Anime is a passion for its fans, but it’s also a business. And sometimes the business makes it hard to be a fan.
Case in point is the 2002 to 2003 TV series Full Moon wo Sagashite, which aired in Japan for fifty-two episodes. The series is based on the manga of the same name by Arina Tanemura, which ran for just seven volumes in Ribon Magazine from 2001 to 2004. Viz Media released the manga beginning back in 2005 under their Shojo Beat label and also picked up the rights to the anime series as well. That series they began releasing in the summer of 2006, which delighted fans as it was a good chance to get consistency between the manga and the anime and to have it all under the same publishing/distribution roof.
Unfortunately, the series didn’t do so well in terms of sales. The first twenty-eight episodes were released in bilingual form across seven DVDs between 2006 and the end of 2007, leaving us with the back half of the series that was never finished. The timing of this is fairly straightforward as well as it happened during the structural changes going on within the home video market, with the end of Suncoast as a way a lot of people got their DVDs at the mall, and the financial hit that many companies took as they were very low on the run as to getting paid back as that company, and other distributors were liquidated. A shojo series with another seven or so bilingual volumes to go was an obvious show to get cut.
At this point, it looks like Viz Media may still have the rights to the show, but it’s doubtful. It’s not been talked about in an age and there are no expectations that they’ll finish it. Which is unfortunate as it is a fun show involving a young girl looking to achieve her dreams. What’s also unfortunate is that we haven’t had any full collection of what was produced either, making it even more of a loss for fans who had hoped to get a hold of it at some point. The series is pretty much fully out of print at this point and most of the DVDs can be found through third party sellers for an average of $60 for four episodes. The show hasn’t been released for streaming either if Viz does still have it, and you’d imagine they’d use it on their VizAnime.com site to build up their catalog a bit more with shojo series.
Full Moon wo Sagashite is one of the forgotten series of the last decade. It’s one that we hope resurfaces in some form, somewhere, as it’s the kind of show that’s definitely easy to show and share with younger fans to try and draw them in.
The series was animated by Studio Deen and was directed by Toshiyuki Kato based on scripts by Rika Nakase. Noritomo Hattori served as the animation director while Yuka Kudo handled the character designs.
Plot concept: Twelve-year-old Kouyama Mitsuki was devastated when she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the throat. She had made a promise to the boy she loves that she would one day become a singer, but her illness made singing impossible. To make matters even worse, two angels of death, Takuto and Meroko, appeared to Mitsuki and informed her that she only had one year left to live. This news provides an even greater motivation for Mitsuki to fulfill her dreams, and with a little bit of divine intervention, she begins her quest to become a professional singer so she can be reunited with Eichi before time runs out.