Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This is a masterpiece! This is a magnificent mixture of slice of life and rom-com and a little mystery and total cuteness! This show is full of heartwarming moments and beautiful characters. A beautiful opening too. It’s so simple yet so sweet, I looked forward to this every week when it came out. This is the feel-good champion of Fall/Winter 2020. Writing this as S1 just ended, I cannot wait for S2.

Characters

Rating: 9

Beautiful characters that stir your heart at least once per episode. Whether it’s how they look and behave, or some of the things they say, or the circumstances they find themselves in, there were always heartwarming moments from them in every episode. That’s quite remarkable, especially given how simple this anime is. It’s a real feat in that regard.

Nasa-kun is of course the main character, sort of. The funny name kind of disappears into the plot after the first few episodes, but it still works and totally makes him memorable. This is the nicest male character I’ve ever seen in anime. By nice I mean he never does anything wrong really. He’s considerate to the extreme. I don’t think he ever thinks about himself much the whole time, and even if he does it’s in a cute kind of way towards his sweet wife. He finds himself totally thrown into the mess right away! But he also chose that mess himself, and he chose it without hesitation. Hey, it’s not a mess! No indeed. To continue the space theme, he let gravity suck him in and he fell safely to a wonderful new world, even if the ride was wild and out of control sometimes! He’s a fine character for this show, and you can tell how happy he is.

Ah Tsukasa-chan! I’m gonna get the “perfect female” thoughts from some of you I know. And it’s hard to argue. The authors make every attempt to make her completely adorable. Her interaction with Nasa creates a simple but so cute dynamic. Her pinkish-red hair and eyes are so fun! The voice is silky smooth, and one could fall in love with her just for that alone. Akari Kito (Demon Slayer, Toilet-Bound Hanako) is already doing every lead role in sight, and she super deserves it.

But enough of the outward appearances. What is up with this amazing character? They pique your curiosity, then let it drown in layers of cute ordinary life-ness, then they pique it again. I think we finally have some certainty though from S1 Ep12. If the circumstances of her walking away from the accident in the first episode could be explained away (I tried), and if the occasional references to a time long past could be passed off as an eccentricity or oddity (she has plenty), her declaration in that last episode of S1 cannot be explained away. “I cannot get sick or be hurt” she says in so many words. Tsukasa is some kind of mythical person with some sort of supernatural abilities. How bizarre is that! Yet I cannot doubt it anymore. In a simple, seemingly ordinary slice-of-life anime about the young married life of two people and the simple things they do everyday, this crazy element is sprinkled in magnificently, without putting the show in crazyland. It really works, and it adds to her characters so much.

I don’t know a lot about traditional Japanese mythology, but the title of this show and the early mention of a Princess Kaguya (there’s a name we know to love anytime he hear it!) and a myth about her and the moon make me think she’s supposed to be some reincarnation of that individual or something like that. But in some ways, I don’t want it ever to be explained. It’s so much fun watching her slip up with comments that give hints about that side of her occasionally, and watching Nasa just accept it in the sweet way he does, I don’t want it to change really. She’s a fantastic character in every way.

The supporting characters, down to Chitose’s two maids, are all great and memorable. Those two have so few lines, yet they’re ever-present with Chitose and they add a great comedic elements. Chitose’s unreasonable possessiveness can be annoying, but it fits. The fierce blonde loli always brings to mind a certain famous vampire, but that aside. The little sister type who runs the bathhouse, Kaname, and her waaaay-too-straightforward sister Aya are totally fun. Aya has the only sad moments in the show, if it could be even called that, as she is so dumb she doesn’t realize she can’t have Nasa anymore, and you realize her loss at the same time you realize it even is a loss to her. She deals with it well, but it’s still kind of sad. Kaname is annoying, but in the best kind of way, and she definitely helps out any of the characters when they have dumb-moments. And Nasa’s goofy parents are so fun. All the supporting characters add appropriately to the show, and are very memorable each in their own way, regardless of how much time they get in the show.

Artwork

Rating: 9

Very beautiful, very simple, like the show itself. The art adds to that effort. Very clean and smooth, almost always bright and cheery. Even the night scenes are nicely lit. Obviously, given the theme of the moon and space and all. Tsukasa in particular at night is beautiful. That makes sense, given the first time we meet her is on a snowy moonlit night. That’s a beautiful scene. It takes you by surprise so much and sets off all kinds of alarms, wondering what direction the show is about to take. Yet it is a perfect starting point for her, and the artwork is done exquisitely. She is definitely more pale than all the other characters, and that’s highlighted perfectly in the moonlight. I think this paleness adds to her otherworldliness, always in contrast to her environment, and so powerful at night.

Eyes are simple but very pretty here. They’re on the larger end of the spectrum, even for anime eyes. But I like that, as it usually adds to the cuteness (Clannad aside, though I know I’ll get arguments for kawaii even there, and rightly so). As mentioned above, Tsukasa has a pink, almost red tone to her eyes, and they are gorgeous. Glassy, appropriately cold but expressive, and so very unique.

Physiques are unremarkable, but rightly so. This show isn’t supposed to be stimulating in that way, and only strays there in dialogue occasionally, and that’s just for comedic effect. Tsukasa is plenty stimulating even without that, but even so, she’s the most voluptuous, as they make obvious a few times. One fun thing I observed was the reaction animations on the characters’ faces. There’s a lot of red faces in this one, especially on the main characters, as they are often so shy with each other (which is really cute, not that annoying tsundere shyness that’s so typical in anime). One funny moment, I think it was the last episode of S1, you even see the red-face animation on the back of Nasa’s head once, which is kind of laughable. Not in a bad way, but in a way that you just laugh at how silly it is, but never thinking it’s out of place. Scenery is simple, but always sufficient and pretty. The moon is obviously featured prominently, and is very pretty. Sometimes inanimate objects in anime start to look too real(world), and the moon is approaching that in this show, in some ways. I don’t have a problem with that. Usually, the moon is so unnaturally big in the scenes it appears in, you don’t have any trouble recognizing it as animated.

All over, the art is pleasing and adds to the show, never being too much. Pink hair and eyes. Happy.

Story

Rating: 9

Not a 10 simply because there’s no great twist and epic resolution. You hardly can in rom-com anyway. But at the same time, how can story really be that great in rom-com? And yet I give this a 9 without hesitation. The mythical element twining through the series is a master touch. It really only pops up every two or three episodes, and yet when it does it reignites that aspect of the show. I think it causes a heightened sense of the beauty in the story.

If I had to characterize this show in a single word…I couldn’t. It’s beautiful, but it’s ordinary. It’s mythical, but it’s ordinary. It’s heartfelt, but it’s ordinary. It’s ordinary, but it’s not ordinary. Because it definitely isn’t. Everything that isn’t mythical revolves around the daily lives of these newlyweds, and when I say daily lives, I mean daily lives. Going to buy groceries. Changing clothes. Eating out and cooking. Interacting with each others’ acquaintances, family, and friends. It’s all so mundane that if you’re reading this and haven’t seen the show, you’d wonder why I can go on about it so. Yet through it all, it’s so heartfelt, so cute, and then suddenly so mythical, you almost look forward to going to buy groceries with them. And that’s the power of this show I think. The ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Overall: 9

The ordinary becomes extraordinary because the only thing they really add is love. These two are really in love, without a lot of dramatic trappings or selfish adult emotions. And more importantly, they’re just in love. There’s no reason really. Their friends try to pull reasons out of them for why they like each other, and they just bemusedly name random, simple aspects of each other’s character, things you would only really find attractive if you really were super in love with someone. It’s so cute you could die.

Like I said above, there were always one or two heart-skipping moments in these shows. Tsukasa would say something cute to Nasa, or Nasa would make some cringy straightforward admission to Tsukasa, or they’d randomly kiss each other, or do unexpected things in their sleep, and your heart would melt. To be so simple, and so engaging, the whole show reeks of love and hope and sweetness. The most love-scarred heart could find encouragement in this show I think. It cuts out all the crap and leaves just the pure goodness behind.

That gets me to the final thing I wanted to note about this show. Most great works or characters have an element of darkness about them. The human race is quite inclined to evil, and often therefore finds it easier to be creative in the darker realms, and usually finds it difficult to make great art without introducing anything darker. This show pretty much is able to do that. It’s cute, simple, peaceful, ordinary, and yet it can inspire super emotional responses and feelings. It’s this basic kind of humanness (and in anime no less) that speaks to something deeper in us that yearns for good things unsullied by evil. I know that’s kind of heavy, but I think this show is able to get at those things somehow. And that’s quite an artistic accomplishment.

I love it unreservedly, and can’t wait for S2.

2 thoughts on “Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You

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