Posted by psgels on 17 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Ugh… what a mess. Before watching, I already had a hunch that watching Tsukuyomi Moon Phase wouldn’t be easy, but I decided to have faith in Akiyuki Shinbo, its director. I’ve loved most of his other works so far: Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, Pani Poni Dash and Soul Taker were excellent, so there would be a good chance for Tsukuyomi Moon Phase to be good as well, right?

Well, I’d like to thank this series for destroying my faith in Shinbo. While it’s not utter crap, Tsukuyomi Moon Phase is dull, annoying and just not worth it.

Let me start with the good part: character-development. Surprisingly, the part where Shinbo screwed up at Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei is one of the better points in this series. The cast of Tsukuyomi Moon Phase isn’t static, and it changes notably as the show goes on. Unfortunately, all the character-development in the world isn’t going to help if you can’t care about these characters, and that’s the big problem with this series.

Bluntly said, just about half of the cast of this series is incredibly annoying. Hazuki is a whiny brat, Koukei is a lacklustre male lead, Kaoru has the depth of a paper bag, Art is a shallow, dull and predictable main villain, and so on. The interesting characters do try to brighten up the mood a bit, but they’re almost always overshadowed by the dull ones. The central theme in this series, the chemistry between Kouhei and Hazuki (the two main characters) also feels fake. It felt to me like they were arguing for the sake of arguing, rather than that their personalities were clashing.

If that wasn’t enough, I also have my issues with the storytelling. The entire story is full of plot holes – both large and small. According to this series, the best way to clean out an oil-stain in your clothes is to enter a hot spring for a while. The ending also leaves too many things unanswered. Apparently the manga went on after that point, but Shinbo could at least have tried to wrap them up a bit.

Then there are the fights, probably the most blatant part of this series. On paper, it looked good: the combat system combines vampires with Shinto-styled spells and magical seals. The different characters receive a number of interesting powers that are perfect for forming intricate strategies against the enemies. The problem, however, is that for nearly every major fight, these strategies fail and eventually either Hazuki or Kouhei ends up saving the day with some hastily explained convenient godmode-power that basically renders all of these carefully thought-out plans useless. I can understand how a series would want to make its main characters a bit stronger than usual, but the powers that our main couple receives borders the ridiculous and they feel just downright lazy.

But well, at least since this is a Shinbo-series, the art and animation-style at least look great, right? Well, even with that I’ve got problems. The animation style indeed is typical Shinbo, with nice poses and camera-angles, but at the same time it pales in comparison to the visuals of both his previous and his later works: Petit Cosette, Soul Taker, Pani Poni Dash and Zetsubou-Sensei all looked ten times better than what was shown here. The animation for Moon Phase is inconsistent and all over the place: sometimes it’s normal, at other times it’s Shinbo’s typical style and yet at other times it looks like a desperate attempt to save budget. It can’t seem to choose for one proper style.

At least I can be positive about the music: while nothing special, there are a number of very sweet tracks that especially pop up during the climaxes. Overall, though, I just can’t recommend Moon Phase. It has its decent moments, but it never really stands out at anything. It went too far at trying to be “moe” that it rather lost sight of what was really important for this series, so much that I even couldn’t understand what it was trying to achieve in the first place.

Storytelling: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 7/10

9 Responses

  1. thenullset says:

    The opening song was the best part of the show, and about the only thing I really remember from it now.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    The opening indeed is memorable, though for me it was so in a bad way… It may be my taste in music, but it was one of the most annoying OPs I’ve seen, apart from perhaps Musashi Gun-Doh.

  3. midenz says:

    ha, remember watching this one a long time ago and i gotta say, wasnt so good if i can recall it

  4. Archer says:

    i remember that i watched some episodes of this quite some time ago but i just did not find enough reasons to continue with it,i am not a person than continues to watch an anime hoping that it will get better or that maybe i will start liking it,if something does not appeal to me or if it does not have any potential at all i can’t find reasons to give it more chances

    and OMG the op !! one of my least favorite so i don’t say more :D

  5. Kurisu says:

    I find it really surprising that you dislike Tsukuyomi so much despite considering PPD and SZS excellent. I also think the latter two a great but they have just about the same flaws as you mention here and both had a LOT of scenes that looked like budget savers, just look how crappy every non-cast character looks and how piss-poor they are animated. Sure PPD/SZS had scenes and OP/EDs that looked awesomely animated but I often wondered whether SHAFT just added those to prove that they can actually do high-quality animation if they want to. I like SHAFT’s unique style but they are certainly not using their budgets evenly.

    The OP of Tsukuyomi might look like a complete misfit, especially during the first episode which are darker and serious compared to the rest. I still remember that I wondered “WTF? Is this a fake?” when the OP suddenly kicked in after a few minutes. Yeah, it’s very silly but it’s great nonetheless and absolutely unique.

    The BGM which is completely different is really awesome. It’s very atmospheric, moody music and fits the vampire theme maybe better than the show itself. The OST is one of the best, in my opinion and you should be able to enjoy it regardless whether you liked Tsukuyomi or not.

    I’d certainly agree that it didn’t live up to its premise. The first few episode where, in my opinion, absolutely awesome and gorgeously animated. Afterwards it turns into a somewhat generic comedy mode, which feels a bit like a reverse harem. If you cannot digest this shift, you’ll obviously have problems to enjoy it.

    I must also say that the character designs in the anime are a vast improvement over the manga. Most of the time it’s the other way around, but here Tsukuyomi looks cuter by magnitudes and the other characters look more consistent and well-drawn too. In the manga Hazuki looks almost ugly – at least in my eyes.

    However as with many shows, you mentioned it yourself with respect to Real Drive, if you don’t like the protagonist, you’re not going to enjoy it. I really liked Hazuki as a tsundere and I also liked the silly nekomimi overkill. I don’t think the characters were meant to be realistic anyway. I’d say Tsukuyomi can only be enjoyed for its style, not its plot. The plot is, indeed, nothing to write home about.

    In any case, I personally find your rating too low in comparision to other shows like e.g., DNA^2 which was pretty much crap all the way and you’re usually very forgiving. Then again, Tsukuyomi is a sort of “moe”-based anime, so I would have been surprised if you had liked it a lot anyway.

  6. psgels psgels says:

    The big difference with this show and PPD and SZS for me was that at least these two had a clear focus and made me laugh in nearly every episode, while Tsukuyomi’s cast was most of the time annoying. It’s indeed a case of if you don’t like the characters, you’re not going to like the series, which was for me the case.

    And about the animation, my biggest problem with it was that it didn’t seem know where it wanted to go. And that desperate attempt to save budget was referring to that fight in episode 12 and 13, where all the action seemed to happen off-screen.

    I never really got interested by the style, and if the plot also disappoints, then there remains little for me to recommend this series for. DNA2 at least had its cast of ejoyable characters (although I do agree that I may have rated that show a bit too high).

  7. Alice says:

    omfg u ppl are mad i loved this anime its one of the best

  8. daniel says:

    do any of you ppl know were to get any of this in english dubbed or subbed

  9. mooner says:

    Seems pointless trying to compare this anime to others, when a lot of things about it were so unique (to anime). I don’t think many people understand the Japanese stage humor that was so prevalent in this series, that’s one of the main focuses. I laughed out loud many times at it. You almost have to picture certain parts as a broadway play in order to understand the comedy. The reason certain parts and characters don’t seem serious enough is because they weren’t, they were trying to be staged. Hell, at one point, they had a stage microphone and stage lights in the background while the girls were arguing. Won’t see that in too many other anime.

    And yes, the neko mimi was overkilled. That was part of the comedy. The Japanese believe that the more something is said or done, the funnier it gets. So they do it in outrageous proportions. By the end of the series there were so many pans falling on people’s heads it was utterly crazy and ridiculous, per intent.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 02:30 AM)
    @Bam: Meant to ask you, are you a fan of Thomas Pynchon’s work?
    I re-watched Inherent vice today which was based on a book by him, complex noir thing, made more sense on second viewing and was pretty funny. Figured you’d be into it given its stoner fiction origins.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 02:23 AM)
    Some people literally do live off patreon though on drawing hentai art though as their sole income.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 02:18 AM)
    @Bam: I know that film by name but I will be watching it either now or tomorrow.
  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 02:10 AM)
    Matteo Garrone directed Gomorrah (2008), Reality (2011) which all were screened at Cannes, as well as this one. I liked Tale of Tales well enough, the only thing that I don’t like about the film is the treatment of women. They paid their prices just because of their lust.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 01:30 AM)
    I ran into the weirdest movie last night: an English speaking French-British-Italian movie called Tale of Tales. Loosely based on the Pentamerone series of folklore, it was a pretty dark yet vibrant-looking collection of fairytales, slimly connected by a main plot. I don’t know much about this director Matteo Garrone, but he has a unique style.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 01:25 AM)
    @K-off: I think Patreon recipients mostly fail during the first year. Just as with Kickstarter, you only hear of a very few that result in anything worthwhile; and pointing at 2-3 successes in an ocean of failures doesn’t really imply effectiveness.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 1. 2016 01:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: Kaufman and Hoffman were a match made in heaven; also weird that they rhyme with each other.
    The only Kaufman match-up that might get close would be him and Spike Jonze working on a Nicholas Cage flick. That man is really a mystery to me.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:29 PM)
    @Kaiser Someone who actually still likes Nicholas Cage outside of his internet memes? To me he’s one of those actors who at this point, I can’t visualize playing a role outside of himself. Similar to how I can’t see any of Steve Carrell’s movies without seeing Michael Scott.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:19 PM)
    @Bam Yup, asking for money online is flawed in almost every way from the donor’s point of view, a lot of my former art history degree friends have taken to Patreon in a last ditch effort to float their poor career choice.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:46 PM)
    With synecdoche it has the benefit of Hoffman’s performance and to get it you just have to “Feel it”.

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