Full Moon Wo Sagashite

July 15, 2012

What would you do if you were told you have only 12 months more to live? Would you go crazy and become paranoid? Would you go out and live your life to the fullest? Or would you like me (if it ever happens, touch wood) go get a second opinion? For Mitsuki Kouyama of Full Moon Wo Sagashite, she would have chosen the second option. I mean, if your days are already numbered, might as well do all the things you love so that you can depart from this world without regrets, right?

If you are into shoujo type of animes, than this should suit you just fine because it has got drama, it has got some romance, it has got some song and music. Probably most of the ingredients that many teenage girls would find this show ‘watchable’. Okay, perhaps maybe back in the year 2002 (when this series started airing). Nowadays girls won’t even watch this kind of series anymore. So what about me? Am I considered a teenage girl since I’m watching this? Well, from the comments I have read randomly over the internet, those who are fans of this show definitely have lots of good things to say. They were touched and moved by the story, characters, bla, bla, bla. To ascertain that, that’s why I decided to give this series a shot. You were expecting some other reason? Then why not this: It’s an old retro anime that I haven’t seen so I was curious. No, I didn’t judge the cover by the book. (So okay, maybe Mitsuki’s twirling corkscrew twintails caught my attention).

So the story is something like this. Orphaned 12 year old Mitsuki Kouyama loves to sing. However she has something that every singer would dread and prevent them from doing what they love. She has throat cancer. Surgery would have done the trick but she is most afraid of losing her voice (I guess medical technology wasn’t so advanced then). Plus, doctors can’t really force their patients to undergo the knife if they don’t really want to. So without Mitsuki’s own permission, there is nothing more they can do except give lip service to persuade her. One day, a pair of shinigamis, Takuto and Meroko pay her a visit and somehow they told her she has got only a year to live. Gee, why the warning I wonder? And isn’t it odd that a middle school girl could see them when no other people could? I guess you have to believe they are telling the truth firstly, you can see them, right? That is definitely a tell tale sign. So what is Mitsuki to do than to sneak out of her house to a music audition in the city to achieve her dream before she kicks the bucket. Takuto upon seeing Mitsuki’s determination and love for music agrees to let her take the audition. However she is underage so Takuto gives her swallow a drop of his blood so that he can transform into a gorgeous 16 year old blonde to sing. In exchange, when her time is up, she will have to go quietly with them. Hey, can you really cut a deal with a shinigami? Another odd thing is, when she is in this mode, her throat cancer is gone! Man, she should stay in this form but will everybody else believe her? Is this the life she wants?

Now this is another mind blowing thing. Once it is transformed Mitsuki’s turn to audition in front of the panel of judges, they are so astounded and taken in by her ‘beautiful’ voice that they immediately pick her, cancel the audition (so sorry for all those girls who had auditioned before her. Especially those who were after her number) and make her sign a full contract with the music record. Wow! What a way to reach instant stardom. Talk about rising to the top so fast. This is way better than going on American Idol. To conceal her identity, she goes under the name of Full Moon (that is what her name Mitsuki also means) and as a rising pop star, I’m sure lots of fans are eager to know her background and all. But the way I see it, Full Moon rarely divulges in her personal life and there is no case of anybody trying to get to know more about her. I guess it’s the era before Facebook and Twitter so people aren’t really obsessed and respect her privacy. If only this happens in real life. Mitsuki also has to keep this a secret from lots of people. Imagine what would be the world’s reaction, especially her strict grandma and friends if they ever find out she’s actually a pop star. So the trio rely on each other to avoid this and help Mitsuki achieve her dream before her time is up. Isn’t this odd too? A pair of shinigamis whose job is to take away people’s life, taking care of a 12 year old girl for a full year? It makes you go WTF?! And since this is quite a long series (52 episodes running for a full year), my memories are somewhat fuzzy. As usual I ‘depend’ on Wikipedia to refresh them. Like I can remember them either. Maybe I’ve got some tumour that induces my memory loss. Touch wood!

Some of the main characters and points in the series:
Mitsuki Kouyama – Despite having throat cancer, a weak body and a cough that makes everyone worry if she’s going to collapse or not, Mitsuki chooses to remain positive, cheerful and helpful girl. A big motivation for her to become a pop idol is because of the nice boy she loves, Eichi Sakurai (at first I thought I heard Ecchi…). Coming from the same orphanage, she never got the chance to tell her feelings because he left for America to be an astronomer. They made a promise that the next time they meet, they will have already fulfilled their dreams. So by becoming Full Moon, she hopes that her music will reach and find him and thus to reply his feelings that she loves him.

Takuto and Meroko – The pair of shinigamis taking on a self duty to protect and help Mitsuki. While Takuto is the moody one, Meroko is the cheerful one. As the series progresses, it is obvious Takuto develops feelings for Mitsuki though he keeps denying it (I consider him tsundere) while Meroko totally has a one-sided crush on Takuto and would go all the way out (most of the times) to make Takuto look at her. But obviously that never works out. Seeing they are invisible to the eyes of others in their shinigami form, they take a form of a cat and rabbit plushie (Takuto and Meroko respectively) so that they are visible. Just hope other people don’t catch them moving or talking. Since Takuto can only transform Mitsuki to Full Moon, he usually accompanies Mitsuki to auditions and work while sulking Meroko has the ‘honour’ in staying at home disguised as Mitsuki so this will not raise any suspicions that her granddaughter is out doing something ‘dangerous’. Meroko has this shinigami handbook in which if a word appears backwards, it will indicate that item/thing/somebody will shorten Mitsuki’s lifespan and her death brought forward. Wah. So to say she doesn’t necessarily have exactly a year to live, right? And how ironic it is when the pair goes to great lengths to save Mitsuki’s life by trying to avoid her from meeting that fate. Doesn’t it go against their job’s description?

Fuzuki Kouyama – Mitsuki’s strict grandmother who hates music. You can’t blame her once you understand how she lost her daughter Hazuki who eloped with a musician and they both died in an accident. Because Mitsuki is the only relative she has left, she takes her in but doesn’t allow her to stay in the main house (she lives in an annexed part of the big compound). I guess that is pretty convenient too seeing she might go crazy if she sees and hears Mitsuki talking to herself when she is conversing with Takuto and Meroko, right? Fuzuki has a full time housemaid, Yoneya Tanaka who can be silly at most times but she deeply cares for her master and her granddaughter.

Keiichi Wakaouji – Mitsuki’s doctor and the Kouyama’s family doctor. How often can you have a nice and handsome doctor by your side? Could have been the most eligible bachelor of the year.

Masami Oshige – Full Moon’s manager and always tries her best to do what is best for Full Moon.

Madoka Wakamatsu – Every idol surely must have her own rival, right? Well in Full Moon’s case, it is the b*tchy Madoka whom everyone loves to hate. She holds a bitter grudge for Full Moon because she was somewhat ousted in the audition that Full Moon made her debut. She thinks if her number was earlier, she could’ve been chosen instead (I doubt it). Therefore, Madoka goes to great lengths to sabotage Full Moon’s concert and do what it takes to give her trouble all while being sneaky underneath a goody-two-shoes facade. I guess causing this kind of trouble and spreading bad rumours of Full Moon is what she does best in and constantly.

Myself – The title of the debut single from Full Moon. Initially the record producer, Takasu wanted her to sing a pre-written song but she felt it wasn’t suitable and took up his challenge to write her own sing (something which he isn’t confident seeing she is a novice).

Who says being an idol is ever easy? – There are a few challenges that Full Moon/Mitsuki will encounter. One, trying to act like a 16 year old can be tough for Mitsuki and is taking a toll. Due to the age difference, she feels depressed but gets her confidence back after meeting 3 girls at a hill supposed to have this rumour that if you have turned 16 years old on this hill, you will find a boyfriend. Well, would Full Moon count? Then we have a little girl named Nanami abducting Takuto away. She refused to hand him back to Mitsuki seeing she is lonely and her parents are always busy at work. But things do work out in the end as she reconciles with her parents (supermarket live drama?) and becomes Full Moon’s number 1 fan. Mitsuki gets disheartened when Myself becomes a smash hit, none of the girls in her class were really talking about it. Worse, they were saying bad things about the single. So Meroko jumps the gun and tries to advertise the single with near disastrous results. But the good thing is Mitsuki is able to make a few friends of her own. Of course it is found out that the badmouthing was referring to the fact they couldn’t buy the CD anywhere. Then Mitsuki wants Wakaouji to hear the song seeing he hasn’t heard it himself. He refused partly because it brought back bad memories when he was a musician. It has something to do with Mitsuki’s late parents too. But Mitsuki is happy when she gets to know he has a copy of her CD. Full Moon also learns some of the rules in show business when she debuts on TV with enka singer Fuyuko Komaki. A misunderstanding occurred so this causes Komaki not to like Full Moon very much though Full Moon works hard to earn back her trust. No idol is ever safe from the hands of the paparazzi. In Full Moon’s case, she almost got her identity revealed with the pesky Saegusa. All his subjects that are caught in a scandal will have their future destroyed and thus forced into an early retirement. When Full Moon was caught having dinner with Wakaouji (even if it is nothing serious I assure you but people can really make a mountain out of a molehill), it could almost spell the end of Full Moon. But with Takuto coming to her protection, Saegusa got spooked by the ‘ghost’ he sees, quits his job and leaves town. So he finally learnt his lesson to respect the privacy of others, eh? Full Moon holds a mini concert at a pre-school, but a little boy Taiki (looking very much like Eichi) keeps sabotaging the concert like stealing her costume and wrecking the stage props. He did this because the girl he likes will leave after Full Moon’s concert. Seeing their similar circumstances, Full Moon manages to advice them even though they are apart, they can still be together if they don’t forget each other. Also, Full Moon gets a temporary manager when Oshige is out sick. Rookie Koutarou Akiba doesn’t seem cut out for the job and makes many mistakes. Though it is sad he has to leave in the end, but he continues working at a shop promoting Full Moon’s goods. Full Moon is at risk of having her kiss stolen by a playboy who befriends her. Till Takuto saves the day and that jerk’s girlfriend comes into the picture. Why didn’t she dump him already? Mitsuki’s friend, Kumi is asking for her advice on love on the boy she has a crush on, Machida. However the guy misinterpreted and thinks it is Mitsuki who likes him. Though Kumi is heartbroken, Mitsuki manages to clear up the misunderstanding and bring a happy ending for Kumi and Machida. There is also this high school festival in which Full Moon becomes the prize. The winning guy gets to kiss her! Takuto enters the fray (taking a human form) and amazingly wins it despite his cheating competitor. Meroko on the other hand entered some beauty contest and also won (it bugs me how can outsiders like them win) to attract Takuto’s attention. But all she was Takuto winning and almost kissing Full Moon and broke them up before their lips are sealed.

Who says being a shinigami is easy too? – Well, an old guy collapses in front of the house and good ol’ Tanaka takes him in. As gratitude, he gives her some stone. Not just an ordinary stone. The kind that repels the shinigamis out of the house. They can’t get in the barrier and they are rushing for time seeing Full Moon has a job to do.  They try to contact Mitsuki who is inside the house and still wondering where her shinigamis are. Eventually when they do, they manage to break the spell (pushing the stone into water to dispel its effect) and even made it in time for the job. Phew.

The b*tch is back – Madoka is the source of that paparazzi incident and hell she is still going to give a hard time to Full Moon. This time both ladies are locked in a competition to see who will get the lead role in a shampoo commercial. Because Meroko’s handbook reveals the word ‘audition’, she tries to delay Mitsuki from reaching the audition (I felt it could’ve been avoided if she just said something about this). In the end, Mitsuki lost out to Madoka when she arrived late. Though Meroko is able to prevent Mitsuki from a certain premature death, she still feels guilty for trying to stop her. But she is back to normal once Takuto says a few things enough to cheer her up. Madoka also spreads nasty gossip about Full Moon, prompting the site to cancel the stage for her first live solo last minute. So as not to disappoint fans and cancelling the concert altogether, they manage to secure the pier and hold the concert under the starry night sky.

It’s out – It’s amazing the first time round how Mitsuki, Takuto and Meroko could fool Oshige and Wakaouji that Mitsuki and Full Moon are different persons by switching back and forth. But this time round, she comes clean with them. I guess the transformation scene nails it. Being the good people they are, they won’t go round spreading the news of Full Moon’s true identity. So I guess it is easier with a few more people knowing about her secret. Mitsuki doesn’t need to be in a hurry to hide and change.

Wakaouji x Oshige? – Oshige moves closer to Mitsuki’s home so she can easily get in touch with her whenever a job arises (though grandma is still unaware of everything). Tanaka gets jealous thinking Oshige is Wakaouji’s girlfriend (even though they admit they are not) and challenges her to housewife duties competition (see, what did I tell you about having a good looking doctor? Even ordinary housemaids like her ends up liking him). Though Tanaka scores in all of them, leaving Oshige in her dust trail, Tanaka gives up because she saw how good they boot look when they are together.

Eternal Snow – This is the second song that Mitsuki wants to sing. It is also the song her father, Aoi written when he was under the popular band Route L. Guess what? Madoka also wants to debut with this song and has Takasu as her producer. Because of this, every other producer doesn’t dare go against him. Mitsuki is left to beg Wakaouji to become Full Moon’s producer seeing he was part of the 3-man band Route L. Eventually he agrees and becomes her producer with a set of conditions. I guess this means he will become a part time doctor, eh? Takasu knows Madoka is putting up an angelic facade and has a grudge against Full Moon. However he doesn’t care for all that and wants her to believe him. However Madoka couldn’t resist in ruining Full Moon’s image and is back to her sabotaging self and spreads rumours of Full Moon and Wakaouji seeing each other. But it backfires as Takasu walks out on Madoka seeing she doesn’t trust her and wants her to remember the reason why she is singing (feel bad to say “You deserve it!” when Madoka is crying like that). With Full Moon going full steam to release her second single, she along with the shinigamis rummage through the family’s store to find the reason behind Eternal Snow (it was Aoi’s love for Hazuki). Mitsuki gets a new goal to make everyone who listens to her song to feel warm inside.

Lost and found – With Madoka now a fallen idol, there are people who are talking bad behind her back and she herself has a change of manager. Her turning point is when she meets Mitsuki (not knowing she is Full Moon). She learns more about Madoka. A reason why she hated Full Moon because she doesn’t believe the path of an idol is a bed of roses. Madoka went through the harsh and bitter realities of life being an idol so that’s why when Full Moon shot to stardom, she thought she must have some connections and pulled strings. Nice Mitsuki even gives Madoka renewed hope to continue singing because she wants to hear her voice. It’s not about being rivals or who is better. So, Mitsuki is now Madoka’s number 1 fan? At least that’s what Madoka thinks. Oh, Madoka did manage to release her version of Eternal Snow but that is much later and around Christmas.

Izumi and Jonathan – A new pair of shinigamis entering the fray. Izumi is a cold-hearted person attempts to steal back Meroko (his previous partner) from Takuto. So another one-sided crush, eh? As for Jonathan, I thought he was looking like a ghost coming out from that cartoon show, Casper. All I can see him is a comic relief, annoyingly fooling around though subservient to Izumi. In fear that Mitsuki can see shinigamis, Takuto and Meroko along with Mitsuki go to great lengths to make it as though she can’t see Izumi. But Izumi has his suspicions and they are in a pinch since Full Moon is putting up another concert for her fans. Though in a cleverly disguised and smooth transitional switch just before the concert starts, Izumi isn’t a dumb shinigami and just pretended to play along with their silly game. Izumi is also bad enough to fake an email from Eichi, getting Mitsuki’s hopes up. It doesn’t help when Takuto also lies and sends a fake one so as not to hurt her feelings. Eventually he apologizes but Mitsuki isn’t going to let that little distraction bother her.

Dicing with death – Mitsuki’s throat seems to be getting worse and concerned Fuzuki wants her to go for a surgery. I don’t remember how but they didn’t go through with it and Mitsuki’s tumour stabilizes for now. Mitsuki also meets a lonely old man who lives by himself, Sanada. She makes frequent visits to learn that because he was too focused on work, he neglected his wife and child and only realized the importance of life when they died. Sanada is biding his time and can also see shinigamis. His time will be up soon but hopes to see his wife’s roses bloom before he goes. Izumi is the shinigami responsible for taking his life and shows Mitsuki the harsh reality of what is to be done upon her when her time comes. Izumi takes Sanada’s soul but he dies with a gentle smile after he gets to see the flowers bloom in the final seconds.

America here we come – Full Moon entered some music festival and won. That means a trip to the USA. They are further motivated when Mitsuki’s previous orphanage teacher, Kasumi seems to have some information on Eichi’s whereabouts. However, they forgot about grandma. She can’t just let her daughter go overseas just like that, right? But do not fear. Wakaouji explains to her a new medical treatment only available in the US that will help in Mitsuki’s tumour. Fuzuki is not convinced and doesn’t allow her to go. Eventually Mitsuki, just like her mom, departs to America with or without her approval. Of course this is traumatic for a grandma like her who has lost her daughter to something like this and now her granddaughter is in danger of repeating history. So we learn why Fuzuki hates music so much. In fact, she was once a music student. She fell in love with a boy but he was so focused on his music and pressured by the concours, he eventually chose music over love. That’s why Fuzuki views music as nothing but bringing misery and this is compounded when Hazuki died. Landing in America, the gang stayed at Kazumi’s place (along with her American husband who conveniently speaks fluent Japanese) before making the long trip to the place supposedly where Eichi is staying. Along the way, they stop by the canyon and Mitsuki got her precious pendant from Eichi stolen by a conman who pretended to take a photo of her. So precious that she would rather stay back and search for it rather than miss the last ride back up the canyon. Of course Takuto stays with her as well as the gutsy park ranger that came down looking for them. Luckily for Mitsuki, she manages to get it back because the dumb conman is still hanging around (amazingly he and his cronies had a camp right down the canyon. WTF?!). Mitsuki thought Takuto dived down the ravine just to get her pendant. Apparently she forgot he could fly as a shinigami. So when they start arguing about worrying each other, Takuto blurts out she likes her. However Mitsuki isn’t fazed because she took it the other way. We all love each other because we are friends, right? Is that a good thing or not?

The truth hurts – As the gang approach Eichi’s home, Meroko notices Eichi’s name spelt backwards in her handbook. Oh no. Takuto scouts ahead and manages to find the home Eichi lives in. What he makes is a shocking discovery: EICHI IS DEAD!!! They try to prevent Mitsuki from coming to the house and making excuses for her to go back but I guess they aren’t that persuasive. I mean, she is this close to seeing him and now you’re giving him reasons not to see him? Something smells fishy. And when she learns of what happened to her source of motivation… It was just heartbreaking. It’s like she has lost all hope to live. But what bugs me is that Eichi has been already dead for 2 years!!!  The way his adopted parents acted was like his death was just a couple of days ago! I know when someone you love dies, it seems just like yesterday and forever for the pain to go away. Their son and his wife who adopted Eichi then also perished in the accident. Another thing which bugged me is Kazumi’s information. It’s been 2 years Eichi died right? So the people around the area should have told her something about it or wouldn’t know who this kid is. So again, how reliable was Kazumi’s information? Another heartbreaking scene was how Mitsuki ran through the snow and found Eichi’s grave. She lies there hoping to go away with him…

Living zombie – When Mitsuki returns to Japan, she is so bloody depressed that she is as good as dead. Fuzuki is appalled at what happened (I guess she thought the treatment didn’t work out), scolds Wakaouji for letting this happen and severs him as his family doctor. Because of that, Mitsuki becomes a ‘good girl’ and will listen to whatever grandma says. Too good to be true? But Mitsuki is obliging everything grandma says so much so she is starting to worry and creeping her out. Where has the rebellious Mitsuki go? Seeing Mitsuki has lost her motivation to do her best, she wants to give up singing and thus rumours are spreading that Full Moon is retiring. Not that her fans like it. Not that Madoka would like it. Now she wants to beat her rival on a fair footing, eh? Not that Takuto would like it because this was part of their deal, right? But he can’t transform Mitsuki into Full Moon anymore. Why? If Mitsuki doesn’t want to, then all the magic in the world he has can’t even make her. You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. Not that Meroko would like it because she is so desperate, she goes to seek Izumi’s help. It only gives him more reason to come up with a nasty scheme.

When death comes knocking on your door again – With Mitsuki’s tumour getting worse, Fuzuki desperately goes from one hospital to another to find a cure. But it all comes back to Wakaouji because he is an expertise in the field. One night, Izumi entices Mitsuki to come with him so that she could be with her parents and Eichi. Well, he is going to make her jump from the building! Izumi didn’t expect an obstacle: Fuzuki. She came looking for Mitsuki and tries to stop her from jumping. Though Mitsuki manages to come down, Fuzuki slips off… Just when she opened her eyes, she is going to witness her grandma’s death. Thankfully, Takuto saves falling grandma (she is now unconscious so no worries of her getting freaked out that she is ‘flying’). Takuto and Meroko didn’t like Izumi’s dirty trick to take Mitsuki’s soul. But really, if he is not him, can Takuto do the job when the time comes?

Ghost of the past – Throughout the series, Takuto has been warned not to remember his memories when he was living as a human. If he ever did, he will turn into a ghost and forever wander in limbo. That seems to be happening now because after all that short flashbacks that causes him headaches, he finally realizes who he is. He is Takuto Kira and is one of the members of Route L. He died in a bike accident when he realized he had throat cancer. He doesn’t want Mitsuki to have that regret so unconsciously that’s why he wanted to help her achieve her dream. Takuto lectures Mitsuki the importance of living so Mitsuki u-turns her decision of not wanting to sing anymore because Eichi would have wanted her to continue with her dream even after his death. But Takuto is at the risk of turning into a ghost. So how to stop that? Mitsuki’s singing of course! So not only her songs are a hit, they can help stop a shinigami from turning into a ghost too! Haha! But this doesn’t mean Takuto is free from the curse yet. With his weakened powers, Takuto is unable to keep Mitsuki transformed as Full Moon for a long duration. This is bad seeing she has a comeback concert. Plus, Takuto reveals his true identity to Wakaouji. Of course he is shocked. But didn’t he see a connection in their names and the several other hints? Maybe it’s because he truly believes Takuto had died (thus the reason Route L suddenly disbanded and faded into obscurity). But he certainly didn’t see him coming back as a shinigami, didn’t he? In Izumi’s attempt to convince Meroko one more time to be his, Meroko is more mature now and only advises Izumi’s misfortune that he doesn’t know what love is.

To save a shinigami – While Takuto is resting (but in pain), Meroko tries to find any cure to stop him from becoming a ghost but to no avail. Mitsuki wants to save Takuto so badly this time (after all, he saved her on a few occasions), she went to Izumi for help. I know he’s a bad guy but what else can she do? Izumi knows a way to prevent that and wants Mitsuki’s soul in exchange, something she is willing to give and even seal the deal with a kiss. However Izumi was just testing her and did not go through with it. Eventually he too indirectly helps out by informing them about a mystic flower that makes one forget about everything when one kisses it. It can be found back in their spirit world and in a cave in which the door only opens as the flower blooms during a certain time. Oh, that’s tonight. How convenient. However Takuto would not only lose his human memories, but his shinigami’s as well. This means he will forget all about Mitsuki and Meroko and all the things they did. Meroko risks being punished by heading in to get that flower despite all the traps and setbacks. So now the big question. Let him retain his memories and risk him turning into a wandering ghost or make him forget but let him stay a shinigami. Of course Takuto would rather risk turning into a ghost than lose his precious memories he had up till now. So how? So how?! I’m sure this wasn’t intentional to catch Takuto off guard. You see, Mitsuki confesses that she likes Takuto. And I mean not just as friends. Then she kisses him and with a petal of that flower inside the glass of water, Takuto drinks it.

Swan Song – Mitsuki graduates from high school but it’s going to be hectic because Full Moon will be holding a concert to commemorate her first year as a successful singer. On the day of her concert, it is also the day she will die as a full year would have completed its cycle. So everyone from Mitsuki’s friends and even Fuzuki attend the concert with much anticipation. Madoka kicks off the concert but when it is almost Full Moon’s turn, the flower is taking its effect so Takuto is having a hard time keeping Mitsuki transformed. Meroko cuts her hair and turns it into a ring to give it to Takuto. The ring contains her powers so even if he forgets he will still be able to keep Mitsuki transformed till the end of the concert. The plan works but Takuto has totally forgotten everything. Much to Meroko’s heartbreak, he doesn’t even know why he is here. Then of course Takuto risks becoming a ghost once more because of his recurring memories. But this time he is going to be the one to take Mitsuki’s life. Meroko somewhat sacrifices herself to absorb Takuto (that’s how it seems to me) so that Full Moon can continue and finish her concert. So if Takuto is gone, how is she going to keep her Full Moon appearance? Thank Izumi for that. Well, at least he just put up a hologram image of Full Moon and I guess everyone is thrilled with the superb effects of Full Moon’s change in clothes. At the end of the concert, Full Moon makes a stunning announcement that she will go on a temporary leave. Not that her fans are happy about. I mean, she’s been pulling this sort of stunt going missing a few times before so to hear it from her mouth this time must be true. But don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back. If we only have fans so understanding like them because they promise to support her. That’s call keeping the faith. Mitsuki is rushed to the hospital and in Wakaouji’s hands for her operation. The operation is a success but Mitsuki wakes up in the hospital bed crying because Takuto and Meroko are gone forever.

Aftermath – Takuto is in some sort of limbo world when he meets a goddess. He doesn’t remember anything but feels that he needs to protect somebody though he can’t remember who. As punishment for dabbling with the flower, the goddess will punish them and that Mitsuki will die. You cannot change fate. Suddenly it’s like Takuto remember as he pleads to screw with that destiny thingy and is going to protect her. Meroko would also gladly give up her life to save Takuto. Seeing their strong determination, the goddess allows fate to be changed and lets Mitsuki live. Woah! All you need to show is your steely will and you can change fate! But the goddess banishes Meroko as a shinigami forever. That is, Meroko has been promoted to an angel! Her kindness has proved to the goddess she is exceptional. Yeah, I thought it would be ironic if she continued to take souls with that kind of personality. As for Takuto, because he wasn’t really a full shinigami, he is given a second shot in life but will face the same trials he did as he was alive. Mitsuki cannot see shinigamis anymore and though she didn’t lose her voice, it will take some time before she’ll get it back to how she originally sounded. It’s like she is having a hard time struggling to string a simple sentence. You know that sound when you temporarily lose your voice, right? Then Mitsuki spots Meroko in a tiny bunny form. She leads Mitsuki to Takuto who is some wondering musician. Mitsuki called out to him so loud that her voice returned to normal! Takuto sees her and did he remember her? With Meroko saying goodbye, Mitsuki is happy that she is reunited with him.

Almost Total Eclipse Of The Heart…
Is this how it ends? I just can’t help ponder what will happen afterwards. So Mitsuki reuniting with Takuto, how will that change the course of her future? I’m not sure if Takuto does remember her but his final headache seems to hint that he might. If so, will they continue being the pair that makes Full Moon the successful idol that everyone loves? Then won’t it be like continuing to ‘deceive’ others? I thought she was going to confess her real identity at her final concert but no… It was just “I’m taking a short break”. Heck, I even thought she would say something about retiring. After all if Takuto isn’t around, who else could transform her? Izumi isn’t going to be her future partner in crime, you know. Maybe like Mitsuki said that Full Moon has grown bigger to be just herself. So she can’t simply kill off this character just because she knows she is going to die. And look what we have in the end? A big change in destiny. That’s why I am in a dilemma should she reveal her true self. Grandma would die of shock, her friends would never believe that the famous idol is their friend right under the nose and the paparazzi will target her as their source for scandal material. You know, using magic and lying about her age. That kind of stuff.

Apparently the ending of the anime is so because as I have found out there are quite a number of differences between the anime and manga. The anime ended while the manga was still ongoing and thus the disparity. For instance in the manga, Mitsuki’s frequent transformation has caused her tumour to ‘disappear’ and literally cured. This is what I initially thought of how her illness can be cured, did not I? Putting aside Takuto’s failing powers, he could just leave her in Full Moon state before the clock strikes midnight to save her. Easy. Or a cheekier way is just adjust the clock faster. Haha! Also in the manga but was lacking in the anime is the past of Meroko of how she came to become a shinigami (which is not even touched at all in the anime) and her relationship with Izumi. Jonathan has been reduced to a minor comic relief side character but the manga portrays him to have a darker and more prominent role pertaining to the taking of Mitsuki’s life. Takuto didn’t really die in the manga but was lying in coma unlike in the anime. He also became a couple with Mitsuki in the end while Meroko and Izumi become a couple once more. The anime part which briefly explains how Meroko and Izumi were once partners as shinigamis left me baffled. We know Izumi is trying to court Meroko back to his side using his devilish methods. Then there is a flashback that tells us Meroko was once in loved with Izumi and confessed to him. However he rejected her because he didn’t believe in such feelings. Then it took some time after Meroko gets paired up with Takuto and to the point of her falling for him that Izumi tried to win her heart back. So this part I don’t get it nor could I connect the dots. Why would Izumi want Meroko back when he didn’t even love her in the first place? Well, perhaps you don’t realize the importance of something till you lose it.

Takuto is such as a moody guy that to a point that I would consider him a tsundere. You can tell by the way he interacts with Mitsuki and Meroko. Okay, guys do act that like to show he is tough and manly. You don’t expect to be a sensitive guy asking how you are feeling, right? Can you imagine a Takuto like that? I guess that’s why Meroko likes him. Yeah, he’s hard to get. What’s the point of getting something that is easily obtained? Of course hidden beneath that grumpy and grouchy behaviour is someone who cares greatly. So great that even the goddess is willing to bend fate. Hey, it’s interesting if you change destiny with your own hands, right? As many of the characters undergo some change, for instance Meroko isn’t just blindly after Takuto’s love. She learns the kind of love that if you love someone so much, that you are willing to let him go and do things that do not benefit yourself for the sake of the other person.It’s a good thing that she finally got promoted to an angel. But this leads me to question how she became a shinigami in the first place. I guess as Izumi put it, it is as punishment for those who didn’t take their lives seriously, had lots of regrets when they were living and the irony is that they have to go on taking souls of others as their job for eternity. So the only way out is to put your own life on the line? I didn’t know being a shinigami was this complicated.

Mitsuki has always been the cheerful and optimistic girl but of course you hit turbulence on and off and Eichi’s death was a real blow to her overall morale. For a young girl to have touch and change the lives of lots of other people, it is quite an incredible feat. She has never lost sight of her goal and dream (except for that tiny black chapter when she found out about Eichi’s death) and kept doing her best despite knowing her D-Day is inching closer. That’s why whether she’s a little girl or an idol, everyone simply loves her. You would never have thought Fuzuki would change or even accept music and never in her wildest dream would she want to hear Mitsuki’s song. Of course the near death of Mitsuki opened her eyes. If she was going to keep Mitsuki safe by restricting a lot of things on her, then she would be just doing the opposite and more harm. Wakaouji who became a doctor just to get away from the trauma during his time at Route L (because medicine and music don’t share any similarities, right?) even returned to music that he vowed never to venture back into. So have you heard of a successful musician and a throat doctor in the same sentence before? Even Madoka is not spared from the change. Though she remains Full Moon’s rival in the end, she isn’t a b*tch as we once knew she was. Once she clears her mind and sets her goal on the purpose she sings instead of sabotaging Full Moon’s efforts, she is quite the okay girl after learning the meaning of humility. Even if it is not directly, Izumi also changed slightly albeit he still maintains that cold personality. If not, why would he bother helping Mitsuki in the end? He might be a shinigami that takes lives but that doesn’t mean he is a bad person.

I had this feeling and guessed Eichi’s fate was going to be somewhat like how it turned out. Life is after all not a bed of roses so my guts told me it’s not going to be a happy reunion. True enough, he was actually dead a long time. I just can’t get it off my mind that nobody got the right information about Eichi’s death till the very last moment. It’s like misinformation. I guess this solves why there is no news of Eichi after he left for America. Dead people don’t write letters, call or send emails. Though Eichi is a very prominent and important person in Mitsuki’s life, to us viewers he is just a side motivation for why Mitsuki continues to love what she is doing. Eichi may have a great impact on Mitsuki’s life but certainly flashbacks of him and his nice and kind advices only serve as connecting the dots to where Mitsuki gets her encouragement from. It’s great that a single guy can make her go this far. So do you think that most of us have something sort of like this that makes us push further? So Eichi is a dead person throughout the series and is only ‘alive’ during flashbacks. And in the heart of Mitsuki as always of course. It was really heartbreaking to see her reaction when she finds out about Eichi’s demise, it’s like she just had a total eclipse of her heart.

Over the course of the series, there are many things that bugged me but I probably had forgotten most of them. Heck, I didn’t even touch the Flower of Forgetfulness. One of those questions that I never forgot is the irony of shinigamis who are supposed to take lives instead help keep a life who will eventually be taken. Isn’t that the same as casting the wrong job for the wrong person? And for the pair to be sticking around Mitsuki for an entire year without the shinigami department not knowing anything, it’s like the higher ups are sleeping on the job, eh? Or are they just watching to determine if they have something or what it takes to change fate. And being shinigamis, hasn’t Takuto and Meroko been doing their job of taking other souls too? Mitsuki can’t be the only soul that departs from this world for the entire year, right? Doesn’t their boss realize the lack of souls coming in from their part? Then about Meroko’s handbook. So if something dangerous pops up and shortens Mitsuki’s lifespan, than that one year to live thingy isn’t true, right? What was it again you can’t go against fate? I guess that’s why with a handful of such dangers averted, maybe it is no big deal changing the big one at the end. Seeing that Mitsuki can only see Takuto and Meroko in their shinigami form, don’t other people find it weird that she is talking to herself? Like an imaginary friend? So there are certain scenes whereby it is clear there are some interactions between Mitsuki and the shinigami duo right in the crowd. Don’t people find it odd? Oh, blame it on the great effects that the movie is filming nearby. What movie?! And yeah, what about Takuto and Meroko in plushie form? It’s not that they sit still and in fact move about for most of the part in this form. So is everybody that blind not to see moving stuffed dolls?

The singer Myco is the voice behind Mitsuki and Full Moon. At first I find it odd for someone with a little hoarser voice to play Mitsuki. That’s only because of my stereotype view that little girls like her are usually high pitch squeaky voice. But I reminded myself that Mitsuki had some sort of a tumour in her throat that’s why she isn’t sounding as a cute anime girl. But about her singing voice, I am not criticizing that it sounds horrible (no, it is not) but it’s not really that beautiful in the sense that it would make judges cancel other audition candidates and instantly win fans after her first hit. Forgive me but I am not the one to say too. I just find it strange that a girl with a growth in her throat is able to make the most beautiful voice after some transformation. As all of the songs sung by Full Moon are written by Myco and her band Changin’ My Life, each time her new hit single is out, the series keep playing it to death. It felt like she has no other songs at that moment and thus it is being overplayed whether it is serving as an insert piece or radio background music. Especially her first single Myself and then Eternal Snow. Aren’t we bored of hearing the same things over and over again? Guess not. The song is not that bad actually but hearing too much times can be quite annoying. Maybe because of this, Full Moon’s slow ballad adaptation of Eternal Snow is the best version and it beats Route L’s original which is a rock outfit and Madoka’s faster pace style. I guess Changin’ My Life is just a band famous for this series’ songs because this is where their hit songs come from. Oddly, after the series ended, the band broke up and Myco went on to do solo. It’s like as though they were formed just for this anime. Since Changin’ My Life’s songs are featured as ending themes of this series, besides Myself (2nd ending) and Eternal Snow (3rd ending), they also have New Future (1st ending) and Love Chronicle (4th ending). A couple of their songs that are featured less prominently and probably just one-off are Focus and Smile (which was played during Full Moon’s final concert). The all-girl rock group, The Scanty does the opening themes. The first one being I Love You and the second one, Rock’n Roll Princess. The group also made a cameo appearance during the music festival competition.

At first I thought a female voicing Izumi’s voice sounded rather odd. I was expecting a guy but Megumi Ogata (Shinji of Evangelion) did the role instead. Of course I got used to it. Madoka is voiced by Kana (real name Emi Oota) and this is her only role in voicing an anime character. I’m not sure if she is part of some band or what. Many of the other casts aren’t that prominent and do not have a long list of voicing roles to their resume. They include Yasuo Saitou as Takuto (Ryousuke Sakakura in Zettai Shonen), Chieko Honda as Meroko (Igarashi in Koko Wa Greenwood), Ryohei Kimura as Eichi (Hinata in Angel Beats), Teruaki Ogawa as Wakaouji (the titular character in Jotaro Zaizen), Tomomi Seo as Oshige (Tsubaki in Saint October), Norihisa Mori as Jonathan (Ichikawa in Hen Zemi), Mayumi Akado as Tanaka (Yakko in Akazukin Chacha) and veteran Kazuko Sugiyama as Fuzuki (Ten in Urusai Yatsura).

Whether you believe in fate based on the stars or destiny by your own hands, the important thing is to live your life to the fullest despite knowing the date of your expiration. I know I like to sing too but the kind of voice I have just puts me off. Probably why I never entered any Idol auditions. Would you rather hear songs from Full moon or sounds of a fool moan? If I really know my time is up, probably I would want to watch all the animes I can before I kick the bucket. Then maybe by showing lots of otaku determination and perseverance, I may just convince the grim reaper to extend my life to watch more animes. I’d be over the moon. Won’t that be asking for the moon? Ironically, maybe it’s watching too much animes that is the cause of shortening my lifespan. Now that’s what you call mooning my life away.

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