The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Full Moon wo Sagashite

Title: Full Moon wo Sagashite aka Full Moon aka Searching for the Full Moon
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Studio DEEN/NAS
Format: 52 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 2002 – 29 Mar 2003

Synopsis: Koyama Mitsuki is a modest 12-year old with lofty aspirations of becoming a J-pop princess. The only obstacle in her way – she has throat cancer. On top of this, two Shinigami have appeared, informing her that she only has one year to live. Mitsuki, despite all the odds, still endeavors to achieve her goal: a promise she made to a loved one years ago. Sympathising with her, the Shinigami decide to grant her a favor: the ability to transform into a 16 year old, fully cured of her illnesses. Dubbing the stage name “Full Moon,” is one year truly enough for her to experience her dream?

The Highlights
Music: Some of the best J-pop anime has to offer.
Characters: Start off somewhat faux and clichéd, but develop thoroughly in the latter portion.
Pacing: Starts off relatively slowly, and ramps up nicely at the end.
Emotional appeal: Powerful.

When I first started watching Full Moon wo Sagashite, I felt somewhat thrown off by the sugary sweet ambiance the show gave off. A two-Shinigami duo called Negi Ramen, each flaunting (in typical anime style) some sort of animal ears, reveal themselves in a grandeur manner, only to have Mitsuki rolling on the floor in laughter at their ridiculous name. However, it was precisely at this scene that I had an epiphany of sorts:

I mean, this girl has throat cancer.

And so Full Moon wo Sagashite begins. Throughout the first half of the episodes, Mitsuki undergoes a generally optimistic and sugary sweet view of the life of a pop idol as Full Moon. However, there definitely existed an aura, an unmistakable atmosphere that persisted throughout the lackadaisical pace of the show – the entire time it felt like a time bomb. This definitely cannot be considered the normal stereotypical anime, regardless of what it may seem like initially. And then, as the anime comes to a close, so do the days of happiness, cheerfulness, and the shoujo anime stereotypes. From the mix of feelings accumulated throughout the anime blooms an ending that will stick with me for a long time. This anime definitely left its impact on me.

While the animation was good, that’s all it could be considered – good. None of the characters stood out as ugly, and all character designs seemed to fall under that grey area between mediocrity and excellence. The audio, on the other hand, was nothing short of fantastic. The J-pop in this anime is amazing, and is of the few that I actually listen to on a regular basis. Myco stars a double role, both as vocalist of Changin’ My Life, who comprises the real life counterpart to Full Moon, and as Mitsuki. In both areas she excels beautifully, and definitely blooms well throughout the anime.

The characters in this anime are what make the series stand out from the rest. While the series doesn’t have the most complex plot anime has ever seen, the character relations throughout the story make itself present in an unbelievable way. While the characters start out very stereotypical and generic, by the end of the anime they slowly emerge into amazing characters with intricate and delicate relationships. It’s worth mentioning that throughout the anime, there remains no antagonist. The fact that the characters drove the entire series without a central villain speaks volumes.

While I personally didn’t like the ending, as I felt it clashed too much with the emotional struggles built up throughout the anime, the ending truly is a love-or-hate affair. For me, this, coupled with the slow beginning and fair animation, stops Full Moon wo Sagashite from being perfect as an anime. Nonetheless, it offers plenty of anime to chew on, and will definitely keep you thinking. If nothing else, listen to the soundtrack. It is that good.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: royal crown

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