Full Moon O Sagashite, Volume 1 Arina Tanemura
I’ve been meaning to check out this series for awhile, as I tend to enjoy Tanemura’s manga. Her series are the perfect thing to read when you want to turn your brain off and just think about sparkly things, ribbon, and cute animals. Full Moon wasn’t a disappointment because despite some dark themes there is an overabundance of adorableness to go around.
Mitsuki is an orphaned 12 year old girl living with her extremely strict grandmother. Mitsuki has throat cancer, but she is refuses to have an operation even though she’s been diagnosed as only having a year to live. All her life, she’s wanted to sing. Mitsuki promised her long-lost love Eichi that they’d both fulfill their dreams. He was supposed to become an astronomer and she is going to become a singer. Mizuki has scored an opportunity to audition, but her grandmother won’t let her out of the house. Fortunately an unexpected ally pops through her wall. It is Death!
Now, this being a Arina Tanemura manga, death takes the form of two super-cute teens that look like refugees from a cosplay convention, a bunny girl named Meroko and a cat boy named Takuto. They are collectively known by the goofy name Negi-Ramen, and come to earth from the Death Pediatrics Ward. They want to stop Mitsuki from meeting someone who would prevent her death. Mitsuki escapes and takes a taxi to Shinjuku. When Negi-Ramen catch up with her, Takuto is impressed with Mitsuki’s determination and decides to use his shinigami powers to transform Mitsuki into a healthy 16 year old girl for her audition. Mitsuki ends up winning the audition and embarks on the tough task of secretly becoming an idol singer while dodging her grandmother and doctor.
A love triangle quickly develops, as Takuto is horribly disappointed that Mitsuki’s main motivation for becoming a singer is to achieve a level of fame that will cause her long-lost friend Eichi to find her. Meroko is delighted by this turn of events, because she loves Takuto and is concerned that his feelings for Mitsuki will prevent him from becoming a full-fleged shinigami. Mitsuki is very single-minded about pursuing her goal, but has difficulties fitting into the show business world because of her sheltered past.
I can see this series appealing to younger teens with a love of drama. Based on the first volume, I’d rank this series slightly below Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne but above I.O.N. and Time Stranger Kyoko. I’m intrigued by the plot, because I don’t think that a romance between a pre-teen girl and a death god will work out very well. Eichi remains a cipher, seen only in Mitsuki’s memories, so I’m curious to see if he’ll make an appearance in later volumes.