TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You ?
Throughout doing reviews for this series, I have regularly missed occasional references to Hayate the Combat Butler, another franchise created by Kenjiro Hata. there has even been some suggestion that TONIKAWA might be taking place in the same universe as Hayate. I did not miss the reference in this episode, however: though we never directly see his face, the young man that Nasa is addressing as his landlord is likely Wataru Tachibana, the arranged fiancé of Hayate co-protagonist Nagi Sanzenin. He was known in that series to own and operate a video rental shop and had a green-haired maid named Saki, who also appears in this scene. (Again, we don't see her face, but the appearance is too similar to be a coincidence.) His original seiyuu, Marina Inoue, is also listed in the credits for this series as “Landlord.” At least a couple of references to and/or guest appearances from A Seiyu's Life (another title by Hata) have also been tossed around during the series, though I did not see any this episode.
One would expect this episode's contents to be dominated by the aftermath of the fire, but Nasa had been so well-prepared for such a circumstance that it merely becomes an inconvenience and impetus to drive the episode's decidedly slice-of-life focus. The two getting to stay in an unused detached room at the bathhouse might seem like an all-too-easy contrivance, but as Tsukasa points out herself, it is the product of Nasa's good nature that such an opportunity is easily-obtained. The rest of the episode pretty much breaks down into three parts: Tsukasa and Nasa contemplating in turns what they love about each other, what goes on with the Arisugawas, and the later shopping trip.
Of those, the contemplations speak most to the heart of the series and easily form the most serious part of the three. Rather than being drawn to each other by dramatic actions, both are notably attracted to one another by little things: Nasa loves how Tsukasa notices little details about him and compliments him for those, while Tsukasa loves how Nasa keeps a cool head in a crisis, plans ahead, and wins people over with his kindness. These little things are firmer grounds for a lasting relationship than much of what else passes for romance in anime.
The least serious part is the following one, about the Arisugawas. Kaname continues to show how delightful a character she is – in my book, she's competing with Kahvel from I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives for best supporting character of the season – with both the way she doesn't cut Nasa any slack and her thoughts about her sister; the line which goes with the screenshot (“she's my sister, but this is horror movie levels of stupid” over Aya's failure to process that Nasa is married to Tsukasa) is easily the episode's highlight line. The mother's attitude is also charming, as is seeing Aya trying to move on once she accepts that she's missed her opportunity on her first crush; that is something else we don't see much of in anime.
The final part, then, about the laundry and buying replacement clothes is all about some of the more embarrassing aspects of learning to live together, and that part is cute in its own way. It also gives the production team the opportunity to show off Tsukasa in a few new outfits. It provides a pleasant cap to one of the series' most low-key episodes to date and – at least for the moment – sets aside the mysteries about Tsukasa's real identity.
TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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