“The beauty of anime is that it’s only a slice of reality.”
Quoted from Mari Okada in her autobiography, its original meaning reflected her resistance against putting too much of herself into her characters for fear of losing their likeability. But from a viewer’s perspective, this statement speaks to the capability for anime to be enjoyable because of their immense relatability but also warns of the dangers of hitting too close to home.
It’s always been remarkable to me just how much resonance we can feel from anime and throughout this year alone, I’ve been shown this time and time again through talks with my friends or experiences of my own. But nothing I’ve watched this year exemplified both sides of this quote quite as precisely as Tsuki ga Kirei did. If I’d watched this delightful reminder of middle school awkwardness alone I probably would have only checked one of the two boxes but like with many other shows that I’ve watched this year, I had the pleasure of seeing Tsuki ga Kirei through to its adorable end with my sister.
Tsuki ga Kirei’s beginning was an innocent as you could get, and the two of us couldn’t get enough of how painfully accurate the depiction of these two awkward teenagers was. We were enamored with the pair right through to Koutarou’s confession to Akane, but that’s when it got a little rocky.
I personally saw a lot of myself in Koutarou and while his incapability to express himself when he needed it the most frustrated me, it never really took out me out of the story. My sister, however, took to Akane quickly and as it turned out, she found a relation to her character that was far too accurate for her to handle. Akane’s prioritization of her social life over her relationship and her willful ignorance towards Hira’s advances were just some of the main annoyances that she had towards both the character and her past self. These constant reminders and irritations built up a fair bit of animosity in my sister and that left her pretty indifferent towards the end of the series. It was a shame that she couldn’t quite enjoy the show as much as I did, but we did have a fair share of laughs at just how awfully pinpoint the show got.
This overbearing relatability is a pretty rare thing though. More often than not, the ability for shows to resonate with us in any way is an overwhelmingly positive thing. They can bring back fond memories, put words to previously indescribable emotions, or even provide catharsis through simple validation our feelings – something that Okada herself found in her own work.
Even in the case of my sister, Akane represented a version of herself that she’s long since moved beyond – a marker of how far she’s come since those dark days of middle school. It’s a pretty powerful thing and I never get tired of seeing my friends fall in love with a show just because of how much of themselves they found in it.
Thanks for reading,
This is my ninth of twelve posts that I’ll be publishing as part of the 12 days of Anime event. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.
Also, if you’ve haven’t read Frog-Kun’s feature article on Mari Okada, I’d highly recommend that you do. Aside from just being an outstandingly good article, it gave a lot of context to the works of this very polarizing writer and made me personally appreciate Okada’s work so much more. It also gave me this excellent quote from her of which this post is about. I linked it above but I’ll link it again here in case you missed it.