Adorable young love
|Perhaps the cutest series this season, and one of the most authentic relationship shows that I’ve seen, Tsuki ga Kirei is over. So how was this show with some adorable romantic characters?|
Building a Relationship
Embarrassing hand-made gifts still aren’t that embarrassing if he likes them
So I had 550 words written about the things that happened in the show. And I decided that that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about for this show. Because the main thing of this show was Akane and Kotarou feeling their way through a growing relationship. I mentioned in my last post that this was one of those loves that grew not from something discrete happening, nor from long-term exposure, but from just seeing someone across the room who seemed interesting, and feeling that flicker grow deep inside you. One of those things that’s not controllable, and is usually unbidden. Neither Akane nor Kotarou were particularly exceptional kids, they didn’t stand out in the school. They just managed to find each other and coincidentally have that spark light up from this other person who had the same thing happen. And they don’t really know what to do with it. Neither was looking for an SO. They had to feel out what to do with each other, and being kind of shy kids to begin with sure didn’t help. But they did find their way.
Kotarou being a little prat
And Akane feels the hurt
That’s not to say there weren’t pitfalls. The green monster of Jealousy certainly showed up more than once, for Kotarou when he saw Akane together with Hira, who went ahead and confessed, even though he got turned down. That took a time that should have been some of Kotarou’s proudest, showing off his performance in the hayashi, and made him sullen and kind of a jerk to Akane. And for Akane, it showed up in a different high stress time, after graduation when she’s moving away, worrying if their relationship will fall apart, worrying because Kotarou is not listening to her worries, and he never volunteered the information that Chinatsu confessed to him. I can’t fault Kotarou for not coming out with this info. Speaking as a guy, that feels like a no-win situation. You can’t tell your girlfriend that you’re going to try to keep a long-distance relationship with that her friend who she knows has been chasing you has confessed to you on the day that she and you were admitted to the same school 2 hours away from your girlfriend. There’s no way that turns out well. But nor is it good that she brings it up. And of course she brought it up.
Her feelings come out, even if she can’t get the words out
Doing the best she can
This girl who is feeling these new adult worries, moving away from someone who is so deep in her feelings, not wanting to lose him but not able to get him to hear her. Her sister’s been saying that there’s no way they stay together, that boys don’t want to put in that much effort. And she’s right, for the most part. So with Kotarou saying he’s going to work and come visit her, and telling her she doesn’t need to reciprocate, she worries that that’s going to be what pushes him away from her. That she’s too much trouble, that she’s not worth it, that he doesn’t love her enough for that hassle. And in her worries, through her tears, she musters up all the adult self she has, with that kiss full on his lips, to show that even if she’s worried she still loves him. That she’s worried because she loves him.
Everyone doing what they can out of love
And she’s able to see it
And for this couple that has always had a hard time being vocal with each other, not saying much, for Kotarou the best thing he can do is take his shopkeeper friend’s advice and write about it. The things he can’t say out loud, he can put down in text. The wonder he feels watching Akane run, the feelings that her achievement and her “being Akane” bring to him. The things that compelled him to, without telling her, go see her final track meet, and then leave without saying anything to her. It’s what she wanted, but didn’t want. And it’s what he wanted and needed to do. And perhaps the fact that he wasn’t there to openly cheer her on made it even more important for their love.
Feeling Very Similar
Ayane’s not very supportive, but for Akane it just feels like it won’t end
Maybe one of the reasons that Tsuki ga Kirei really resonated with me is because I found so many similarities with my own life. I started dating my wife when we were in high school. And it was the same kind of meeting: There wasn’t anything special that happened, just two people who didn’t know each other somehow feeling a spark. It’s too much to call it love at first sight, although we did spend the whole time at the party together after that. But it definitely grew quickly. But after finishing that year of high school, I went to college, and she didn’t. We still dated on weekends, but didn’t see each other every day. And then the next year, she went to a college that was out of state. And we didn’t see each other much at all. And that was tough: She hated her school, and it was really difficult for us at times. But then she transferred to my school, and we’ve not been separated since (in fact, there’s only one night we’ve spent in separate places in 25 years).
Aoi doesn’t want to cry, but when these two start…
Those worries that Akane had about moving away, about their long-distance relationship, we went through them. About some other girl. And I won’t deny that there were some people that I had minor crushes on in that time. Kotarou was probably the same. Sometimes it felt like a pain, just like Ayane said. But we did it. And that’s what Akane and Kotarou did. I thought the way they put the epilogue in this series was terrific. The various stages in their relationship: “Darling” and “Honey”, “Benippo” and “Karerin”(I’m guessing pet names), “Boyfriend” and “Girlfriend”, and finally Wife and Husband. Also the scenes they showed: the silly “I love you more!” fight, the “I worry about you when you’re sick”, the “I can’t believe mom walked in on us while we were making out”, the “I don’t get to talk to you enough”, “Can we pull off a trip together?” and even the “You need to check the guest list, help out more”. I always want to know what happens to a couple after a show ends, and this gave us a satisfying conclusion in that respect, two people starting their own family together with their happy parents with them.
“Oh! We were just watching TV! And Studying!”
Sometimes I do wonder how instant messaging might have changed my experiences. When I was in college and we were separated, it was actually an expensive long-distance phone call to talk to each other. We had early text email, but not instant right away on our phones, just when we could get online with our computers. And no convenient trains to make the trip. But still, we ended up married, and still are married, 20-something years later. So to bring it back to this show, I found it completely realistic that a couple of kids could be so dedicated to each other as a first love,
Your mother really does love you, Kotarou
But I also liked that this show didn’t just focus on cute high school crushes and love. It gave us at least two really wonderful examples of parental love, as Kotarou’s mother put aside her own concerns about his goals and fully supported him, even if she thought he was making the wrong decision. And Akane’s mother, on hearing a rumor that Akane had a boyfriend, was super interested and supportive, even if Akane was super embarrassed. We even saw in that epilogue that Akane’s mother both looked the other way when she caught them trying to cover up making out, and also covered for them taking a vacation together. There are normal families out there, and although we don’t see them much on TV, that doesn’t change the fact that they are supportive and loving, and still a good thing to see on TV sometimes, so that people can aspire to that.
And maybe that’s what I liked most about this show: It was actually aspirational, as an example of teenage love gone right. They had troubles, but they worked through them without blowing up, they dealt with their insecurities, and they reinforced their bonds. Yeah there were times I was talking at the screen telling one, the other, or both of them what to do. And they never did it. But that just shows that people grow and learn, and that there’s not just one way to live and love.