Looking Up At the Half-Moon

Alt title: Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora

TV (6 eps)
3.805 out of 5 from 5,719 votes
Rank #2,123

Yuichi is a teenage boy who was diagnosed with hepatitis; and as staying at the hospital is boring, he often sneaks out at night to hang out with his friends. However, each time he is caught by the slightly sadistic nurse Akiko, he just prolongs his stay at the hospital. After his most recent escape, instead of striking a punch or kick at Yuichi, Akiko says that she'll overlook his sneak outs if he becomes friends with 17-year-old Rika, another hospital resident. Rika doesn't open up to him at first, but she has her reasons: she has a weak heart; and though she may come off as selfish and rude, Yuichi looks beyond the surface to help both of them enjoy what life has to offer.

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StoryOh the bittersweet joys of a hospital romance. At least, that’s what Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora tries so desperately to express, but in the end it succeeds in only becoming a six-episode cliché. Yuichi and Rika are trapped within the sterile white walls of their own malfunctioning bodies – the former by a mild form of hepatitis, the latter a life-threatening cardiomyopathy. The two teenagers fall in love as a matter of course, and they spend their days discussing literature, arguing on the roof, sneaking out, and otherwise engaging in the mundane tomfoolery of a hospital life. As Rika’s risky operation looms closer and closer, Yuichi is forced to digest the possibility of losing his girlfriend forever. Yawn. A hundred yawns. As we all know, this arena has been explored countless times. With such a premise that rouses sleepy curiosity at best, Hanbun might have still salvaged itself from the mires of “been-there, done-that,” if only through an exceptional method of execution. Unfortunately, the show accomplishes nothing of the kind. Instead, it ends up an average mixture of tedious pacing, underdeveloped relationships, and lame mini-narratives. Something must be wrong if the sole reason I’m hoping for Rika’s survival is that I would be spared from Yuichi’s (and the handsome male doctor’s) tiresome mental breakdown that would inevitably come afterward. Hanbun no Tsuki ga Blah Blah blunders into an echelon only slightly better than the horde of stale fanfiction and rather worse than A Walk to Remember. The story’s saving graces are decidedly crammed into the last episode. The doctor ponders Yuichi’s ability to stay by Rika’s side despite the possible heartbreak: “Rika’s defects can never be completely cured. No matter how much he sacrifices, one day he’ll lose everything.” Nurse Akiko replies, “Dying without any happiness and dying with a smile, which is happier?” Well, at least it’s better than nothing.AnimationWith lighter hues and faded backgrounds, Hanbun’s visuals boast a subtler, dreamier look. Any show that translates to something as artistic as “Looking Up at the Half Moon” would naturally direct its powers into becoming a melancholic visual poem rather than a brilliant story. Unlike its premise, Hanbun’s animation shines in its modernity: Character designs are sleek (if a bit on the cute side like that of Zero no Tsukaima), falling leaves and night skies appropriately beautiful, and landscapes pleasingly hazy. While aesthetically apt, the animation is not ambitious. The movements are kept simple, safe, and slow, as if the animators were wary of exciting the viewers into contracting diseases themselves (minus the brief flashes of porn mags and the five-second undressing of a lonely model).SoundA noticeably sparse soundtrack sits between mediocre opening and closing themes. Tinkled out over prolonged stretches of silence, Hanbun’s ditties prove workable, if simplistic, and avoid the icky mawkishness of Korean dramas. On the other hand, they hardly capture the situation's pathos and instead sound like mere melodies from a music box. The seiyuu are bored from the beginning. Except for the yakuza nurse, no one bothers to wring their voices into interesting timbres. Yuichi and Rika sound hopelessly normal and are too reluctant to unleash their sniffling and groans of emotional turmoil. The doctor yells, screams in frustration, and speaks thoughtful lines, with all the sentiment of reciting a medical diagnosis.CharactersFor the sheer lameness of Hanbun’s plot, the cast proves to be a pleasant surprise, a collection of unadorned boxes that open up and reveal more goodies inside than previously assumed. Of course, six episodes hardly provides the fertile soil necessary for deep characterization to bloom, but kudos to Hanbun for at least planting a healthy seed. Much of what shapes a character is implied, and tragic pasts/back stories pop up as needed, awkward in execution but still important to the construction of the character. Yuichi remains a typical romance protagonist – young, determined, troubled, and a bit unremarkable. As the perspective comes from him, one can only view his love interest Rika as a bit of a mystery. Her past is glossed over and her volatile nature never explained. This would be perfectly fine, and maybe even preferred, if the two’s relationship with each other possessed enough assets to carry the storyline. Unfortunately, six episodes does not prove adequate time to develop their bond, unintentionally portraying their newfound romance to be more circumstantial than heartwarming. Hanbun succeeds the most obviously with Doctor Natsume. As he wrestles with his hidden problems, the mentality and context behinds his actions continue to unfold and accompany the show’s major theme. The characterization of Nurse Akiko is well-paced and subtle, and slight pains are taken to present motives and emotional backdrops for side characters – most notably, Akiko’s friend Misako.OverallFor those who crave an anime version of the ubiquitous “leukemia” romance, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora may be worth two hours of your time. A familiar comfort with a mildly arresting climax, the show avoids failure but still disappoints with its lack of power. Titles like 5 Centimeters per Second, Basilisk, or Saikano illustrate the concept of "doomed relationships" with far more emotional investment.


Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora is a 6 episode romance anime set in a hospital. At first glance, this appears to be touching, gentle story about a potentially tragic romance. However, it wasn't the tear-jerking anime I expected and not necessarily because of the story, but a good deal due to the characters. Is this worth the 2.5 hours it takes to watch? Credits are also story spoilers, so leave them out until the last episode. Animation Animation is average, it could be better done for its time. Nothing really stands out about the style. However I might have a word to say about the content, despite it not being an ecchi. There is... almost inappropriate footage, mainly due to the actions of one old perverted bastard. But be warned, its nothing too extreme along the likes of a proper ecchi, so it can be forgiven somewhat. There is also something context-justified. Sound The music of this anime immediately stood out. It didn't quite have the orchestral score duing the anime itself but the opening and a few of the other pieces of music made me want to get the soundtrack. This would mean I'd highly rate it, but because there wasn't enough, I didn't go for it. The anime is in Japanese so English subtitles are required. Characters The characters, were the worst part of the anime for me. I normally don't do an overall summary of all characters but I feel the need here. Some of the characters in this anime are infuriatingly bad people and this isn't even an anime that has/needs antagonists. And I mean they are horrible. Yes, everyone is capable of doing both good and bad, but at some point I thought all of the characters were mentally unstable or something, due to the overall negative behaviour. There is especially needless violence which isn't expected from an anime like this. To start with, the male lead character is Yuichi Ezaki, a 17 year old highschool student in his last year (so he should be turning 18) who is in hospital for hepatitus. He tends to sneak out at night, against the nurses orders, usually going over to his friends house to chill. So in other words he is relatively healthy. My only problem with him, is that he doesn't stand up for himself and doesn't know when to refuse or say no to something. However, if that were the case, this story could not occur. He gets the most physical abuse, which he doesn't necessarily deserve, despite his issues. The others could just talk to him like human beings. His father died due to excessive alcohol consumption when he was younger and developed a dislike towards him over time, when his father was alive. The other main character is Rika Akiba, also 17 years old and is a critical patient at the hospital, due to a type of congenital heart disease. She enjoys reading read books, especially by her favourite author. Probably the most reasonable character, since the only problem I have with her is that she sometimes acts before thinking (and talking). Her father also died of the same disease she is inflicted with (hence congenital) when she was younger and brought her to the town, where she is currently hospitalised, to climb a mountain when he was alive. Akiko Tanizaki is a hot-headed and violent nurse who smokes. The only times where her violence was justified was at the start, when she attacks a perverted old man patient and later on a man who absolutely deserved it. She seems to mean well, but violence and aggression is not the way to help or take care of people, especially patients. Goro Natsume is a middle-aged doctor who is in charge of Rika and possibly Yuichi too. His behaviour is especially despicable, smoking in a hospital without consideration of the other employees and the patients. He later gets drinks and gets drunk while on duty and proceeds to assault a patient, being more violent than Akiko and doing serious damage. He would loose his job and certification as a doctor if this were to be found out and later on in the anime someone mentions this to him. He also gives Yuichi an adult magazine with malicious intents, one such example where Yuichi is too much of a coward to refuse. However, his actions and mental state maybe explainable by his past which is revealed in this anime. Other characters aren't as important but I will go out of my way to mention that the worst character is the perverted old man patient (one trope of anime I absolutely despise), who sexually harasses Akiko at the start and has an absurdly large collection of pornographic material. Luckily he dies in the first episode but this means he leaves his scummy porn stash to Yuichi, who once doesn't refuse, due to bullshit respect for a dying man's wish. If a dying man told you to mutilate a human being, would you do it? No, there are limits to this sort of thing. One of the other characters, who's irrational actions are justified by a hidden fragile mental state also presents Yuichi with a situation, where he should refuse but doesn't. I think that's all of the things about characters that disappointed me. Story The story is alright but isn't quite what one would expect. In that case, it is a good story for being quite different. However it doesn't stand out as amazing or particularly sad, one could argue. The plot felt loosely held together, but it was there and it even had flashbacks to support the main story. It is also precise and to the point, no filler. The ending was a bit wishy washy and essentials are left until after the credits of the last episode. I would also like to point out that the story and speculative post-story is spoiled by the credit sequence after each episode. I recommend not watching the credits, except for the final episode. The spoiler at least gives the romantic a solid closure, unlike many, many other animes claiming to be romance (*cough* harems *sneeze*). Subtext? A line from one of the bad characters: "Hope is a lie" (something along the lines) is unfortunately and surprisingly an important one. Hope won't do anything, that's for sure and life is unfair, as depressing as that may sound. But the moral of the story is not to live for yourself but to live for others. Spend your time making others happy, even if you get screwed over in the long run, especially if you don't have too much time to spend with them. Conclusion Overall, not that bad. By all means watch it, it just won't be the light-hearted peaceful romance you may expect. If anything, learn from the characters to not behave like they do. We humans, should strive to get along with each other and that means having respect for others and not getting unnessarily violent. That said, we aren't perfect and even I can get angry at others (like these characters). But the story does leave us with an important message: to strive for the happiness of others, since they might not get such chances otherwise. Family-friendliness Rating: 4/5 Clearly visible pornographic magazines... (lower is better) Overall Rating: 6/10 (higher is better)


Plot: 7.8/10The story of Hantsuki is really an interesting one. I had no ideas or preconceptions going into it of how it would end; whether it would be comedic or tragic. I just found the first episode on youtube and enjoyed it enough to go through with it. Hantsuki is really short at only 6 episodes, so I was expecting it to be rather rushed, but they managed to keep the pace manageable and even slow at times.I really liked the overall story of this show. It was interesting watching the complications arise as they came along, and with a grand overview of it, I would say that it is a "good" story. At times it's kind of cliché and you know what's coming, but other times you just have no idea what the next outcome is going to be. A complicated thing to explain about this is that there is an element of surprise and an element of expectancy. I guess the best way to put it is that the different paths that the show could go down are all REALLY obvious, which is the expectancy part, but the questionable part is WHICH one it will take. That said, I thought that the plot had enough unexpectancy to keep it from being boring all the way through. One thing that brings the plot score down, however, is that there's just too much random stuff thrown in. I speak about a few things particularly: first and foremost, the legendary Tada-Collection. Seriously? It was so random and didn't serve any purpose in the story other than for Rika to get mad at Yuuichi again, and she did that enough already. It was also annoying to me how they dealt with it... like it's just nothing important. Yeah, I get it, it's not important so they're not going to emphasize it, but if something is so insignificant like this why did we have to get so much of it? The old geezer was useless in progressing anything in the story/characters and the pr0nz collection didn't really do anything either.--Begin Spoilers--Another really random thing was the scene with that lady who's Akiko's friend where she just picks up Yuuichi and takes him home and tries to screw him. Wat. It was all of a sudden, made no sense, had absolutely no point, and just pissed me off tbh. WHY? We saw this person for like 10 seconds a few episodes ago and she just disappeared and there was no point to her character and then she comes back all of a sudden trying to seduce Yuuichi? That related to nothing in the story at all and just slowed stuff down and threw in more hentai crap that made me sad. One of the things I really cherished about the series was that it wasn't all perverted and crap. And then they throw in the massive porn collection and this scene and it was just ugh.--End Spoilers--What I really did like about the show was that they didn't leave you out to dry a lot. There was always some sort of tension building, but it wasn't to the point where it was torturing you the whole way. In summary, the story and plot were really good when it comes to the overall arc of the A-plot, but had a lot of random crap thrown in that lowers my score down some. 7.8Characters: 8.5I was really conflicted with this show about characters. There's some that I really love, some that I hate; some that are deep, some that are flat. I think they did a good job with characters in the show, but good is the extent of the adjective I'll choose to use there.Yuuichi is a good character in general. I think he is a likable guy and really cares about Rika truly in his heart, but he screws up a lot and things go wrong for him at the wrong time. I like his transformation that he goes through in the show as he goes from being this regular teenage dude with no real goals in life to having something to live for and finding meaning in, and living out a life that furthers that meaning. One thing I dislike about him, however, is his monotony and nonchalantness about those stupid freaking ero-hon books. Yes, if you didn't get the memo, I hated everything about those in the story and think it's stupid that they even brought them into the story. I think that this transformation I spoke of earlier kind of shows itself in the sense that before he found Rika to be his source of inspiration in life, he was careless in his fantasies, but after he realizes she is his main reason to keep going, he realizes that these perverted books aren't fair to the one he loves. That's what I wanted to see, and it's not what happened. It seemed like a big set-back that wasn't meant as a set-back to his character's overall change. So there are a lot of positives to his character... it's just that there's one big holdback as well. I'll be honest... at first, I hated Rika's guts. I couldn't stand her, but I normally despise the tsundere stereotype anyways. That is... until they come around, LOL! I think that characters like Rika are rather annoying because they're so stubborn, but I can't rate a character based on likability; I must rate them based on their character quality. I don't consider Rika as deep of a character as Yuuichi because she doesn't really change too much except for accepting Yuuichi. All along she has the same feeling on the inside, it's just that she fights it at first and after he's "proven himself" in her eyes, she accepts him. But she's still the same person and hasn't really learned much. What I do like about Rika, however, is that she is unlike the usual tsundere character in her forgiveness. She usually tacks on a task with it, but she is good at forgiving things even if it may take a while. That's what redeems her character for me and makes me like her. As for Akiko, I think she's one of the stronger characters because she brings a wonderful mix of personality to the show that it really needed to be rounded out. She starts out as just this rough-cut, blunt, impatient, and bossy nurse, but over the course of the show we see her more loving side come out toward Rika and even Yuuichi as things get difficult for them. She is a phenomenal source of comedy, but also provides that person who the main characters can fall back on and rely on for strength. She reminds me a lot of Sanae from Clannad in that she functions in the background unnoticed a lot as she plays the role of the supporting one who everyone needs but don't necessarily recognize as such helpful people. Natsume Sensei is by far the most controversial character in my book, however, I bear shocking news to go along with that: I consider him to be probably the best QUALITY character in the show. Not my favorite by any means; on the contrary, I rather dislike the guy. But let me explain why I think he brings so much to the show. Without him, the show itself would be rather dull and nothing would really happen that's really conflict-related. From the very beginning I disliked him, and that budded into an ever-growing hatred for his character every time I saw him. The one thing that changed my mind, however, was when I saw his backstory and his past with his wife. That was one of the most moving parts to me in the whole series. It really made everything that had previously been confusing and senseless come together and form a well-rounded character who makes a lot of mistakes as the result of a difficult past he's not been able to overcome yet. Everything about him suddenly made sense when I found out what happened in his past and I believe that it shows through his character that he is probably the strongest in character depth in the show. Other notes: I loathe Old Man Tada as you know and think he's useless except for a proverb he gives at the beginning that comes back at the end that could have been much more meaningful if it was found inside a fortune cookie rather than coming from an old perv. I also hate that slutty woman who's a friend of Akiko's. They both bring the Character section's score down for me. But it gets evened back out when you bring into account Mizutani, Yuuichi's childhood friend who is really kind and caring even to those she doesn't know, and the big Zebra mask dude who just brings hilariousness to the show. I also am going to bump the character rating a little above what I normally would score it because while I don't think either of the main characters on their own are just PHENOMENAL, when they're together, their ship is really what makes the series so wonderful. I really love seeing them together and seeing them make each other happy and draw meaning in life from each other. 8.5Animation: 7/10I thought the animation was very... on par. Considering that it's a rather unheard of anime and that it is really short and small, it is a well animated show. I think the character design on the doctor and on Rika's hair in the front could have used some work, but that's about it. I really didn't notice a lot that stood out to me, which is normally a good thing in animation. The whole show had a lot of monotone coloring to it. Even in outdoor scene like the one above, stuff always seemed ever so slightly desaturated. I would normally find this annoying but I think it really fit the style of the series because it's set in such a monotonous world with monotony always looming over them. Everything about being in a hospital is boring and bland, and I think they do a good job in their coloring of things to get that across. 7/10.Sound: 9.5/10I have to say, from the beginning I adored both the opening and ending theme songs. They truly are beautiful pieces of music. There is also a recurring theme that comes up in the series many times over that is really beautiful. It's a piano melody that I think could be classified as a Yuuichi/Rika romance theme.Look up the opening and ending. I think the songs can speak a lot for themselves. 9.5/10 SummaryIn summary, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora was one of the more enjoyable series I've watched. I wouldn't classify it anywhere with the elite series, but it is probably somewhere above average. I really enjoyed it because I was able to watch it at my own pace and it was just fun and light-hearted. Something interesting to note however is that I don't think my rating gives full credit to how much I would recommend the series. Normally, a score of this much wouldn't really mean I would share it with a lot of people and recommend it, but there's a lot of stuff in the show that just really is cozy, comfy, lovable, and just plain sweet. It is really a great show overall if you aren't in it for the action or a lot of stuff happening.I would recommend this show to most people. At six episodes, it can be knocked out in one sitting if you feel motivated. It is really perfect if you're looking for a little fluff to fill your time when you're bored but don't have a lot of time long-term. It's short and sweet and leaves you with a happy sense of joy inside when you're done, and it's just an overall upbeat experience despite not being a super upbeat series (example Working!!). Final RatingOnce everything is averaged out, the final rating comes to an...8.2/10

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