Shelf Life
Tsukiuta The Animation

by Paul Jensen, Gabriella Ekens,

If you like big box sets with absurdly long runtimes, then boy is this the week for you. We've got four releases that go beyond the 1000-minute mark, two of which also come with a landslide of physical extras. 'Tis the season for multi-season collections. Welcome to Shelf Life.

Jump to this week's review:
Tsukiuta. The Animation

On Shelves This Week

Ai no Kusabi - Unchained Edition BD, DVD
Media Blasters - 120 min - Hyb - MSRP $39.99|$29.99
Currently cheapest at: $20.06 Amazon|$22.49 Right Stuf

Synopsis: In a future city where a person's social class is determined by hair-color, a high-ranking blonde citizen takes in a dark-haired "mongrel."

Extra: We don't have any formal reviews for this yaoi OVA series, but our user ratings average about 6.9 out of 10. You'll find a clip of the new English dub here.




Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon - Complete Collection BD
Sentai - 625 min - Hyb - MSRP $99.98
Currently cheapest at: $64.99 Right Stuf

Synopsis: After being betrayed and forced into a life of servitude as an unwilling soldier, former princess Angelise seeks revenge against her nation.

Extra: We have episode reviews for this series, and you can also check out reviews of previous physical releases here and here. It's available streaming on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, and Hulu.



Dragonar Academy - Complete Collection BD+DVD [SAVE Edition]
Funimation - 300 min - Hyb - MSRP $29.98
Currently cheapest at: $21.87 Amazon

Synopsis: Aspiring dragon trainer Ash Blake finds himself in an unexpected situation when his new dragon partner turns out to be cute girl.

Extra: You'll find reviews of this series from the previous physical release here and here, and you can stream it on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.





Hundred - Complete Collection BD+DVD
Funimation - 300 min - Hyb - MSRP $64.98
Currently cheapest at: $36.97 Amazon

Synopsis: In order to become a Slayer who defends Earth from invaders known as the Savage, Hayato Kisaragi must make it to the top at a special academy.

Extra: The first episode of this series didn't garner much praise in our Preview Guide, and that's as far as our review coverage for it goes. You can stream it on Crunchyroll and Funimation.




Koyomimonogatari - Complete Collection BD
Aniplex - 150 min - Sub - MSRP $89.98
Currently cheapest at: $69.98 Right Stuf

Synopsis: In a series of monthly short stories, Koyomi Araragi must resolve a variety of supernatural problems.

Extra: This short-format series is one of the few entries in the Monogatari franchise that we don't have any reviews for. Our user ratings are fairly positive with an average of 7.5 out of 10, and you can find information on its standalone streaming app here.



March Comes in Like a Lion - Season 1 Part 1 BD
Aniplex - 300 min - Hyb - MSRP $159.98
Currently cheapest at: $129.98 Right Stuf

Synopsis: Professional shogi player Rei Kiriyama's career and personal life have begun to stagnate, but he may be able to recover with help from a family of three sisters.

Extra: We have episode reviews for this season and its currently-airing sequel, and it's available streaming on Crunchyroll.




Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Collector's Edition BD
Right Stuf - 1682 min - Hyb - MSRP $269.99
Currently cheapest at: $154.29 Amazon

Synopsis: After years of oppression at the hands of Earth's government, a group of space colonies spark a rebellion using five powerful Mobile Suits.

Extra: This set includes the TV series (old review here), the Endless Waltz sequel (old review here), and the Operation Meteor OVA. The series is available streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.



Revolutionary Girl Utena - 20th Anniversary Edition BD
Right Stuf - 1060 min - Hyb - MSRP $224.99
Currently cheapest at: $146.22 Right Stuf

Synopsis: A teenage girl named Utena enrolls in the prestigious Ohtori Academy, where her ambitions lead her into a conflict with the school's student council.

Extra: Our recent coverage for this series includes a selection of episode reviews and a first story arc on Blu-Ray. You'll find it streaming on the Nozomi Entertainment YouTube Channel.




Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale BD, DVD, Limited Edition
Aniplex - 120 min - Hyb - MSRP $49.98|$39.98|$79.98
Currently cheapest at: $39.98 Right Stuf|$29.98 Right Stuf|$69.98 Right Stuf

Synopsis: As an Augmented Reality game called "Ordinal Scale" becomes popular, Kirito and his friends discover that there is a dangerous side to the new game.

Extra: We have a review of this theatrical sequel to the TV series. While it doesn't appear to be available from any of the usual streaming sites, you can watch the TV series on Crunchyroll and Hulu.



The Familiar of Zero - Complete Collection BD
Sentai - 1250 min - Hyb - MSRP $129.98
Currently cheapest at: $74.29 Amazon

Synopsis: Apprentice magician Louise hopes to summon a powerful creature as her familiar, but she ends up getting an ordinary boy from Tokyo instead.

Extra: Out of the four seasons in this set, we have reviews for one, three, and four. The full series is available on HIDIVE and Hulu.




To Love-Ru - Complete Collection BD
Sentai - 1600 min - Sub - MSRP $129.98
Currently cheapest at: $74.29 Amazon

Synopsis: Rito Yuki's ordinary life is turned upside-down when he unintentionally gets engaged to a beautiful girl from another planet.

Extra: This is another one of those "all the seasons in one box" sets, and we have reviews of the various parts of the series here, here, and here. You can stream it on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, and Hulu.




Shelf Life Reviews

It's been a while since we've had a Perishable series appear in this column, but one has finally appeared in the form of Tsukiuta. The Animation. Here's Gabriella's take on this male idol show.

Today in “recent shows that I forgot existed” (if I ever noticed in the first place), we have Tsukiuta. The Animation, a male idol show from way back in 2016. While the idol phenomenon has been enormous in Japan for a while, it's struggled to make similar inroads overseas, where folks just don't seem anywhere near that into color-coded cadres of singing and dancing hunks and hunkettes. That said, it is interesting that in terms of this genre's international success, male idol shows have found themselves significantly worse off. While girl idol shows (Love Live!, [email protected], Wake Up, Girls!) have garnered passionate niche fanbases that at least somewhat compensate for their lack of general success, their gender-swapped counterparts truly fill the bottom of the barrel. The most "popular" example of this subgenre over here is probably Uta no Prince-sama, and when was the last time you saw someone breathlessly sharing screencaps of it on Twitter?

This brings us to Tsukiuta. The Animation. As far as I can tell, this is a relatively low-rent property even by boy idol standards. It appears to have started as a series of Vocaloid songs that were expanded into audio CDs, games, and eventually this anime. Its main appeal seems to be the presence of a number of well-known seiyuu – a subject that I happen to know very little about. The premise itself is pretty standard: twelve hunky bishonen make up the bands Procellarum and Six Gravity. Super popular and beloved by everyone, these guys get into Disney Channel-esque antics accompanied by mild drama, and everything always gets resolved in time for one culminant song-and-dance sequence.

I'd say more, but there's very little that stands out about these boys and their situation. The gimmick is that they all correspond to months of the year, which I'm sure factors in some slight way into their largely indistinguishable personalities. Their “adventures” themselves are pretty stock – it's the sort of stuff that'd be used as filler material in a show like Free!, although that show had the production values, comic timing, and interstitial dramatic chops to makes even those digressions entertaining. Tsukiuta. The Animation feels like a series-length digression in a franchise whose original appeal is foreign to me. It's mostly just sitcom-style antics where the boys try to balance their lives as pop stars with going to school or whatever. At least they're all abnormally physically comfortable with one another, which makes it easy to extrapolate certain things about their relationships if you're into that.

The big problem with this show apart from being profoundly generic is that it presumes familiarity with all of these characters ahead of time. From the very beginning, this show is For Fans Only, not bothering to give new viewers any sort of hook for what might place this pack of pretty boys above their legions of competitors. And since there's no real way for English-speakers to get into this franchise ahead of time, its importation via this anime feels like a doomed endeavor from the start. If you're looking to get into boy idol anime, there's no reason to watch this over more celebrated entries like Uta-pri or Starmyu or Dream Festival (things must be dire if I'm citing Dream Festival positively) or even adjacent “high school hot guys act like puppy dogs” shows like Free!, Dance with Devils, or Kamigami no Asobi. The nice thing about the recent fujoshi boom in anime production is that lots of good stuff with this angle is finally being made, so no one has to settle for less. Of course, the downside is that we're getting lots of the rapidly produced chaff that's plagued other popular genres for ages. Unfortunately, Tsukiuta. The Animation strikes me as part of this crowd.

It's not even impressive as eye candy. It's a minimally animated affair with indistinct character designs that could belong to a number of similar shows. Criminally for a boy band show, there aren't even any that many dance sequences in this thing. To my memory, there's a total of three – and one of them repeats as the opening sequence to every episode. To make matters worse, these bits are rendered in ugly CG that's miles beneath what similar techniques manage to accomplish in Love Live! and other idol series. So even on the most basic level of beefcake, this show fails.

Funimation's release is sparse. There's no dub, which tells me that they knew what kind of returns they were getting with this thing. Extras include standalone versions of the various song sequences that appear throughout the show. (Note that they mostly consist of the music played over still shots of the guys poising.) It's the type of extra that should accompany this sort of show, so it's too bad the content itself isn't worthwhile.

Tsukiuta. The Animation has exactly one audience – folks who are already fans of the original songs/mobile game and nobody else. Considering how high the barrier is to getting into their music outside of Japan, that severely limits its audience over here. We're living in fertile times for female-audience anime right now, and with that in mind, I can't recommend this one to anyone. Sorry.
-Gabriella[TOP]

That wraps up the review section for this week. Thanks for reading!

This week's shelves are from Daakkuu Sama:

"I watch anime regularly for about ten years, since I was 14 years old. I also don't have many anime DVD's and Blu Rays. Most of my favourite anime don't have proper license in Eurupe (Some of them include Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Glass Mask 2005, Black Jack TV, Allison and Lilia, Giant Killing, and the classic 1978 anime- Captain Harlock.  I still have some DVD's for other anime I like Include: Samurai 7, Medaka Box, Clannad After Story, and Fate Zero.  My manga shelf may let you think that I'm a girl, since it holds many Shoujo manga like: My little Monster, Magic Knight Rayearth, Lovely Complex, Nana and six works of Arina Tanemura like Phantom Thief Janne, and Full Moon. Despite that, I'm a man. I do have more "Boy-ish" staff like Fairy Tail, Batsard, Prison School and Tenjou Tenge.  I don't have many figures. While I think they are some of the beautiful anime staff, they are too expensive for me. I still have a few. Like 5 figures of Gintama, and Nyanko Sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou"

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I love that Nyanko Sensei, and it also reminds me that I still need to finish that series. Awesome collection, thanks for sharing!

Want to show off your own shelves? Send me your photos at [email protected]!


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