Being a vampire lover, Moon Phase was one of those anime that I bought just for that reason. I knew nothing about the anime before I bought it so it was a bit risky. Luckily, it was worth the buy.
Moon Phase is about a girl, Hazuki, who is a descendant of a royal vampire family. The anime begins with the boy, Kouhei Morioka, who is a photographer. He works for an occult magazine because every picture he takes has paranormal phenomenon in it; he doesn’t mean for it to happen. He goes to an old castle and takes photos where he meets Hazuki who is being held captive. Hazuki attempts to form a blood pact with Kouhei to make him her slave, but it fails; it has no effect on Kouhei, but Kouhei and his cousin end up freeing Hazuki from the castle.
Hazuki insists that Kouhei is her slave because of the blood pact, but, of course, Kouhei refuses to obey her, which leads to some interesting and funny arguments. The anime is really about their relationship. No matter how much they fight, Kouhei feels the need to protect Hazuki from those who try to retrieve her.
Hazuki is an interesting character because she has a duo personality. Mistress Luna and Hazuki are two completely opposite people living in the same body. Hazuki is energetic, annoying, loud, and sweet when she wants to be, but Luna is every bit a stereotypical vampire aristocrat as there can be. Kouhei is an Ama Lamia, Vampire Lover, which means that no vampire can make him their slave and whenever a vampire feeds on his blood, their servitude ties with their masters are broken. He’s really a normal boy otherwise. The other characters are interesting in their own ways.
I found that, throughout this anime, I got tired of the story. I think they were just trying a little hard to do two things at once, the relationship between Hazuki and Kouhei overshadowed the vampire drama a little. Some good things, though, are the fact that the anime really starts off well and gets you interested almost immediately. Another thing is that, even though I grew tired of the story, I was already so far into it that it would’ve been a bigger burden to not finish it.
There are 25 episodes, 16 volumes of the manga, and the music is really fun. The openings are “Neko Mimi Mode” and “Tsuku Yomi Mode” by Dimitri from Paris. The endings are “Kanashii Yokan” by Marianne Amplifier, “Nami no Toriko ni naru you ni” by Noriko Ogawa, “Pressentiment triste” by Marianne Amplifier, and episode 25’s ending is “Neko Mimi Mode.”
I really do recommend this anime to anyone interested in vampires, supernatural, romance, comedy, or just cute neko ears.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Ah! The Cat Returns! One of my favorite Studio Ghibli films; I’ve seen it so many times. Hayao Miyazaki, please make a sequel!!! ^_^ (I’m such a kid…)
Haru is a normal high school girl who’s going through the normal teenage stuff; the boy she likes doesn’t notice her and she lacks self-confidence. On her way home from school, she saves a cat from being run over and he thanks her. Yes, the cat thanks her. Later that night, cats come to her house, the King specifically. These cats tell her that the cat she saved was the Prince and to thank her, they will be giving her gifts. Haru’s mother tells her that she actually told her when she was a kid that she could talk to cats. The next day, she finds out that the gifts are catnip and mice! One cat comes to make sure she’s enjoying her gifts, but tells her that she’s been offered the Prince’s hand in marriage. Haru’s shocked reply is mistaken as an agreement, which is very bad.
Haru overhears a voice that tells her to find a big white cat and ask to be taken to the Cat Bureau. The voice tells her that they will be able to help her. This is how we meet Fatso, I mean Muta. ^_^ He takes her to the Cat Bureau to meet the Baron, but before he can help her, she is kidnapped, or should I say catnapped? They are taken to the Cat Kingdom, where she is now the same size as the cats. Haru is taken to the palace where she realizes she’s becoming a cat.
The Baron rescues her, but they have to get to the top of the tower in order to return home and in order to get to the tower, they have to get through the King’s maze while guards are coming after them.
Haru is such a great character. She’s normal in almost every way except that she can talk to cats. Baron is the best though; he’s noble, brave, and so sweet. Muta is hilarious, especially his fights with a crow named Toto.
The voices of the characters are some of the best. Anne Hathaway voices Haru, which is perfect! Baron has a British accent, which I think fits him the best. The main song in the film is Kaze ni Naru by Ayano Tsuji. I love this song so much. Every time I listen to it, it immediately reminds me of the movie because it fits so well.
My biggest problem with the film is that it ends! I want so badly for her to go back to the Cat Bureau and see Baron again. There needs to be a sequel. Seriously.
Overall: 9.5 out of 10
Haibane Renmei was an anime that I thought was going to be more than what it was. I was honestly a little disappointed. If you’re reading this, it’s a good thing because now you won’t expect too much out of it. I’m not saying it was bad. I’m just saying that I was disappointed.
There is Haibane, which are a group of individuals that look like angels, who live in Old Home. Most of them are children. Every Haibane is born from a cocoon into this world and before they are born, they all have a dream. They are named after their dream. Rakka (“falling”), the main character, has a dream about falling and a crow trying to keep her from falling. She is cared for by Reki, one of the older Haibane. Rakka is introduced to everyone and is told that she must find a job. Haibane are not allowed to have anything new, use actual money, and are forbidden to touch the wall that surrounds Glie, the town they all live in.
Rakka follows each of her new friends for a day at their jobs so that she can decide what she wants to do. Her friend Kuu disappears later on and Rakka is told that she has taken her Day of Flight, or when Haibane pass over the wall never to return. The Day of Flight is only for those who are no longer “sin-bound.” Rakka becomes very depressed and runs away after her wings begin to turn black. Her black feathers are caused by her “sin.” She falls in a well, where she finds the bones of a crow, which causes her to remember her dream. She is then rescued by two Toga, people who are from the Haibane Renmei, or Charcoal Feather Federation.
Still hurt from her fall, she tries to return to Old Home, but touches the wall when she hears Kuu’s voice. The Communicator, a translator for the Toga, tells Rakka about the Circle of Sin, which Reki is caught in. Reki finds Rakka, but becomes jealous when she realizes that Rakka’s wings are back to normal. It’s up to Rakka to help Reki take her Day of Flight before her time is up.
It’s a very unique story and I found that I liked where everything was going up to the point where Reki’s problem came up. I understand that Reki is an important character, but I thought that Rakka was the main character; then, it switches all the sudden to focusing only on Reki. I love how it ends, but I just wish that the story could have focused on Rakka and her Day of Flight rather than Reki’s. For a short anime, you don’t get too much into the characters and their backgrounds, which was another con for me. I wanted to know more about some of the characters and, more importantly, the Toga. Rakka is a little shy and sweet while Reki is more of a stubborn character, but she’s very caring and protective.
It’s only available in Japanese, but the voices are good for the characters and the music is good, too. Notice I didn’t say great. Not really anything about this anime is great; it’s just ok. It’s not an anime that I want to watch again and I had forgotten a large part of it (except for the scene where Reki’s sin comes up because it’s so dramatic). I don’t know if it’s something I’d recommend because it’s not really much of anything; it’s not comedy, it’s not romance, it’s not horror, and it’s not fantastic. If you’re bored, watch it…that’s about all I can say really.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
Pet Shop of Horrors is one of those anime that sounds like it would be worth watching. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed. I do plan on reading the manga at some point because I do like the character, Count D, but the anime is far from appealing.
It’s an OVA that only has four episodes. With every contract Count D makes, there are three rules. They always include that they are never to show the creature to anyone and if they break any part of the contract, there are bad consequences.
The first, is about a couple who lost their daughter. They go to Count D, an androgynous pet shop owner, who gives them a rabbit. This rabbit is very rare and looks just like Alice, their daughter. The second episode is about a singer who falls overboard a ship during her wedding to her manager, Jason. Jason goes to Count D and is given a pet, a mermaid that looks just like his late wife. The third is about an actor whose every role is the same type. His wife leaves him and he become reclusive and spends all his time with the reptiles he loves. Count D gives him a rare species, a Medusa, that is half beautiful woman and half deadly reptile. The fourth is about a politician who is seeking a Kirin. Kirin grant wishes of their owner with others blood.
Each case is about how the contracts are breached. There is a detective who is trying to connect these strange occurrences to the pet shop. His name is Leon Orcot. Other than information about the characters who take on contracts with the pet shop, there’s no other information that you receive. Count D is a very interesting character. You want to know everything about him. Where did he come from, why is he here, and exactly how old is he? Leon Orcot loves to stick his nose in everything, which is why I usually don’t like the detective characters, but it’s his role.
The Count is such a mysterious character. I really do wish I knew more about him. Once I read the manga, I’ll definitely do a review so that I can tell you about him. Perhaps the OVA wouldn’t be so bad for someone who has already read the first manga and knows a little more about it, but it does absolutely nothing for someone who hasn’t.
As far as music and voices, they are incredibly forgettable. They aren’t horrible, but their also not good. Everything is just so-so. The only good thing that I can say about this anime is that it does get you interested in the Count and you’ll want to read the manga to find out more. Other than that, harshly put, it’s crap. Save your time with the OVA and just go straight to the manga. The manga is 10 volumes, but there is a secondary manga called New Pet Shop of Horrors, or Pet Shop of Horrors – Tokyo, which is 8 volumes.
Overall: 5 out of 10
Kiki’s Delivery Service is another one of the many Studio Ghibli films that will steal your heart. There’s nothing like Studio Ghibli to make you feel happy and free. It’s the only way I can describe it. I grew up on Totoro and Kiki’s Deliver Service was my second Studio Ghibli film I ever saw. I’ve seen it so many times since then. I’m 22 and I still love watching these films and I feel like a carefree kid again when they’re done.
Kiki is a young witch who just turned 13. It’s a custom that whenever a witch turns 13, she takes off on her own for a year to train her abilities. She is excited about becoming independent and leaving home for the first time just her, her broom, and her best friend, her cat, Jiji. Her mom and dad see her off on a clear full moon. The clear night quickly turns into a rainstorm and she gets into a train to stay dry. After falling asleep, the train moves and takes her to a sea-side town. She decides that this is where she’ll live. There’s only one problem. Kiki has nowhere to stay and not much money.
She finds a bakery and a nice woman who works there says she can stay as long as she can watch the store sometimes. Kiki decides that, since flying is the only skill she has, she’ll start a delivery service. It takes off! However, she starts to lose her confidence as a witch and her powers begin to fizzle. She can’t talk to Jiji anymore and she also can’t fly. Her boss is understanding and tells her that she needs to rest. She has to find her confidence and the reason she flies in the first place in order for her powers to return.
Of course, there are some characters that I have to mention. Kiki is so sweet and helpful. She wants to help everyone and is quick to lend a hand. Jiji likes to take the safe way out of every situation. He’s always trying to tell Kiki to slow down. Tombo is a friend Kiki makes; at first, she doesn’t like him, but later on they become really good friends. He’s funny and is always nice to Kiki. Osono is her boss at the bakery who is pregnant during the movie, but she’s always busy and willing to help Kiki with anything. Ursula is a painter that helps Kiki out during her hard times when her powers are at a low. She teaches Kiki that you have to believe in yourself.
This movie is truly magical, which is expected of a Studio Ghibli movie. The English voices fit the characters perfectly and the music is one of my favorite parts. There are two songs by Sydney Forest that I find addicting. I’m singing along to them as I’m writing this. The beginning song is called Soaring and the ending song is called I’m Gonna Fly. In the Japanese version the songs are different. The opening is Message of Rouge and the ending is Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara, both by Yumi Arai.
As with all Studio Ghibli movies that I’ve reviewed, I can’t say anything bad. These are close to my heart. I know they’ll be close to your’s too.
Overall: 9 out of 10