May 27, 2010
kekekeKaj (All reviews)
I watched "Full Moon wo Sagashite" because it had one of the highest average user ratings at one point on this other anime site that I visit. So it probably comes as no surprise that I was sorely disappointed to find that it's only good, but nothing special. So the main purpose of this review is to provide a different viewpoint from all those other rave reviews that can be found for this series.

"Full Moon wo Sagashite" is quite a heart warming anime about a little girl who wants to become a singer, but only has one year to live because of the tumour in her throat. Spanning 52 episodes, it was one of the longest anime I watched at the time. To be honest, I think it could have been amazing if it was reduced to half its length - I found the series as a whole to be a bit of a struggle to get through, as most of the episodes up until about episode 40 are actually disposable, girly fluff. Watching "Full Moon wo Sagashite" will pretty much give you the very definition of what a "filler" episode is, because it contains so many of them. I disagree with people who say that these fillers are necessary for character developments purposes - most of them they don't really reveal much beyond the fact that Mitsuki is a boringly nice person. I've seen anime that's done waaay more and waaaay better character development in its first THIRTEEN episodes than this anime's done in its first THIRTY *cough*SeikaiNoMonshou*cough*, which just goes to show you don't need a mass of filler episodes to do a decent a job. Most of these fillers aren't even very enjoyable to watch. They're mostly very generic shoujo material and generally fall somewhere between the "dull" and the "mediocre" sections of the scale in terms of entertainment. This is not to say the first 40 episodes of "Full Moon wo Sagashite" is totally worthless. Some of those episodes do progress the storyline a bit (like, a couple of inches) and there are some pretty good standalone episodes as well, but they tend to be few and far in between.

Another thing I found odd is why everyone seem to rate the music from "Full Moon wo Sagashite" so highly - just because it's an anime about music doesn't automatically make the music on it good. To me, the music production for "Full Moon wo Sagashite" is very good at best and awkward at worst. For starters, what's up with Mitsuki's singing voice? Her voice sounds nice when she talks, and fits that pure and innocent image that she plays, but when she sings, she sounds completely different, and not in a good way. For one thing, she sounds about 10 years older, and her voice has an irritating sandy quality to it. For another, she sounds like she's trying too hard to inject emotions into the songs, to the point where she starts to sound really fake and unnatural. I'm really surprised to hear the person who does Mitsuki's voice is a pop star - I'd never have guessed from her singing. It really says a lot when I much prefer the music box version of "Eternal Snow" to the proper vocal version. In fact I don't think much of the vocal tracks in general. Normally, it is expected that that music in an anime would supplement the show by enhancing the atmosphere. But some of the vocal songs in this series are so bland that at times, it feels like it's the anime that's supplementing *them*, causing them to sound better than they actually are by playing them during emotional moments. In addition to this, a lot songs are criminally overplayed... especially the more mediocre ones, which might have been a good thing in a way, because it took quite a few hearings before I got used to the grating vocals. The background music proved to be far superior than the vocal tracks. From the gentle, warm moments to the occasional eerie, chilling ones, it consistently does the job perfectly whenever called upon.

The original idea behind story's was good, especially with twists building up towards the end, but it is diluted by the massive amounts of filler episodes and took too long to get going. There are times when any resemblance of realism goes out of the window. Normally this happens when Mitsuki's talking to her shinigumi friends in a dead loud voice - even shouting at times - with other people standing around. She could at least pretend to whisper, but no, she has to talk in her normal voice and it seems that hardly anyone notices, which really bugs me. An example of how it could have been done better would be in "Hikaru no Go", where people would actually look at Hikaru weirdly when he gets too noisy interacting with the spirit. There's also the cancer aspect that's so wrapped up in sugar coating that it's totally unconvincing. Like many people, I've experienced the pain of losing someone close to me to cancer, and the fact that this anime completely failed to connect to me on this front is saying an awful lot. All they've done is have Mitsuki clutch at her throat every 10 episodes or so, and occasionally fall ill at the storyline's convenience, for the most part there is no sense of urgency, no resemblance of the terrifying progression that's so typical of the condition. All I'm left with is a sense that it's just essentially used as a plot device, and not much more than that.

"Full Moon wo Sagashite" has got some good characters, but again, they're no where near as good as they're hyped up to be, and they don't really do much in the early part of the series (when there's a downpour of the supposedly character developing filler episodes, ironically), and only broke out of their 2D personalities when the plot got going later on. I also have major issues with the relationships that goes on in the anime, specifically with the romance aspect of it. I'm surprised that not many people have said anything about this, but hasn't anyone else noticed that when Eichi, the boy Mitsuki's in love with, made his "declaration of love" to her, he was about 15-16 and Mitsuki was about 10?! Is it just me that finds this a "tad" unrealistic, not to mention a "tad" dodgy as well?! I can kind of imagine where Mitsuki's feelings might come from, but Eichi should know better at his age than to try and seduce a 10 year old :P Perhaps Eichi should change his name to "Ecchi", as that's more inline with the kind of things he seems to be into. I don't know why they insisted on making this a romantic relationship - it would have been far more appropriate to play the relationship off as a big brother and little sister one rather than this sickening "ooooh Mitsuki, I love you! Even though I'm nearly a young adult now and you've barely entered double figures in terms of age" cack. Those scenes never failed to make me cringe. Also, Takuto was supposed to be 12 when he was in a band (yeah this seems a bit young too, considering his band didn't exactly look like a kids band), so why is he seen riding a motorbike during one of the flashbacks? Now, the explanation may be because he was in the band for a number of years during which time he'd grown up into an adult and was able to learn to ride a motorbike... but this raises the question of why he started falling for a 12 year old girl if he was already so old when he became a shinigumi?!? I wasn't under any impression that the anime is trying to portray all the boys in it as perverts. What is this obsession with shoehorning romance into absolutely everything these days? Is it really so hard making a shoujo without resorting to this? It's because of this apparent obligation to make a love story that we're stuck with these plot holes and rather contrived relationships.

This otherwise stale series is salvaged from mediocrity by the sheer brilliance of its final ten or so episodes that really breathed life into the show. I always thought there was too much sunshine in the early episodes given the premises of the story, but here, the anime rectifies the situation by taking a darker and more depressing turn. With the previously pedestrian story suddenly breaking into a sprint, and the character interactions suddenly becoming interesting, it's here that the anime really starts to earn its praise. It's so good that it's probably worth wading through the previous 40 episodes just so you can watch the last 10. With so many compelling twists happening in the last part of the story, I was actually expecting something more original than the most cliched ending imaginable that I got, especially considering that it's so often touted to be "the best ending ever". Still, I'll admit it is a very good ending - they've taken something pretty predictable and executed it pretty much to perfection - but like the rest of the anime, it's just no where near deserving its "best" label.

Overall, I think "Full Moon wo Sagashite" is an enjoyable, "feel-good" anime, even if it did need the last ten or so episodes to drag it kicking and screaming up to this level of praise. I think the makers made a pretty cunning decision to save those best parts till last - I suspect the strength of those later episodes made people forget how unremarkable most of the rest of the series is. I however, haven't forgotten, and I stand by my claim that this should really have been condensed down to 26 episodes, not left at 52.