'Moonlight Mile - Touch Down' continues off where the first season left off, documenting Gorou and Woodbridge's space and lunar expeditions in the near future, 2017.
The first season focused on Gorou and Woodbridge's quest to reach space. After they conquered highest mountains in the world, topping off with Mount Everest, the two ambitious men set out to the final frontier, space. 'MMS2' is their actual accomplishments in space, and their race to the moon through two different routes: International Space Agency for Gorou, and U.S. military for Woodbridge.
The greatest loss this season was the rivalry between Gorou and Woodbridge. They do think about their former
mountain climbing partners and even occasionally mumble "I'll be waiting for you on the moon" etc, but there was zero direct interaction between the two. In fact, Gorou was still unaware of his rival's presence in space to the very end. Also gone is interaction with Riyoko, whose role with Gorou was reduced to (very) long distance relationship through occasional impersonal transmissions. Gorou's romantic interest this season is the obnoxious TV idol who made a brief appearance last season, whose character did develop throughout the series, but ultimately corny without real substance.
What I liked about the first season was the inspiration built around men who dared to dream, and took actions to make their dreams come true. While this is still present in the second season, it felt much more forced in comparison. Perhaps this is a direct result of paying closer attention as I signed up to translate this series with a group, thus putting every scene under close scrutiny, but it seemed like there were far more technobabble and too many close calls that the show no longer seemed as realistic as it did in the first season. Overall, there were simply too many recurring themes, just in different situations. Sex has lost its meaning, and the show seemed almost racist with all the stereotypes: Devoted communist Chinese soldiers, American secrecy with operations behind the scenes, Islamic terrorists, cheap Russian rockets and coverups... cliché was certainly abundant. However, the political aspect was highly enjoyable as it shows how politics can both drive innovation (i.e. developing base on the moon for energy, military presence for foreseeable territorial disputes), and act as a hurdle (i.e. difficulty in getting the funding, concealment of information).
Animation quality is generally poor with fakey CG and scenes that were far too dark to be visible, but the character design worked really well for the semi-realistic setting of the show. Voice acting was pretty good with everyone sounding like they should, except Maggy's voice was annoying... I guess she was supposed to be obnoxious though. BGM and OP/ED were generic.
'MMS2' would likely fit in as the "complication" section to build up for a climax in 3-act play, which tends to be the least interesting section of the entire story. I'm sure the producers had a third season in mind, which never materialized. It's very disappointing that we may never get to see the conclusion in anime after all this. The misleading OP with scenes of Gorou and Woodbridge's reunion and showdown of what appears to be American and Chinese politicians only worsens the situation.
"Our job is to capture terrorists. Dreamers are out of our jurisdiction"
I start this review like many others, with a quote. The only difference is this quote comes from a minor character whose name I cannot remember but this quote holds such power it's difficult to forget. Moonlight Mile isn't some space mecha, nor is it strictly slice of life. It's a wonderful combination of the two.
Moonlight mile portrays a realistic view of life in space, which is something I haven't seen done before. When I think of space anime, shows like Macross, Galaxy Express 999, Cowboy Bebop, and Gundam come to mind. These shows
all take place in a futuristic universe where living in space is no different than living on the ground. Moonlight Mile rejects this and gives us a taste of what space travel is really like (for now at least). It was this original idea that first got me interested in this show. What I expected was a lot of cool space related stuff, what I got was unexpected.
I got a drama, supplemented by the back story of space development. The story of the two friends, Goro and Lostman, continue as both try to reach the moon, the goal they set after their encounter with Snow White. However now both have taken separate paths and each has their own problems to overcome. That said the series is only lightly protagonist-centric. We begin to learn about each of the minor characters, their pasts, and their lives. No single character is given more than one episode for their story, but in that short episode we are given stories with depth and strong emotions. That's why I started this review with a quote from one of these stories.
The music consists mostly of instrumental scores, even the opening is an orchestral score. Although this may seem like a boring soundtrack it fits the series well.
The only real problem I had with this show was the artwork on some of the characters. The whole show is drawn in a "rugged' style (muscles, masculinity etc...). But that style fits the series quite well, I just wish they had removed a few of the sharp edges on some characters (especially some of the women). That said the backgrounds and CGI were done very well. Overall it's a great thing to look at!
Overall a great show! "I'll see you on the lunar desert"