TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You ‒ Episodes 1-3

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Note: See my Fall 2020 Preview Guide entry for full thoughts on episode 1. This review will focus primarily on episodes 2 and 3.

Based on the naming conventions used and the allusions to “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” I initially assumed that Tsukasa may have some supernatural aspects in play which encouraged her to pursue Nasa after four years. I still have not completely discarded that notion, as how she came off relatively unscathed in the truck incident or knew how to track down Tsukasa has yet to be explained, but the end of episode 3 and the Next Episode preview offer up an alternate, more conventional explanation: that she may be a runaway, or at the very least on the outs with her family. After all, I could see how trying to hook up with a guy who once said he'd marry you might seem like an enticing proposition if you had reasons to be out on your own and needed a place to stay. The potential flaw to that theory is that Tsukasa seems suspiciously well-prepared for getting married, and doing so at the minimum age for both seems too coincidental. But I will leave further speculation on that until after we see what the deal is with the rich girl next episode, who based on the opener and closer will apparently be a regular cast member.

Whereas episode 1 focused on showing how the two wind up getting married, episode 2 focuses entirely on the complications involved with them living together in Nasa's rather small apartment. This is where the scenario most resembles the early episodes of Ai Yori Aoshi, except that things here don't get anywhere near as sexy. Nasa is clearly not mentally or emotionally prepared to make their relationship get too physical too quick, and Tsukasa does not seem so inclined, either. The episode winds up mostly being about Nasa trying to figure out how to behave around and towards Tsukasa and how far this marriage thing should go at this point, but it also reveals the first indicators that Nasa, despite dropping out of school, is very studied in his ways. His knowledge about dietary planning, futons, and the exact space needed for two in a bed are all surprisingly thorough and well-thought-out.

Episode 3, wherein the duo makes their first trip together to a public bath, winds up mostly being about introducing two other girls featured prominently in the opener. They are the daughters of the family that runs the bathhouse Nasa frequents, and both the older and younger sisters know him from school. Both are quite the characters; younger Kaname is the mischievous one who delights in embarrassing Nasa, whereas older Aya comes across as the aggressive beauty. The brief flashback to how Nasa helped save their family business indicates why both girls would have a keen interest in both Nasa and a (from their perspective) random girl he shows up with out of the blue. Tsukasa's reaction to meeting Aya is also, notably, the first time we are privy to her thoughts at the moment, and interestingly, those only concern Aya. Through three episodes nothing is directly revealed about what she thinks about Nasa; that's all from Nasa's perspective. It maintains the mystery aspect, I guess, but it's the series' narrative weak point so far.

While neither episode 2 nor episode 3 is quite as effectively funny as the premiere, the humor present provides at least a few chuckles in each. (The “stealing the bed cover” scene in episode 2 was a favorite moment.) Even with the bath scene figured in, fanservice is still decidedly on the tame side. The artistic side is still nothing to speak of, but it is effective in portraying how Nasa is dazzled by Tsukasa. Oh, and the opener deserves a call-out for possibly having, at its peak, the fastest-paced lyrics I have ever heard in an anime opener or closer.

Overall, my impression has not changed much from episode 1: this still looks like a fun little romantic comedy.

Random Observations:

The Don Quijote store Nasa and Tsukasa go to in episode 2 represents an actual discount store chain in Japan, one which is known for being open later hours than most. The name of the bathhouse in episode 3 is a reference to a well-known hot springs resort area.

Rating:

TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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