Feb 22, 2022
Moon Land was built to be like Haikyuu but falls short of expectations. The plot and the pacing of the story was well done, but it feels 2D because the characters don't experience much development. Where Haikyuu really pulls through as a story is its crew of characters that are all diverse and fully fleshed out, allowing readers to neglect the tropes it uses or any erratic pacing of the plot.
Moon Land ends up feeling a little hollow because while we are given motivations for each character and why they do things the way that they do, no other real information
is given to us about them. Some character development was present but it didn't rock the boat, didn't cause readers to relate, and it was pretty vague for the most part -- mainly the MC. Mitsuki is the typical trope-y MC (not complaining because we know sport animes are full of them) but he doesn't stand out from the crowd of top-tier MCs. He pursues his own style of gymnastics and is quite relentless-- standing back up from a setback by himself. While that is commendable and refreshing, he does it with such nonchalance and without much struggle that we fail to connect with him and it flops as a character development arc. While I have made private arguments about how Hinata also lacks setbacks (except for height), I think it was still done better because Hinata's emotions throughout the whole story have been consistent and strong. Mituski is calm, graceful, and never gets mad or sad. His feelings towards gymnastics are strong but he never elaborates on it.
There was so much potential in this story that I was compelled to write a review in the first place. Places that may have made the story more complete: addressing the potential controversy between winning based on E-score vs D-score (vice versa) or making Mitsuki have a real conflict with other gymnasts based on their gymnastic style.
That being said, Moon Land was still a solid piece of work because of the pacing. There was never a weird lag or unwanted break that cuts all of the tension of the story or too fast and sudden that you get whiplash. You constantly feel a rush because it just gets better and better. Sometimes, it deceives you into rating the manga higher (ahem) but that attests to the author's talent.
TLDR: A watered-down cocktail of Haikyuu! + Bakuten! with a calm, graceful, slightly OP MC that still has enough firepower to make you binge it at 12 am.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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