Sent to hospital after a car accident, Hotaru dreams of a beautiful teenage girl with long hair; nothing remarkable, perhaps, except for the fact that upon leaving the hospital, she happens to encounter that exact same girl living in an otherwise abandoned house. When Hotaru takes her friends to meet the girl, however, she discovers that she is the only one who can even see her. Realising that the girl must be some kind of spirit, Hotaru and her friends resolve to help her, which will first entail finding out her true identity, and then locating the mysterious man named Adam that she claims to be waiting for…
At the height of my brief Ai Yazawa phase, Kagen no Tsuki was one of the series I eagerly downloaded- seemingly for the purpose of sitting untouched on my hard drive for months. Recently, however, I finally got around to reading it, and whilst it certainly had its enjoyable moments, the series proved to be a rather odd experience.
Right from the start, Kagen no Tsuki throws readers in at the deep end, showing Mizuki (the girl that Hotaru meets) as she runs away from home to be with Adam, a man she has only just met. This is just the first of several bizarre and implausible plot points that drive the story, and whilst everything is explained by the end, the series sometimes feels less like a slowly unfolding mystery than semi-coherent jumble that requires a few leaps of faith to accept.
That being said, for the most part, Kagen no Tsuki is actually one of the better examples of Ai Yazawa’s work. The series’ relatively short length is both a blessing and a curse; whilst it means that character development cannot be too extensive for all cast members, it also ensures that the obligatory shoujo angst doesn’t reach its usual painful levels. In fact, apart from Mizuki and her somewhat irritating devotion to Adam, most of the cast are straightforward and likable personalities- a far cry from many of Yazawa’s other characters. Thanks to these leads, many of the chapters are far more absorbing than they otherwise would be.
Ai Yazawa is well known for a bold style that exaggerates characters almost to the point of ugliness, but this series showcases a more restrained form of her artwork; fans of her art will still find it recognisable, but those who find her work a little visually inconsistent will be pleased at the alterations.
It’s far from perfect, but despite its weak points, Kagen no Tsuki is an oddly entertaining series whose strength lies not only in being short and sweet, but in offering something refreshingly different from Yazawa’s usual angst-filled epics. If you can live with the flaws, then it’s as worthy a diversion as any.