Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is one of the lesser-known gateway anime, but its spooky vampire leanings make it perfect for Halloween.
The ’90s and early 2000s had many well-known and well-regarded anime, but they also birthed just as many forgotten and obscure titles that were lost in the shuffle of the medium’s growing international popularity. One of these was Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, also known as simply Moon Phase.
Moon Phase is an example of a title that was localized in the early 2000s and quickly forgotten, with TokyoPop’s release of the original manga actually going unfinished. However, Moon Phase’s goofy comedy featuring a, sometimes silly, catgirl vampire and horror-twinged dramatic turns make the forgotten supernatural anime perfect for Halloween. Here’s a look at what Moon Phase was about, why it worked and which version fans should revisit.
What Is Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase About?
Moon Phase follows a photographer named Kohei Morioka who visits Germany on an assignment exploring the occult. Upon entering a mysterious castle, he meets a vampire girl named Hazuki, who intends on making him her servant one way or another. Unfortunately for her, he’s seemingly immune to her manipulation and wiles, though, apparently thanks to Kohei, Hazuki is freed from the spell that trapped her within the castle. With her newfound freedom, Hazuki begins living with her would-be servant in Japan.
Despite these supernatural happenings, the show is by no means a horror anime series and is far from being too serious. Instead, it focuses on comedy and hilarious romantic antics, albeit ones with a supernatural twist. Recurring gags involved pots and pans being dropped in a Looney Tunes fashion, making things much more slapstick than scary. This sense of humor, which was many times just straight up random and weird, is one of the reasons that the show was so popular.
Likewise, there’s also the fact that the vampire is a catgirl, which at the time of Moon Phase‘s release, was synonymous with anime and otaku culture. This association has died down quite a bit, but it’s a perfect example of the early international anime zeitgeist and how it helped to propel Moon Phase to popularity. The cuteness factor of the vampire girl also made the show something of a predecessor to the moe boom. Other catgirls and weird beauties show up later on, so similarities to harem anime could arguably be drawn. When combined with its silly, chill and irreverent intro theme, it’s the perfect anime to watch about vampires for when viewers don’t want something scary. Moon Phase does get dark and moody at times, however, especially in its opening episode.
Moon Phase: Manga vs. Anime
Though the general plot between the anime and manga of Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is mostly the same, there are still some notable differences between them. Characters are introduced earlier in the anime than they are in the manga, and their relationships with each other are also more fleshed out. This manifests mainly in the ending, as the anime’s is somewhat controversial due fans feeling it was forced and made the show into (even more of) a lolicon series. There’s also a noticeable difference in art style, making the anime blatantly more moe, but also making its comedic parts even wackier than in the manga.
The anime is fairly easy to come by, as the DVD collection of all 25 episodes (plus the OVA) can be purchased on Amazon and from other anime retailers. It’s also available to stream through Funimation or for digital purchase on Amazon. The manga, on the other hand, is harder to come by, so the moe anime may be the best bet for fans of bloodsucking fun.
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