Hey guys, your Blue Socked Samurai Josh here, with day nine of the Twelve Days of Christmas Anime! You know, when I was going through the large list of shows that had Christmas episodes, one in particular stood out. Mostly because I remember watching it (and liking it) when it first came out, and also because I bought the show last year and it was sitting on my shelf collecting dust unwatched. So I figured that now would be as good a time as any to dust it off, slap it in my Blu-Ray player, and check it out. So does this anime bring the holiday cheer? Let’s find out: I’m Josh, and this is Episode 11 of Tsuki Ga Kirei, “An Encouragement of Learning.”
Tsuki Ga Kirei or As The Moon, So Beautiful, is a twelve-episode original anime created by Feel. (That’s STUDIO Feel not CREATED by Feel. I’m pretty sure that the creators didn’t make this show by touch…though that would be awesome.) The series follows the budding and developing romance between aspiring writer Kotaro Azumi and Akane Mizuno as they navigate their own personality quirks
and feature s while also navigating through their third year of middle school. Shenanigans ensue.
At this point in the anime, our young couple has been going pretty strong for a while now, and Akane has made the decision to go to an out-of-town high school. Kotaro then decides to take his life into his own hands, outside of his parents desires, and wants to apply for the same school. OHHH SNAP. Let’s check this one out.
Oh, but before we get started, TWWK actually got to have a short interview with Loundraw, the character designer for Tsuki Ga Kirei! Check it out when you get a chance!
Our episode starts out with a bit of a flashback. As mentioned above, in the previous episode, Kotaro tells Akane that he wants to try applying for the same high school that she is applying to, thus strengthening their relationship. HOWEVER, Kotaro hasn’t told his parents just yet. Ruh-Roh. Even more awkward; his parents think that Kotaro’s newfound love of hitting the books is related strictly to his studies. MAJOR RUH-ROH. Roll Credits!
At a parent-teacher meeting the following day, Kotaro’s mom seemingly takes the lead in what she wants her son to do with regards to his education. However, Kotaro jumps in and says that he wants to apply to Koumei High, just like Akane. Of course, mom is pretty upset about it and lets her opinions be known at the dinner table that night. When pressed by dad as to why it must be that school, Mom interjects stating that it’s because of Akane, a “silly little crush,” that caused this change in their son. Kotaro pretty much tells his parents to get out of his Kool-Aid because they don’t know the flavor and storms off. In the immortal words of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince…”Parents just don’t understand.”
Later that night, Kotaro and Akane text each other; Akane is busy with her studies and instead of telling his girl about the fight he had with his parents, Kotaro says he’s about to start studying as well. That’s right my dude—don’t let your lady worry. She has her own studying to do.
After her study session, Akane stays up to knit a scarf for Kotaro, much to her older sister, Ayane’s, chagrin. Ayane asks what will happen when the two of them graduate, and Akane explains, much to her sister’s shock, that Kotaro is applying to the same school. After all, how awkward would it be if your boyfriend goes out of his way to get into the same school as you, only for you guys to break up a few months later? Akane stubbornly states that they won’t. That’s my girl; fight for your love.
The next day at school, it seems as though Kotaro is the talk of the class—word has gotten out that our writer bro is applying to the same school as Akane, and naturally the girls all think that it’s romantic while the boys, specifically Kotaro’s bros, are giving him a hard time. True bros.
Meanwhile, Kotaro’s mom goes into his room to clean, and notices all the study notes and guides scattered around her son’s desk. He’s clearly taking this seriously. You see that mom?! He’s putting in the work. Give the boy his space and let him make his own choices. I know that you’re concerned about your baby boy, but he’s getting to be that age where he needs to spread his wings and he needs you guys there. See, I don’t know how–
Dang it, I’m talking to the characters again. What is wrong with me?! Ahem. Sorry. Moving right along.
Mock exam results are in at the cram school, and it looks as though our bro is not doing too hot, sadly. Though in his defense, I was never good at math the whole time I was in school. Seriously, I graduated by the skin of my teeth with THE lowest “D” possible. You can’t tell me that God ain’t good, because Lord knows I wouldn’t have made it without Him.
And if my math teacher is reading this, I’m going to call you out right here and now—I have not, nor have I ever needed to find the value for “X” or use the Pythagorean theorem the ENTIRE time I’ve been out of school. THE LIES YOU TELL! But I digress. Later that night, while he’s studying, Kotaro gets a message from Akane; she wants to meet up for CHRISTMAS! Finally! We get some talk about Christmas! Heck, I forgot this episode even took place in December!
That day, after doing some quick shopping, Akane and Kotaro meet up, the first time in a long time since they both started hitting the books. Of course, the two are just as awkward as ever, bless their adorable hearts. Kotaro gifts her…a handkerchief. Umm…okay? If she likes it, I love it, I guess. I know that as a middle schooler, he might not have a lot of money to spend, but…a handkerchief? Really my dude? But it seems Akari likes it and she gives him the scarf she’s been working on. It’s PRODIGIOUSLY long, but of course, Kotaro loves it.
The two begin chatting about their studies; Kotaro explains that his folks don’t approve of his desire to apply for Koumei, and that, even with the hard core studying he’s been doing, he continues to struggle. Akane ruminates that having parental support is important at times like this and how her family has always provided support. Over a montage of the two of them having fun at the local shrine, Akane and Kotaro reaffirm their dedication to doing their best and share a kiss and a cuddle.
And that’s it. That’s it for Christmas. Yes, this was Christmas. No, you didn’t miss it. That’s it. Moving right along.
The following morning, Kotaro comes downstairs looking exhausted after another long cram session. Akane ended up passing her exams and got into Koumei High. Banzai! Dad is in the kitchen reading one of Kotaro’s essays and, in his typical stoic way, offers Kotaro a deal—he can apply to Koumei, but if he fails the exam, then he has to apply to a public school. Shocked at this turn of events, Kotaro accepts. Dad goes on to explain that Kotaro’s teacher was against him going to Koumei High due to his grades, but mom disagreed and asked the teacher to give him a chance to apply. Dad explains that the reason his mom is so hard on him is because she cares. Awww.
That night, Kouhei just can’t seem to focus in on his studies and heads downstairs for a break. Lo and behold, mom is in the kitchen, whipping up a couple rice balls for her baby boy. She doesn’t mention their fight or attempt to have a corny heart-to-heart talk. She just gently nags him about going to bed earlier and how he’s looking run down; ribbing him that he’ll never be able to pass his exams in that condition. Kotaro gratefully and happily chomps down the rice balls.
I have to say, this moment was quite sweet and it reminds me of the relationship I have with my own mother. There are loads of things that we don’t quite see eye to eye on, and there are times when I go off and do something that she doesn’t understand. But I know that if I ever needed her for anything, she’ll be right there in my corner. You guys just don’t know how much I thank God for and love that woman. I am the man who I am today because of her. If you are still so blessed to have your mom or the people who raised you in your life, please take the time to let them know how much you love and appreciate then. Okay, enough sentimentality. Let’s wrap this up!
Later, with the full support of his folks, our bro Kotaro heads off in the early morning, ready to face the challenges ahead of him. Rock on bro. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.
If there’s one thing I love about Tsuki Ga Kirei, it’s the fact that it perfectly captures the awkwardness of all the characters, because let’s be real, the time between middle and high school is really cumbersome; you’re entering into the final phase of your adolescent development, your body has pretty much developed, but your emotions and hormones are reaching peek fervor. You’re still doing some growing and developing, and you’re starting to exercise your own independence of thought. You’re not just willing to let your parents make your decisions; you want to make choices on your own. And this episode in particular, the penultimate episode, really shows just how far these two characters have come both as individuals and as a couple. Kotaro is not just content with going along with whatever his parents want and Akane becomes more assertive in her decisions in both love and education. All in all, this was a great episode and a nice lead in to the finale.
With regards to Christmas…It was mentioned. Yup. That’s about it. Christmas was mentioned and our two lovebirds went out a Christmas date. I don’t recall seeing a single solitary Christmas tree, nor a single chorus of “Jingle Bells” or “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’”, nothing. This could’ve taken place at any time during the year, and it would’ve played out exactly the same way. In fact, a lot of the montage that takes place during their little date looks more like a New Years Day shrine visit instead of a Christmas Date! Heck, at least the Christmas episode of Space Brothers I reviewed last year managed to incorporate Christmas into the narrative somewhat, using the Christmas lights to (or lack thereof) to show how our rookie astronaut Kenji felt about his duties as a father. Shoot, the Christmas episode of Ore Monogatari I did earlier did a better job than this episode of using the holiday somewhat effectively. This one only used Christmas as an excuse for our young lovebirds to exchange gifts. I’m gonna need you to do better, Japan.
That being said, lack of Christmas aside, this is a sweet episode of a sweet anime that you owe it to yourself to watch, if for no other reason then to relive those beautifully awkward moments of adolescence when you had no bills, no responsibilities, and all the potential in the world. May you all have a merry and bright holiday season and an even merrier and brighter New Year!