“We must tightly grab on to what we truly desire. That is the reason why your pair of hands exists.”
The following review contains a small amount of spoilers. Be warned.
Looking up at the Half-Moon starts off with a boy meets girl scenario, where our hospitalized protagonist Yuuichi encounters Rika, a girl with a weak heart condition. The story mostly focuses on their daily activities, interactions in the hospital and how they gradually develop feelings towards each other.
What I found memorable is the main theme “limited time”, which is well established by the author throughout the series. Because of Rika’s serious heart problem, this ordinary heartwarming tale might suddenly end at any time. While reading, I tend to ask myself: How much time does the two have left spending with each other?
The melancholy atmosphere is nicely created as Rika only has a limited life span. I believe the realistic nature of her heart problem helped to create the atmosphere, since there isn’t any miracle happening that could heal her sickness completely. That being said, lighthearted humor and heartwarming character interactions are well balanced with the desperate situation.
Although Half-Moon seems to be an ordinary slice of life series, there are several powerful moments I find unforgettable even though I have finished the series for quite some time. The “a world without Rika” dream sequence really touches my heart. It perfectly puts readers into Yuuichi’s perspective and shows how heartbreaking it is to lose someone you deeply cherish. Another highlight of this novel is Doctor Natsume’s past. Not only does it make him a more well-rounded character, we get to understand why he chooses to break-up the two in the beginning.
As a side note Half-Moon’s main story ends at volume 6, the remaining two volumes are side stories. Though they are mostly lighthearted in nature, some provides additional character development and satisfying interactions.
Yuuichi’s growth and how well he was developed is something I did not expect. He starts off as an optimistic teenager who wishes to move to bigger cities such as Tokyo. Throughout the series he understands that it won’t be easy staying by Rika’s side, sometimes sacrifices must be made. I was touched by his determination to be with Rika even if it means to give up his dream.
Rika is a slightly complicated character, it took me some time to understand her true feelings. Though she seems bossy and childish at times, she actually has a much more mature personality. She has her struggles being with Yuuichi as she fully understands their relationship will take away Yuuichi's future.
Half-Moon also has a lovable and vivid group of side characters. Rika and Yuuichi's relationship would not have blossomed if any of the casts were ignored. The cheerful nurse Akiko who introduced the two's encounter and always supporting them, Doctor Natsume who teaches Yuuichi to face reality, Yuuichi's helpful and encouraging friends and even Yoshizou Tada, the perverted old man in the hospital who helped the two create unforgettable memories.
Looking up at the Half-Moon is an impressive ordinary romance story that deals with life and death. Although the plot is simple, the charming characters, powerful scenes and heartwarming moments made this series enjoyable and satisfying to read. Not to mention the deep bond between Yuuichi and Rika and the sweet moments they share under the “limited time”.