Akiyuki Shinbo’s Day Off

by eternal on December 6, 2009

Akiyuki Shinbo's Day Off (Tsukuyomi -MOON PHASE-)I don’t remember what Ferris Bueller did on his day off, but I imagine he wouldn’t mind my using his wild escapades as a less-than-apt metaphor for a certain infamous series by a certain infamous director.

Tsukuyomi -Moon Phase- is an old show (old enough to be subbed by ADTRW!), so I won’t talk about it for long.

That said, I don’t think it’s the kind of show that can be discussed at length to begin with. It’s fairly typical when you think about it: a lighthearted vampire story with a few cool fights and a bit of cute, slightly illegal romance. Presumably, it was the “slightly illegal” aspect that earned the show its reputation and saved it from being forgotten over the years.

In retrospect, though, I don’t think it’s right to claim that Tsukuyomi was mislabeled as otaku-pandering. It’s actually quite the opposite. The show goes out of its way to turn Hazuki into a deliciously moe vampire, often breaking the fourth wall for viewers who are familiar with the fandom. The nekomimi also have to be noted here, considering that they appear everywhere from Hazuki’s head (for no apparent reason) to the top of the mountains in the background (for even less of a reason).

I’m not sure how much of this was Shinbo’s doing and how much was courtesy of the original mangaka, but there are more than enough eccentric shots to separate the show from your average vampire fetish cash-in. I mean, I can understand making the girls wear nekomimi headbands for no particular reason, but the hills? And what about the whole “Neko Mimi Modo de~!” from the OP? It’s not unintentional, but it’s not pure fanservice either. It’s intentional fanservice, but not in the same vein as shows like Kanokon that just couldn’t be bothered with wearing a mask. Shinbo’s fanservice and otaku-pandering are intentional, but they’re infused with his quirky style, allowing them to come off as refreshing to fans and non-fans alike.

That’s why, looking back, Tsukuyomi feels a bit like Akiyuki Shinbo’s day off. He’s responsible for the anime adaptations of some of the best fast-paced comedies and intense dramas of recent years, but with a show like this, he can kick back and take it easy. Instead of forcing comedy and fanservice into an already comedic and fanservice-y story, and instead of forcing a plot into a redundant setting, he chose to break the fourth wall, fiddle with some stuff, and produce a laid-back otaku-targeted shounen that skips the jarring clichés and doesn’t feel stale even to a loli vampire aficionado.

(Disclaimer: I am not a loli vampire aficionado. Really.)


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

schneider December 6, 2009 at 9:25 pm

What’s wrong with loli vampires?

I’ve yet to watch Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, but I want to try it out in order to see how Shinbo has evolved throughout the years.


digitalboy December 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Day off? I’d call it a break-through. Gotta remember, this was the first work Shinbo had in years after making Nanoha where he wasn’t able to really show his style off. Then he gets this new studio to work with doing their first show and looking to use his style – I think if it was fun, it was because it was exciting.

The manga can be attributed to almost nothing – anything fun in the series is pretty much anime original.


Kona December 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

There was a scene in the last episode (if I am not mistaken) which made me think that the people in charge of the animation were rather unprofessional (or maybe they were just low on chash?).
If you have time, check out the part at the end where the main character (Kouhei or Youhei was his name…) went and rescue the heroine. The part where he was putting the nekomimi on her head, watch closely, and you’ll know what I mean. :\


Shin December 7, 2009 at 1:02 am

Revoke my lolicon license immediately as I’ve not seen this, as I only got to know of Hazuki through an ero-cg collection by WAVE.


phossil December 7, 2009 at 10:11 am

I started whatching Tsukuyumi, but then in a twits of events I didnt finished (dont know, maybe the plot was too predictable), and I chose to watch another show. I think I should finish it at least.


ETERNAL December 8, 2009 at 10:12 pm

@ schneider: I’d be the last person to say that something is wrong with loli vampires, trust me :P

@ digitalboy: Interesting. In the context of his career, I guess it was more significant than I thought. I’m a little pleased to hear that the show was mostly his doing, though – I can’t imagine the source material being nearly as unique.

@ Kona: Hmm… I’ll have to check for that. SHAFT has been known to run out of money/time before (Bakemonogatari anyone?), but they usually do a good job in the long run.

@ Shin: I AM DISAPPOINT. But the real question, of course, is whether or not I should try to track down this CG collection you’re speaking of.

@ phossil: I think it’s worth finishing it. The plot isn’t anything special, but the presentation is fairly original.


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