Headline: Gibbous Moon
Originally posted September 1, 2014
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This is the fifth (and second-to-last) of my six-part review for the different volumes of Moon Phase.
I like this volume for a number of reasons. The first is that it appeals to a specific fan-base. I said in my last review that Volume 4 is for the cosplay fans. Volume 5 is similar, only it’s more for the Neko Mimi (cat ear) lovers. Throughout the series we’ve seen “cat ear buns“, Hazuki in cat costumes and numerous other feline references – even Elfriede dons the cat ears in episode 17. Things are taken a step further in this volume, with almost every other scene paying homage to Neko Mimi. Archways and mountains are designed to look like cat ears, whilst more characters try them on; including Arte, a monkey and Kauro – although the latter’s effort to look cute falls flat and Hikaru accurately describes her sister as “a pathetic, whiny, little cat-girl.” (By the way, in that scene, look out for the in-shot boom mic. We see more of these studio blunders in the last episode.)
Another thing I like about this volume is the way it properly introduces Arte; the young, pink-haired vampire who – spoiler alert – is later revealed to be Hazuki’s half-sister. Aside from Haiji, she might be my favourite character in Moon Phase. She has an air of innocence to her that’s loveable, but also a darker side that’s more intimidating; half the time you don’t know whether to love or fear her when she’s on screen. She’s certainly different from any other vampire we’ve seen in the series so far – not to mention the only one since Count Kinkell who hasn’t worn an animal mask.
And then there’s Arte’s backstory. I think it’s something that real half-sisters can relate to and learn from, under the right circumstances. Arte and Hazuki are alike in someways – e.g. sharing a fascination for Neko Mimi and Kouhei – but Arte hates Hazuki for being given more love and attention. This volume (and Volume 6), explores how jealousy and hatred can be resolved between siblings.
The decision to introduce Arte late in the series was very good in my opinion. She’s a strong enough character on her own and her presence gives everybody some much needed development – particularly Hazuki. She’s no Cousin Oliver, if you know what I mean.
There are a few more things I’d like to mention about this volume. The first is the end credits. Aside from the fact they keep mis-crediting Carrie Savage’s character as Aruto (instead of Arte), the regular ones (featuring an image of Hazuki) no longer appear. Instead, the credits in episode 19 feature a still-shot of the Mido twins trying to look cute. And every episode after that features Hazuki dancing on the moon in a ballet dress – until the last two episodes on Volume 6.
Secondly, we’re introduced to a masked stranger and a woman with a black veil in this volume. But it’s pretty obvious who they are. Not only do they not disguise their voices, but episode 20 is called Grandfather, Why Are You Dressed Like That? – even though the strangers’ identities aren’t revealed until the next volume.
On a side note, why does episode 19 have such a long title? If you buy this DVD you’ll see what I mean.
Finally, if I had to pick a favourite moment from this volume, it would be Arte singing the Neko Mimi nursery rhyme in episode 21 – it’s just so cute.
This has been one of my longer reviews for the different volumes of Moon Phase, because 5 is my personal favourite. It’s unfortunate that this volume and Volume 4 are expensive, and rarely available on Amazon, because it means very few people get to experience the whole series. Perhaps cosplay and Neko Mimi fans just can’t help themselves?
My recommendations for this DVD are the same as for the other volumes. Buy it if you’re a fan of Funimation Entertainment, Negima, cosplay, and especially Neko Mimi (cat ears). The last part is still to come so stay tuned.
As of September 1st 2014, this review was one of the longest I’d written. The reason was because Moon Phase Volume 5 was my favourite of the six DVDs and I had a lot more to say about it. Or rather, I had a lot to say about one particular character.
Instead of breaking down the individual episodes and giving spoilers – like I did in my Volume 4 review – I spent the first half talking about Arte. This was the first time I’d devoted multiple paragraphs to one character, discussing everything I liked about them. I now do this in all my reviews, so readers understand how I think different characters impact the story.
This was also the first time I tried talking about the story behind the story. In this case, how the episodes could be a metaphor for real half-sister relationships. My Professional Writing tutor taught me every good story needs a good meaning. Now whenever I can, I try discussing what I think the meaning is. This helps make my reviews more personal.
As for the rest of this review, I tried writing it as creatively as possible. But I ended up focusing too much on things that weren’t important (e.g. the end credits and titles). I even referenced things like The Brady Bunch (Cousin Oliver) and the Watchmen graphic novel despite them having almost nothing to do with the anime. (I’ve removed the Watchmen reference from this re-post.)
Admittedly, there are flaws in this review, but it does have its strengths, too. It’s as much a part of the Moon Phase Reviews as it is separate. It gives important information about the availability of volumes 4 and 5. And, most importantly, it taught me to be more descriptive with my characters.
This was the second time in a row that my review ended up being a major learning-curve.