a.k.a. Searching for a Full Moon
Twelve-year-old Kouyama Mitsuki was devastated when she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the throat. She had made a promise to the boy she loves that she would one day become a singer, but her illness made singing impossible. To make matters even worse, two angels of death, Takuto and Meroko, appeared to Mitsuki and informed her that she only had one year left to live. This news provides an even greater motivation for Mitsuki to fulfill her dreams, and with a little bit of divine intervention, she begins her quest to become a professional singer so she can be reunited with Eichi before time runs out.
summary by Gatts
Highs: Fantastic J-Pop; engrossing second half
Lows: Gets a bit off track in the early episodes
On its surface, Full Moon wo Sagashite resembles many other kawaii anime with its vibrant colors and cute character designs, but beneath this exterior is a serious and often depressing drama. It is an interesting combination that manages to maintain a fine balance between emotional scenes and lighthearted moments.
Full Moon wo Sagashite doesn’t start out as a serious drama, though; instead, the early episodes are a bright and happy look into life as a pop idol dealing with issues like the paparazzi and concerts. These episodes are fun, but there is little focus on the plot. However, the series really picks up in the second act with a totally unexpected plot twist that delivers one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride. This momentum continues through the conclusion, and after all that build up, the finale does not disappoint.
Accompanying the on-screen action is a standout soundtrack. J-Pop star Myco lends her voice to the series and does a great job as both Mitsuki’s singing voice and seiyuu. The vocal pieces are all topnotch and have quickly become personal favorites. The background music isn’t quite as amazing but compliments the series nicely. Myco’s songs alone make the OST a must-have.
While the beginning of it seems to be all fun and games, Full Moon wo Sagashite is moving drama. The latter half of the series is full of heart-wrenching moments, and the endearing cast of characters truly shines throughout it all. While some people are bound to be put off by the cute appearance, anyone who enjoys J-Pop and is looking for a good drama should definitely look into this anime.
Highs: Original story with a powerful final quarter; rocking tunes
Lows: Minor seiyuu issue; tedious filler episodes
Despite the fact that Full Moon wo Sagashite initially reminded me of Kodomo no Omocha because both have the same sugar-charged energy and cute characters, the former differs sharply from what one might expect from such an anime.
Many people would expect this anime to be a Di Gi Charat clone, but nothing kills a happy atmosphere like learning that the main character has throat cancer. The introduction of this twist at the beginning separates it from many other shoujo anime, and the inclusion of the Shinigami and numerous other details makes the story quite unique. A good portion of the series revolves around Mitsuki’s rise to fame and dealing with aspects of the music industry, but the best part is the last quarter of the series. These final thirteen episodes are powerful, bittersweet and utterly depressing; I would strongly suggest having a handkerchief nearby. This series is centered on music and excels quite well in that department. The vast majority of the vocals are sung by Mitsuki’s seiyuu, Myco, who also happens to be the lead singer in the band Changin’ My Life; her voice truly shines and helps to make this anime that much better.
While the acting done by Mitsuki’s seiyuu is respectable, her voice does not sound like a twelve year-old girl’s. Granted, I do not know how a young girl would sound if she had a tumor in her throat, but Myco’s voice was too deep. This problem seemed to fade as the series went on, but it was still occasionally noticeable. Another problem was the filler episodes; while on the road to becoming an idol, Mitsuki does multiple smaller concerts and tasks, but jobs like going on a photo shoot or to an orphanage are of little importance. Many side characters are introduced that have no significance at all nor are ever used as a means to develop Mitsuki. Although filler episodes lessen in the second half, they become more inane and dull.
Even with an emotional roller coaster of a final quarter, a great story and some solid music, I still hesitate to recommend Full Moon wo Sagashite because most of it is simply depressing. If you do watch this series, make sure you have a hankie available; you will be using it.
Full Moon wo Sagashite can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.