First Impressions: Tsukipro The Animation

Is art mimicking real life more interesting than real life itself?

Lights, camera, action? Yes, yes, and yes, respectively. Actual musicianship? The jury’s still out.

I have a weakness for music anime. I also like my anime characters to look something like real human beings, and to act like them as well. The intersection between these two geographical regions is pretty close to zero. Being an instrumentalist myself, one of the main things I’m craving is a show with decent animation of musicians playing their instruments. Kin’iro no Corda was largely not that — while it did sometimes have some pretty good violin-playing animations, the artists clearly never bothered so much as to look at a flute or a clarinet before trying to draw them, and its script was pretty awful besides. The ill-fated Kaikan Phrase was certainly not that, much as I loved its story about a band that somehow against overwhelming odds makes it really big (here I speak of the relatively clean anime version, not the manga, which was published in the US under the title Sensual Phrase and is allegedly rather smutty). Sakamichi no Apollon wasn’t exactly that either, though it was in many ways something better than that, and I loved its animation of piano, drum kit, and guitar playing. BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad was that, but only if you can overlook the foul language (one of the multiple bilingual characters enjoys dropping F-bombs), and its plot having been cut well short of that of the manga. I didn’t hold out much hope for Tsukipro, nor had I watched Tsukiuta, which is set in the same world some years earlier. So although I am not much interested in boy bands unless I get to meet the instrumentalists, I was hungry enough for a music-related series to give the first episode of Tsukipro The Animation a try.

When the opening music started a few minutes into the episode, I prepared to skip it as I always do. But my hand stopped suddenly over the mouse button when the OP drew me into a concert just as a four-member boy band took the stage. Their opening number would have interested me not at all if they were four real-life young men, but as these animated niisan-tachi, each with a more ridiculously-colored mop of hair than the previous, started to rap and sing and dance, I was transfixed. Although the lip-synching and choreography were probably done using The Dreaded CG, it looked to me as though the artists actually tried to make it seem realistic. I couldn’t look away. I wish I could say that I found the rest of the episode as fascinating and memorable, but unless the instrumentalists start getting some serious screen time, I fear it’s likely this series won’t keep my interest. Since it seems as though the dancing-and-singing-boys write their own music, dealing with deadlines and writers’ block and all the rest, it is possible that I might yet meet some instrumentalists. Just as with the show as a whole, I don’t hold out much hope for this. Yet since the animation in Dynamic Chord, another new series I was anticipating heavily, so far looks if anything even worse than that of Kaikan Phrase, I will try at least one more episode of Tsukipro.

— R86

TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION is currently airing on Crunchyroll.

R86 is a chemistry professor, which is the sort of job that probably made you stop reading already. He teaches organic chemistry at Texas A&M University. In his spare time, he enjoys music (flute/saxophone/clarinet and MIDI/Vocaloid synthesis), watching anime, and travelling to Japan as cheaply as possible.
2 Comments on this post.

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  • lavendermintrose
    8 October 2017 at 4:57 pm
    • R86
      8 October 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! Count me in! 😀

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