Full Moon Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Full Moon

Full Moon Vol. #03

By Chris Beveridge     December 29, 2006
Release Date: December 05, 2006

Full Moon Vol. #03
© Viz Media

What They Say
Dr. Wakaoji refuses to listen to Mitsuki's debut single, and when Meroko tries to help, everything is turned upside down! Later, Full Moon becomes the target of an infamous tabloid photographer who wants to uncover the mystery of her identity. But if the truth gets out, she won't be able to sing anymore!

Contains episodes 9-12:
I Want You to Hear It!
The Rules of Show Business
The Dangerous Lens
Green Onion Ramen and the Saint's Stone

The Review!
Life as an idol starts to become a reality for Mitsuki as she moves throughout the industry.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a pretty well done stereo mix which is utilized for the various songs that fill the show. The dialogue sections are more center channel based or have a slightly more full feeling but it all comes across very clean and without any noise or distortions. The dialogue portion doesn't have a lot of standout moments but it is well balanced by the vocal pieces. In sampling both tracks, we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The audio issue from the first volume on the Japanese track is also thankfully absent here.

Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source material for the show look to be in really good shape but it's not entirely problem free. With it being a shoujo series, there are a number of the usual design elements that go into it which result in something of a soft looking print, often accented by the colors used. The transfer looks really good throughout but there's some edge cross coloration that shows up in certain areas, typically along the edges of hair, as well as some less than solid colors when there are close-ups of Mitsuki's hair or certain panning sequences. There's very little noticeable aliasing though which is a plus but the show isn't a heavy action piece either. For the most part, this is a very good looking transfer that will look good to most viewers.

Using the same artwork as the Japanese release, this volume is like the others in how it's bright and cheerful and really the essence of a shoujo design. Lots of flowers float in the background while the characters look either cute such as Mitsuki or a "pretty boy" like Wakaoji. The back cover is a bit text heavy though as it provides brief summaries for each of the four episodes as well as talking about the manga. The discs features and technical information is all over the place and the runtime is in small type in between a group of technical logos. There's a lot of production information and legal text along the bottom which is done in very small type which can be a bit tough to read as it's white on pink. The layout is decent overall but it just feels a bit too text heavy. The insert replicates the front cover artwork and brings in the chapter listings for each of the episodes while the reverse side is a big advertisement for the Shojo Beat brand, from the magazine to the Full Moon manga and to other manga. It's a good looking piece overall though and if it helps bolster the shoujo side a bit I can't complain.

The main menu is a nice simply setup that plays up the starry and romantic nature of the storylines premise with a shot of Mitsuki in the foreground that's clear and detailed while behind her is Full Moon in her performance outfit looking positively alive. The background has the stars and sky close to them which fades into white and blue around the edges. The layout is straightforward and easy to navigate and the logo looks great here as it include the full title just like the cover. Access times are nice and fast and the disc picked up the players' language presets without issue.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Similar to other long running shows that Viz Media has like Hikaru no Go, Full Moon is a series that does take some time to really get up and running. Its slower pace and laid back atmosphere, as well as simply being more character driven, has it feeling like a show that's taking awhile to get to where it needs to but that is also its main charm.

With the debut of her single now out, Mitsuki as Full Moon is now on the way to achieving her goal. That path however is filled with a lot more work ahead of her which includes areas she may not have really thought about all that much. The press circuit is something that she has to tread carefully on as she gets used to it since so much of who she is is something that she's keeping out of the public record. With no real name and many of the reasons why she's pursuing her musical career being areas that she can't discuss, it adds to her aura of mystery. But it also means that interviews tend to be a little contentious or bland depending on who is doing the talking.

With her now slowly making a name for herself, she has to deal more with those in the industry outside of her immediate agent. Two areas end up being problematic for her early on though and both could easily derail her entire career. As she's starting to interact more with studios and doing promotions, she's coming into contact with more artists. One she ends up having trouble with early on is a songstress named Komaki who has an overzealous agent working for her. Mitsuki inadvertently offends her in a couple of small ways, being rude without intending to, so Komaki's manager arranges things so that Mitsuki can't even perform for the event. With the music industry being what it is, this is an early challenge for her to stand up for herself and to be direct with others when her personality is more introverted and submissive.

The other area that causes her some grief is when her press junket run picks up the unwanted attention of a somewhat less than reputable photographer. Saegusa is the kind of paparazzi that lives to expose those who keep secrets or just their general privacy. Since he's done so many exposes so far on current stars, he's been nudged by his publisher to search after some of the new talent coming along. That puts Mitsuki right in his line of sight since she's even more mysterious than most of the other acts that are making their debuts. Since Mitsuki has so much to protect and hide, his hunting after her puts her in a bad place and she has to have the help of her magical friends to make sure she isn't caught. The pair hasn't had too much real influence in the show for a bit so it gives them a chance to shine a bit.

Where this set of episodes for me proved to be the most enjoyable however was early on when it dealt with Dr. Wakaoji. With Mitsuki having whatever kind of mild adoration/crush she has on the man, he's naturally oblivious to it and just looks at her as a young girl he's known all her life. There have been hints about him in the earlier episodes about being something a bit more and that starts to come to light when he visits the graves of Mitsuki's parents. Since she's been trying to ever so subtly get him to listen to her CD so she can get some additional praise from him, finding out that their relationship may have been more adds a little more to him. I can't recall if we've seen any pictures of them but there also is the apparent possibility that in her Full Moon guise that Mitsuki more closely resembles her mother, which may be an interesting bit of history repeating itself. The nuggets we learn about Wakaoji in this volume make him the real character to watch for some time I think.

In Summary:
Full Moon in its third installment starts the whole thing moving forward a bit more as she's now got her single out, she's hitting the press and her name is making the rounds. She has a lot more challenges ahead of her, but the foundation is now laid and she has to deal with the music world at large. Some of it is interesting as we see in these episodes, but the more it moves forward the less interested I am in the magical friend characters. They just seem to be a bit too forced at times in order to give them enough screen time and in some ways are detracting from the more interesting areas. Having Takuro telling her that he used to be a musician ends up pushing things even more too far too much coincidence, but it is simply the way these kinds of shows tend to work. I'm enjoying the show for the most part but the balance of the areas I like and don't like is leaning more towards the bad side.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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