|Nice comedy, action scenes well animated, nice handling of the isekai premise
|One of the two main girls doesn't get a lot to do
There is no doubt that the isekai (transported to another world) boom has led to a lot of novels, manga, and anime being created to capitalize on it. Some of those series haven’t been all that interesting or particularly original. But there are some that actually thrive within that crowded space. Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu (Tsukimichi) is one of the latter types. This anime is coming out among a pretty crowded field at this point and yet still found a way to be really enjoyable. Tsukimichi is in an interesting place since the novels started to be released back in 2012 and a manga adaptation soon following it. So, in a sense it is more like this franchise is finally getting a deserved opportunity for an anime adaptation. A series that is worthy of being given a chance.
The original setting is of course on Earth. The main character (Makoto) is just living his life before getting recruited to go to another world. It is kind of nice to not require the main character to straight up die for this to happen. And they do play it up for laughs in a way that he’s basically contractually obligated to go because of a deal with a Goddess that his parents (who isekai’d themselves to Earth) agreed to. After that he’s off to another world, but even that doesn’t play out like the character would expect. He is effectively banished to the far reaches of her world because he’s not good looking enough. All his potential is basically ignored based on purely subjective reasoning.
I’ll avoid recapping the entire first part of the series though since this is a review. Simply put though, Makoto is dropped into a pretty difficult situation where he isn’t given the ability to speak to the humans of that world and instead is limited purely to the demihumans for people he can interact with. The story from there is about Makoto trying to find his way and figuring out just how he’ll interact with that world going forward.
Tsukimichi has a nice handle on being serious when it wants to be and being comedic when it wants to be. When this show wants to get dark, it will get rather dark. There are a few moments that left me shocked with how directly it would jump on an issue and follow it through. At the same time though the show has no problem making jokes about both the isekai genre and using some of the familiar clichés. While the show has no problem joking about what is usual for an isekai story, it is still within the isekai genre itself. There are just some things that are easier for the series to handle by playing into those tropes.
The pacing for the show felt pretty comfortable to me. With any adaptation there will be some details left out or changed to make the anime work within the runtime. I never felt like the show was rushing though and instead I could relax and let the story play out. Sometimes the story will introduce supporting characters that end up outside of focus for a long time. But that is part of making a larger world with a lot of side characters. There are just times where those characters are off doing their own thing and the story isn’t going to check in on them until they actually reconnect with the main plot. I wouldn’t call that a story weakness, but rather just reality.
Of course, Makoto is the star of the show. The show itself focuses on him getting brought to this world and rarely leaves him for more than a few minutes to focus on other characters. What I find interesting about Makoto is how he does respond to situations in different ways. A lot of the time he is a pretty calm individual. The guy doesn’t love being the center of attention, but he can’t avoid being pushed in that direction. If he can avoid taking lives, he’ll usually make a good effort to do so. And since non-humans surround him at all times, he isn’t exactly the type to treat those lives as less important.
What really makes Makoto interesting is that darker streak. Of course, he has no problem badmouthing the Goddess that treated him so badly. But Makoto’s issues go far beyond that. There are times he will get so frightening even the powerful allies he has can be afraid of him. He’ll be ready to do just about anything when getting into that state. The triggers can be different things, but the results are a guy that normally looks so relaxed looking as if he wouldn’t care if everyone around him suddenly died. The story does give some hints as to what is at the source of that side of him. Some things are clearly being left for parts of the story that the first season won’t touch though.
The story is more than just about Makoto and it’d be wrong for me to neglect two of the main supporting characters; Mio and Tomoe. Tomoe is one of the first characters that Makoto ended up meeting in that world. The very first one is far more of a supporting character so there’s no need to go into detail there. But Tomoe is hugely important to the direction of the show and setting up key concepts. Tomoe went from being in conflict with Makoto to being one of his best supporters. While Makoto doesn’t love the spotlight, Tomoe has no hesitation about keeping him under it. She knows the importance of a leader having the respect of those following them. Tomoe is the most active of those on Makoto’s side in trying to set Makoto up for success whether he knows it or not.
Tomoe is a bit of a fool at times though which plays into the comedy. For certain reasons she becomes quite obsessed with old samurai culture and that leads to quite a bit of goofy moments. Tomoe is easy to understand, but sometimes she can be so silly that you forget how seriously she is planning things out behind the scenes.
Mio is herself a pretty interesting character. She isn’t nearly as focused on the big picture as Tomoe is. Instead, her focus is locked right in on Makoto himself. Due to the nature of their initial meeting she ended up falling hard for Makoto. While Tomoe may be focused on Makoto’s place in that world, Mio is more focused on her place relative to Makoto’s interest. Both characters definitely have a desire to get more intimate with Makoto, but that is a more central character trait for Mio. The downside for Mio is that in season 1 her focus is mostly on that point. She’s either trying to win his favor, getting jealous towards those that might threaten her position, or getting giddy over some small interaction with Makoto. She’s summed up within the show itself as being really easy to handle. Mio is very likable and a cute character.
There are a lot of characters in the show if you count the minor appearances. These three are the central group for the show. But you have everyone from Emma to the Goddess herself playing certain roles in the story and helping to advance it. The story does have a habit of introducing characters, resolving their initial arc, and then leaving them alone until it needs them again. But that in itself is fine. The story is focused on Makoto and it makes sense that the cast have their own lives and are actually doing things. When the story needs them, they’ll come back for them. But there is clearly a long-term approach by the writing for using these characters some more when needed. I don’t think the handling of the side characters is a negative. But if a person likes certain side characters they might be out of luck.
I would say the show is mostly average visually. It isn’t a bad looking show at all. But it tends to play it pretty safe with the visuals until there is a big action scene. Then it definitely brings out some nice effort for the spell effects and makes the fights feel pretty impactful. One thing I really appreciated about the show though was how it would play around with visual styles during certain points. When Makoto loses it at a certain point later in the story it just feels far more intense because of how the show visually frames his actions, movements, and expressions. There is definitely far worse a show can do than Tsukimichi in terms of the visual side of things.
The voice acting is really solid overall. Main and supporting cast cast all feel appropriately casted and they do a nice job changing the voices for characters a bit depending on what forms they might be in. The opening was one of the better ones of the Summer 2021 season for me even if it wasn’t the absolute best. Musical choices did a good job supporting the story although only a few tracks really stood out for me through the whole show.
I honestly enjoyed this show quite a bit. It was a show that I had decent expectations for, but it managed to clear those just fine. The comedy was good and it got plenty serious when it needed. There wasn’t any slack on the action which allowed those parts to shine appropriately. Some might be burned out on the isekai genre, but I would still say this show is worth checking out. The main cast are all pretty likable even if the show is a bit unique with many of the main characters not actually being human. There is an obvious comparison to another isekai that aired in the same season, but this show does plenty really well on its own. A definitely B+ and one I’m glad to know has a second season in the works.
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