Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy is one of those rare anime that made me regret choosing not to watch it weekly. Already having a number of Summer 2021 isekai anime on my watch list I decided to wait and binge it once it was finished. Little did I know that despite fairly generic and ordinary beginnings, this anime would end up being significantly better than either Seirei Gensouki or Realist Hero and despite having a second season announced still managed to deliver a decent climax and enough of a resolution to the end of this first season.
That said, simply being better than somewhat mediocre competition isn’t really a recommendation, so I’ll follow that up by pointing out that Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy was just kind of fun to watch. While the comedy remained largely situational with over-powered characters accidentally destroying things or extreme over-reactions to dialogue, and the journey the protagonist, Misumi, takes isn’t exactly breaking free of any of the usual isekai trappings, this is definitely an anime where the enjoyment is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Being consistent and competent work for Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy.
Where I found the opening episodes of other anime from the Summer 2021 season more intriguing (hence why I didn’t pick up Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy from the beginning), Tsukimichi managed to be consistent from its opening. While never exceptionally good, the goddess’ quick dismissal of Misumi and then his journey as he gathered demi-human followers and more or less just tries to find a new way to live in this world he has been cast into ends up creating an interesting setting for the cast and as the series progresses we see the relationships being formed between these characters.
And it is the characters that will hold this fantasy story together. The plot is more or less Misumi journeying at first and trying to figure out the world he’s been dumped in. However, as more characters, and yes most of them are feisty female characters, join him he starts taking on responsibilities and they take on the role of adventurers and then merchants. While we really haven’t seen an overall game plan and the plot never really feels like it is speeding toward something, Misumi is always setting short term goals that keep events feeling like thy are moving along.
If I had to compare Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy to any of the other recent isekai stories, it would probably remind me most of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime in the sense that Misumi is working with demi-humans who are either hated or feared by humans, or discriminated against and slaughtered for seemingly little reason. He’s also building his own settlement and bringing together different races. That said, this anime feels like it is moving at a faster pace and feels a little less laid-back than Slime.
Like so many other isekai stories though, our monstrous creatures don’t remain monstrous for too long. The dragon Misumi fights and then wins over ends up transforming into a blue haired girl. The giant spider who seems pretty ominous at first transforms into a black haired beauty. Even the Lich, introduced late in the series, ends up being a timid red-haired human guy. It seems like a waste to introduce a monster and then more or less revert them into a human character.
Admittedly, the rivalry between Tomoe and Mio (the spider and dragon) is pretty entertaining even if it is taken to ridiculous levels at times. Also, the passion with which they absorb Misumi’s memories of Earth (and particularly historical and fictional works) is nicely done.
However as the cast expands, Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy seems to struggle to find a place for all of the characters. Emma, who is the first girl Misumi really meets, appears throughout the series but seems to serve little purpose at times. Even Tomoe and Mio are at times sent away from the action, probably because it is hard for any other character to shine when either of those two takes to the screen.
There’s also the problem of a lot of the antagonist of the story coming across as very one note. While the Goddess is clearly an issue for Misumi to eventually deal with, given she banished him from human civilisation just because she found him ugly, she’s barely in the story. Instead we get the usual isekai muscle heads with thieves, adventurers on the wrong side of things, and corrupt noble-men for our protagonist to deal with one way or another.
At times you could almost be forgiven for forgetting about the Goddess as Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy seems content just to deal with immediate issues. Though then the final confrontation of this season would come as a bit of a surprise given the Goddess may not appear but she most definitely orchestrates Misumi’s involvement in it.
And can I just say, that is how you do a season final climatic battle. It may not end the overall story, and the main antagonist isn’t even really involved, but it was a very cool battle-sequence and a great way for the season to come to a close. It was also an amazing character moment for the protagonist and I liked that they do at least indicate some of the future fall out from it without stretching the series conclusion for too long.
Basically if you like magical fights and want an isekai that isn’t taking itself too seriously, Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy might just hit the spot for you. There’s some tense moments but they largely quickly get broken up by silliness and while there are some bloody and gory moments few of these are lingered on.
Misumi ends up being a pleasant enough protagonist even if he ultimately does little to stand to from the horde of other isekai protagonists and the ensemble cast here actually has great chemistry.
Pretty much if you like the isekai genre, Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy is worth watching. While it isn’t unmissable it is certainly entertaining enough and with another season coming in the future there’s comfort in knowing that we’ll see these characters again.
Images from: Tsukimichi – Moonlit Fantasy. Dir. S Ishihira. C2C. 2021
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