Tsukiuta. The Animation – Mid Season Review

Tsukiuta. The Animation:

Original Air Dates: Jul 6, 2016 to ???

Burning up? You need a firefighter..and a doctor.

Synopsis: “Tsukiuta has two versions — a male version and a female version. The male version centers around the Tokyo idol unit Six Gravity (composed of characters representing December to May) and the sibling rival unit Procellarum (composed of idols born in Western Japan and representing June to November).

Unlike the male version which is set in modern Japan, the female version is set on another world. The people of this world live in a separate dimension from people of Earth. However, they manage and guide the spiritual energy of Earth people, thus converting it into life energy and maintaining a relationship of co-existence and co-prosperity between the two worlds. The women of this world are known by many on Earth as “goddesses.” The six characters (representing December to May) are students at a school that gathers talented individuals striving to become goddesses.” – Anime News Network

Now for what the show is really about! Tsukiuta follows the daily lives of idol groups: Unit Six Gravity and Procellarum. These two all male groups are hugely popular and begin working towards a joint concert. Discover what the day to day life of each member is as we get to know them back stage and off stage.

Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):

Linny: For an idol show, Tsukiuta’s main focus is on the non idol aspects of its characters’ lives. While some of the episodes and stories do happen at idol events or in regards to their idol profession, the crux of the anime is usually about something that has nothing to do with the industry but instead the personal lives/past of the idol members being featured in the episode. Initially, the show was skipping between the two groups, Procellarum and Six Gravity i.e one episode would feature a member/members of Six Gravity and the next episode would then be about a Procellarum member/members. There was definitely a vast difference in the quality and style of the stories between the two groups. Each episode felt like a gamble for the viewer thanks to the vast fluctuation of writing quality and style between episodes.

Here you see our idol working hard…at napping.

Tom: Tsukiuta is actually at its best when its showcasing the humor and lighter side of the idol industry, or even the personal drama of working as an idol, particularly during promotional stunts. But Tsukiuta isn’t content to let that be the premise, and stumbles as it adds in weirder, less grounded elements. While these episodes aren’t necessarily outright bad, they are exceedingly odd, with a tonal shift either into far darker territory, or with such a bizarre sense of whimsy that they feel entirely out of place with the rest of the series. In episode 6, there’s a line of humor which feels like a potential in joke, something for already existing fans of the Drama CD property. At Six episodes in, I can only say half were what I’d call solid entertainment. Episodes one, three and four feel worthwhile and engaging, while the second episode is exceedingly boring, episode five dark and at odds with the show’s more jovial tone, and six is well– truly bizarre. The team focuses on deducing who broke Haru’s glasses in a pseudo detective adventure that feels altogether silly.

Linny: The overall vibe of the show is hard to nail down because it skips around so much thematically. From supernatural episodes featuring the ghost of a friend to lightning stranding the two groups on an island, you never know what tone the show is going to go for as you start each episode. While the variety in topic and nature may seem like it will have something for everyone, it might also put off those who like some uniformity and consistency.

What’s with all the burning in this show?

Tom: The cast is huge, with a total of twelve main characters. That’s a lot of people to follow, and while the first episode whittles that down to help ease us into introducing the whole group, the series very quickly refocuses on other members and eventually the entire cast as a whole. This makes it difficult to really became attached to any of the characters and thanks to some of their more similar designs, I find myself often getting people mixed up, save for the characters with the more outrageous hair colors.

Linny: Like Tom said, we never get much of an in depth look at the individual members, despite the initial episodes that featured stories centered around a particular member. The more recent episodes are more about the event or activity the band members are engaged in, rather than a particular individual. If you are a seasoned idol anime fan, you will most likely find a common and popular stereotype in each member, and most likely one that will match up to your general tastes. The show sticks faithfully to the usual idol group composition and, considering how different it seems from its source material, this might be an attempt to make it appeal to a larger group than just those who are familiar with the Drama CD.

Which means this is going to happen.

Tom: Muted colors remain a consistent issue with Tsukiuta. Thanks to a weak and muted color palette, a number of the twelve idols look remarkably similar, making it difficult to differentiate between them. And because the entire show lacks any real visual pop, much of it fails to stand out or become memorable.

Linny: While the animation isn’t exactly amazing, it remains consistent. There are no major dips in quality but that might be due to the fact that the bar was set kind of average in the first place. Whatever you love or hate about the animation in the first episodes is going to remain at least to the midpoint.

Tom: Tsukiuta made use of CGI early on in order to depict the complex dance routines that either group performs during their ‘signature’ songs. Initially I was a bit iffy, but came around to how well the CGI animation was able to capture the idol performance feel and made creating complex choreography easy. It gelled fairly well with the overall animation. But the series has since relegated the CGI to the opening credits dance numbers, meaning it serves as little more than opening credits animation. It feels wasted and begs the question why they couldn’t just develop a 2D animation dance number sequence if its only for the opening credits anyway?

A true foodie can turn even a deep sea diving trip into a menu browsing task.

Linny: For those who were hoping to enjoy more of the original material, this show is based on, you may be headed in for disappointment as this series seems content and determined to be based in the real world as opposed to fantasy like in the original material. As someone completely unfamiliar with the source material, I cannot give any type of actual comparison so I would love to hear from someone who can. Despite the somewhat realistic and down to earth episodes, the latest ones have had some rather ‘unique’ themes such as the supernatural and currently, the group becoming marooned on an island thanks to a freak lightning storm. Halfway into the series and it’s still hard to exactly nail down the vibe they’re going for. I’d recommend this if you find yourself attracted to the designs of any of the characters or are curious to watch something less about the idol life and more about the ‘zany’ adventures these idols can find themselves in.

Tom: Tsukiuta is based off a Drama CD franchise and at times it feels like its referencing that original material too much, making it difficult to approach for newcomers. The show has also been labeled fantasy, but outside of episode 5’s rather dark episode, that genre tag goes largely unused and when those aspects do finally crop up, they feel entirely out of place with the rest of the series. That said, I’m mixed on Tsukiuta. At times I’m completely engaged and interested in the events unfolding on screen and others I’m either baffled or bored. For now I could go either way and I’m hoping the second half of the series can better solidify my standing.

Tom TiolI Art Badge

“Take it or Leave it: Tsukiuta is at times thoroughly entertaining, and at others boring or baffling.”

Linny TiolI Art Badge

“Take it or Leave it: With a thematic vibe that switches from realistic to erratic, Tsukiuta is a mixed bag following the wacky adventures of a huge group of guys who also happen to be idols.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tsukiuta. The Animation is available for streaming via Funimation.com.

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