Full Moon O Sagashite, Vol. 1

Arina Tanemura, Author, Arina Tanemura, Illustrator . Viz $8.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59116-928-4

Imagine a whimsical combination of American Idol , Cinderella and Showtime's Dead Like Me transposed to Japan and aimed at children, and you may have a sense of what this manga is like. It begins ominously: 12-year-old Mitsuki Koyama, an orphan living with her repressive grandmother, must have an operation to remove her vocal cords, due to a malignant growth. Yet Mitsuki refuses, because her dream is to become a professional singer. Mitsuki is even visited by two death spirits, Takuto and Meroko, who inform her she has only a year to live. But the two spirits, once human themselves, are hardly frightening (Meroko even wears bunny ears to amuse children) and Takuto decides to help Mitsuki realize her goal. He transforms her into a healthy 16-year-old, who takes the name "Full Moon" and begins her rapid rise to pop music stardom. A romantic tangle between the three and Eichi, Mitsuki's long-lost boyfriend, also ensues. Tanemura draws cute kids in conventional big-eyed manga style, though occasionally she creates romantic images of striking beauty, and her manic layouts drive the story forward. There is little to interest adults here, but girl tweens should identify with Mitsuki's ambitions and romantic dilemmas. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/25/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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