Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Looking Up At The Half-Moon: Full Series Review

Looking Up At The Half-Moon a six-episode Anime adapted from a Light Novel series by Tsumugu Hashimoto and illustrated by Keiji Yamamoto is maybe more known for its troubled release history in North America than the actual content of the Anime. With it haveing been licensed by Crimson Star Media but scuttled due to the conviction of the company's president than license rescued by Right Stuf. the actual story of two hospitalized teens Yūichi Ezaki who is hospitalized recovering from Hepatitis A and Rika Akiba hospitalized with Cardiomyopathy (the same condition that killed her Father) and their slow dawning affection love for one another after Yūichi is forced to befriend Rika after he is caught sneaking out at night and he gets off on the wrong foot by lying to Rika that he is also a fan of the works of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa and Yūichi tries to make it up to Rika and the two bond over books and small life experiences all the while the specter of Rika's precarious health hangs over them like The Sword Of Damocles. As a romance, this series succeeds I cared about Yūichi and Rika's relationship I was emotionally invested I liked seeing Rika come out of self-imposed emotional isolation the problem is her character arc feels like a boilerplate Tsundere. it's nice to see her come to care about Yūichi or want to experience normal teenage things like going to school. Yet, for the most part, her character is one of belligerent rejection of Yūichi due to misunderstandings or Yūichi being overly passive. Yūichi for his part makes milquetoast look risqué simply running errands for Rika or trying to do nice things for her. This relationship feels organic for the most part unless someone else gets involved and this where the story gets unbelievably dumb in particularly the character of Rika's Docter Gorō Natsume is the worst character in the series a petulant, unethical, and possibly sociopathic man who is never brought task for any of his numerous lapses. His presence in the series is a sucking black hole of writing ineptitude and he makes the entire series worse for it. While I can recommend this series for the romantic element the truncated nature of the story the pushing of suspension of disbelief to it's breaking point and one out of nowhere almost sex scene between Yūichi and a friend of the head nurse make it a series that takes more than it gives. While visually it's a cheap and gross looking amalgamation of cut-rate character designs, sterile lifeless backgrounds and lazy and cheap motion animation. In short, this is a series one can watch and find elements to enjoy but it has such lackluster visuals and Natsume is such a grating character that while I ultimately came away entertained it was with an undercurrent of feeling that a perfectly serviceable romance was hobbled by an almost pathological need of drama for drama's sake in the story. Making this a frustrating Anime to watch that ultimately takes something charming and runs what is good about it into the gorund by poor exicution.

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