Full Moon Vol. #05 - 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. #05

By Chris Beveridge     July 02, 2007
Release Date: June 19, 2007

Full Moon Vol. #05
© Viz Media

What They Say
Mitsuki feels responsible for putting everyone in a difficult position. But she decides that no matter what happens, she has to keep singing!

Contains episodes 17-20:
Takuto and Meroko's Disagreement
Run to the Audition!
A Singer's Voice That Can't Be Heard
Meroko, All Alone

The Review!
Teases and revelations abound in Full Moon as he career is in peril as is her relationship with Takuto and Meroko.

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 stars float in the background while the characters look rather cute with the arm in arm pairing of Mitsuki and Meroko. 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 uses the artwork from the cover in its design. The foreground is very clear and detailed while the background uses the same design as the covers' background as well. 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)
Five volumes in and we get up to episode twenty in this fifty two episode series. Changes are afoot here as the situation that Mitsuki has put herself in is becoming increasingly tenuous to maintain. With just about everything seeming to fall apart around her and with herself, she's faced with the choices of carrying on in a bad fashion, giving up entirely or actually seeking some help in her quest to reach Eichi's heart.

As the show has seemed like it was falling into a standard shoujo trap during the last few episodes, this batch of four does a nice job in taking what's come before and changing it all up. The introduction of a cunning rival with big ambitions that drive her in the previous volume wasn't a surprise nor was it that she's in direct competition with Mitsuki for the big new campaign. How that campaign plays out does provide for some good moments though as Mitsuki wants to get it and is even at the point where she's willing to put her health on the line in order to do it. The situations are contrived of course as she ends up feeling ill – so much so that she actually collapses in the street on the way to the audition – but the main focus of all of it isn't with her health.

The real focus is around that of the two Death Spirits that have been working with her. Meroko has begun to voice some concerns about the plan they're using with her for her final year after hearing that Takuto is starting to remember parts of his past. There is a lot of danger in this for Takuto as we discover which gives Meroko a reason for wanting to take both of them off the job entirely. Her reasons go beyond just that of the job itself but this seems to be not quite as important as it could be if what Takuto says is to be believed. If she's been interested in as many other Death Spirits as he says, it minimizes the impact of her revelations to him.

Far more interesting is my apparent obliviousness of who Takuto could really be. Though part of me hopes that it's a feint and it isn't true, some of what comes across in this set of episodes pushes Takuto's past in a way that gives him a strong connection with Mitsuki. While I can believe that they'd go with it just because it would fit in with the relatively simple nature of the show, the other part of me has to believe that it would be quite improbable. Considering how quickly Meroko wants to complain to their division chief over his getting too close to the situation, you have to believe that the division chief would know who Takuto was in a previous life. With that idea, the division chief has obviously put Takuto there for a reason. It does add a nice twist to things, one that I again am surprised I didn't catch quicker, but it feels far too convenient even for a series like this.

There's a lot to like about the show still and they make some good changes here. Between the revelations from Meroko and the potential with Takuto there is already a lot of interactions that arise from it. With Mitsuki wanting to re-approach her plan from a new angle she decides that it's time to be more honest with those around her. After her near death experience she works with Takuto on the novel idea of actually telling people like Wakaoji and Oshige about what's really going on with her and trying to gain their help. These kinds of scenes are few and far between in storytelling in general since it removes a very basic element from the plot. When they do introduce them though, it's something that can make or break a series. For Full Moon, I think it's a moment that will make the remainder of the series far more interesting.

In Summary:
The storyline in the past couple of volumes wasn't bad but when combined with that it didn't really keep you enthused about the show. With this volume and the changes to the storyline it has set up a more promising look towards the remaining volumes. With a more aggressive handle on things and a willingness to go wherever she has to, Mitsuki is ready to face the challenges ahead of her. Unlike before though, she's not going to be helped by just Death Spirits but also some good friends. Full Moon isn't a series that taxes the brain cells but it is light enjoyable fun with the kind of simple drama that's expected of it. Competently done with good looking animation and designs, Full Moon manages to regain some of what made those first episodes so much fun.

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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