will elaborate -- but I will not do it justice.

The episode begins the same way it always does. Kotarou tries his best to not draw any attention to his infatuation with Akane, and Akane clings to her stress ball in an effort to not let her emotions get the best of her. And while the distance between these two does not start to shrink physically, both Kotarou and Akane begin to get wrapped up in messaging each other through LINE -- often pushing aside real-life obligations like studying. It's the same start of every high school crush. With neither of them having the courage to approach the other in person, they rely on their phones to cross that bridge for them. But, of course, Kotarou and Akane begin to fall victim to the same scourge that plagues all young-love, phone-based romance -- the dreaded periods in between conversations. We reach a point in the episode where Akane and Kotarou have separate activities to take part in, disabling them from talking to each other for what seems like an eternity. She has a track meet while he has to help prepare for the upcoming Kawagoe festival at the shrine. With this, worry begins to set in. It only gets stronger when Akane's phone dies.

But this is where the episode takes a spectacular turn.

Akane, incapable of standing the growing distance between them, winds up heading to the shrine herself as Kotarou is leaving. Now, I don't know if I'm just gullible or something, but I wasn't expecting this in the slightest. Akane essentially walks up to Kotarou and inadvertently mentions how she missed him. As the music grows louder and more sentimental, the young couple retreat to the side of the shrine where they just sit down and awkwardly look up at the sky together. And after several failed attempts at conversation and a handful of glance-catching from one to the other, Kotarou summons the courage to say something incredibly out of the ordinary for the third episode of a school-life romance series. But it isn't just this that makes the episode beautiful, it's the entire buildup leading up to it. The setting was perfect, the moment was perfect, and it was one of the few times in anime history where what you want to happen actually happens. The fact that this was so out-of-character is one of the many facets that truly establish the beauty of this scene and the episode as a whole. The rest of that beauty can be found simply by watching it.

In Summary:
In all honesty, when this series is over, I feel like this is the episode I'm going to look back at the most. In just twenty minutes, the budding romance between Kotarou and Akane is beautifully displayed and emphasized in ways I haven't experienced or felt since I was fourteen and still finding my place in the world. The atmosphere and mood of the final scene are nothing short of extraordinary -- and realism of the rising actions leading up to it are intimate and endearing. Tsukigakirei is everything I want out of a romance and it's absolutely heartbreaking to me that so many people are electing to pass on it this season. Forget about Attack on Titan -- this is the series you want to watch this Spring.

Grade: A+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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