ANIME/FILM REVIEW | One Last Summer With "Teasing Master Takagi-san"
Sometimes television-based anime films like to end things on an open note. In the case of Teasing Master Takagi-san: The Movie, the big-screen adaptation of Soichiro Yamamoto’s hit manga, this story doesn’t just have a solid end to a great series; it also delivers everything that’s made Takagi-san (Rie Takahashi) and Nishikata’s (Yuki Kaji) playful love story so endearing.
Taking place a few months after the end of Season Three, Teasing Master Takagi-san: The Movie has our two main kids experiencing their final summer in middle school. A lot of pressure is on Nishikata to one-up Takagi-san in their challenges (even though he’s scored many a victory without his knowledge). As usual, Takagi-san has the upper hand, mainly because the poor guy tends to overthink everything! However, it’s very clear that these two have some special feelings for one another.
Much of the film’s 70-minute runtime is spent on Takagi-san and Nishikata enjoying each other’s company. Whether it’s going to a torch festival or taking care of a young kitten (Inori Minase), these two have loads of endearment for one another. It’s no longer a question of will they/won’t they, but rather how much progress they’ll make in their relationship during this special summer. Seeing how they care for the kitten also gives a hint to what sort of parents Takagi-san and Nishikata would make, with the former being the caring mother and the latter the doting father.
It’s not just these two that Teasing Master Takagi-san: The Movie focuses on, as the trio of Yukari (M.A.O.), Mina (Konomi Kohara), and Sanae (Yui Ogura) have their own sort of fun over the summer. After rumors swirl about one of them leaving the island they live on for high school, the three friends make up a bucket list of things to do before they part ways. While there’s plenty of humor focused on this trio, the concept of a person one thinks of a “forever friend” leaving surprisingly hits in a relatable fashion.
Where this movie shines the brightest is when it gives the viewers the chance to feel its atmosphere and emotion. While Shin-Ei Animation’s work is only slightly better than Teasing Master Takagi-san’s TV counterpart, it’s knows when to go all in to show something very beautiful. A breath-holding game in the pool, the night sky during the torch festival, and the sight of a kitten playing in a field of daisies are all captured with such genuine love.
Both Takahashi and Kaji have grown into their roles of Takagi-san and Nishikata with a great dose of evolution. The way they emote these characters’ joys, frustrations, coyness, and even sadness demonstrates how much both voice actors have taken care of these characters. While some may argue that they’ve played more iconic roles (Takahashi as Megumin or Kaji as Eren Yeager), their chemistry as Takagi-san and Nishikata is — bar none — one of the best in anime rom-com history.
Teasing Master Takagi-san: The Movie may be a short film, but it delivers plenty. It’s funny, sweet, and it caps off a show that’s grown to become one of this reviewer’s all-time favorites. Although you have to be a fan to truly appreciate this movie, one could easily watch this film knowing nothing of these characters and still walk out feeling warm and fuzzy.
Oh, and stick around after the credits. Longtime viewers might finally witness a moment they’ve all been waiting for…
Promotional consideration provided by Sentai Filmworks. In theaters August 14 & 15. Click here for tickets!