Full Moon Vol. #04 - 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Full Moon

Full Moon Vol. #04

By Chris Beveridge     March 23, 2007
Release Date: March 13, 2007

Full Moon Vol. #04
© Viz Media

What They Say
Full Moon performs at a beach party! On her way back to the hotel, she's accosted by some thugs but is saved by the dashing Murakami, making Takuto jealous! But just who is her hero really?

Contains episodes 13-16:
A Little Concert
Do Your Best, Substitute Manager!
Her First Kiss?
The Rival Appears

The Review!
Mitsuki goes through a few new challenges and reflections in her life as Full Moon just before a new rival appears.

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 feathers float in the background while the characters look either cute such as Mitsuki something akin to a bad boy with Takuto. 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 Takuto. The background has the feathers floating around 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)
While not really a lull in the series, Full Moon has a bit of breathing space with these episodes after putting Mitsuki through the work ringer in the previous volume. Mitsuki goes through a few more of the motions here of being popular and getting known before it delves into some cold hard realities of the music business. Namely that she's a rarity in how friendly and optimistic, something that is easily taken advantage of by her new rival.

The opening episode is one that provides a bit of reflection on how her relationship with Eichi is while also serving to annoy Takuto. Mitsuki is scheduled for a mini concert at an orphanage which will help her build up her fan base in an amusing way. It takes a bit for the singing to take place as there's an incident with a troublemaker there named Taiki. He's a young kid who is acting out because he's about to be separated from a girl there that he's close to. This causes him to create some small issues for Mitsuki but she can't help but be nice about it because it reminds her of how she and Eichi were when she was smaller. Everything builds to a predictable head as Taiki gets serious about protecting Saori. The real material here is a mix of things, either around how Takuto is having a harder time dealing with even the mention of Eichi and the small bit of new material we get about how Mitsuki and Eichi were when they first met.

Mitsuki has an amusing business change for one episode when her manager, Oshige, is sick and unable to work with her. Enter the substitute manager, Kotaro Akiba. Kotaro is an earnest young man who reminds me Ryouga from Ranma ½ in a way. He's a bit of a country bumpkin who has an oversized backpack on at all times. As an entry level manager at the company, he proves that no matter how into his job he is and how much he wants to succeed, he's either incompetent about how to do it or just plain clueless about reality. Mitsuki's good nature keeps her cheering him on but it only seems to go from bad to worse as they deal with her day. Even worse, it brings them into a confrontation with Takasu at the company. Mitsuki's not even able to draw on Meroko or Takuto as they've been summoned back to their own "main office."

While the storyline that has Mitsuki as Full Moon at the pool and beach dealing with some guys that make a bet about her, the real fun is in the last episode where her rival arrives. Well, rival in the sense that the new woman, Madoka, views herself as that with Full Moon. They're both set to audition for a new commercial and on the way there Madoka does some less than nice things in trying to eliminate her competition. This happens once at the building and throughout as well though Mitsuki has a hard time seeing it happening. Even worse, Mitsuki has Meroko with her this time and she's just generally incompetent when it comes to helping her out so that leads to plenty of bad situations. Madoka's arrival as the rival only starts here and looks like it at the least goes into the next episode and hopefully a bit more beyond that. Mitsuki needs someone else out there that isn't actively helping her all the time.

In Summary:
Full Moon plugs away with another four episodes but little in the way of momentum towards the larger storyline. Its more relaxed atmosphere works well for the show but it sometimes feels like it's just spinning its wheels a bit too much. There is still a lot of ground to cover with the series and I suspect that it'll be some time before we get to some really meaty episodes. But with its leisurely pacing in the storyline and the slow release schedule for the discs, this is an easy show to forget about for awhile. With the series having started its release in June 2006, it feels like we should be much farther along now than just the fourth volume.

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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