Long story short: Tsuki ga Kirei is a love story between a girl in track and field and a boy writing a novel. (As always I’m writing this after three episodes, so there will be spoilers for those. I’ve started adding mouse-over translations for Japanese kana/kanji, so check those out as well.)
The girl’s name is Mizuno Akane (Akanecchi to her friends) and the boy is called Azumi Kotarou (Kota to his). They’re in middle school, in their third and final year. They are placed in the same class for the first time and have never talked to each other. Until they meet at a restaurant, when celebrating the beginning of the school year with their families. はずかしい！
Back at school, the sports festival is coming up. The two leads are in charge of the equipment along with a large part of the track and field club. Kotarou, being a library assistant, is an outsider, while Akane has friends all around her. But they exchange LINE IDs.
The second episode is all about the sports festival. While Akane is training for that and a race that’s soon after, Kotarou submits two stories to competitions. During the festival, Hira Takumi is brought to our attention as Akane’s potential suitor. I don’t think Akane gets it, though. (Her girlfriends support him from the shadows though.)
The third episode starts with midterms. After that, it’s time for Akane’s race and soon after the school trip. Their schoolmates are hooking up left and right. On the day of the race Kotarou is at the shrine, “community stuff” he says. He’s hypnotizing his LINE. Akane sets a personal best! And her battery dies. The third episode ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. きになります！
First off, a little quote about the title:
While directly translated as “The Moon is Beautiful”, the phrase “Tsuki ga Kirei Desu ne.” (月が綺麗ですね。, lit. “The Moon is Beautiful, Isn’t it?”) is a famous Japanese way to say “I love you”. The phrase was coined by Meiji-era novelist and teacher Natsume Sōseki since he believed that two people in love do not need direct words to convey their feelings.
The title makes it quite obvious that this is a love story. It’s also a nice reference given that Kotarou is a library assistant and into literature in general. Although he has a different pet-writer…
The writer he quotes all the time, Dazai Osamu, is a modern-day classic in Japan. While not that many of his works have been translated into English, you might know his novel No Longer Human. It has been adapted into a film (directed by Arato Genjiro), the first four episodes of Aoi Bungaku, and three different mangas.
One more literary digression: I loved the library superstition of picking out a book at random and opening in to find a piece of advice, perfect for your situation. Kotarou picks out a book titled チャンス, “Chance”, and reads:
At the very least, I don’t believe romance comes down to chance. I believe it comes down to volition.
Overall, as a book lover, I have to say I enjoyed this side of the story. In general I think the story line is nothing special. A girl and a boy meet and fall in love — it’s old as humanity itself. What did surprise me was how early the question came. Usually we have to wait until the final episodes. Like I said, きになります！
As for the animation, it’s quite obvious that the anime employs CG and it’s really annoying (to me, my partner doesn’t mind). See above. The animation overall just isn’t my cup of tea.
On the other hand, the backgrounds (although I’m sure they’re just manipulated CG/photography too) are gorgeous.
And when we’re talking animation: The OP and ED are nothing special either. The OP is just various backgrounds coming in and out of focus with falling sakura petals in the foreground, filtered camera footage and scenes from the anime. Basically just whatever they had lying around. The ED is even worse…
Even though I’m a rather visual person, I will bear with this and keep watching, because the story is so interesting. I know I said it was nothing special, but the two leads are endearing and I’m invested in their story.