First Impression – Tsugumomo

A knight in white silk…

Well, like I said in our Spring ’17 Picks, this has been the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. It’s also one that I’ve already kinda covered, in a different fashion. But that was then, and this is now….

Mother’s Memento

a brief bit of exposition…

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So, after waiting with bated breath for such a long time, the show of shows is finally here! By hook or by crook, it’s here! So did it live up to the anticipation and the hype? In short, no, not yet. LOL. But then it’s the first episode, so it has to set the stage. For myself, having read the manga from start to finish a few times, I’ll call myself a super-fan, and call the beginning what it is, the necessary beginning. In that light, it’s not as exciting as a story that’s been revved up and has been moving along at quite the clip – which is where I am right now. But let’s go for the longer answer. For the curious onlooker, the first timer, this was a really nice outing, and I can say that without much hesitation. Everything that anyone watching needed to know about the shape of the show was there in these 24 minutes. At first blush, Tsugumomo is wearing it’s ecchi comedy tag pretty darn hard, and it’s not going to let up on that, only expand. But in all honesty, that’s only part of the reason I am here, or why anyone really should be. When all that is said, we have my other favorite components, and that is character and action.

Obi One-of-a Kind-obi (also Yay! Satania!)

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For the best in characterization we have to approach Kiraha (but do so with caution, she’s grabby!) as she is the face of the show and the biggest motivator for just about everything we see this first episode. As I went over in the manga review, she’s a magic being, a tsukumogami, and has a nice assortment of powers based around her featured object, a silk – sakura patterned, nostalgia scented – obi (kimono sash).  At first blush – after saving the male lead’s life that is – she’s the interloper, the manic-pixie girlfriend, and well, she’s demanding, and comes of as more than a little arrogant with that old timey speech she has. In that, she has her own ways of showing affection, and part of her looks to be enjoying how well she can boss him around. I have to admit a weakness for this sort of broad characterization. Besides, this show isn’t so much about beating monsters so much as it is about forging bonds in the tough times as well as the good ones…

Hey, Kazuya, Rito may be able to give you survival pointers…

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But, Kiriha has always been close to our male lead, Kazuya, in her own way, and that should tell us that this story has some depth that can be explored – that and a curious flashback. For now, she’s pushy, and by next episode she’s going to call him to adventure, and we’ll see how that works out when it works out. But for his part, Kazuya comes off as a typical early teenage boy, earnest and somewhat shy…ok he has reason to be more than a little shy, but that’s a whole different ball of wax. Sooner rather than later he’ll heading to the starting line for more, as the next episode preview tells us. But in being the main character, he takes it all in as much stride he can muster. Sure, being mortally embarrassed like that could turn anyone away, but he persists. At some point, anyone can almost call him out for being beta, but at his age, Kiriha hast to be quite a handful, and she would be for anyone. They’ll play with that relationship and many others as the story progresses, which is where all the fun comes from!

What’s behind the obi?

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But I do have to shout out gladly to Zero-G studios from doing some great character design and plotting with this show. Truth be told, Hamada-sensei’s delicate line work and precision was always going to become less so with any lower-budget broadcast anime, so I’m grading it on a curve. With that in mind, it looks gorgeous. The colors and linework are all their own here and pop really well, –  whole lot better than my worst thoughts could have conjured. For a first episode they didn’t skimp on much of anything. Kiriha’s combat scene was very well presented and lept from the page quite well, and I felt very much delighted while I was watching her fancy footwork. The ecchi scenes were probably the most changed, as Kiriha was made to look older than her manga counterpart, more than likely for broadcast standards.

Everyone’s a critic…

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I don’t know how they’ll work around that as the humor depends greatly on her being even younger in appearance as the story goes on, without any brakes on the ecchi ever applied. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. They did quite well getting the humorous tone across this episode, and both the VAs were terrific in these ecchi, and indeed all their, scenes. As for other differences, they did cut a few things short, or maybe they’re arranging a point for a later revelation. But the main fight this episode did injure Kiriha far worse in the original manga, and it actually served to make Kazuya grow a bit closer to her,  and realize she really did fight for his sake. It was one of his early growth marks, having that revelation so soon after. So I’m hoping I’m right and they discuss that sooner rather than later, as it’s pretty important for much later in the overall story.


Let’s take a peek…(MNSFW)

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So what we have here is a pretty darn good, straightforward (two chapters at nearly 80 pages) anime adaption of a long running manga property by a fan favorite mangaka. Hamada-sensei is renowned for his technical approach – and his special approach to naughtiness and nudity – in both bodies and combat and places and spaces. As a published manga, Tsugumomo has been around for at least ten years, and in that time it has probably seen ardent fandoms come and go as new volume after new volume has seen release. I first discovered the story back in 2013 and have been following it since. It had, and still has, that raucous ecchi appeal, with just the right mix of humor, martial arts combat, the supernatural, characterization, cheerful and charming antics, and finally, a good plot to hang the action and story progression on; the combination of which is still one of my favorite streams of multiple genres; a combo that is just so easy to get wrong, and Tsugumomo get’s it right. I hoping for something like the classics, Ranma 1/2 and Negima! But after a first episode, it looks like it’s ready to set it’s own stage to follow that through on it’s small screen adaptation. So, the final answer is that I’m very happy with this one. It’s exciting, and yet still easy-going. So I have to say that Zero-G did a great job with their freshman effort. I look forward to seeing a whole lot more..

Next Time: In the library with an obi? Whodunwhat?!


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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8 Responses to “First Impression – Tsugumomo”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Inanimate objects coming to life with a will of its own? Seems pretty haphazard. Not a bad opening. It was alright. Given Kiriha’s appearance, her battle style and that spirit possessed wig, I’m getting an Inuyasha kind of vibe overall. Kiriha’s bursts of energy are what’s most likely going to steal the show. A decent looking series to get into, if only to kill some time but I’m not a fan of the male protagonist. His wimpy nature is a thorn in the side.

    • skylion says:

      Oh, yeah, I agree that it’s always going to be Kiriha that will carry the bulk of the excitement. But…don’t sell the young man short, he’s gonna change sooner than later. That wimpy nature is where he starts and he’ll soon transform, like very soon, which isn’t to say that Kiriha won’t continue to dominate.

  2. zztop says:

    The show of shows is finally here!…did it live up to the anticipation and the hype?

    The studio’s only got 12 episodes to work with, so the issue is how they can cram 18 volumes worth of manga into 1-cour.
    It’s also funny how popular franchises like Granblue Fantasy only get a 14 episode season (notwithstanding the 4-cour rumour) while slow-paced dramas like Sagrada Reset can get 22 eps.

    Everyone’s a critic…
    Where Kazuya’s baby carrot meets Kiriha’s mosquito bites.

    • skylion says:

      I doubt they will get far out of Vol 5 or 6, so no sense in cramming. Which is about on par for a one cour? They have to get to at least one key part with Sunao…

      Oh goodness, Kiriha loves her carrots!

  3. zztop says:

    Hamada-sensei is renowned for his technical approach.

    I’ve heard he used to livestream himself drawing the manga; there was one where he talked about how an anime adaptation would be like and who were the best voice actors for which characters.

    Also, the workstation and chairs of Tsugumomo’s mangaka through the years:

    Clearly he knows how to take care of himself, unlike his peers who end up hurting their hands/wrists/back from overwork (Hiatus x Hiatus’s creator comes to mind).

  4. Foshizzel says:

    Not a terrible episode all and all given that I’ve read about 6 chapters? I don’t like how the MC whines, but given what he just went through I can’t blame him I guess? Also fun fact his voice actor is Naruto’s kid Boruto so hes gonna be set for a while as a voice actor.

    I heard a rumor that the original creator isn’t really all that excited to see his series get the anime treatment? Someone asked him once in a livestream on youtube if he was happy about it and he seemed on the fence…probably because he knows its gonna be

    A censored to hell ie all the topless shots
    B some arcs are gonna obviously get cut
    C its only getting 12 episodes
    D he wanted some other studio instead of JC Staff?

    Who knows? I’m sure there are a few behind the scenes secrets were never going to learn. Now if we can get a better sub group on this series id appreciate it! or I dunno CR/Funi licence this please??

    • skylion says:

      What is with people and this “whining issue”? Were you never 13? Have you never been around kids? This portrayal is a blessing! It’s restrained!

      In fact, Kazuya is not even as whiny in one episode as much as much as Mr. Snot in the Face from Boku no Hero lead character was the entire handful of episode I watched! 🙂

      I would imagine any creator would be trepidatious; knowing that a section of their fandom will be unhappy with the results (most of them usually are anyway, right?) and he would be powerless to make them happy for the most part. Unless he is very much involved in the process and doesn’t have enough influence to force change. Etc, etc. It’s not the make-or-break solo work he handles himself, so yeah, he would be on the fense. That, and any time spent on the show, which he might not get much of the profits, is time spent not making manga, where he does get most of the result of his direct labor. So, I’d be looking at a perch on the nearest fense too,

      As for censoring? It has to adhere to broadcaster standards, not publishing standards. People know this, it’s been this way for a while. Why are there complaints? It’s like complaining that they don’t like orange because you need to mix red in to get the color. Given the nature of the story, it can and will survive with cuts to some of Hamada’s sensei’s EXTREME nudity! The animation would never get to his technical standards anyway, not on this budget. It’s all trees anyway, there’s still plenty of forest to the story.

      D he wanted some other studio instead of JC Staff?

      It’s by studio Zero-G, whose lead producer has done some work for JC, but looks sorta independent?

      Oh, my goodness, I would love for a normal streamer to pick this up.

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