Tsukiuta. The Animation – Preview
Tsukiuta. The Animation:
Original Air Dates: Jul 6, 2016 to ???
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.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: If you only have time for one male idol show this season, I would whole heartedly recommend Tsukiuta. That’s coming from someone who used to be completely uninterested and unimpressed by the idol subgenre. My praise for this show rises from the fact that its tells its story in a more natural and organic manner as compared to others that seem more focused on projecting the dream life of idols or the dream of getting to be surrounded and/or romanced by idols. Yes, there are also idol themed shows that focus on a group of kids working to achieve success and yes, Tsukiuta falls into that category. Well, it sort of does. I mentioned how Tsukiuta feels more natural and organic and this is because it portrays every single character in the story (except for security guards lol ) in a manner that one would expect a real person in that situation to behave like. Or maybe it was just in a manner that felt familiar or realistic to me. While we got a fan girl in the episode to help further extrapolate on how amazing our idols are, it’s done in a very realistic manner. Even when the fan girl is gushing about the idols, it sounds like something an average high school fan girl would do and say. (I say this because once upon a time, I was an unabashed fan girl myself). And when it comes to portraying the idols themselves, they are shown to be all glitz and glam onstage but in their personal time, they come off a group of average teenagers with personalities and behaviour one would expect from a regular bunch of teens.
Tom: Unlike B-Project, Tsukuita feels more natural, more realistic. We’re not introduced to some girl who somehow weaseled her way into a high profile job with no experience, instead we’re introduced to honest, real characters with a story that flows more naturally. Tsukiuta’s first episode introduces us to a girl who is a huge fan of these pop idols and sends her little brother, Syunpei, to a meet and greet she’s too sick to attend. Syunpei gets lost and stumbles upon a few members of the group, in particular Kakeru and his two unit mates. Sure, perhaps security is a little lax compared to real life, but these characters feel more honest and down to Earth. Rather than a look into the inner workings of the Idol industry, this is a drama about their day to day lives and feels so much more grounded and believable to me, making it much easier to become invested.
Linny: The episode teases us about a big announcement involving the two bands, which in hindsight seems like the answer was obviously going to be bland and realistic, given how toned down the show is in general. However, if you are hoping for a super world changing reveal, let me tell you it’s not happening.
Tom: Unlike B-project, Tsukiuta keeps the introductions of the idol group super short, painfully aware you’ll never remember any of these characters through such brief snippets of dialogue. Instead the episode refocuses, similar to B-project, on a small sub group of the characters. In this case, we get to know three members of the group, Kakeru and his pals, as they interact with Syunpei. Unlike B-project we’re not seeing them during their jobs behind the scenes, or any kind of idol dance practice, but rather their more natural side as they become buddy buddy with the little kid and spend the day with him. It’s very humanizing and puts Tsukiuta’s leads in a very favorable light that makes them feel immediately more likable and endearing than B-project’s more business like introduction.
Linny: Of the three band members featured most in this episode, Kakeru is given the most attention as the story revolves around Syunpei’s sister’s obsession with him and Kakeru’s efforts to reward Syunpei for being such a good little brother, who has no idea who he is hanging out with in actuality as Syunpei doesn’t realize Kakeru is the idol his sister sent him to meet. From the teaser for the next episode, it seems there is going to be a continued focus on Kakeru, but this time on his student life. It’s nice to have this show where the idols are doing their best to balance their professional and more mundane and everyday life. It humanizes them and makes them more appealing to an audience who isn’t necessarily fond of the idol industry or genre.
Tom: Tsukuita’s first episode predominantly centers around Syunpei doing this errand for his sister and unwittingly spending the day hanging out with the very guy his sister idolizes. He’s actually a lot of fun as a character, even if he is a bit of a stereotype of what little brothers are like. He’s a bit snotty, but friendly, kind and a good little brother even if he won’t admit it. His reactions and discovery of Kakeru’s true identity makes for the centerpiece, most endearing and fun part of the episode. As to whether he’ll remain a part of the series it’s unclear, as it seems Tsukiuta will be jumping between each of the members’ daily lives. However, if they can keep up this level of characterization, and make each new character and each member of the group feel as endearing as Kakeru and Syunpei then Tsukiuta is going to be a pretty enjoyable, down to Earth drama.
Linny: This premiere episode actually does a good job portraying the siblings as it does the idols. The bond between Syunpei and his sister is stereotypical to what we see in other media. Syunpei is a little bratty and annoyed with his sister but still loves her enough to cave in and do her a favour, especially after she bribes him with the promise of sweets. It’s predictable but still cute to watch it all unfold.
Tom: The one downside to Tsukiuta is its animation. Tsukiuta suffers from very muted colors that lack the necessary visual vibrancy that B-Project has. Also, Tsukiuta makes use of CGI animation to create the dance numbers the idol group performs. At first I was put off by this, as the CGI animation suffers from a jarring switch that’s highly noticeable between it and the show’s normal look. But thanks to a longer dance number session later in the episode, I’ve come around to the idea. The CGI allows the characters to perform more complex movements and dance numbers that might take longer to animate with 2D animation and would suffer from a rushed schedule. This way the dance numbers are performed beautifully via the CGI and the 2D animation isn’t compromised.
Linny: The 3D animation does do a great job of making the idol performance look amazing even if blatantly 3D and like Tom said, once you get past the sudden shift, it actually is rather enjoyable to watch them performing in the extended scene. It also made me feel like I was watching a trailer for a video game with how polished the animation was.
Tom: Tsukiuta is based off a Drama CD which I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with. Tsukiuta was originally listed as containing fantasy elements, and certain series descriptions claimed Tsukiuta would feature something about idols gathering spiritual energy for people. However it doesn’t look like Tsukiuta will be about any of that, at least for now. Instead we have a soft drama about each member of these two all male idol units and their daily lives. For people looking for something down to Earth, well written, and centered around the male idol industry, Tsukiuta seems like the better bet between itself and B-Project.
Linny: While Tsukiuta’s story revolves around members of two idol groups, it is quite different from the more popular trope of being solely about the groups’ rise and struggle to be popular idols. Instead of focusing only on the characters’ stories about life as aspiring or successful idols, it is about the lives of these boys who also happen to be members of a band. The first episode was grounded in realism and really helped make the idols featured in the main story come off as relatable and likable and for the first time ever, I’m super excited for the next episode of an idol based anime.
Tsukiuta. The Animation is available for streaming via Funimation.com.