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Moon Phase Collection

Anime Review

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Moon Phase Collection 1Title: Moon Phase
Alternative Title: Tsukuyomi Moon Phase (月詠 -Moon Phase-)
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia), Funimation (US), Revelation Films (UK)
Based on: Moon Phase manga series by Keitaro Arima
Audio: English and Japanese dubs
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Runtime: 350 minutes over 6 discs.
Cost: Personally, I bought the 6 DVD’s individually so I have no idea how much they totalled to, however Madman are selling it directly for $AUD 79.95 whilst JB Hi-fi are selling it for $AUD 75.
Trailer: Click Here
Copyright Information: © 2004 Keitaro Arima / Wani Books • Victor Entertainment, Inc. Licensed by Victor Entertainment, Inc. Under license to FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Moon Phase is a title that came to my attention after I finished watching Negima!? all those years back. This title was produced by a company named SHAFT, which in the past have taken series and whilst portraying decent storyline (Often in tune with the source material), have also added their small comedic touches and unique design techniques which always ensure an interesting watch (Of course, they also do serious anime of course). They have been responsible for other titles such as Pani Poni Dash and Negima!? (Both of which are now available in English). Moon Phase is no exception and having read all the manga volumes (Up until when Tokyopop decided to DROP the manga series *GRRRRR*), and it is a fairly good adaptation of the series. However, is it worthwhile to watch after reading the source manga? Read on for my review on Moon Phase – Collection.

Moon Phase Collection 2

While Kouhei ranks among the best in paranormal photography, he’s never actually seen a ghost! So when he fails to capture a hauntingly beautiful young girl on camera, he knows there must be an explanation. Driven by curiosity, his spiritual insensitivity proves a curse indeed as the young photographer crosses barriers best left alone, stumbling into the arms of a haughty vampire and a world he cannot comprehend.

 

The young vampire Hazuki, having waited years for someone to finally set her free, proves unwilling to part with her unwitting hero and follows him home, promptly adopting his life as her own. And as the adolescent vampire wreaks her own flavor of havoc, mysterious forces conspire to reclaim what was lost. Some riddles are best left unsolved…

Do note that this series has nothing in similar to the Twilight series…. Vampires are mostly evil, there is no depressive school girl and no guys that sparkle when their shirts are taken off. So sorry if you are a fan of such a series and just happen to want to add this title to your collection of similar DVD/Book collection, cause you may just end up disappointed. Getting that out of the way, the story follows Kouhei, who accidently stumbles across a young girl named Hazuki who he notices whilst he is taking photos of a castle. He in turn decides to rescue her where he finds out she is a nekomimi wearing vampire who desires to make him her slave. The movie consists of him, alongside his exorcist grandfather and cousin Seiji from a collaboration of vampires who are after her.

Moon Phase Collection 3

The storyline consists of two key storylines, which are split up into two halves of the series (Give or take an episode or two). The first half involves Kouhei and his family protecting Luna from a specific vampire known as Count Kinkell whilst the second half is dedicated to protecting her from a greater number of vampires, all of whom are after her for a specific purpose. However, the one issue I had with the second part was that there was a plot twist. Sure you may think it is good for an anime to have a plot twist…. but they never actually explain what happened until later on, leaving you to wonder what the hell is going on whilst searching through your disk collection to see if you missed a disc. However, I later found out that this was in the manga as well, so I suppose it is the manga’s fault, not the animes.

The storyline for the first part is a lot more enjoyable then the second part, primarily because the first part involves more general life antics and generally more interesting action whilst the second part consists of a more direct storyline, however a number of characters are temporarily written out of the episodes and the action and storyline seemed less interesting. However, the storyline does conclude in an acceptable way, leaving one extra episode for the aftermath of the events and another bonus episode which shows a rather interesting storyline about the antique shop being lost at sea. The comedy aspects come from certain choices in design, storyline element or the obligatory head pan upon the saying of an idiotic statement.

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The character personalities are more or less interesting. Hazuki, being the primary female character would have to be the most interesting character of them all, and as a difference to the manga, she wears nekomimi of her own free will, which is brought up a number of times during the episodes. Her personality is the typical snobbish lead female characteristics, however there is something about her that makes her seem unique. Kouhei is different from most male protagonists in series such as this, he is portrayed as a loser, however this is through his own abilities such as taking a guaranteed haunted photograph and not being able to use exorcism powers like the rest of his family. The other characters all have some important role in the storyline and with the exception of one or two characters that are required to progress the storyline along in one specific section, every character has a worthwhile role to play in the story.

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If there were one image to describe the design quality of this series, it would have to be the image above. This series is a bit weird in how it does its graphics. In terms of character designs, they are pretty much well detailed, especially for Hazuki where in one episode, she has a whole, at least 3 minute session of her in different outfits. They go about making Hazuki as the cute character and therefore try and have her in all sorts of outfits from a maid, to an antique salesperson to a white dress-shirt… basically, the entire cuteness works. The other characters have surprisingly good detail done to them, however for the most part, they tried to make them look like their profession, so Grandpa and Seiji have formal robes/suits, Hiromi who works with Seiji is dressed as a reporter should and the list goes on. The one thing that this series is known for is its great fetish of the nekomimi (Cat ears) and almost every episode you would get at least a dozen shots of nekomimi.

Moon Phase Collection 6

The environment designs outside of the castles are pretty well detailed as seen in the image above. Vibrant and well detailed environments are what I would consider standard in this series, however the quality does different dependent on the time of day and setting, as I found that a lot more detail was added onto during night scenes. The only exception to this is the Mido household, where the entire building appears as it is on a set, usually allowing you to see what goes on in every region of the house at once. It might not be to everyones tastes, however it is something unique that is utilized effectively at times. Castle environments on the other hand are less detailed, however this is done for a psychotic effect so Kouhei may run down a corridor that is a loop of wallpaper, giving the viewer the feeling that he is trapped and in danger. In castles, the character design quality is usually grainier and less detailed, for the same effect.

Character animations were decent, and it is evident that they tried to use unique ways of showing fighting scenes every time, so it is not just flinging a sword around trying to hit an opponent to parry you, instead, they have the characters fighting with a knight statue, deflecting bats and a number of other methods. The lip-syncing was also good, with no stand-out errors.

Opening Theme: Neko Mimi Mode by Dimitri From Paris
Youtube Link: Click Here

This is one of the opening themes that really need to be seen before you can pass judgement, since, in theme with the anime’s primary mascot, the all might Nekomimi, it is a 1:30 of constant Nekomimi with some weird music in the background. However, it is surprisingly enjoyable and cute. For approximately 5 episodes in the series, a second theme is used titled Tsuku Yomi Mode, which is a less cute version of the song which has proper lyrics.

Ending Theme: Pressentiment triste by marianne Amplifier feat. yuka
Youtube Link: Click Here

There are multiple ending themes during the anime however this is the primary one. This ending only ever uses one image which suits the darker theme of the anime. Despite the lack of anything going on, the song, whilst crossing all the boxes for a good song, is actually enjoyable, for reasons that elude me.

The songs in this series are limited, and are used multiple times during out the series (Some being used almost every episode), however the songs are of a pretty good quality and for the most part suit the environment being shown in the series. The out of battle music is usually very calm but has a sort of bounce to them (In other words, far from classical music), however of more interest to me is the suspenseful music played during the battle sequences. These are usually very fast paced, some with lyrics and usually go all out with the instruments. My favourite song by far would have to be one titled Be My Cat which is fast paced, has some rather good, what I assume is violin work in it, and has some pretty decent lyrics to go along with it nicely. Voice acting was of a really good standard and with the exception of perhaps Hazuki’s voice (Which is still good but doesn’t go as well with the cuteness), all the other characters respective english voices were far superior to the Japanese dubs. Praises all around goes to the english dub cast!

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This is a perfect example of what a manga to anime adaptation should be…. it follows the original storyline and does not deviate to one that is not guaranteed to work, it adds extra elements to make use of the animation and it adds its own mini storylines that are both unique to the anime but contributes to character development in some way. This series is definately one I would recommend everyone to get, especially if you want a vampire show that will make you laugh and remind you that real vampires suck blood, burn in the sunlight and make slaves, instead of “other” vampires. I am not sure what extras the collectors editions contain however every DVD set of the anime (There were a total of 6 sets), had a cute image on the front of each, alongside a booklet with interviews and images. Overall, I must say it again… I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SERIES!

Final Score

Storyline: B+ (8)
Characters: B+ (8)
Design: A (9)
Music and Voice Acting: A (10)
Personal Opinion: A+ (10)

Overall Score: A

 

Sam
Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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