Manga: Full Moon o Sagashite aka: Full Moon Wo Sagashite
"Some day you'll understand...why the song that lingers...binds us together..."
Full Moon o Sagashite (a.k.a. Full Moon, Full Moon wo Sagashite; trans: "Looking for the Full Moon") is a seven-volume shojomanga series by Arina Tanemura (later adapted into an anime, which enjoyed high ratings in Japan).Mitsuki Koyama is a 12-year-old girl who dreams of one day becoming a famous Idol Singer so that she can be reunited with her childhood love, Eichi. Unfortunately, she has a malignant tumour in her throat and without surgery, which would cause her to lose her voice forever, she only has one year left to live.Late one night, she is visited by two friendly Grim Reapers from the Paediatrics Division of Heaven. In exchange for Mitsuki going quietly when her time is up, they take pity on her and give her the power to transform into "Full Moon", a beautiful sixteen-year-old version of Mitsuki with no throat tumour.Against all odds, "Full Moon" manages to pass the audition Mitsuki desperately wished to attend, setting her on the road to achieving her dream. Now she has to work hard to manage her newfound double-life while keeping it a secret from the discerning eyes of her strict grandmother, and dealing with the lingering presence of the Grim Reapers.The manga and anime are available in North America via Viz Media. The DVD releases were halted due to poor sales, only going as far as episode 28. However, all 52 episodes are available on Hulunote However, they are based on Viz Media's DVD masters. Additionally, the episodes are subtitled only.For tropes specifically related to the anime, please refer to its page.
This work provides examples of:
A-Cup Angst: Mitsuki gets insulted when Meroko calls her flat-chested. Granted, she is only twelve years old, though as Full Moon, insists "in this body I have breasts well enough!". Amusingly, Word of God admits that Mitsuki is the most difficult character to draw "because she has no breasts so the balance is all off".
And then it gets more confusing. Meroko in fact loves Izumi back but he rejected her a long time ago by breaking her heart (but they work it out). Mitsuki reciprocates Takuto's love...only to leave Eichi locked out of it.
Anguished Declaration of Love: In the backstory, Eichi gives one to Mitsuki when he finds out that he will soon be leaving for America. Mitsuki is too confused by her own feelings to give Eichi an answer before he leaves - no kidding, because she's only ten - but she never gets the chance to respond, because Eichi's plane to America crashes, leaving no survivors.
Izumi to Meroko in Chapter 17.
Animal Motif: In a manga side-story, Mitsuki is boiling water for tea and Takuto tells her not to make it too hot because he has a sensitive tongue. This is presumably a reference to the Japanese idiom "cat's tongue," meaning a person who can't eat hot things, which fits in with Takuto's cat theme.
Arranged Marriage: As a teenager, Fuzuki was betrothed to a man named Kimiharu. When the boy that both she and Moe (the human Meroko) liked expressed an interest in marrying her, Fuzuki's fiance was passed off to Moe.
Madoka also has one in her backstory; she abandoned it to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer. The guy she was betrothed to later turns out to have been Nachi, who got plastic surgery and became a singer in order to be closer to Madoka.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When Mitsuki (as Full Moon) met Madoka, she wasn't so nice. When she meets her (as her 12 year old self), she was nice to her. However, Takuto was able to see her abusing her pet pig Gut-chan.
Bittersweet Ending: Takuto and Mitsuki are reunited and everyone else is happily paired off...except for Eichi, who is forever separated from Mitsuki after seeing her reunion with Takuto. Another layer of bitter comes when you remember that Mitsuki was only able to see the Shinigamiiz because Eichi's ghost was with her, and that now that he is gone, she will probably never see Meroko and Izumi again.
Body Horror: In the manga, Jonathan ensnares and strangles Izumi by stretching his body.
Boy Band: Mitsuki's dad, her doctor, and Takuto made up one in the past.
Break the Cutie: Takuto, Meroko, AND Izumi all have major breakdowns while remembering their (manga-only) suicidal pasts. Mitsuki's backstory as well.
Cheerful Child: Mitsuki. How can you not want to squeeze her to death? And then subverted; she's shown to be a major Stepford Smiler and nowhere near as happy as she acts. Volume 5 puts her back her cheerful self after everyone resolved their differences.
Continuity Nod: The lyrics to "New Future" and "Smile," two songs from the anime, appear in the final chapter of the manga.
Dark and Troubled Past: All the major characters (Oshige aside, but including Mitsuki) has one. They are usually connected with someone Mitsuki knows. Izumi's past is the only one whose past isn't connected to her at all.
Dead All Along: Eichi died when his plane to America crashed. It's revealed to the reader in Chapter 12, and then in the next chapter we learn that Mitsuki knew the whole time.
Death by Childbirth: Hazuki. Although the car accident on the way to the hospital was a big factor as well.
December-December Romance: At the end of chapter 19, Seijuro comes to see Fuzuki. The next time we see the two together is at Mitsuki's concert in the final chapter, holding hands.
Did They or Didn't They?: Unlike Oshige and the president, whose sexual encounters are explicitly implied, there's a scene where an emotionally distressed Meroko rushes home after discovering her past and attacking Mitsuki. She lets Izumi "comfort" her with a kiss. What follows that is really a mystery.
Forceful Kiss: Played straight in the manga when teenaged Eichi does this to a ten-year-old Mitsuki who hadn't even hit puberty yet. Cue the Squick! Also with Izumi and Meroko in Chapter 17.
Subverted in the manga when Takuto is struggling to control his emotions around Mitsuki's Stepford Smile and tries to kiss her out of grief but his heart is not in it and she is able to push him away in time.
Foreshadowing: Several instances foreshadow Eichi's presence around Mitsuki: When Wakaoji meets Full Moon and accuses her of being Mitsuki, the conversation is interrupted by a sudden violent wind. Later, in an arc during which Mitsuki is being stalked by a rabid fan, someone throws a bottle onto the stage at one of her concerts. It's aiming for her, but then in the next panel we see it swerve away from her, and it hits Wakaoji instead. Both of these instances turn out to have been Eichi's ghost protecting Mitsuki.
Freudian Excuse: Fuzuki's backstory explains why she hates music: Moe, Meroko when she was human, fell in love with the violinist Seijyuro Koga. Unfortunately for Moe, he was in love with Fuzuki instead. When Seijurou kisses Fuzuki, Moe catches them in the act and committed suicide later on. This caused Fuzuki to cancel her arranged marriage to Seijyuro. When Hazuki was seeing Seijyuro's son, Aoi, Fuzuki found out about her pregnancy, and Hazuki runs away from home, only to die in an accident with Aoi. The loss of her best friend and her only daughter took a bitter toll on her and her view on music. She got better after Meroko disguising as her human self resolved the conflict that plagued her.
Friendly Rivalry: Mitsuki tries to do this with Madoka. She decontructs it hard. She got better in later volumes.
Heroic BSOD: Mitsuki goes through a brief one in the manga after the Shinigami find out that Eichi has been dead for two years. Then she outright explodes during it. Arina Tanemura lampshaded this on the chapter's commentary.
Heroic Sacrifice: Sheldan and the Death Master, who use up all their energy to revive Takuto and restore his voice.
Idol Singer: Mitsuki aka Full Moon, Wakamatsu Madoka, Nachi, Takuto used to be one, Oshige was an unsuccessful one.
Ill Girl / Littlest Cancer Patient: This seems to run in the Koyama family. Mitsuki is one, of course. Fuzuki was one in her youth, and Hazuki was possibly one as well; a flashback shows Fuzuki mentioning that Hazuki isn't healthy enough to give birth.
Invisible to Normals: The Shinigami. They can make themselves visible to humans, but it uses up a lot of their power.
It Was with You All Along: In the manga. Mitsuki's wish is to be with Eichi again, to the point where around the middle of the manga she resolves to commit suicide until Takuto and Meroko snap her out of it. Near the end of the manga, the question is raised that since Takuto and Meroko have changed Mitsuki's fate, how come she can still see shinigami if she's not about to die? The answer: It is possible to see shinigami if a spirit acts as a "filter" to see them through - that is, Eichi's spirit has been with Mitsuki all along, refusing to leave her. This was in fact foreshadowed in an earlier chapter, when Takuto notes that the dying Eichi refused to surrender his soul to Takuto, implying that it went somewhere else, thus "robbing" Takuto of his soul until Eichi accepts Mitsuki's happiness at the epilogue of the manga and finally ascends to heaven.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the manga this trope applies to Eichi, who is forced to see Mitsuki and Takuto hook up but eventually accepts it in the matter of two pages.
This trope also applies to Takuto for Mitsuki until he learns Eichi is dead.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the Shinigami experience this after the death of their human selves after suicide and rebirth. If a Shinigami starts to remember their human life before they've become a full Shinigami (basically gone through a type of training), they transform into a ghost. The only exceptions are Izumi, who remembers almost all of his life as a human, and Takuto, who was never actually dead.
Likes Older Women: Hilariously averted when Meroko thinks Takuto likes Fuzuki, who is Mitsuki's grandmother. He doesn't. The subtitle when Meroko panics says "She's a fool".
Little Bit Beastly: All the pediatric Shinigami have kemonomimi and turn into their designated animal when in plushie form — Meroko's a bunny, Takuto's a cat, Izumi's a dog, and an omake has Meroko inviting Mitsuki to be her new partner and suggesting bear ears for her animal theme. The odd one out seems to be Jonathan. Turns out there's a reason for that.
A lot of fans seem to have issues with Takuto getting with Mitsuki when he's only ten years younger than her dad...however, subtracting the years he was in a coma, he's not that much older than her. Even not taking this into account, Takuto was twelve when he joined Route:L (when the band formed), Hazuki had Mitsuki a year after the band formed, Takuto went into his coma about a year after that, making him fourteen. Adding the coma, he's... 25 or 26. Then skip ahead three years to the epilogue. He's about 30 while she's 16; almost twice her age, and mentally he's 17. In Japan, this is a completely legal relationship, for a girl can marry at 16 as long as the boy is 18. We really need to remember differences in culture when it comes to this sort of thing.
Meaningful Name: Mitsuki's name translates to "Full Moon," which is what she picks for her stage name. Also, the moon has a lot of significance for both Mitsuki and Eichi, particularly in regards to their friendship.
The upbeat first volume of the manga contrasts heavily with later ones.
Then there's Chapter 12. Takuto decides to try and reunite Mitsuki and Eichi so that Mitsuki can be happy. The Shinigami go through Mitsuki's stuff trying to find something that will give a clue as to Eichi's location, and come across a picture of Eichi...and Takuto recognizes him.
Nonstandard Character Design: Jonathan, who looks like how the artist thought Peeves from Harry Potter looked like: a non-humanoid smiling ghost in a top hat. He's also this in-universe, as he looks absolutely nothing like other Shinigami. For a reason.
Official Couple: LOTS. Mitsuki and Takuto, Meroko and Izumi, Sheldan (Jonathan) and Mystere (The Death Master), Hazuki and Aoi, Madoka and Nachi (manga only), and Wakaoji and Oshige.
Oblivious to Love: Mitsuki, WHY can't you realize that Takuto loves you? Although they eventually get together.. She was pretty much the same with Eichi; when he confessed to her, she was completely stunned that he would think of her that way.
Also Takuto and Meroko but subverted.
Overtook the Manga: Possibly one of the greatest examples, since the anime started in the same month that the fifth chapter was published and ended a year earlier.
Parental Abandonment: A good deal of the cast. Mitsuki and Eichi lost their parents in car accidents (and Eichi subsequently lost his grandfather as well), Izumi's father died when he was very young (leading to an abusive mother), and Word of God informs us that Takuto's mother died from a long-term illness when he was nine, and his father isn't mentioned. Madoka's parents disowned her when she informed them she was planning to have plastic surgery in order to further her singing career.
Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Hikari, although she's more immature and overly attached than insane. She was Takuto's girlfriend at the time of his suicide, and comes across him while he is visible to humans for a date with Mitsuki. Recognizing him as Takuto, she pressures him into spending time with her, partly to make her boyfriend jealous and partly because she has yet to really let go of Takuto.
The Rival: Madoka Wakamatsu, who is friendly with Mitsuki, but highly dislikes her Full Moon alter ego.
Rule of Symbolism: Meroko used to wear white as Izumi's partner, but switched to black once he rejected her. Rubbing salt in the wound was that the black outfit was his color.
And also, Izumi was the one who gave her the outfit that she changed to.
Sadist Teacher: It's mentioned that Mitsuki was moved to the orphanage where she met Eichi because of abuse at the hands of a teacher at her old orphanage. The only example we see of this is said teacher telling Mitsuki, who is at most three years old at this point, that it was her fault her father died. Jesus.
Screw Destiny: Part of Meroko's and Takuto's job is to stop the person or people who would prevent Mitsuki's death in the coming spring. In the end, they save her life themselves.
Theme Naming: Shinigami pairs are named after food (except Yami Nabe). And it's because Sheldan did the naming.
The Topic of Cancer: Mitsuki Koyama has a tumor in her throat played for full terror-tragedy value. In her particular case, her dream is to become an idol singer, but the only way to remove the cancer by the point the story begins involves a surgery that would render her permanently mute. In the end she decides to have the surgery anyway, and keeps her voice; it turns out that her tumor didn't grow any larger during the time she spent as Full Moon.
Tragic Keepsake: Mitsuki keeps a copy of the newspaper article about the plane crash that killed Eichi, and once you find out that Eichi is dead, her picture of him counts as this too.
Tsundere: Takuto is one of the few male examples, type A. Meroko herself, being Type A towards Izumi and B to Takuto (in both the anime and manga). In the manga, this is subverted when Takuto says to Mitsuki that Meroko tells him she loves him to get Izumi's attention. Eventually, Meroko becomes Type B towards Izumi in the final chapter and they become an Official Couple.
Takuto's ears and tail are revealed to be fake however.
Victorious Childhood Friend: In the manga Nachi is actually Madoka's fiance from their childhood. Unlike most of these kinds of relationships it took a good long time, a major rejection, and two plastic surgeries to get them together.
Wham Episode: The end of Chapter 12 reveals Eichi's death. Chapter 13 is mostly comprised of Eichi and Mitsuki's past, and then at the end you learn that Mitsuki knew he was dead all along.