I totally slept on this one. Bad, BAD me.
Potentially regarded as the vanilla of romance while being at all times cultured, Tonikaku Kawaii finally shows me up on what I have been dying for since Clannad: a relationship that lasts long past marriage!
Though, with massive twists. Nevertheless, this is truly the diabetes of the season; I take it back from Adashima!
This is potentially what can happen when Truck-kun fails to deliver a protagonist to the other world.
Do good things only happen in the other world?
Not only you get to live your life the way you really want, but you also remain in the real world. This is a very simple yet effective setting which has me questioned the general quality of Isekai genre when settings and potential story are considered.
Overturning clichés has been practiced in anime for decades, but this series easily has one of the most what-in-the-world set ups I have seen. With a very simple narration, all it took was a minute and few seconds to understand where it all started. Tonikawa does a splendid take on being wholesome as much as it is fulfilling. The real-life things we want, we get to see them. And the imaginations we want to see incorporated, we also get to have them. Tonikawa could be the Isekai in reality; those deep desires in our shallow humbleness.
And I mentioned this series being cultured. Boy, at first I find it humorous to have so many cameos and references that I know of, but Tonikawa definitely goes for the extreme overkill. References seen in the manga has no boundary and is not limited to Japanese media alone. I do not have any other viable way to describe the state of being able to recognize all of the references used in Tonikawa. From old-age (before I was even born) PC-8800 to the iPhone Xs, this series pokes nostalgia at some readers for sure.
Knowledgeable of entertainment mediums?
I am sticking to being cultured. That is who the mangaka is and that is potentially what you are as well.
Boy meets girl
Don’t we all wish our lives can be as simple as Nasa’s?
While he does not technically get everything handed to him, there is nothing stopping us from wishing that we can have a fulfilling life today, tomorrow and every day after that. And that is pretty much the episodic formula for Nasa-kun.
Overly unrealistic approach to marriage aside, Tonikawa does an absolutely fine job in showing us what it feels like to have a reliable partner day in and out. Nasa himself is everything you can possibly fit into a man. I know that you really want to call him dense and confident at times but I would like to dial those terms down and simply label him as being determined and passionate on top of being mindful. You will see him being like this towards everyone with extra efforts for the wife.
Tsukasa on the other hand is the other half of what makes Tonikawa worth your time. Most of the diabetes shots come straight from her — in fact the title is literally the very description of Tsukasa herself!
Nasa made sure to title drop a few times in the first episode if you still have not noticed…
Title in a minute
The show just wants to make use of the Katakanaトニカクカワイイ to internationalize the series.
とにかくかわいい should have been the literal title, either meaning “anyways, [she’s] cute” or “[she’s] very cute!”
However, kawaii can be more than cuteness; it can be a feeling of warmth in your heart and feeling loved, synonymous with “over the moon for you” which is the show’s tagline.
While we are on a subtopic of the moon and love, there exists a song called Fly Me to the Moon, which was originally called “In Other Words”.
In other words as a phrase is a rough, indirect translation of tonikaku…
Last but not least, here is the song’s relation to NASA, the very source of inspiration for our protagonist’s name:
Frank Sinatra’s 1964 recording of “Fly Me to the Moon” became closely associated with NASA’s Apollo space program. A copy of the song was played on a Sony TC-50 portable cassette player on the Apollo 10 mission which orbited the Moon, and also on Apollo 11 before the first landing on the Moon.
See where the author is going with this?
Back to Tsukasa.
She is hinted to be beyond what one recognizes as a human being, but do not let that ruin what is foremost good about the show. You go in for the sweetness and you come out with diabetes, simple as that.
But seriously speaking, Tsukasa is pretty much another dimension of “reliability”. She is literally made to complement Nasa’s lacking parts and true can be said for the vice versa!
Ultimately Tonikawa can be about a lovely couple and the two lovebirds will miraculously always have each other’s back. It is very easy to look at it that way when you do not pry too deep into factual and theoretical information implied by the author and do full-on analyses on what would otherwise be a profoundly simple take on a relationship.
Take it as what if people can trust each other wholeheartedly.
What if having a relationship is as easy as acting on one’s emotional impulse and not being a reward for passing qualifications measurement.
What if it does not take 99% of the show’s runtime to chase after the person you love just to hold hands and maybe kiss in the finale.
Anyways, [this show is] wonderful!