Full Moon o Sagashite
Kouyama Mitsuki is a 12-year-old girl who loves to sing, and wants to become a singer someday partly because of a promise she made to a friend, Eichi-kun, who was leaving for America. Mitsuki promised that the next time they saw each other again, they would have fulfilled their dreams: he as an astronomer, she as a singer. Unfortunately, Mitsuki has a malignant tumor in her throat, making it impossible to sing or even talk loudly. And her grandmother forbids her to sing or even go outside. Yet still, Mitsuki lives with the hope that she will one day fulfill her dream.
One day, two shinigami (gods of death) named Takuto and Meroko appear in Mitsuki's room, and tell her that she only has one year to live. At first, they disapprove of Mitsuki wanting to become an idol singer. However, Takuto is sympathetic, and transforms Mitsuki into a 16-year-old idol-wannabe...
And so a young girl's journey begins.
From the synopsis above, this show would sound like a sad, depressing, morbid show, like something Anno Hideaki would make.
However, if you actually watch the show, you will find that it's exactly the opposite. In the words of Christi Ross, Full Moon o Sagashite is probably "the happiest, most positive show I have ever seen where the main character has one year to live", and that is exactly right.
The animation (by Studio Deen) is very good for a TV series, with lots of bright colors, and pretty much adheres to Arina Tanemura's delicate art style (although she has said repeatedly that she tries to create art that would be difficult to animate).
As for the plot, in the grand shoujo tradition, it is a magical girl show. Particularly, an old-fashioned magical girl show, where a girl, using some sort of magical device (in FMoS, it's a pill which Takuto gives her), becomes older and lands a job as an actress/singer/etc. In fact, those who have watched Creamy Mami or Fancy Lala might notice many similarities between this show and those two anime. The main difference is that, of course, Mitsuki doesn't have perfect health.
Most of the characters are likable (or, in Mitsuki's grandmother's case, very unlikable at first), except for Jonathan, an annoying sidekick ghost who comes in later in the series, and obviously is there to provide some gaijin comic relief. Although Jonathan is an annoying little doink, he doesn't show up much (thank goodness) and his doinkiness doesn't have an effect on my enjoyment of this series. The performances by the seiyuu are mostly wonderful. When this anime first came out, many complained that myco, Mitsuki's seiyuu, didn't really sound like a 12-year-old should. But I think otherwise, and I'm glad that they didn't get some seiyuu with a high-pitched voice to try and sound "cute", like in Rizelwhine- er, Rizelmine. Mitsuki herself is a sympathetic character, one you feel sorry for and one you cheer for, rather like Maron in Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. The characters all grow throughout the series, and soon just about every one of them will win your heart.
The great thing about FMoS is that just when you think it will get predictable, it hits you hard with a big plot twist. Indeed, in the later episodes, there is a huge, surprising plot twist, and for a while it leans toward the serious. Fortunately, though, there are still some bits of humor in there, and the characters don't constantly angst. There is always a light of hope ahead. And indeed, the ending is one of the best anime endings I have ever seen. Despite the fact the manga was still running in Ribon at the time the anime ended, Studio Deen managed not to pull a Gainax, and delivered a great, fulfilling, and bittersweet ending to the anime.
Although the FMoS anime is very, very different from the manga, it is still a wonderfully-done show that has all the ingredients of a great anime: a good plot, characters you care about, wonderfully-done art and great songs. I definitely recommend it to not just shoujo anime fans, but to all anime fans.
My opinion on this anime hasn't changed: It's still a great, poignant show that's destined to become a classic. Subtract a star if you get really tired of hearing the same songs in an anime over and over again, and subtract three stars if you despise treacly sweetness in your anime. — Jennifer Berman
Recommended Audience: This anime is mostly family-friendly, although the idea of shinigami might shock a few parents. There is very little violence or sex, and even though FMoS does touch on a few morbid themes, it never becomes too depressing.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (52/52)
Full Moon o Sagashite © 2002 Arina Tanemura / Shueisha / TV Tokyo / NAS
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