Full Moon is back and the tumultuous road to stardom is ready to test Mitsuki’s resolve once again. Concerts, substitute managers, rivals, and a possible love interest are all packed into one volume as Mitsuki Koyama and her alter-ego Full Moon try to cope with the growing troubles of being an up-and-coming j-pop idol. Based on the original manga story by Arina Tanemura, Full Moon O Sagashite: Her First Kiss?, the fourth volume from Viz Media, takes the next step on multiple levels as Mitsuki and Full Moon each face some changes in their lives.
Audio: English 2.0 DD, Japanese 2.0 DD
Extras: Preview Trailers
Notes: Review is based on a Screener copy of the final product.
Episode thirteen brings Full Moon, Miss Oshige, and the production crew to Hiragi Kindergarten. Ms. Date and her students have the benefit of getting a personal concert by Full Moon thanks to a letter from one of their students, Sora. The moment Full Moon steps out of the van, she spots Sora with a boy named Taiki partly protecting her. The boy seems to have mixed feelings as he’s mindful of Sora but a complete jerk to everyone else. Today’s target, for no reason, is Full Moon. He starts with flipping up her dress and then breaks into Full Moon’s dressing room later to steal a costume. However, all Mitsuki can see in the child is her own Eichi and she forgives every transgression against her. Takuto goes off to find the costume while Full Moon takes the stage in her regular clothes. As the concert begins, the little brat cuts the power and ruins the show. Full Moon can’t understand why Taiki has so much hate for her when Sora was looking forward to the concert so much. Only Ms. Date can shed some light on this sad subject.
Masami Oshige ends up in the hospital in episode fourteen, and Full Moon is going to have to be assisted by a substitute manager for the day. Kotaro Akiba, the possible long-lost twin of G Gundam’s Domon Kashu, is an experienced climber and hopes to be as successful a manager as Oshige. However, one shouldn’t blatantly shout out the name of their popular client when the two of them are standing in the middle of a crowd. Naturally, everyone suddenly recognizes Full Moon and wants an autograph. Domon… err, Akiba manages to get them away from the crowd, but this won’t be his last mistake of the day. The pair rush around town for all of Full Moon’s appearances, and Akiba’s colorful lack-of-any-useful-skill leaves Full Moon having to forgive a lot of errors. Akiba knows he’s not really cut out for this kind of work, but Full Moon wants to make sure he doesn’t give up on his dream of assisting and inspiring an up-and-coming star to reach the top of the business.
The final two episodes introduce some new difficulties into Full Moon and Mitsuki’s lives. Episode fifteen revolves around meeting the smooth operator named Murakami while at the beach for a performance. His innocent looks and sweet nature cause all the girls to fall for him. Mereko pushes Full Moon forward to have some interest in the guy so that, once Mitsuki is in love, Mereko can pounce on Takuto and keep him for herself. However, Takuto warns Mitsuki to stay away from the guy, but Mitsuki wants to prove the jealous shinigami wrong and hangs out with Murakami on his yacht. Only Full Moon’s true innocent nature can delay Murakami long enough for someone to save her. Episode sixteen also has its share of troubles as Full Moon meets her rival: Madoka Wakamatsu. You may remember Madoka from the first episode. You may also not even care, but apparently Madoka believes Full Moon is someone who needs to be defeated and will stop at nothing to make sure she is. Both girls are auditioning for a new shampoo commerical and Full Moon keeps taking the advice from Madoka at face value. But Madoka’s plans to sabotage Full Moon backfire each time as the two get closer to the final selection.
Full Moon O Sagashite is a sweet-natured story that is starting to venture into some deeper subjects with this volume. Takuto’s slight interest in Mitsuki’s Full Moon alter-ego are starting to surface, to the displeasure of Mereko. And the fact that Mitsuki may feel the same way only complicates things as the 12-year-old begins to grow into an adult. I am starting to get a tad burned out on the song “Myself” as they feel the need to insert it so much. Performing in concert I can understand, but episode thirteen’s ending comes off as a large commerical to go buy the “Myself” single. There’s also a brief cameo appearance by THE SCANTY to sing the opening theme during the beach episode, so it’s nice to see the band get a small plug for fans to catch. The Japanese cast remains solid with the regulars of Mitsuki/Full Moon (myco), Takuto (Yasuo Saito), and Mereko (Chieko Honda). There weren’t any noticeable sour notes with the supporting cast this time. The English production from Blue Water Studios has tightened up in some places, but it remains a work-in-progress overall. Katie Rowan continues to be a good choice for Mitsuki/Full Moon and something worth checking out when you have some free time. It’s actually amusing that the voice actor for Domon Kashu (Mark Gatha) doesn’t play his look-a-like in this series, but does manage to land the role of the sweet-talking Murakami. I guess Domon really was a smooth operator to keep Rain working for him all that time.
Full Moon O Sagashite: Her First Kiss? does a good job of moving the series forward and presenting something entertaining to watch. With so many networks testing the waters constantly for series to attract young females, it’s surprising that Full Moon tends to be glossed over. You can’t hack it up to make another Cardcaptors and people see that as a good thing. It’s about time someone took a chance showing a series originally aimed at girls uncut on TV. The video remains sharp and colorful like the last few volumes along with a flawless subtitle track. Mitsuki and Full Moon are starting to grow up with this batch of episodes, and that’s something which is needed to keep the show’s plot truly moving along. Full Moon O Sagashite: Her First Kiss? is a shoujo fan’s dream with the plot moving romance into the deck of cards in play. The question becomes how long can people hold out for volume five to see if something is going to develop from the hints here.