Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: TONIKAWA – Over the Moon For You

Original Run: October 3, 2020 - December 19, 2020
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Based on the Series Created By: Kenjirou Hata

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Nasa Yuzaki (voiced by Junya Enoki) has had to live with his rather unusual name. In response to this, he has done everything he can to ensure people recognize him as he is and not from the oddness of being named after America’s famed space program.

The plan was going well enough until he saw the most beautiful girl he’d ever laid eyes on. In a trance, Nasa stepped into the road and was struck by an oncoming truck. Luckily, the girl intervened just in time to save Nasa’s life.

Despite severe injuries, a determined Nasa asked for the girl’s name and if she would go out with him. The girl, Tsukasa (voiced by Akari Kitou), accepted, under the condition Nasa marries her. A thrilled Nasa instantly agreed and then immediately passed out due to loss of blood.

Months have gone by, and Nasa thinks he will never see Tsukasa again. Assuming the marriage proposal was just a kind way of turning him down, Nasa is unprepared for what happens next.

Tsukasa appears at Nasa’s door with a marriage license in her hands. That very night, the two are wed, and their lives as husband and wife begins.

Series Positives

Ultimately, I enjoyed TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You (TONIKAWA). Baring several hard to ignore details (seriously, why not just make both main characters overage), this was the best, most feel-good romance anime of 2020.

Above all else, given the circumstances between Nasa and Tsukasa Yuzaki’s marriage, did this series make their union believable? Could you look at these two and confidently say they were a pair in love? Assuming you only want a cute, lighthearted romance story focused solely on the idyllic aspects of married life, then yes, TONIKAWA knocked it out of the freaking park.

Although it would have been interesting to see how Nasa and Tsukasa handled an argument – because all healthy long-term partners will eventually have their disagreements – watching these two characters fall in love was more than enough. Nasa and Tsukasa’s elopement was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Nevertheless, what developed afterward came off as genuine.

For example, though he was initially raptured by the good looks of a pretty girl, the first time Nasa’s heart moved was when Tsukasa didn’t laugh at his name. His entire life, people thought it odd for someone to share the same name as the United States’ space program. Not only did Tsukasa not laugh, she thought “Nasa” was a wonderful name. To her, it evoked the tireless hard work of people who accomplished feats once considered impossible.

The way I’m describing it sounds cheesy, and perhaps it is. However, TONIKAWA made it work.

Conversely, one of the first reasons Tsukasa fell for Nasa was his kindness. She noticed that Nasa would unknowingly praise and commend his friends and the people he knew whenever he introduced her to them.

TONIKAWA established that Nasa and Tsukasa were physically attracted to one another. However, the other person’s looks weren’t even in the top ten reasons why they had feelings one another. This series made it a point to show these two as close friends who enjoyed spending time together. Watching them goof around, tease each other, and do other non-romantic activities was a ton of fun. It also made their more intimate moments more meaningful.

Additionally, this series did a fantastic job of bringing out the personalities of its lead protagonists.  

Nasa was the epitome of what it means to be book smart. He was brilliant and had plenty of knowledge and facts. And yet, though he could ace any test and tackle any technical problem with ease, Nasa’s common sense wasn’t great. Whenever any nuances went beyond what can be learned in a book, he struggled.

Be that as it may, Nasa would go all-in with everything he attempted. He understood that a good husband should do what he can to ensure his partner is as happy as possible. Sometimes, this was an issue whenever a magazine article or a friend suggested doing something extravagant, like getting wedding rings. Although Nasa knew why a ring would be meaningful, he would have spent tens of thousands of dollars on one had Tsukasa not intervened.

It took Nasa awhile to realize Tsukasa was more concerned about an object’s sentimental value than how much it cost.

Then there was Tsukasa, who carried herself with grace and maturity. She had a good head on her shoulders that could keep her bookish husband’s well-intentioned but often grossly unnecessary impulses in check. Regardless, despite acting, speaking, and looking very adult, it’s crucial to remember she wasn’t one.

Like Nasa, Tsukasa had no clue what it meant to be in a romantic relationship. She knew married partners did things like kiss, embrace, and see each other naked. Tsukasa wasn’t opposed to those ideas and was willing to do them with Nasa. Still, actually doing them, especially that latter point, took some mental preparation she had not yet completed.

Also, Tsukasa, who didn’t look it, was a huge nerd. She loved anime, manga, and video games. When she was in Kyoto with Nasa, who had planned this long tour of the city’s historical sights, Tsukasa had only considered the ancient capital’s more modern additions.

Yes, Nasa and Tsukasa’s interests often did not align. Nevertheless, they worked as a couple because they enjoyed each other’s company no matter what they did. Their decision to get married may have risen from nothing, but TONIKAWA’s strength came from the union they formed.

Series Negatives

At the time of TONIKAWA’s anime release (Fall 2020) and this post’s publication, in Japan, it is legal for a woman to get married, with her parents’ permission, at 16. That law is set to change in 2022 when both men and women will need to be at least 18 to marry.

From what I could gather while watching this series (assuming it wasn’t explicitly said and I just missed it), Nasa was around 18-years-old, and Tsukasa 16.

However, this has always bothered me; not only with this show but with anime in general. There was absolutely no reason why Nasa and Tsukasa, especially Tsukasa, needed to be so young. If the story had bumped these two’s ages to over twenty, literally nothing would have changed. Also with TONIKAWA, other than just feeling wrong, the youth of the leads added a whole additional layer of questions. Questions this series never got close to answering.  

Here are but a few of them:

  • Tsukasa needed her parents’ permission to marry, which she had. How did she get it?
  • Why did Tsukasa want to marry someone she only met once?
  • Why was she so eager to change her name and get away from her family?
  • Why did Nasa not any of this strange?

I thought TONIKAWA would slowly reveal the answers since, you know, these questions raised some alarming red flags. There was clearly so much more going on that no story would simply ignore them, I assumed.

Well, not only did this story ignore them, it went ahead and added more.

I am not convinced Tsukasa is an average teenager. This series strongly suggested a connection between her and the fabled Princess Kaguya. If you’re unaware, and without going into the full tale, the Princess Kaguya was originally from the Moon. The story ultimately ends with Kaguya’s forced return to her homeland.

Then in TONIKAWA, when Tsukasa says things like she can’t get sick or hurt, one has to wonder, “Why would those words come out of someone’s mouth?”

TONIKAWA was willing to keep adding to the mystery while simultaneously ignoring its existence. This was infuriating because it was a lingering shadow on an otherwise fun show. I mean, there f@#$ing better be a season two. Unfortunately, given the relatively conclusive nature of this series’ final episode, I’m not confident a continuation will happen.

Yes, I enjoyed TONIKAWA very much. Too bad this was too big to simply ignore.

Final Thoughts

Disregarding an infuriatingly ignored mystery element, this series was fantastic.

I said it at the beginning of the reviews – this was the best romance anime of 2020. It did so much to earn that distinction. Chiefly, this show gave us two main characters to care about. We got to see their love for one another grow in a way that felt real.

So while the lack of a proper resolution was annoying, this series was fun nonetheless.

Therefore, TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You has earned a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

1 comment

  1. If you think yours sounds cheesy, see what you think about mine!

    But it even if it is cheesy or however one might similarly describe it, it pulls it off effectively. You echo a lot of the same things I thought about this show, so it must be accomplishing its purpose. Whether that was intended or not by the writers, people seem to say a lot of the same positive things about it. I know this is my most popular review so far, with perhaps twice the number of views as the next closest post. It damn well better have a 2nd season!

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