The manga is published in North America in English by Viz Media. The series was adapted into an anime television series produced by Nihon Ad Systems, which ended before the manga was completed, as well as an OVA distributed with an issue of Ribon. The anime series was broadcast on TV Tokyo and was also licensed for retail release in North America by Viz Media, though only the first 28 episodes were released.
The series was adapted as a 52-episode anime television series by Studio Deen, directed by Toshiyuki Kato. It was broadcast on TV Tokyo from April 6, 2002 to March 29, 2003. The adaptation follows the manga closely until Mitsuki’s first singing audition, before diverging. Several characters have different histories and personalities, and because the television series concluded before the manga was finished, the anime ended with a different resolution.
The television series is licensed by Viz Media, which released seven DVDs (the first 28 episodes), under the title Full Moon before putting further releases on indefinite hold, citing low sales potential. The songs are subtitled only, resulting in a dub that switches between English dialogue and Japanese singing.
Full Moon O Sagashite has two openings, and four endings. “I Love U” by The Scanty is used as the opening song for the first 26 episodes, while the group’s song “Rock ‘n’ Roll Princess” is used for the rest. Changin’ My Life performs all four ending themes: “New Future” used for the first six episodes and the last episode 52, “Myself” is used for episodes 7-26, “Eternal Snow” is used for episodes 27-42, and “Love Chronicle” is used in episodes 43-51.
Full Moon O Sagashite: Cute Cute Adventure is a ten-minute anime OVA that was distributed with the November 2002 issue of Ribon, the magazine in which the manga was serialized. It was produced by Studio Deen, and stars myco as Mitsuki and Chieko Honda as Meroko, as in the television series, but Hiromi Ōtsuda as Takuto. Set before the series ends, it features Takuto and Meroko trying to make their way to the studio in stuffed animal forms after Mitsuki accidentally leaves them home while rushing to work.
- Mitsuki Kōyama
- A 12-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a pop singer, but who has a tumor in her vocal cords which restricts her ability to sing. She grew up in an orphanage, and then later went to live with her strict grandmother, Fuzuki, who forbade her from singing. When Mitsuki learns that she’ll die if her vocal cords aren’t removed, she refuses the surgery, saying she is more afraid of never singing again than she is of dying. With Takuto’s help, she transforms into Fullmoon, a 16-year-old pop idol, completely free of cancer and able to sing. As Fullmoon, she is discovered by Seed Records during an audition, and in both the manga and anime she is depicted as releasing several hit singles. The anime ending theme songs are all supposedly sung by Fullmoon. Mitsuki chooses the stage name Fullmoon because mitsuki means “full moon” in Japanese, and because her childhood friend, Eichi Sakurai, wants to become an astronomer, and the name reminds her of him. Mitsuki decided to become a singer when she was ten years old, because she made a promise with Eichi that they would fulfill their dreams the next time they met.
- Mitsuki desires to become a singer because she wants to tell Eichi that she loves him. Mitsuki lost contact with Eichi when he moved from the orphanage to America. In the manga, after he leaves, Mitsuki wanted to call him in America to tell him her feelings but later finds out on television that his airplane crashed right after takeoff in the ocean and sees his name on the list of the deceased. Although she knew about his death all along, she went into denial and pretended to not know due to her intense pain. Eventually, the shinigami find out about Eichi’s death, and Mitsuki is forced to admit to herself that Eichi is gone forever. In the anime, Mitsuki does not learn about Eichi’s death until two years later, when she travels to America with Ms. Oshige and Dr. Wakaoji. She finds out from his adoptive grandparents that Eichi and his adoptive parents died in a car crash. Upon learning his death, Mitsuki runs away and goes to Eichi’s grave, wanting to die and be with Eichi. Upon her return to Japan, she becomes extremely depressed and decides to give up on singing, despite numerous attempts to convince her otherwise. However, after Izumi’s attempt to take her soul and hearing Takuto talk about his memories and how he regrets committing suicide, Mitsuki decides to sing again so she can live her life to the fullest.
- In the manga, it is revealed that Mitsuki can see the shinigami if there is a soul of a dead person surrounding her. Mitsuki realizes that the soul is Eichi, who has been watching over her since he died. She is hit with the Scythe of Fate, which removes Eichi’s soul from her body. In the anime, it is never explained why she can see the shinigami. Izumi offers a theory that her illness, which made her close to death, and her belief in escaping her impending fate, made her capable of seeing the shinigami.
- Halfway through the series, Mitsuki realizes that she loves Takuto but feels guilty for it because she is afraid of forgetting Eichi. With the help of Meroko, she decides that she loves them both and is able to confess to Takuto, as well as accept that Eichi would have wanted her to be happy. By the end of the series, she is cured of her illness and is able to pursue a singing career and relationship with Takuto, but keeps Eichi in a special place in her heart. Mitsuki’s corkscrew hairstyle was inspired by Ai Kago of the group Morning Musume. Mitsuki herself is modeled on one of Arina Tanemura’s assistants, Airi Teito.
- Eichi Sakurai
- Mitsuki’s childhood friend and first love. In the anime, he is six years older than her; in the manga, he is four years older. He is a kind and gentle boy, and dreams of becoming an astronomer. In the manga, Eichi used to hate the moon because it saw him cry after his grandfather’s death, but after meeting Mitsuki, he grew to love the moon. After his parents died, Eichi lived with his grandfather. When he died as well, Eichi moved to the orphanage where he met Mitsuki. They became fast friends, and he eventually fell in love with her, confessing his feelings just before moving to America. Mitsuki was heartbroken when he left, as she could not yet confess her true feelings to him. Part of the reason she wanted to become a singer was to find him.
- In the manga, Eichi dies when his flight to America crashes, which Mitsuki learns when she watched the news of the crash and saw his name on the list of the deceased. In the anime, Eichi dies in a car accident a few months after moving, which Mitsuki doesn’t find out until she travels to America two years later. In the manga, Takuto’s first assignment was taking Eichi’s soul, but Eichi refused to depart the world and said that only one girl could take or release his soul. He becomes a ghost and watches over Mitsuki, which gives her the power to see shinigami. He stays with her until the end of the manga, when he sees that Mitsuki is happy with her career and with Takuto, and leaves with a smile and with tears in his eyes.
- Takuto Kira
- is Meroko’s partner and trainee, and they are assigned to take Mitsuki’s soul. His shinigami costume is a cat outfit plus a backpack with wings, without which, as a trainee shinigami, he cannot fly. Takuto is capable of transforming into an anthropomorphic cat plushie. Moved by Mitsuki’s plight, he transforms her into the 16-year-old Fullmoon. Takuto falls in love with Mitsuki as the story goes on, and despite the 12 year age difference between them, they become a couple at the end. As the series progresses, he remembers his past as Takuto Kira, the lead singer of ROUTE:L, the band that both Mitsuki’s father and her doctor were in. After a malignant tumor in his throat took his voice, he attempted suicide by jumping from the top floor of the hospital, witnessed by Dr. Wakaōji. He remained in a coma for the next two years. In the manga, a twelve year-old Takuto named Mitsuki before she was born, and later met her at the orphanage when she was four years old and promised to protect her. At the end of the series, Takuto saves Mitsuki’s life, violating fate and his duty as a shinigami.
- At the end of the manga, he is seen as a human again in the hospital, having lost three months of memories. Three years later, he reunites with Mitsuki during her concert. Mitsuki jumps off stage mid-song and confesses her feelings to him. They kiss amid cheers from the concert crowd. In the anime, the circumstances of Takuto’s death are changed: he is in a motorbike accident and dies rather than remaining in a coma. After being given a second chance at life, Takuto has no memory of his former lives as human or shinigami, but still carries the cat charm Mitsuki gave him. In the final scene, Meroko (now an angel) leads Mitsuki to Takuto. Mitsuki calls out to him, and he recognizes her.
- Meroko Yui
- is a rabbit shinigami with long ears, capable of transforming into an anthropomorphic bunny stuffed toy. Her shinigami costume in the manga is black; whereas, in the anime it is red. Meroko is particularly insecure in relationships. At one point she laments, “I’ve finally run away from love… but when I fell in love and lost it, I realized that there’s no place to run anywhere, anymore. Do I have to repeat this forever? Is this my punishment?” (bonus story in manga volume 3,A Kiss for Meroko). This insecurity gives her jealousy towards Mitsuki. Meroko is Takuto’s partner and has an unrequited infatuation with him. Her jealousy in the manga causes her to act out almost violently against Mitsuki. In the anime, she is more passive; however, the anime depicts her love for Takuto as being much deeper and more permanent than the manga (possibly because Izumi is a villain in the anime, while he is mostly a good guy in the manga.) Meroko is Izumi’s former partner; in the manga, it is Izumi who selects her unique costume so it will match his. Both the manga and the anime reveal that Izumi and Meroko kissed shortly before he betrayed her by ending their shinigami partnership. Meroko is forced to train Takuto as a replacement. The anime does not address Meroko’s past, while the manga does: As a human, Meroko was named Moe Rikyō (里匡 萌 Rikyō Moe), and was the best friend of Mitsuki’s grandmother, Fuzuki. Fuzuki was in an arranged engagement to another man, but both she and Moe fell in love with Seijuro Koga, a handsome violinist. However, Seijuro returned only Fuzuki’s affections and arranged things so the two could be engaged. Fuzuki’s loutish ex-fiancé was passed on to Moe, who, shocked by the new arrangements, sought out Fuzuki to verify the truth. At the same time, Fuzuki broke off her relationship with Seijuro and was giving him a final kiss when Moe arrived. The upset Moe ran away; soon afterwards, her new fiancé attempted to rape her. Feeling betrayed by her friend, Moe committed suicide. In the manga, Meroko learns Seijuro is Mitsuki’s grandfather and assumes Mitsuki is the descendant of Fuzuki’s betrayal. In a rage, Meroko tries to take Mitsuki’s soul with a whip, but Takuto intervenes. It is later revealed that Fuzuki did not marry Seijuro but later married another man, with whom she raised Hazuki Kouyama, Mitsuki’s mother; Seijuro married another woman, and their child was Aoi Koga, Mitsuki’s father.
- Meroko eventually makes amends in the manga both by befriending Fuzuki in her rabbit form and by appearing silently as Moe, allowing Fuzuki a chance to explain and apologize although shinigami law prevents her from replying.
- The manga ends with Meroko and Izumi reconciling their relationship as well as becoming shinigami partners once more because she realizes it was always Izumi whom she loved the most. In the anime, Meroko is exiled from the shinigami and resolves to become a ghost in order to save Takuto; in reward for this kindness, she is made into an angel and given Takuto’s soul to deliver a second chance.