Mania Grade: B
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- Art Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: B
- Age Rating: All
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 196
- ISBN: 1-59182-792-2
- Size: Tall B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Crescent Moon Vol. #01
By Megan Lavey
May 23, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004
Crescent Moon Vol.#01
Writer/Artist:Haruko Ida, Story by Red Company/Takamura Matsuda
Translated by:Nan Rymer
Adapted by:What They Say
Mahiru Shiraishi has an uncanny ability to bring good luck to everyone she touches - except herself. She's constantly haunted by a recurring nightmare that ushers her to a dreamworld. There, she encounters a tribe of demons - a werewolf, vampire, fox and bat - called the Lunar Race. Destiny calls when they need her help to recover their source of power, the stolen "Teardrops of the Moon." In this fanasty adventure, Mahiru must battle the rage between the human race and the Lunar Race, whose powers are awakened by the dark side of the moon.The Review
The book itself is very pretty. There is a shot of Mahiru and Mitsuru inside of a star with sigils around them and the logo right behind Mitsuru's head on top of a black and purple base. The white that wraps around the spine has a very wispy edge and adds a very soft touch to the cover that is in line with the overall mood this is trying to project. The back is simple with the summary placed in the star with the logo on top of it. The cover has a matte finish, rather than a glossy one, and I think it actually fits the book bettwe than having the shiny finish.
Now it's time for the logo check!
I have very mixed feelings about it. Personally, I don't care for the font used. It's very creepy and seems to be overkill. However, it does fit in with the overall theme for the cover and the series itself and that's why it doesn't seem out of place. So while I don't care for it personally, it does its job by creating the mood for the overall series.
The artwork tends to be pretty confusing at times. The pages where you can tell color work originally was printed in the original run of the series is where the art is the best. Otherwise, it is vastly confusing and the characters are not that attractive, yet not that ugly either. At first, I hard a hard time telling Misoka was a boy or a girl (she's a girl) and some of the panels are pretty muddy and very hard to get through. This isn't the fault of TOKYOPOP here, as the reproduction of the artwork is excellent. It's just how the original art comes off at times, especially during the action/battle scenes, where it is easy to lose your place. It's a style similar to what CLAMP tends to use during their action scenes in Cardcaptor Sakura at times, but Haruko Ida likes to use it a lot more.
There are several fonts floating around in this book. The songs and dreams, along with the flashback storytelling, is in a curvy font that is sometimes hard to read against the active panels and is very hard to read when it's small. Going back through the book a second time in strong light, I managed to pick up stuff I didn't get when reading under my normal lamp. I really don't want to say the entire book has untranslated SFX because while it does contain some, there is a lot of translated SFX as well. It's almost as if the editors couldn't decide what to do with it. The other thing that bugged me is that there's a couple of translation notes in the volume that made me think, "You didn't have to tell me this specifically, because I could have gotten it on my own." While it was thoughtful, in a way, it insulted my ability to be able to grasp the story plot. Crescent Moon isn't a series I'm going to hand to my seven-year-old niece to read. A lot of its fans will be high school or older and will be able to pick up on the literary hints.
Beneath the sometimes confusing artwork is actually a pretty decent story.
The story opens with a high school girl, Mahiru Shiraishi, being asked to share luck with her friends. Ever since a car accident left her an orphan in elementary school, she's been able to give good luck to people by touching them. However, she has always had bad luck herself. Every month, during the time of the new moon and her period, she keeps having a strange dream about a princess and a demon.
While walking home from school, she encounters a hostile young man covered with blood, who refuses to help her. This inspires Mahiru to hit the library and try to find out more about her dream. Ironically, she runs into another young man named Nozomu who happens to have just the book for her. Mahiru reads about the legend of the princess who promised to marry a demon, then spurns him. The demon is defeated and the princess managed to live happily ever after. When Nozomu leaves, Mahiru follows and sees him with a strange young girl. From there, she runs into even more strange people and discovers that she is the descendant of the princess in the legend, and that the demon wasn't a demon at all - but a person of a race bound to the moon called the Lunar Race.
The Lunar Race needs Mahiru's help in obtaining the Teardrops of the Moon, sources of power that were broken up and scattered. They are at their strongest during the full moon and can use their powers, but at their weakest in the new moon when it's drained away. Mahiru's power to give good luck enables them to transform into heir full powers during the new moon. She also discovers that the hostile young man she first encounters, Mitsuru, is also a member of the Lunar Race and wants to kill her because of her ancestry.
The rest of the manga is dedicated to the normal first fight that allows Mahiru to trust the Lunars and vice versa and also another fight that enables her to form a very loose friendship of sorts with Mitsuru while setting up the possible threads for a triangle between her, Mitsuru and Nozomu.
This has the typical elements of a shoujo tale that can be kind of dark and omnious at times. A young, orphaned girl discovers she has special powers and those powers can be used to gather pieces of a magical, powerful object that has shattered and scattered. In the meantime, she is forced to team up with a hostile young man (and his friends) who loses his powers during the new moon and wants nothing to do with her, but they're forced to work together in order to gather all the pieces of the object.
No, I'm not describing Inuyasha here. Crescent Moon really has a good back story in here that is pretty intricate. During the subsequent scannings I made of the book, I kept getting drawn to the back story behind what led to the current events involving Mahiru.
But the problem for me is that I'm really not that interested in the characters. Mahiru's ability to give everyone good luck, yet her own pining that she has bad luck, seems off. She looks like she goes to a good school and has friends. Her aunt, from the glimpses that we're given, appears to love and take good care of her. Mahiru's not that bad off. It's the little material things that she seems to miss out on.
It's obvious that things are setting up to form a relationship between Mahiru and Mitsuru. At this point though, I can't tell if Nozomu will become the third part of the love triangle that normally forms in this type of situation. Some parts of the book point to it, other parts don't. Will Mahiru go for the angsty, hostile boy she wants to be friends with or the boy who dragged her into this in the first place?
The authors really did their research here in forming the back story. You learn a lot about the history and some of the legends surrounding the moon and Akamaura Matsuda, who actually penned the story, has a neat author's section following the story that explains how the names were chosen and some of the myths that are grounded in the story.Comments
Crescent Moon, so far, is turning out to be one of those series that I will not reach for first on my shelf. There's other stories that contain the same plot elements and manage to pull them off better. But, there is the strong base for a good story here and I do see room for the series to improve. Crescent Moon is one of those books where you probably need to read it several times in order to really appreciate and like the series. So far, it hasn't completely hooked me. But, I'm interested enough in seeing what will happen in the story to give the second volume a try.