Moon Phase Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: 15.99
  • Running time: 105
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Moon Phase

Moon Phase Vol. #3

By Bryan Morton     November 02, 2007
Release Date: October 22, 2007

Moon Phase Vol. #3
© Revelation Films

What They Say
The third instalment of this great new anime series! Even as Kouhei and his family risk all to save Hazuki from her fate, the formidable Count Kinkel refuses to be thwarted by human designs. As his plans grow darker and the web draws tighter, death and destruction nip at the heels of all. The Count’s powers lie beyond compare, and not even dawn’s light can offer new hope. Despite certain failure, failure which could prove fatal, the Mido clan must set aside their fear. And when the young vampire rises up to reshape her own destiny, the consequences will prove disturbing indeed. Some riddles are best left unsolved.

Episodes Comprise
11 – Big Brother, Get Some Rest!
12 – I’ll Never Forgive Him
13 – Let’s Defeat the Count
14 – Big Brother, Will you Walk With Me?

The Review!
Hazuki’s quite happy in Japan, thank you very much; but Count Kinkel would very much like to get her back to his German castle, and he’s not the sort of vampire you can speak reasonably to. The solution? Defeat the Count – it’s not like he can argue over Hazuki’s living arrangements if he’s permanently dead. But getting him to that state isn’t going to be easy…

Audio for this release comes in 2.0 Japanese and English, and 5.1 English versions. I listened to the Japanese track for this review. As stereo mixes go, it's pretty good, with some good use made of dialogue placement and background effects to add to the atmosphere of the show. There were no obvious problems.

Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, enhanced for anamorphic playback. Despite a lot of the scenes making heavy use of colours at the darker end of the scale (all in the name of atmosphere, again), there's a fair amount of detail to pick out in the animation, and it all comes across well & the transfer in general looks good. There were no obvious problems.

Gracing the front this time around we have Hazuki, giving Haiji a cuddle and looking as cute as ever. The rear has the usual disc technical information, promotional blurb and screenshots. The reverse has another nice piece of Hazuki in her white dress, this time in the manga style (as used in the show's ending sequence), and the coverart for the remaining volumes in the series.

Another static screen in the usual style of Revelations' release - a close-up image of Hazuki and Haiji, set against the castle and full moon, takes up one side of the screen, with options for Play All, Episodes, Setup and Extras running along the bottom.

This time out there’s a creditless version of the Luna / Tsukuyomi Mode version of the opening credits (as used in episode 14), and a set of text-only character profiles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
A powercut leaves Hikaru and Kaoru stuck in Tokyo and forced to stay over at Kouhei's place - something that neither the twins nor Hazuki are entirely happy about. For Kouhei, it means he's got to deal with three young girls, all determined to prove they've got his best interests at heart. When they're not just arguing amongst themselves, that is. Keen to make sure she keeps the upper hand, Hazuki resort to following the twins wherever they go - but they have their own ideas on how to keep Hazuki in check. Their rivalry is temporarily forgotten, however, when Kouhei's grandfather's condition worsens.

This opening episode is more of a character piece, and a chance for the twins to learn that Hazuki doesn’t live up to the stereotype of the evil demon that they’ve always seen her as – as witnessed by the way she seems to genuinely care for her new adoptive family. Not that that’s going to stop Hikaru from needling Hazuki at any opportunity, mind you, and the way the two girls go at each other at the slightest provocation can be great fun to watch. The story’s a decent little diversion, but doesn’t really advance the story much.

That job falls to the remaining three episodes. Seiji and Kouhei are beginning to wonder where Count Kinkel has gotten to, and if there's anything they can do to rescue Elfriede from his grasp. In a classic case of good timing, Kinkel is also wanting to see the boys again - although his reasons are somewhat different, and his invitation ominous. With Grandfather and Hiromi having been taken captive by Kinkel, Seiji and Kouhei must mount a rescue mission - but do they have what it takes to deal with the Count..?

The battle with Kinkel fills most of episodes 11 & 12, with episode 13 dealing with the aftermath. Battles being battles, there’s not too much to write about the confrontation – as ever, the series slips back into its more “gothic horror” style of presentation, and the Count presents the guys with a suitably stiff challenge, to the point where there even appears to be a chance that they’ll lose the battle. Every time it seems as though Seiji has gained them the upper hand, Kinkel reveals another ability that we didn’t know about and turns things around. The end result is that, while the battle is definitely visually impressive, it drags out too long, with too many twists and turns for my liking.

The final episode has life almost getting back to normal, but dealing with Kinkel has left Hazuki with enough doubts about her own actions during the fight that her alternate personality, Luna, is able to force her way out and become the dominant personality - and last time that happened, Kouhei was nearly killed. This time, it looks more like Luna's trying to learn what life's like in the real world, with some aspects of Hazuki’s personality left intact and keeping her in check. Luna’s a curiosity – you learn a decent amount here through Elfriede about how she came to be, and a little about how she would normally behave, but this time around she’s clearly not at dangerous as she’d normally be. It takes Kouhei a while to realise what’s happened, and the question of whether they’ll be able to get the “real” Hazuki back goes left unanswered. I’m not too sure yet whether I like the Luna aspect of the show – we haven’t seen enough of her yet to really get a feel for the personality – but it looks like we’ll be getting a chance to get to know her better over at least the next episode or two.

In summary:
Overall, this volume serves up much what you’d expect from Moon Phase - some very stylishly-presented action, some comedy, and some mystery, in an overall package that looks very slick and appealing. The action is overdone this volume, with the confrontation with Kinkel going on for too long, but other than that if you’ve enjoyed the previous volumes you won’t find much to dislike here, either. I enjoyed it, anyway, and that gets this volume a thumbs-up.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Textless Opening Sequence (Tsukuyomi Mode version),Character Profiles

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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