Do you like romance? Do you like main characters who get hit by trucks? Then this series will send you over the moon. The premier slice-of-life anime of fall 2020, Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You (or Fly Me to the Moon) is one of a select few anime to make me cry because of how wholesome it is. This is probably the cutest anime I have ever seen and features one of my favorite anime couples of all time.
Adapted from the manga by Kenjiro Hata (Lucky Star), Tonikawa follows Nasa Yuzaki, an average high school student who simply wishes to find enjoyment in his pursuits, whether academic or romantic. One night, while walking home, he spots a beautiful red-headed girl across the street. Without thinking, he crosses, only to nearly get smashed by a semi-truck. Luckily, that girl saves him. Nasa, being head over heels for her, walks out of the hospital down to the bus stop just to ask her out despite his painful injuries. Sadly, he passes out from the pain, unable to ask her out.
Flash forward a few years and Nasa is now out of school, working full-time, but feeling as if something is missing from his life. Suddenly, that same girl that saved him before is at his door step, telling him her name (Tsukasa) and asking him to marry her despite their lack of knowledge of each other. Naturally, Nasa agrees because of course he does. The rest of the anime follows Nasa and Tsukasa as they go through each step in their new relationship, except they’re married instead of just dating, leading to several awkward moments. Small trivial things such as buying clothes and sleeping become major ordeals due to Nasa’s naivete and Tsukasa’s obliviousness. There is hardly a moment between them that won’t leave you smiling or laughing.
That is not to say the secondary cast don’t have their moments as well. Nasa’s closest friend, Kaname Arisugawa, provides some hilarious banter with both Nasa and Tsukasa as she points out that most of the developments in their relationship should have happened before they got married. She often points out Nasa’s lack of knowledge of married life and how little he discusses his feelings with Tsukasa.
Similarly, Nasa’s parents are absolutely hilarious. They, like everyone else, are surprised to learn that Nasa is married. However, when Nasa takes Tsukasa to meet them, they appear more afraid to meet Tsukasa than she is to meet them. Nasa’s father, in particular, is so worried that he’ll make a bad first impression that he tries to leave the room when Tsukasa and Nasa first arrive at their house.
Sadly, everything cannot be fun and peachy as there always needs to be some form of conflict to keep the story moving and to force the characters to grow. Enter Tsukasa’s younger sister, Chitose Kaginoji. Chitose is jealous of Nasa for stealing Tsukasa’s attention away from her and does her best to form a divide between the two lovers. However, the more time she spends with Nasa, the more she realizes why Tsukasa chose to spend her life with him. The two maids that follow Chitose around, Charlotte and Aurora, help to ground Chitose’s absurd imagination.
The simple art style allows the writing and acting to shine brightly, while still adding creative visuals when needed. Seven Arcs (Arte, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha) did an excellent job bringing the art-style of Hata’s manga to life through their animation. I find it particularly hilarious how they represent characters being embarrassed, often showing other parts of their body blushing, such as the back of their head or their feet, instead of their face. It’s an interesting design choice that added to my enjoyment of the show.
Bang Zoom! also did an incredible job with Tonikawa‘s English dub. ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) director Julie Kliewer (The Rising of the Shield Hero) and script writer Rachel Robinson’s (Snow White with the Red Hair) English adaptation captures all of the heart present in the original. Zach Aguilar (Nasa) and Lauren Landa (Tsukasa) have excellent chemistry together, fully selling you on their relationship despite the short amount of time the two characters have spent together. Most of the secondary cast is fantastic as well, especially Kayli Mills as Kaname, Lizzie Freeman as Chitose and Mick Lauer as Enishi Yuzaki.
Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You was easily my favorite new slice-of-life anime to come out of 2020. The series has endless amounts of charm and it is exciting to see a romance anime about a couple during their relationship instead of the “will they, won’t they” attitude present in shows like Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. If you need a wholesome series to balance out your darker shows, Tonikawa may be the anime for you. You can watch the series subbed and dubbed on Crunchyroll.