Creator: Arina Tanemura
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Length: 52 Episodes
Official Site: View
+ One of the few truely heartfelt stories in all of anime
+ Great voice acting and music
+ / Slow pace but once it gets going, watch out!
Full Moon wo Sagashite first feels like a shallow series but develops into something so deep and meaningul that it takes viewers on a rollercoaster of emotion. The Japanese voice acting and music must be heard because I can't imagine the voices any other way (if you want to watch English singing turn on American Idol). This series is simply amazing and viewers should stand up and applaud at the end.
5 out of 5 · An Unequivocal Recommendation
Full Moon wo Sagashite Anime Review
Written by: James Lin on 11/25/2004
If you have looked around this website, you probably have seen the types of series that I enjoy the most. Super powers, bloodshed, ginormous swords; it's all up there as my favorites. And now we have come to Full Moon wo Sagashite; a story about a little girl with a microphone in her hand. We must have covered the entire spectrum of anime to have ended up in this situation. But wait, how is it I love this series just as much as those I mentioned? What? Why? How could this be?! Me, being an anime fan of "cut-up-your-entire-family-teleport-blow-up-your-remains," am now just a big of a fan towards little girls with microphones in their hands? How is this happening? Let's find out how Arina Tanemura's work, Full Moon wo Sagashite, which translates into Searching for the Full Moon, is such a great series.
Mitsuki, a 12-year-old girl, runs into two Shinigami, spirits of the dead whom are in charge of taking people's lives when their time is up. To the Shinigamis' surprise, Mitsuki can actually see them! These two Shinigami, Takuto and Meroko, tell Mitsuki that she only has 1 year left to live because of her throat cancer. Mitsuki's dream of becoming a famous singer is in serious jeopardy. She also made a promise to her departed childhood friend, Eichi, that they would both succeed in their dreams. Now with no time to spare, Mitsuki quickly makes her way to a singing audition that she had planned. The only problem is that the audition is for 16 years or older people trying to become idols. Takuto and Meroko catch up with Mitsuki in an attempt to bring her home. A Shinigamis' purpose is not just to take people's spirits when they die, but also to make sure they live out the rest of their life so they have no regrets. Mitsuki explains her desperate situation of not being able to sing or to see Eichi, the person who she loves that is halfway across the world from her. Takuto gives in and allows Mitsuki to audition by turning her into a 16-year-old girl with his powers.
Little did Takuto know that Mitsuki could really sing well! Mitsuki sings her heart out to the audition judges. All of her emotions, feelings, ambitions, were placed into that song. The judges were simply dumbfounded, and cancelled the rest of the audition because they had found their idol. Mitsuki was more surprised then anyone! With only a year left to live, Mitsuki, whose idol name is "Full Moon," will try to succeed in accomplishing all of her goals in order to find the person whom she loves.
Not only Mitsuki, but also all of the main characters in Full Moon are important. There are hardly any stale characters in this series. Mitsuki gains strength from knowing that she has important friends and family around her. The Shinigami that only Mitsuki can see are her best friends, even though they are in charge of taking her life when her time is up. Whenever Mitsuki is struggling, she can depend on Takuto and Meroko to help her. They are very important friends to her even though she is the only one who can see them. This reminded me of the relationship of Shindo Hikaru and Sai from the series Hikaru no Go, a series I highly regard.
Watching the entire story of Full Moon in a matter of weeks definitely put me on a roller coaster of emotion. Most of the story is positive, but there were pinnacle moments that were depressing. This just adds to Mitsuki's strength and determination to overcome any obstacle that comes her way.
Mitsuki may only be 12 years old, but her dream of singing is serious, and she lets out all of her emotions in her music. I rarely get too emotional watching anime, since it is only a past time, but this series entranced me throughout its entirety, and I couldn't help but be extremely happy at times. Watching Mitsuki's story is like watching someone endure hardships throughout their life, and finally go after their goal. I've said it numerous times already, but the whole point of this story is to root for Mitsuki, as well as her Shinigami friends. Full Moon wo Sagashite tells every character's story perfectly and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
A minor flaw I found in Full Moon's story was the age difference between Mitsuki and Eichi. Mitsuki is a 12-year-old whom loves a 16-year-old boy. The 4 year age difference is a bit awkward, but understandable after we are reminded of Mitsuki's true feelings. Then again this is anime; if we can accept Shinigami and a 12-year-old transforming into a 16-year-old idol, then a 4 years age difference really isn't worth mentioning. The biggest flaw I saw in this series was how different the anime was from the manga. Now in almost all cases that translates into the anime falling short of the manga expectations, but not this time. The manga, what can I say, is completely different then the anime, and not for the better. I viewed the entire anime series, and then went to read the manga in hopes of seeing more of a great story. Instead, I found a strange dark series that I couldn't enjoy at all.
The differences between Full Moon's anime and manga is like day and night - day being the anime, and night being the manga because it is much more dark and depressing. I was disappointed to see the manga version of Mitsuki being such a whiny brat, and that ultimately ruined the manga experience. Not to mention the artwork in the manga. The characters were drawn great, but for some reason things didn't feel "right" to me. The pages seemed too cramped at times, but this also might be because of the fast storytelling. Characters go from one point to another with very brief transitions, and it becomes rather confusing. This might not be the author's intention; perhaps it was because of deadlines and page limitations. The manga spans only 7 volumes, and it doesn't use a "normal" chapter-to-volume ratio. There are only 4-5 chapters per volume, which cramps up the story. The bottom line is that the story is simply too rushed in the manga.
Where would a story about singing be without great music? Few series out there focus heavily on music, and even fewer succeed as much as Full Moon wo Sagashite does. Granted, Mitsuki's transformation into Full Moon, the 16-year-old singer, only releases a few songs throughout the series. The few songs released are repeated often, but they really do grow on you. From the upbeat pop intros of The Scanty, to deep emotional songs by Changin' My Life, the music in this series is definitely unique.
I can't say enough about Mitsuki's voice, which is done by Myco, lead singer of the group Changin' My Life. After watching lots of anime you come to hear generic type girl voices, but not here!
Myco's voice is definitely unique in the anime world - probably because this was her first time doing anime character voice acting. This is also one of the reasons I liked the Mitsuki character so much. If Mitsuki's voice was whiny and high pitch I would have not made it past the first episode! Myco also does all of Mitsuki's singing, and the range of her voice is very impressive. She performs the upbeat songs New Future as well as the slower, more emotional song, Eternal Snow, to perfection. Speaking of Eternal Snow, I can't help but mention the different versions that are very good. I won't give away who sings them, but I will say that the voice actors in this series can really sing well!
I knew before watching this series that it was about a young girl's dream to become a singer, so I had an idea of what to expect. What surprised me the most was it doesn't simply focus on that. Instead it delves deep into Mitsuki's life and the people around her. Because of that, people who might not necessarily be a huge fan of music, particularly J-Pop music, will still enjoy it. I for one enjoy music but am not the biggest fan of J-Pop, since I can't understand Japanese, but I still found myself enjoying the music in this series immensely. The first thing I did after finishing the final episode was go out and get the Full Moon OST's! (In fact I'm listening to it as I write this!) The simple fact is that this series is too good to pass up just because you might not be a huge fan of music.
One of the finer achievements in the music of Full Moon was the different types of moods a simple song could create. The background music ranges from totally wacky circus-type themes to deep emotional instrumentals. The series is split into two seasons, ranging 26-episodes each, which allowed for brand new music in the latter season. The second season's themes are less upbeat, which fits the more serious tone of the series. Without giving spoilers, I can only say the final episode of the series could not have been made better. The voice of Myco in the finale was basically just "wow" - I never thought voice acting could be that good. Also, the songs played in that episode will stamp a lasting impression of the series in your mind that you won't forget!
The smile that came across my face after I finished watching this series for the first time should just be shown here in this conclusion. The reason being is because I really can't explain my opinions towards this series in words. I tried my best in this review, so hopefully I got my point across. The ending of Full Moon wo Sagashite really puts a lasting exclamation point on the series.
Almost every anime series I've ever seen has had horrible endings, except for this one. Full Moon has one of the best endings I have seen. To not give away all of the series was very difficult for me while writing this review. The reason being is simply because I can't put as much emphasis on how great this series is in text. It's extremely frustrating, but I suppose the best way is simply for you to find out for yourself by watching it!
Full Moon wo Sagashite is one of those rare series that can actually put you into tears, not because of sadness, but because of sheer happiness. Think about how rare this really is. Anime series and real movies, for that matter, rarely have that kind of power. Full Moon's advantage is that it has 52 great episodes to showcase every character's ambitions and dreams, and then it allows its wonderful story to take place.
The next time I am asked what anime series is there to watch that will take away all of our life's troubles and drama, and in place, replace it with a heart warming story, I will answer without hesitation, Full Moon wo Sagashite.
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