Last updated May 21, 2006.

July 23, 2004:

I have been watching Full Moon wo Sagashite (Searching for a Full Moon). It is a children's show about a 12-year-old girl, Mitsuki, who is DYING OF THROAT CANCER. She wants to become a singer so she can fulfill a promise she made two years ago to the boy she loves.

Kouyama Mitsuki
Kouyama Mitsuki

As you might imagine, it is difficult for Mitsuki to become a famous singer since she is DYING OF THROAT CANCER. However, one day she is visited by the Gods of Death (sinigami or shinigami), who agree to help her fulfill her dream of becoming a singer, and keep the promise she made to the boy she loves, Eichi.

These Gods of Death, Meroko and Takuto, allow Mitsuki to transform into a healthy older, 16-year-old version of herself. In this alter ego guise, Mitsuki can sing at full strength, and is old enough to go to auditions and whatnot, using the stage name, Full Moon, while keeping her efforts secret from her music-hating grandmother.

Mitsuki as Full Moon

I've actually heard for quite some time that this show is excellent, despite the fact that it is a kids' show about a 12-year-old girl DYING OF THROAT CANCER, but I never got around to watching it until now—not so much because the subject matter sounded somewhat depressing, but because it is 52 episodes long.

However, I realized I must be missing out on something incredible when I finally saw a picture of the show's Gods of Death.

Meroko and Takuto
The shinigami: Meroko and Takuto

The sum total of my previous knowledge about the various Japanese gods and spirits pretty much came exclusively from the amusing monsters referenced in Azumanga Daioh and from Hayao Miyazaki's Mononoke Hime. Yeah, the Shishi Gami and Didarabocchi in Princess Mononoke do not look anything like Meroko or Takuto of Full Moon wo Sagashite.

Opening credits
Takuto, Mitsuki, and Meroko

Anyway, I'm 12 episodes into it, and it is really good, although I'm hoping Full Moon has more than one hit song, because hearing Myself over and over again might get kinda old. At least the opening credits are like the happiest thing, ever—about on par with the opening credits to Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar (officially known as Sugar, a Little Snow Fairy, in its North American DVD release)—and will easily stand up to repeated viewings. This is good, because one might otherwise expect a show about a young girl DYING OF THROAT CANCER to be kinda downbeat.

August 01, 2004:

I finished watching Full Moon wo Sagashite. This show is fucked up, but sweet, merciful Christ, it is absolutely incredible. This is one of the best shows I have ever seen, and it has one of the best endings, ever.

I wasn't expecting a 52-episode show about a young girl's dreams of singing to be this good. Some of the early episodes (such as the one with Mitsuki being constantly mortified by Meroko's embarrassing attempts to help) made me somewhat skeptical, and made me wonder if it was really as good as I had heard. It's better.

Full Moon wo Sagashite goes straight into the "never delete" directory and the "constantly recommend" category.

You, yes, you, stop what you're doing and start watching Full Moon wo Sagashite posthaste. Seek out no further information about the show, lest you ruin some of its best moments with careless spoilers (anyone that would spoil any part of Full Moon wo Sagashite probably needs to get hit on the head with a shovel or GET THROAT CANCER), and start watching at once.

If it ever gets licensed and released for the United States (by Geneon or Bandai, please), I will buy every DVD—all fifty-two episodes—without hesitation.

August 08, 2004:

It is time for another installment of Viewer Mail.

M.P. writes:

I have a theory about why the show hasn't been licensed yet: the songs . . . . In an English release, the songs for this show would almost have to be translated to be sung in English. Finding a singer who is good enough to not only perform as a VA and be available for 52 episodes is probably a challenge.

Of course, there's always the option of having a different voice for the singer and the voice actor, but that's probably not a good option. The only time I've seen that work is in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Even then, Danny Elfman performed the VA's lines right before he started singing, rather than using the actor--so that it would appear more seamless.

I completely agree with this assessment. Not surprisingly, music plays a critical part in Full Moon wo Sagashite. The actual battery of songs is not large, but Mitsuki's music is instrumental (ha ha, I kill me) to the plot. Her singing is not a mere gimmick she uses to get popular. She sings in order to reach the people that she loves; they have to be moved by the music, and it's not as easy as it sounds.

Because of this, the singing has to be very good. Mitsuki's voice actress, myco, lead singer of the group Changin' My Life, does an excellent job of both voicing 12-year-old Mitsuki and singing as 16-year-old Full Moon. Frankly, I seriously doubt it would be possible to find an American voice actress with similar talent without going way over budget. At the very least, it would have to match the performances in the big-budget Disney movies (and not the ones that suck, either). Full Moon wo Sagashite certainly does not need the absolutely ghastly Minmei treatment that Robotech did to Macross.

If it were up to me, Full Moon wo Sagashite would go straight to DVD, released without an English dub, just as Pioneer did with 70 episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura. Sure, it's a children's show, but no American kids' show is going to contain the more disturbing elements of Full Moon wo Sagashite, and the last thing this world needs is another Cardcaptors travesty.