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Moon Phase

The Prisoner in His Own Mind
ROSSMAN

Neko mimi!
Neko mimi modo!
Neko mimi modo de!!!

Holy crap... I just can't get the opening song to Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase out of my goddamn mind. It's stuck there like the Macarena or Aqua's Barbie Girl. And the opening animation that goes along with the song is just so... Bizarre? Fucked up? Drug induced visions of nuttiness? There's the five seconds of watching Hazuki bounce down on her ass... Then there's the scene of Hazuki lying naked on a beach squirting out eggs like a turtle... There's the point where three Hazuki's (naked again) pop out of a bowl of ramen noodles with their lips puckered for a kiss... Oh, and there's the part where that bear is dancing and then Hazuki pops out of its mouth in triumph... It's what Tom must see for a few seconds every time Jerry smashes him in the face with a brick or a hot iron. The thing is, after seeing the opening twice I stopped questioning it. Does that make me a bad person? Does that make me a mental patient? Probably "yes" on both counts.

Anyway, Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase is a strange but fun little show. It's mood is quirky, zany, dark, and sometimes downright vicious. There's lots of vampires and blood drinking and death (well, sort of), but there's also lots of cute, little, adorable characters and metal pans falling on people's heads, sometimes all in the same scene. The plot is as follows. Hazuki (aka Luna) is the cute-as-a-button little vampire girl who's being forced to live in some creepy and cursed castle in the black forests of Germany. She's rescued from this caged existence (in more ways than one) by a goofy but cool photographer from Japan (Kouhei). Hazuki then sucks Kouhei's blood in the attempt to turn him into her servant, but instead she finds that his blood sets her free from all the hexes and spiritual bonds placed upon her by her imprisoner. Then Hazuki travels back to Japan with Kohei and starts living in his family's house with his horny grandfather. We then get introduced to lots of secondary characters including Kouhei's spiritually powerful cousin, Kouhei's female coworker, Kouhei and his cousin's young priestess-in-training fiancees, and Hazuki's cat familiar who usually ends up taking the form of a flying, cat-eared munchkin in a kimono. Oh, and for some reason Hazuki likes to wear cat-eared hats all the time too. I don't think that that habit is ever truly explained.

So Hazuki's living with Kouhei and she's kind of pissed that he's not doing what she commands as her slave. He's getting annoyed at her constant demands and whining, and comic hilarity ensues... Well, not really "hilarity" per se, but it's kind of cute. Before the cuteness factor wears off though, we're luckily introduced to the main plot. Hazuki's being hunted down by the uber-vamp, Count Kinkel (Hah! Say that 10 times really fast. It sounds gay after just 2 times, then it gets ridiculous), and his number one assassin, Elfreide (a hot, blonde, bespectacled and bubbly vampire) as they try to get Hazuki back to the castle before their master finds out she's missing. Hazuki herself is also desperate to find her mother who told her that she would return to her daughter's side soon, right before she disappeared several years ago. Kouhei's missing his mom too, but he never really tries to hunt her down strangely enough. Things get really hairy then, then there's a big plot twist and things get even hairier. The stakes rise dramatically, you get ready for a big confrontation that you hope will tie up all the loose ends, and then.... it ends. It ends mid-story. It's just like Berserk in that nothing is really sorted out... Although at least with Tsukuyomi we're not left hanging in the middle of a battle between demon and man where the man's girlfriend is raped by the demon right in front of the man's eyes and then fade to black. Tsukuyomi just ends. We never meet Hazuki's father (the supposed king of all vampires), we never find out what happened to Kouhei's mom (which was hinted to being important), and we don't find out why Hazuki was given another personality and forced to live in that castle that Kouhei originally found her in. We're given some possible explanations from the characters as they question motives and reasonings, but nothing definitive is stated (at least from what I remember -- though I do admit to having trouble remembering things... Like zipping up sometimes after visits from the Tinkle-Fairy.... Hmm, I wonder if Count Kinkel is related to the Tinkle-Fairy... That would explain a lot). I guess they're just hoping for the greenlight for season 2, and maybe they're giving the manga enough time to end so they can animate the story to its finish if the anime is allowed to continue.

So, I liked Tsukuyomi for what it was. It was cute and interesting, and it had a great cast of characters, but there were a few things that just tweaked me the wrong way. Like when you wake up early on Christmas morning and see that your stocking is STUFFED and bulging above the fireplace, you're like "Sweet fuck yes!" But then you empty the contents out and see that it's nothing but coal and dried up dog shit. You're thinking to yourself (or maybe you scream it out loud) "What a crock! I was totally set up for some good toys and stuff, and instead Santa kicked me in the balls!" Well, at one point in the story two characters sacrifice themselves in order to let Kouhei and Hazuki live. It's touching and you feel the pain and guilt that the survivors have to deal with. But then, just two episodes later we find out that they didn't really die (and just went into hiding), and Kouhei and Haz went through that mental anguish and shit for nothing (though they don't find out that those two are alive for a while, and we the viewers only see silhouettes and shadows... But we fucking know it's them. We're not stupid [well, I guess I'm only speaking for myself here]). I don't think those characters ever even come up with a good reason for why they did that.

Also, at some points the animation in this show is really really good. They have smooth motion, detailed action, and some cool visual effects like "shaky cam" and whatnot. But other times the animation is so fucking bad it puts that one shitty and infamous episode of Macross to shame (the one where Hikaru/Rick and Risa/Lisa are rescued by Max/Max aboard the Zentraedi battleship... Where there's literally 1 frame of animation per two seconds of screen time in places and the character designs are so off that all the characters look like they have the Downs). There was one fight filled episode where for a good 10 seconds of screen time there's nothing but sounds of a battle going on (screaming, grunting, metal on metal clanging, names being called out and running), but the camera stays still, focusing on a bloody shadow on the ground. 10 goddamn seconds. I thought my computer crashed at first! Now, I've heard that the animation in the shitty episodes of Tsukuyomi will be fixed up for the DVD release, but if not, Christ is it aggravating!...

Things I liked: Hazuki (so damn cute), Elfreide (sooo sexy), Kohei, the cool use of Life Aquatic camera shots (where we'll have a building bisected so that we can see all the rooms in the house at once and what separate characters are doing while others are talking/fighting... It's really fun to see in action), and the bizarre use of falling pots and pans on people's heads at odd times. Seriously, what the hell was up with that?

What did I think of Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase? Fun, though without a second season (or any kind of conclusion), utterly pointless. Kind of like watching Star Wars Episode IV up to when Luke, Han and Chewie get Leia out of the Death Star jail cell and into the garbage disposal, but then it ended. You KNOW there's more story and a conclusion to come, but you have no idea why the fuck they stopped there. I give it a 6.9 out of 8.6 Fangs of Glory.


Angry Mimi Mode
MALCOLM Z

Did it not make anybody else sick the fact that the couple in this show was a 12 year-old girl and a 20 year-old guy?

Holy fuck.....


The Phased Out ANGRY AMY

Strange, convoluted, poorly animated and utterly pointless. I may have promised this before, but unless the Rossman catches me in any more strange positions with Rob from accounting, this was the last Japanimation show I will ever watch. DID YOU HEAR ME, GOD?!?!

I give this show one finger up. It knows where it can stick it.