I’m wondering why I haven’t written any reviews for this, seeing as it currently lacks any. Crescent Moon is undoubtedly one of my favorite manga, and to tell you the truth, when I first picked it up and read the first volume, it confused me and didn’t like it at all.
Starting out with the story: Mahiru is a young teenage girl who, after suffering reoccurring dreams, she comes across the Lunar Race, a collection of not-so-seemingly mythical creatures who claim that she is the descendant of the princess, and these bandits need her help in recovering the teardrops of the moon, their lost source
of energy. Slowly Mahiru comes into closer terms with the Lunar Race and helps heal the rift which has formed between these creatures and humans. The story by itself is even a little confusing, but it shouldn’t be too hard to understand. What makes it hard, too, is the panel layout of each page. The balloons often collide and the panels mix, and it goes at a fast pace. However, once I read volume one a second time, I all of a sudden really started to get into it.
The story is pretty original, for one thing. It’s not some mahou shoujo thing where the girl is all of a sudden summoned to save the world (though I don’t mind those sort of stories). All of the characters I either really liked or just didn’t care much for. Mahiru is your average orphaned teenager that lives with her aunt… sort of. People say that when they touch her she brings them good luck. Mahiru often finds it annoying how people are relying on her for their good fortune, but she isn’t bad-tempered and kind of just goes along with it. She’s sort of klutzy, but not overly so, and more than ever she wants to be of help to the Lunar Bandits. At first she’s not so keen on the idea, but after a while (and actually it’s not a very long while) she really is in desire to be of use to them.
Speaking of the Lunar Bandits, the first one you meet is Nozomu, the blonde-haired smooth-tongued vampire of the lot. He comes across as facetious, but can be genuinely caring. The others soon follow, Akira, the happy-go-lucky werewolf, Misoka, a calm and collected fox demon, and lastly, Mitsuru, the tengu. Mitsuru hates Mahiru when they first meet, or rather, he’s scared of her. When Mahiru touches Mitsuru, as he’s unable to willfully control his power, he changes into his true form of a tengu. He’s very short tempered and irritable, and most always keeps his distance, but his affection for Mahiru and vice versa grows throughout the story (which, incidentally, was definitely one of my favorite aspects of the story- I love romance!).
The art is very pretty. It’s a little different, and definitely not among mainstream, so it might be displeasing to most people, but I actually like it a lot. The perspective the author uses is nice, the expressions among the character’s faces. Backgrounds aren’t beautiful, but they’re well done.
If you were thinking about reading this and are put-off, or you’ve tried it and given up, you might want to try it again. Sure, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and frankly I’m surprised I like it myself. But sometimes you need to give something a second chance. For my overall scores I don't think I can give anything higher than a nine, but I don't think it deserves worse or better. Try this one out and see if you like it.
The storyline is actually rather good though can get confusing at times. It just sometimes doesn’t fit all together until the end so some may find themselves getting lost. I’m still not fully sold on how the manga ends but it does make a little more sense then it first lets on. We start out with a girl who is unlucky, throw in a boy who isn’t human who wants to kill her instead of be her friend, and a whole race that looks for her help. That’s a lot for even an ordinary girl but for an unlucky one, I’m pretty sure that she
would think she was going to die by a race that isn’t human. I do like the manga but it’s not as gripping as some others in that I don’t normally try to reread it. It is a very good manga to read once but to reread it again makes me feel slightly board as I know what will happen at the end. Still the little information pieces they have on the back of the manga help to clarify things that you wouldn’t understand such as Japanese words, name meanings, and a couple of the spells that are used.
Shall we talk about the characters? Mahiro is a cute little high school student but yet acts a bit more mature. Sadly, sometimes she does end up whining but not very much. For a girl who lost her parents at a young age, she is rather good at taking care of what she has to do even though she has the same problems as a normal girl her age. There are times when she doubts herself and times when she pushes herself but she always has a good heart. Mitsuru is the second main character and at first he acts like a complete and total jerk, wanting to kill Mahiro and doesn’t trust humans much. If you look at the very small bit of info they let on about his upbringing, you can kind of understand but I really wish we had much more to go on. He warms up to her much as any other character does in this type of manga but is attitude never seems to change.
Nozomu is almost like the ‘sly charmer’ in the mix as he acts very loving to the people around him. He’s rather swave more then the others so you sometimes get the impression he is probably like a guy in the host club. I guess that’s because of the fact he is a vampire. Akira is the cute character to where he is always playful and innocent like a little puppy instead of a full blown werewolf. He is just like a dog in that he is loyal though and I think he is the only one of the group who actually shows his emotions right out on his sleeve where as the others do try to hide it. Misoka is a mysterious one though. We don’t get much about him except that he seems to be the quite shadow and more knowledgeable about the stuff they are doing then anyone. The other characters do not get much screen time except for the bumbling inspector and detective that chase the group at almost every point. They never change and just seem to be there for a bit more conflict or comedy.
The artwork is rather strange with large, closed eyes that seem almost like they could pull you in next to very simple faces. Hair is always really well done and detailed except for one or two characters like Akira and Youhei. It’s almost like the artist mixed a couple different styles together and its almost off putting although you can tell that she was working really hard because of how much detail she puts in the backgrounds and the characters clothing and hair. Every once in a while, we would have a picture where it looks like she might of forgotten the detail but its not a lot and so doesn’t take from the rest. I cannot fault her for the artwork as to normal standards, it’s extremely well done. The problem I face and some others may also feel this is that it’s very stylized. Those who aren’t used to this style might end up putting it down just because of that.
As you'll find during this review, virtually everything about Crescent Moon is pretty moot. It's only slightly above average in all respects, but that makes it for a read that isn't all that bad, nor all that good.
The story doesn't bother to get into incredible detail beyond what it tells you in the simplest of terms, and characters embrace soliloquies left and right. Someone always has something to say even at times that aren't the best time to say it, and other times the things they say or share are completely bogus or required specifically for the story to advance. Certain things happen merely because
they should, and other things are just there seemingly because the mangaka thought it'd be neat.
All of the above doesn't make it a bad manga, however. Things work out in the most basic of senses, and I found the story bearably enjoyable as the narrative unfolded. My biggest complaint comes into how limited the story is. There's room for a lot of political discussion, an expanded demon world, more characters, tons of stuff that wasn't really thouched on.
It's a strange style that's sort of eclectic but has its own way of standing apart from other works. That said, it's one of those works that reminds you that you're reading a manga and not a graphic novel. Things are somewhat overly expressive, some stuff focuses weird, it's a mix of this and that and it comes together to make something unique.
Character designs are interesting, but some of the more vibrant stuff such as the demon forms don't work well on page. It's very difficult to know who or what's on the page, and then what that individual may be doing. It's rather stressful since some of the stuff can be interesting but you're trying desparetely to make sense of a messy drawing spanning 2 pages. It's ridiculous.
Proportions are occasionally off the charts. I'm talking extra big legs, extra long legs, weird hand positions, and improper sized people. One character, Oboro, the whole story looks absolutely terrible, both in design and in his proportions. IT never gets all that much better, either.
Decent characters. Assuming the translation I read (Tokyopop) was as close to the original as possible, the use of slang was a nice touch to add realism to the many characters. Some narratives don't push slang as it can alienate certain readers who may not understand it as much. That said, there was a time or two I felt slang came across as unfitting during a certain scene or two. However, it's a shounen, and shounen's are more comedic, especially during serious scenes to keep the mood light. Hazard of the territory.
Mahiru, the main protagonist, is a pretty good female lead that feels realistic and feminine. Certian female leads portray a masculine character, so it doesn't really matter that I'm reading a female protagonist since I could just throw in a male and it wouldn't change the story. However, certain aspects of her character are very female in nature and make for an interesting read in a medium that sticks to mostly manish leads and characteristics. She's strong willed, but timid and reserved. Determined, but afraid of her own abilities.
However, just because we have an interesting lead, doesn't mean we have good supporting characters. Well, they're not bad, but nothing in them is special. They're all fairly simple characters with nothing all that different from your usual vast cast of characters. It's kind of dissapointing, but it's not all that bad. There's so much that can be done here, it's ridiculous. I'm talking a whole lot. Are different demons from different area? Do they hold grudges against other races? Why are all demons looked at as just demons? Wouldn't demons have vast amounts of infighting? I bring this up because humans infight, so why isn't there demon infighting?
But, beyond that, it's a whole lot of nothing. It's a simple, cute romance with a fairly good coming of age narrative that's built around somehwat alright characters, so it can't get as in depth as I think it could go. It'd definitely improve a lot of aspects, as well as explain many others.
It was alright. I own the manga so I figured at some point I should finish it. It was, in fact, one of the first I had started many years ago, but I picked up the final volume loooong after I had read the previous ones, and had to restart to really know what was going on (or write a proper review.) In the end, it was a fairly alright story that I would have eagerly continued in the hopes of finding a larger story somewhere down the road, but it's all water under the bridge now.
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