ReviewsTonikaku Kawaii

January 19, 202162/100111813 min
Alt. Name
TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You
Generally Cute, Fly Me to the Moon
Release Date
Fall 2020
No. of Episodes
12
Studio(s)
Seven Arcs
Source
Manga
Rating
PG-13
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Story
55%
Art Style
75%
Animation Production
60%
Characters
55%
Entertainment
65%
Rating Summary
For a series that has "Over the Moon For You" in the title, Tonikaku Kawaii tries to shoot for the moon. With no real character development, weird plot holes, and dull animation production showing that cutting corners won't equal greatness. Average and easily forgettable anime series that doesn't live up to its name.

Tonikaku Kawaii is a 2020 Romantic Comedy anime series from a Japanese studio that is working hard to live up to their name, Seven Arcs – formerly Seven Arcs and then Seven Arcs Pictures, and now back to Seven Arcs once again. while the studio itself only produced two anime series within the year, they seem to be hedging their bets on the romance genre. Though that’s possibly not a negative strategy, given that the romance genre is sometimes one of the hardest genres to tackle, but if done correctly it can be an amazing experience.

Nasa Yuzaki is determined to leave his name in the history books. Ranking first in the national mock exam and aiming for a distinguished high school, he is certain that he has his whole life mapped out. However, sometimes the plans we have don’t always happen the way we want to. On his way home one snowy evening after receiving his practice exam grades, Nasa’s eyes fall upon a peerless beauty across the street. Bewitched, Nasa tries to approach her only to be blindsided by an oncoming truck.

Thankfully, his life is spared due to the girl’s swift action. Bleeding by the side of an ambulance, he watches as the girl walks away under the moonlight. Refusing to let this chance meeting end, he forces his crippled body to chase after her and asks her out. Surprised by his foolhardiness and pure resolve, the girl accepts his confession under a single condition: they can only be together if he marries her!

When it comes to the story with Tonikaku Kawaii, the most significant aspect is that it’s a simple story. Within this story there’s conflict, tension and even a little bit of awkward moments and that’s what makes a great and realistic romance story. This story is adequately paced where it feels like the viewer is actually part of the journey between the two characters, which was surprisingly good to have in a story. What was truly surprising about this storyline is that this could easily be considered a modern day adaptation of The Tales of the Bamboo Cutter, or some people may be familiar with the Studio Ghibli film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Having a story that is considered to be the oldest surviving monogatari as its base is an interesting take on an old tale.

However, the number of positives within this story it has just as many negatives if not more. For instance, even though the story is adequately paced overall the pacing speeds up and slows down way too often throughout the series. while this may not be a negative for some, the majority of viewers will be displeased by the uneven story structure. Another negative aspect is that the story is decent at times, but the plot is consistently unimaginatively boring. Having the only organic concept within the story be the “married before they date” quickly makes the series rather dull and lifeless at times.

When it comes to the artistic style within Tonikaku Kawaii is surprisingly good, and possibly even better than what one may expect. Its not as detailed as other series and other series do have better character designs, but that’s what makes this series a little better in a different category that those other series missed. They have a lot of cutesy elements, but they don’t overdo them which makes the viewer potentially devalue the series entirely. The bright colors are cheerful yet seems very reminiscent of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, almost modern day water colored beauty within the designs. Which makes this beautiful in its own way, but with all the romance series there are better designed series.

Upon the first viewing the viewer will more than likely be fond of the animation, but upon further viewings they’ll notice the many short cuts throughout the series. Tonikaku Kawaii is one of those series that has equally parts good and bad, but sometimes that’s not always a negative thing. The opening song is “Koi no Uta” by Akari Kito featuring Tsukasa Yuzaki is an excellent opener and the animation is just as good. With its slow beginning to the sudden quick transitions are much like Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, but with a faster paced beat. The ending song is “Tsuki to Hoshizora” by KanoeRana was an excellent choice for a closing theme, and the animation paired with it is top notch.

However, the negatives within this anime is something that a great amount of series often fall prey to, and that’s cutting corners. When a viewer watches this series they’ll more than likely notice that there are a lot of still frame scenes, though they don’t last long there’s too many not to mention. Whether it be a full on body scenes, or covering characters mouths while their talking to save time – and money – on animation. Having this happen so many times throughout slowly devalues this series because it adds nothing to the series altogether.

Throughout this series the characters are something that’s a strange conundrum, especially when what one would expect based on the first three episodes versus what’s actually there. Tonikaku Kawaii had a decent start, but somewhere along the way the characters fell flat and stayed there. Nasa Yuzaki, named after the American space agency NASA, and of course people make fun of him for it being an unusual name. he’s an everyday genius, but does have some stupidity in certain areas, and that’s pretty much it. the viewer doesn’t get much more about his personality or background other than he’s a nice and caring person, but at the same time low level of self-control.

Tsukasa Tsukuyomi is the one who saved Nasa, and after she disappeared for three years, she suddenly returns to his side with the paperwork for their marriage. Shes borderline the worst character within this series when it comes to character development, mainly due to she doesn’t change for better or for the worse. She is almost better described as a mother towards her beloved. Outside of these two characters are Kaname Arisugawa is Nasa’s junior and the main caretaker for the public bathhouse. Her sister on the other hand, Aya, is a complete airhead and has strong feelings towards Nasa.

Throughout this entire series the viewer will either be completely against it, or go in-between the love and hate categories. This series has a great design and and interesting premise but falls short with its animated short cuts, and lackluster characters. The characters are arguably one of the most important pieces of any series, and this series seemed to not spend any time on them. There’s a few major plot holes, but not unforgivable. Tonikaku Kawaii is a cute seires, but other than that its nothing.

This series simply focuses on the basics of a romance story, and if the viewer takes out the already married portion of the two characters it’s a run-of-the-mill romance anime. Perhaps this series could be better if the viewer hasn’t seen many romantic anime series, but even a beginner will notice this series is borderline average when it comes to emotional feeling. The series wants the viewer to feel emotionally connected to Nasa and Tsukasa, but theres nothing to go off of other than cute and slow moments. Overall this series is one that can be watched, but its clear it’ll be nobody’s favorite nor will likely not be remembered by the end of the decade.

Cody Senpai

Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.

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