Tsuyokumi -Moon Phase- is a 26 episode anime about vampires featuring action and comedy. Initial impressions were all over the place. I thought it was a horror, then an ecchi and the intro really didn't help, but it's none of those things. It's a decent watch actually, feel free to try it. And that comes from someone who is very cynical and critical about anime. This actually made me laugh my face off, it can definitely be funny. Bonus: No highschools. It can however be boring at times and there was much about this that infuriated me, like the intro. And some aspects of characters and the story. But overall it is fine.
This anime was made in 2003 and as far as quality goes, its decent for a 2003 anime. BUT, the thing that stands out is the animation style. Boy is it cool and unique. There are comedic things like the pans being dropped on people's heads and simplistic comical expressions. As well as the usual style of the characters, they switch up the shading during certain scenes. And, while it might seem lazy, it has great artistic effect and really helps to define the action in the scene. And the camera angles? So damn cool! Especially the side-on cut-through views of buildings like the house. Yes the designs of the characters aren't so original, but the style of animation is and manages to make it all work. And despite what it may seem, there is no ecchi/fan-service thankfully. Bath scenes are animated with great tact. There is the rare cosplay scene, nothing dodgy though. Though that intro does get very close, man do I hate the intro. An egg laying turtle is replaced by a little girl, which is fucked up as all hell. But I'll ignore it for animation.
As far as sound goes, I'm divided. During the anime itself, the sound design is good, but none of the music stands out as awesome. Of course, the music that does play in the background is relevant and contributes to the atmosphere of the scene. This is easiest to find in the first episode, where the music sets the mood for the haunted mansion. The other side of the coin is the intro/outro sequences, especially the intro. It's not terrible, but damn is that music annoying and cringey. This anime is available in both English and Japanese audio, with some big name American (English) voice actors. Monica Rial, who does VO for so many animes does the VO for Hazuki. Troy Baker, a major voice actor even out of anime, having done the VO for Booker from Bioshock Infinite, Joel from The Last of Us and also did the VO for Frank Archer from FMA. But the character Haiji appears to have an annoying lisp/accent (r and l are w, s is th, etc), perhaps to make them seem a certain way. But the mathter mathter, mathter line was a tad funny though. Neat stuff.
The male protagonist, as there always is, is Kouhei Morioka, who works as a photographer. Despite his looks, he is an adult who can be rarely seen drinking beer and often driving his car. He is described in the anime as 'spiritually retarded' which made me laugh so hard when I heard it. This pretty much means he is the black sheep of the Morioka Family, who are spiritually powerful and all have spiritual powers since he can't see spirits and has no power. But it's not all doom and gloom. His photos almost always capture supernatural phenomenon like ghosts and he is recruited by his old highschool classmate to take photos of the occult, leading to the events of this anime. He is pretty damn dense and lacks empathy, like many characters of the worst genre of anime ever (not this one silly). He is a dumbass when it comes to romance and seems to develop feelings for a mere child, I don't need to say what bullshit that is. He should have gotten together with the hot blonde chick instead. Otherwise he seems to be the typical powerless hero character. He changes in the later episides a bit though. Mediocre IMO.
The other main character is Hazuki, who is a child vampire locked up in a castle in Germany at the start. For some weird unknown reason, she unnecessarily is always wearing cat ears, called Nekomimi. This is the typical tsundere moody bitch character, who is usually concerned over her own well being and treats Kouhei like dirt calling him her slave. Of course she actually secretly likes him, again bullshit because she's an annoying brat (Kouhei actually calls her this btw) kid and he's an adult. Another annoying thing is that in this anime, a vampire bite is called a kiss, which is easily misinterpreted, even by characters in the anime. So I cringe every time this kid talks about kissing. She isn't a completely worthless character as she has a lot of story associated with her.
El Friede is that hot blonde who should have been the romantic interest. And she's also a vampire with very interesting backstory. She's a tad flirtatious, but don't worry no fan service bullshit here. The character development here is decent too, you get an idea of how this character thinks. The only thing I hated about this character was the development of a bit of a potential bullshit relationship towards the later episodes.
Among other characters there is the typical old pervert grandpa. There's an implied relationship between him and El Friede, which is just wrong. Where the fuck is grandma to put this fool in his place? There is the badass cousin Seiji Midou is voice acted by the guy who did the voice for Krillin from DBZ and Maes Hughes (<3) from FMA. Unfortunately there is bullshit in that Kouhei and his cousin Seiji are promised in marriage to their second-cousins, who are half their age. I'm not too fussed about the whole arranged marriage, despite the fact I'm against such a thing, but adults betrothed to children!?!?! WHO ARE RELATED?!?! WHAT GODDAMN BULLSHIT!
The story is pretty good and so damn funny. This has the cliche of pans being dropped on character's heads, but it actually works and makes this anime more hilarious. Heck I LMAO when I heard such lines as 'this cat has no rectum!' This is great to watch for laughs! The actual story is broken up into fast-paced plot heavy sections and slow-paced fillerish sections. There's a few mysteries and there are twists and turns of the plot. It depicts some serious themes such as bullying, murder, blackmail and such. There's one aspect that reminds me of episode 5 of a certain popular sci-fi movie. You know which one... Of course, some bits here and there don't make sense. It could arguably be split up into two sections due to the 2 major story arcs. It can be creepy, filled with action. Oh and did I mention twists and things? Oops. I should shut up. But there of course is the romance aspect which provies a lot of bullshit.
Give this a try, no matter who you are. Ignore the terrible intro and prepare for a decent story. There are annoying bits, but I don't blame you if you get bored during some parts which can really get slow. Damn those friggin nekomimi cat ears. This is giving cats a bad rap. They're supposed to be adorable furry mammals, not blood sucking moody children. Also some possible subtext about parents forcing things onto their children?
Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 The worst it gets are bath scenes with no nudity and no pervyness (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 7.5 (higher is better)
ok for starters the discription is true hazuki is the cutest vampire in existance but overall the character develupment is good story is great and at one point made me cry would highly recomend to anyone looking for a good tear jerker but is also freaking funny at times so give it a try you wont regret it
NO SPOILERS HERE! :)
Nekomimi style!! Moon Phase is beautiful. To me this anime hits my heart in the right place. I loved how different it was compared to other anime I have watched. Its so cute and funny I love the charecters. It was very easy to fall in love with this anime. Hazuki and Kohei's love is gorgeous. I love that when they kiss its not on the lips but perhaps somewhere else, but it sorta means the same as if on the lips. If you're a girl you will definitely enjoy this anime! :)
This series is for those who prefer their vampires to be cute as kittens more often than they are dark and brooding. The mood of the series, like Hazuki's personalities, tend to alternate between the two, although it generally works better when emphasizing the moe aspects, which it does a lot. That said, people with an aversion to cat-eared girls and little-sister types are advised to stay far away.
The plot tends to switch between stretches of seriousness and levity: the first two episodes deal with Hazuki meeting Kohei and escaping the castle, then settling into a silly daily routine before dealing with more villains a few episodes later. The story has some difficulty balancing character and relationship developments with plot progression unless it separates such things into different episodes. Perhaps this is why, despite several of the tragedies that various characters suffer, there is little emotional draw to them. Also, as with many adaptations of unfinished manga, a number of plot threads are left untied with the series conclusion, although the series does conclude solidly enough.
The cast are entertaining, although some people may find a number of the younger females straddle the line between adorable and irritating. Hazuki starts off as a stubborn and slightly spoiled little girl, but grows into more of a kinder, caring person over the course of the series. Kohei is the typical kind-hearted and honest but unimpressive boy with an unusual ability/curse that you've seen in so many other series. The supporting cast brings a bit of liveliness to the show. Haiji brings a bit of humor as Hazuki's cat-like pet, frequently scolding her master's servant Kohei. Seiji brings a bit of class as the cool-looking and talented relative of Kohei. The best characters, though, are probably Ryuhei and Elfriede, who regularly tease the lead characters, but also connect to each other on a deeper level and share some of the most tender moments in the series.
One can't really talk about Moon Phase without mentioning it's stylistic quirks. As with pretty much any work directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, one should expect interesting and different uses of light and color in many scenes throughout. The typical depiction of the house were much of the story occurs is also diplayed much like a dollhouse, opened up so as to see in all the rooms at once. Also, infamously, yellow washpans are known to come crashing down on various characters for comedic effect.
Designs for the characters are crisp, and backgrounds are appropriately detailed. Action scenes may not be breath-taking, but they are more than adequate for the task they mean to achieve. While the initial television episodes did have a few problems during important scenes, these were all rectified in the DVD release.
Voice work for both languages is well done, although Monica Rial can't quite match the level of cuteness that Chiwa Saito attained playing Hazuki (a minor issue). Background music for the episodes is chosen appropriately for the scene, although it is at times a little overbearing. The dark scenes are supported by haunting and gothic-sounding tones, while the cheery moments are punctuated by spunky and playful tunes. The most catchy song (for good or bad) is absolutely the opening theme, "Neko Mimi Mode De". It's particularly surprising when it drastically interrupts the gloomy introductory scene of the first episode with it's bubbly, sugary tune, simplistic lyrics, and bright colors. The song is devastatingly appropriate for the show. A couple of episodes have an alternate opening song, "Tsukuyomi Mode", that is less syrupy and not so overly energetic, but similar. The closer, on the other hand, is slightly melancholy and more subdued, but leaves little lasting impression.
Moon Phase sets out to be a vampire series built around the concept of "moe", and it largely succeeds. At times, it tries to be something a little more, and it is less definitive in its achievement when attempting this, but rarely strays far from its strength. In all, the series is an entertaining diversion for those looking for something just a little different.
Story: Annoying vampire girl starts living with her slave, plot comes in later and changes when necessary, changes are pretty smooth.
Animation: Pots falling from the sky all the time. Everything else is nothing too spectacular.
Sound: Opening song will grow on you a little. Outro is better, and has a neat french version. When setting changes drastically the music does too, this is done well.
Characters: Mostly annoying, character development changes them but it takes a long time and they revert slightly.
Overall: I must offer praise to the way it doesn't follow ordinary structure. (Minor Spoilers) The setting changes the feel of the anime drastically. The castle doesn't last long but does a good job of portraying a gothic feel. The house setting makes it seem much more ordinary, like most anime's, girl moves in with guy, they have slight arguments, it's silly but comfortable. Setting changes again to mountains and this setting also changes the characters tremendously, more than expected, and they stick with it, they break common structure and stand by their decision, I respect this, it is what pushes it away from other animes. Not exactly worth watching, but it only gets better once you start (which may not be saying much).