The first and second episodes of Tsukiuta are completely different!
There is a whole new character set, kind of. We briefly meet this group in episode 1, but only during an introduction. Episode 2 focuses on the Idol Group Procellarum, while the first episode focussed on Six Gravity. They are both idol groups, with a grand total of too-many-characters.
Procellarum has 7 members itself. You, Shun, Rui, Kai, Yoru, Dai and Iku. The main focus of this episode has been on Rui and Iku, specifically on Ikus ability to be on the track team, be an effective Idol, as well as keep his grades up and commute to Tokyo from Osaka for Idol duties. He aims to do it all, but is worried if it is greedy or unfair to the other group members.
The members of his Idol group all support him and are concerned for him, but they respect his determination to maintain everything. Dai and Shun even hand stitch him a good luck charm for his upcoming track meet. During practice, an injury Iku received during track practice hindered his ability to dance for a little bit, sparking the track-or-idol topic.
Rui seems to be the member Iku is most close with, both in friendship and age. Rui himself is a shy timid, almost sleepy character who’s dream is probably to write songs or music, based on him hiding the sheet music. He promised Iku he would share his dream with him first when he was ready to share it. The two co-host a radio show titled Tsukiradi.
Rui seems to care about Iku a lot, travelling to the track meet in order to return the forgotten good luck charm. He is very much the ‘spaced out but hyper sensitive to others’ character type, often understanding Ikus words and behaviour before anyone else.
The episode didn’t have a lot of typical idol content, but instead focussed on the idols themselves. The balancing act is very often a challenge many idols face, especially when they keep getting younger and younger. It did end off on a predictable happy ending though, which wasn’t as exciting. The episode as a whole didn’t really have a climax, the most nerve wracking moment was wondering if Rui, Dai and Shun would make it to the track meet before Iku ran to return the good luck charm.
The characters we spent he most time with was Iku and Rui, with Dai and Shun being sort of touched on. You and Kai were the least explained, showing up only briefly throughout the episode.
At the end of the first episode there was a collaborative concert between Six Gravity and Procellarum announced, but there was no additional information given about that event, Six Gravity was not even mentioned at all.
The series so far appears to be more of a character-by-character type series where each character has a specific problem or issue they have to overcome before they can move forwards. Iku didn’t really have a problem, but the episode could have been considered more of an introductory episode as well. Still, there was no real conflict or climax, so it wasn’t really exciting.
The animation was more stable than the first episode though. There was more detail and smoother outlines during wide or medium shots. The CGI performance at the end was -again- my favorite part. Its just done so well! The camera angles are constantly changing, constantly moving, and zoom in and out of characters as if in a real performance. The facial expressions were a bit small, there was no big smiles or winks, but the movements were smooth and the hair moved realistically. Now if they looked a bit more winded at the end it would be perfect!
All in all, this was not my favorite episode. Yes the characters are interesting, but there was nothing exciting going on, the episode does not give you a reason to tune in next week. It wraps itself up.