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Film Friday- Ai Shite Knight

Film Friday- Ai Shite Knight

Ai Shite Knight is a shōjo manga created in the early 1980s by Kaoru Tada. An anime version of the story in 42 episodes was also produced in 1983-1984 by Toei Animation. A live action adaptation was also produced.

Anime

The anime version of “Ai Shite Knight” was produced by Toei Animation in 1983-1984, for a total of 42 episodes directed by Osamu Kasai, a veteran Toei director. The “Ai Shite Knight” anime presents some significant changes in the storyline and modifications in the characters’ stories, and covers only one part of the story narrated by Tada in the manga. It was developed to target a younger audience than that of the manga with some aspects toned down and simplified.

Famous voice actress and pop idol Mitsuko Horie provided the voice of Yakko in the anime. Isao Sasaki was the voice of Go, Katsuji Mori of Satomi, Takeshi Aono of Shige-San, and Yūko Mita of Hashizo. Masa Amamori provided the voice of Juliano. Mitsuko Horie also sang “Koi wa Totsuzen”, the song featured in the opening credits of each episode.

Characters

  • Yaeko (Yakko) Mitamura
Yaeko (Yakko) (born September 15) is 18 years old at the beginning of the story. Yakko works at her father’s okonomiyaki restaurant “Mambo” in Osaka as well as attending evening classes at the university. Yakko is a romantic and a little naive, and she is flattered by the attention paid to her by one of the regular customers of her father’s restaurant, handsome and long-haired Satomi Okawa. One day she casually meets two people that will change her life: Go Kato and his little brother Hashizo. Yakko soon discovers that Go and Satomi are friends and both members of an emerging rock band, “Bee Hive”. She is attracted to them both but soon realizes she will have to make a choice between them. She becomes Go’s girlfriend, although his career as a musician causes more than one problem for their relationship.
  • Go Kato
is the lead singer of “Bee Hive” and a student at the university. He lives with his little brother Hashizo in a small apartment and is trying to become a professional and successful musician. He is cocky but charming and has a reputation of being a playboy. However, when he falls in love with Yakko, he becomes totally devoted to her, although he has to struggle with juggling his musical career and romantic relationship.
Even though Isao Sasaki is a singer, Go’s songs are actually sung by Ai Takano in the anime.
  • Hashizo Kato
Hashizo’s real name is Hideki, but he was given the name “Hashizo” by his brother Go when he went to live with him after the death of his parents. Hashizo is Go’s half-brother, being the son of Go’s father and his mistress. After their death in car crash, Go decided to look after his baby brother although still very young himself, and they have been living together ever since. Hashizo is a very responsible little boy and, because of Go’s career as a musician, he spends a lot of time alone with his best friend, the cat Juliano. When he meets Yakko, he becomes very attached to her, and the “Mambo” becomes his second home.
  • Satomi Okawa
Satomi is Go’s best friend and the keyboard player for “Bee Hive”; he comes from a wealthy family and is an incredibly talented musician. Opposite to Go, he is calm and more introverted. He is also a university student and gives private keyboard lessons in his spare time. He falls in love with Yakko even before Go does, and when he finds out that Go is also after Yakko, he leaves the band for some time. He finally realizes that Yakko has chosen Go, and returns to the band. He helps Yakko and Go through difficult times as a good and faithful friend.

 

Manga Monday- Ai Shite Knight

Manga Monday- Ai Shite Knight

Ai Shite Knight  is a shōjo manga created in the early 1980s by Kaoru Tada. An anime version of the story in 42 episodes was also produced in 1983-1984 by Toei Animation. A live action adaptation was also produced.

Plot summary

“Ai Shite Knight” is set in Osaka and tells the story of Yaeko “Yakko” Mitamura, an 18-year-old girl working in her father’s Okonomiyaki restaurant. One day Yakko meets a little boy named Hashizo and his odd cat Juliano. Hashizo had lost both parents when still a baby and has been brought up by his elder brother Go. Go Kato is the lead singer of the emerging rock band “Bee Hive.” When Yakko meets Go and his friend and “Bee Hive” member Satomi Okawa, an unexpected series of events and a tangled romance unfold.

The main narrative of “Ai Shite Knight” is essentially a love story, but has interesting and innovative elements introduced to it by Kaoru Tada, most notably the portrayal of the Japanese music scene in the early ’80s. In creating characters such as Go, Satomi and their band “Bee Hive”, Tada was inspired by well-known bands of the time such as “The Stalin”, “Novela”, “Primadonna” and “44Magnum.” Tada also plays with sexual provocation and sexual ambiguity, mainly embodied by the character of “Kiss Relish” vocalist Kazuma Kataoka/Sheila, although these elements were considerably toned down in the anime version of the story.

 

Film Friday- Children of the Whales

Film Friday- Children of the Whales

Children of the Whales is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Abi Umeda. The manga is licensed in North America by Viz Media. An anime television series adaptation by J.C. Staff aired in Japan from October to December 2017, and was released globally on Netflix in March 2018.

An anime adaptation of the series was announced in the February 2017 issue of Mystery Bonita on January 6, 2017. The anime adaptation, which was later confirmed to be a television series, is directed by Kyōhei Ishiguro and written by Michiko Yokote, with animation by J.C.Staff, character designs by Haruko Iizuka and music by Hiroaki Tsutsumi. It aired from October 8 to December 24, 2017, on Tokyo MX and other channels. It ran for 12 episodes and will have two OVA. It was released globally by Netflix in March 2018. The opening theme song “Sono Saki e” is performed by singer-songwriter RIRIKO, while the ending theme song “Hashitairo” is performed by rionos.

Characters

Chakuro
The protagonist of the story. Chakuro is a Marked boy who works as an archivist for the Elders in the Mud Whale, hoping that his records will improve life for future generations. Curious and gentle, he sometimes dreams to see the world outside the Mud Whale and immediately befriends Lykos after finding her on the abandoned island.
Lykos 
A mysterious girl found on an island that was about to be scavenged by the Mud Whale’s people for resources. “Lykos” is not really her name, it is actually a term used to describe a mysterious creature that feeds off the emotions of anyone that comes near it. Chakuro simply calls her “Lykos” for convenience’s sake. At first, she is reluctant to speak to anyone but with Chakuro’s help, she learns to express herself more openly.
Ouni 
Another Marked one who is said to possess the greatest potential for thymia in the Mud Whale. He is the leader of the Moles, a group of young people who gained their name because they often break the rules of the Mud Whale and thus spent a lot of time imprisoned in the belly of the ship. Obsessed with leaving the Mud Whale, Ouni has earned a reputation as a troublemaker. When Lykos is found by Chakuro, Ouni sees the opportunity to escape the Mud Whale. He later awakens an unknown power after seeing Nibi die.
Suoh 
An Unmarked one who works as an assistant for the Council of Elders. He is Chakuro’s friend and Sami’s elder brother, he often gives them advice for how they can help the Mud Whale’s people. He often clasps his hands, which Chakuro notes is his way to suppress his emotions.
Ginshu 
A girl who often helps in the everyday activities of the Mud Whale’s people, as a member of the Vigilante Corps.
Liontari 
An imperial soldier of the Allied Empire who stands out for his excessive emotions.
Shuan 
A mysterious man and the leader of the Vigilante Corps.
Sami 
Chakuro’s friend and Suō’s younger sister. She seems to harbor feelings for Chakuro and becomes mildly jealous of Lykos upon seeing how close she and Chakuro become. When a mysterious group of soldiers attack the Mud Whale, she shields Chakuro from their bullets and dies. She returns as a spirit, kisses, and confesses her feelings to Chakuro before disappearing.
Kicha 
A girl, member of the Moles.
Taisha
An Unmarked woman and mayor of the Mud Whale.

 

 

 

 

Manga Monday- Children of the Whales

Manga Monday- Children of the Whales

Children of the Whales is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Abi Umeda. The manga is licensed in North America by Viz Media. An anime television series adaptation by J.C. Staff aired in Japan from October to December 2017, and was released globally on Netflix in March 2018.

Abi Umeda launched the series in the July 2013 issue of Akita Shoten’s shōjo manga magazine Monthly Mystery Bonita on June 6, 2013. The series has been collected into 13 volumes as of October 2018. Viz Media announced during their panel at Anime Boston 2017 that they have licensed the manga.

Synopsis

The story focuses on a boy called Chakuro, who lives on a giant vessel called a Mud Whale that drifts over the sea of sand. In the Mud Whale, society is divided into two kinds of people: the Marked, who can move objects with their minds using a strange power called “thymia”, at the expense of shortened lifespans, and the Unmarked, people who lack thymia but enjoy longer lifespans. Chakuro and his friends have never seen anyone from the outside world, and they spend their days yearning to explore and learn about it. In year 93 of the vessel’s exile, the Mud Whale encounters a lonely island and Chakuro finds a girl inside, starting an adventure that changes the lives of everyone.

 

Film Friday- Sensual Phrase

Film Friday- Sensual Phrase

Sensual Phrase is a shōjo manga series created by Mayu Shinjo. The manga was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic between 1997 and 2000, and collected in 18 bound volumes. It was adapted as a 44-episode anime television series by Studio Hibari, and as a series of novels. The series tells the story of Aine Yukimura, a high school student who becomes the lyricist for a Japanese rock band, and her relationship with the band’s lead singer, Sakuya Ookochi.

To promote the anime, a real-life band was formed: Λucifer, the band the story focuses on. The rival band, e.MU, seems to have been active before the manga was created. Both bands continued after the anime ended before disbanding. In the series, Λucifer’s original name is Lucifer, changed to Λucifer (using the Greek letter lambda) when the band decides to go international. For the purposes of the article this second name, Λucifer, is used. Japanese names are given in Western order, with family name last.

Production

In her blog, Shinjo noted that though she was the actual creator of Sensual Phrase, she was one of the last to know that the series would be adapted into an anime, and that by the time she knew, Shogakukan had already made the decision to do the series. She was also unaware that there were talks about a film adaptation of the series until two years after the proposal was rejected. When the anime was rerun on AT-X, she learnt of this through the channel’s official website. She left Shogakukan in 2007, despite the company’s threat to take all of her earlier series, including Sensual Phrase, out of print if she did so. Shinjo contacted a lawyer, and the threat was never carried out.

Sensual Phrase was adapted as an anime television series by Studio Hibari. It was directed by Hiroko Tokita, with music by Susumu Akitagawa and character designs by Yumi Nakayama. There were multiple opening and closing theme tunes, some of them credited to fictional bands Λucifer and e.MU, for which real-world counterparts were created. The anime was broadcast on TV Tokyo in 44 episodes from April 20, 1999 to March 25, 2000. It was later released on 11 videos by Pony Canyon.

Aine Yukimura

The main female protagonist of the series, Aine is a shy but innocent high school girl who does not know how to hide her feelings. Her home life is rocky, her parents seem to ignore her, and she is mostly left to her own devices. Hurt by this emotional neglect and lacking confidence in herself, she clings to and relies on Sakuya to protect and defend her and feels guilty about her inexperience and doubts. When Sakuya tells her parents that Aine will be living with him, they realize they are losing their daughter to a dangerous world. Sakuya eventually convinces Aine’s father that he loves her and will protect her, so they can live together. Aine has to fight to find her own place within the record label, and prove herself repeatedly. She comes to be seen as important to Sakuya’s emotional wellbeing and to the band, and earns her place with her innovative concepts and her lyrics. Towards the series end, following her rape and the death of her friend, band producer Hitoshi Takayama, she grows up, matures, and becomes stronger.

Sakuya Ookochi

The main character of the series, Sakuya is the highly talented lead singer of Λucifer. Seventeen and still in high school, he is also the band’s youngest member. He transfers to Aine’s high school to get closer to her. While he respects and trusts Yuki, the only other band member he is close to is Atsuro. He is known for his striking blue eyes, inherited from his American father. Sakuya is also rude, physical, and does not care about life, even when he begins to sing with the band Lucifer. Sakuya has spent most of his young teenage years paying off his mother’s debt at the club where she worked. Like his mother, he sang and played the piano for club guests. But to make more money, he also worked as a male escort prostitute on the side. He was able to do this because he appears older than his years. His harsh childhood experiences have caused Sakuya to lose trust in people. But when he meets high school girl Aine, he shows a new caring and sensitive attitude towards others, especially to Aine. When she first starts working for them he tells himself that he is selfishly using her, but before long his true feelings emerge. ~ See Sakuya’s one-shot and Vol. 10, Lucifer’s Legend. Sakuya also makes an appearance in “Love Celeb” as Kirara’s producer.

 

Manga Monday- Sensual Phrase

Manga Monday- Sensual Phrase

Sensual Phrase is a shōjo manga series created by Mayu Shinjo. The manga was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic between 1997 and 2000, and collected in 18 bound volumes. It was adapted as a 44-episode anime television series by Studio Hibari, and as a series of novels. The series tells the story of Aine Yukimura, a high school student who becomes the lyricist for a Japanese rock band, and her relationship with the band’s lead singer, Sakuya Ookochi.

Manga

Written and illustrated by Mayu Shinjo, Sensual Phrase premiered in Shōjo Comic in 1997, where it was serialized monthly until its conclusion in 2000. The individual chapters were collected and published in 17 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from June 1997 through January 2001. An additional volume was released on April 24, 2003 containing a sequel chapter to the story and additional unrelated short stories. Shogakukan republished the serialized chapters across six shinsoban hard cover editions in 2003, and re-released the original 17 volumes in 2006 with new covers

Sensual Phrase is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media, including the special final volume. Viz Media published the first volume of the series on March 24, 2004; the final volume was released on February 13, 2007.

The series is licensed for regional language publication by Editorial Ivréa in Spain and Latin America, Pika Edition in France, Egmont Manga & Anime in Germany, and Star Comics in Italy. It was serialized in Germany in Manga Twister, and in Italy in Amici.

Light novels

Five novels based on the manga were published by Shogakukan:

  • 90-nichi no Densetsu, published December 1, 1999
  • Hong Kong Kyoushikyoku, published July 25, 2000
  • Ao no Meikyu, published November 26, 2001
  • Owarinaki Shinwa, published February 2001
  • Engage Song, published June 3, 2003

Plot

Aine Yukimura is a seventeen-year-old high school student who writes sensual song lyrics and hopes to become a songwriter. One day, two school friends talk her into entering her best lyrics into a contest. When someone bumps into her in the street, she drops her lyrics and is almost run over by a passing car. It is driven by Sakuya Ookochi, lead singer of the hard rock band Lucifer, which is known for its sensual lyrics. Aine does not know who he is, but falls in love. He makes sure she is not hurt, and gives her an all-access pass to that night’s show. After she leaves, he finds her lyrics and takes them back to the band with a plan in mind.

That night, Aine listens from the back of the audience. As she turns to leave, she hears Sakuya singing her lyrics. She runs to the stage to see if he is the driver of the car. She is swept off her feet. At first, people tell her Sakuya is never serious about women, and she thinks he might be toying with her. Later, he kidnaps her and convinces her to become the band’s lyricist, and she thinks he is playing with her but for business reasons, not romance. Sakuya then transfers to Aine’s high school, wanting to protect and work with her. Initially, he sees her as an innocent he can tease, but his feelings for her soon grow. Seeing her talent, and wanting to win the girl, Sakuya campaigns for Aine to become the band’s official lyricist. His manager initially objects, but relents on seeing the continued excellence of Aine’s lyrics. She becomes their lyricist, using the male pseudonym Yukihiko Aine to protect her identity and the band’s image.

Aine and Sakuya’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, when they do not communicate their real feelings. Aine tries to hide her feelings for Sakuya, thinking he sees the two of them only as co-workers. She believes he wants to preserve her virginal imagination so that she will continue to write hit songs for the band. This seems confirmed when he rejects her advances. Although Sakuya is not subtle by nature, he attempts to express his feelings for her by writing a ballad called “Little Bird” or “Love Melody”, but she continues to misunderstand. Finally, after filming the music video “Drug”, he corners her and confesses his feelings.

But beginning a romance and being the girlfriend of a high-profile star is not easy. As the series progresses, Aine finds herself the frequent target of Sakuya’s enemies, including rival bands and obsessed fans.

Ralph Grazer, Sakuya’s older half-brother, is an American media mogul who heads a business empire in the United States and is branching into Asian markets. Ralph has a grudge against Sakuya, whom he has never met although their father has pushed them to make contact. Ralph goes to Japan, and uses blackmail to force Aine to break up with Sakuya and work for him instead. Sakuya takes time out from the band to confront his biological father, the man had who had raped his mother. Sakuya travels to America to learn the family business, which gives him the knowledge and power to take Ralph’s position as head of the media corporation. Sakuya returns to Japan and forces Ralph to sign a contract under which he will recover his position in return for releasing Aine. Ralph, used to getting whatever and whomever he wants, is confused by this tactic and by Sakuya’s love for Aine. He returns to the United States to start over and relearn from their father. Ralph returns twice more in the manga, but no longer necessarily as Sakuya’s enemy.

Lucifer continues to grow, becoming a major hit. Renamed Λucifer, the band prepares to tour America and Europe. Sakuya and Aine attempt to balance their love and professional lives. Aine’s feelings for Sakuya and her ability to write lyrics are tested. The band hires Hitoshi Takayama as producer to prepare for international fame. At first, Hitoshi thinks Aine is nothing more than an outspoken groupie, with no place on band premises or in Sakuya’s life. But as he gets to know her he falls in love, hiding his feelings by pretending to be homosexual. As Hitoshi plans the band’s six-month move to England to set the stage for capturing European fans, he attempts to break up both Sakuya and Aine’s relationship and another couple, one of the band’s guitarists, Atsuro, and his girlfriend Yuuka. Yuki, another guitarist, soon puts a stop to this plan, letting Takayama know that band members owe their success to their families and lovers.

Kaito Yoshioka, president of a rival label, resents Λucifer’s success. He decides to use Aine to break up the band, and brutally rapes her in an attempt to break Sakuya. Hitoshi finds Aine and takes her to his home to try to comfort her, helping her avoid Sakuya out of shame, self-loathing and fear of being rejected. When Aine tries to commit suicide that night, Takayama tells Sakuya. Sakuya loses his voice and desire to sing, and leaves the band. Yuki realizes that the only way to protect the band is to sign with Sakuya’s half-brother Ralph’s label, taking the band international. Meanwhile, Sakuya tries to kill Yoshioka, but Ralph stops him. He reminds Sakuya that Aine needs him to be with her, not in prison. Ralph avenges Aine by having Yoshioka investigated for tax evasion and fraud, which destroys his company.

Aine is in a near-catatonic state, and Sakuya takes her into hiding to care for her. When she again attempts suicide, he cuts his own wrist telling her he will die with her if that is what she really wants. Aine snaps out of her depression and begins to heal emotionally. Takayama finds Sakuya, and with Yuki makes several attempts to persuade Sakuya to return to the band. Aine realizes that Sakuya is avoiding music and is afraid that she will be hurt again because of him. She convinces him to return to the world they both love. Takayama’s death in a car accident tramatizes and pushes Sakuya to rejoin the band and sign the contract. Ralph tells Sakuya that, when he takes over from their father, he wants Sakuya to head the company’s media business. Sakuya refuses, saying he would rather be a producer. After Takayama’s death, Λucifer performs its final concert in Japan before moving to New York City. While they are overseas, Aine studies to take Takayama’s place and become a producer. At the end of the series, Sakuya and Aine are married with a son. ~ See one-shot of Atsuro and Yuuka’s wedding, and one-shot ‘King Egoist’ in Love Celeb for the announcement of Sakuya and Aine’s second child ~

 

Film Friday- Full Moon o Sagashite

Film Friday- Full Moon o Sagashite

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.

Anime

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.

OVA

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.

Humans

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.

 

Manga Monday- Full Moon o Sagashite

Manga Monday- Full Moon o Sagashite

Full Moon o Sagashite  (literally “Searching for the Full Moon”) is a Japanese shōjo manga by Arina Tanemura. According to the furigana, the kanji 満月 in the title are read furu mūn (“full moon”) and not mangetsu or mitsuki, the Japanese words for the full moon. In North America, the series is officially titled Full Moon, although the full Japanese title is still shown on the front covers of all volumes.
The manga was serialized in Shueisha’s shojo manga magazine Ribon from January 2002 to June 2004 and collected in seven tankōbon volumes. The manga is published in North America in English by Viz Media.
Starting in January 2012, Full Moon O Sagashite was reprinted in four bunkoban volumes with new covers. The manga is licensed in North America in English by Viz Media as Full Moon, although the full title is given on the front cover.

Art book

On April 15, 2004, Shueisha released a seventy-page art book for the series entitled The Arina Tanemura Collection: The Art of Full Moon. Viz Media released an English language edition in North America on October 21, 2008.

Plot

Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Kouyama is a talented middle school girl who dreams of becoming a singer, but she is afflicted with sarcoma, which is curable only through a surgery that could ruin her vocal cords, and lose her ability to sing. The tumor in her throat already affects her ability to breathe well and sing loudly. Her grandmother also hates music and is completely opposed to Mitsuki’s wish to audition. Mitsuki’s dreams seem impossible to achieve, until one day she is visited by two shinigami, whom only she could see. The shinigami, Takuto and Meroko, inadvertently tip Mitsuki off that she has only one year left to live.
Mitsuki then realizes she cannot wait any longer to fulfill her dream, so she runs away from home and the shinigami, to try to audition for a singing competition. However, the shinigami stops her before she is able to audition. She moves Takuto, the male shinigami, to agree to a compromise: if Mitsuki promises to go quietly when her year is up, he would help her become a singer, so she could leave the world with no regrets. Takuto gives her the ability to transform into a completely healthy 16-year-old, so that she could meet the age requirements of the audition, and sing without hindrance.
Despite heavy competition, Mitsuki wins over the judges with her excellent voice and her enthusiasm for singing, sealing a contract with Seed Records. To conceal her true identity, she chooses the stage name “Fullmoon”.
Mitsuki had decided to become a singer two years before, when she was 10 years old. She had made a promise with Eichi Sakurai, a 16-year-old boy she met at her orphanage, that the next time they met, they would both be closer to their dreams. Eichi wanted to become an astronomer and Mitsuki wanted to become a singer. Shortly after, Eichi was adopted and emigrated to America before Mitsuki could express her feelings for him. Mitsuki hopes that by becoming a famous idol, Eichi would be able to hear her sing and realize her feelings for him. This is a tale of growing up, falling in love, awareness of life and death, and desire to move forward.

 

Film Friday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Film Friday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Itazura na Kiss is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Kaoru Tada. Itazura na Kiss was first serialized and published in 1990 by Shueisha through Bessatsu Margaret magazine. It became successful very quickly and became the manga series that Tada became known for in Japan. The manga became so popular that three live TV series have been made so far in 1996, 2005, and 2010, with a sequel of the 2005 drama in late 2007. In 2013, a remake of the Japanese live TV series, called Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo, was made. Despite its success, the manga was never completed due to the unexpected death of the author in a house accident while she was moving to another house with her husband and son. However the manga series continues to be published with the permission of the artist’s widower. The series was recently adapted into three live-action films. A drama CD series was released in 2005–2006 and a 25 episode anime adaptation aired in 2008. In an interview, the author’s widower, Shigeru Nishikawa, revealed that the manga’s intended finale was to be conceptualized in the anime for the first time. Scripts regarding the plot of the anime closely followed the author’s planned ending.

Anime

Itazura na Kiss was adapted into a 25 episode anime by TMS Entertainment and shown on TBS from April 4, 2008 to September 25, 2008. The opening theme was “Kimi, Meguru, Boku” by Motohiro Hata, and the primary ending themes were “Kataomoi Fighter” by GO!GO!7188 and “Jikan yo Tomare (Stop Time)” by Azu featuring Seamo. Discotek Media licensed the anime and put it out on DVD in late 2014.

Films

  • Itazura na Kiss: The Movie – High School (2016)
  • Itazura na Kiss: The Movie – Campus (2017)
  • Itazura na Kiss: The Movie – Proposal (2017)
  • Fall in Love At First Kiss(一吻定情)(2019)A Taiwanese film adaptation starring Jelly Lin as Yuan Xiang-qin and Darren Wang as Jiang Zhi-shu. It will be released on 14th February 2019.

TV dramas

In 1996, Itazura na Kiss was first adapted into a Japanese television drama of the same title, which ran from 14 October to 16 December 1996 for 9 episodes every Monday at 20:00 until 21:00 JST. This version did not cover Kotoko’s and Naoki’s married life.
In 2005, it was adapted into two Taiwanese dramas, It Started with a Kiss and its sequel They Kiss Again, both starring Ariel Lin as not-so-bright Yuan Xiang Qin and Joe Cheng as the genius Jiang Zhi Shu.
In 2010, it was adapted into a South Korean drama series Playful Kiss starring Kim Hyun-joong of SS501 as the perfectionist Baek Seung-Jo and Jung So-min as the clumsy Oh Ha-Ni. The series consisted of 16 TV episodes and 7 webisodes.
In 2013, another Japanese remake aired on Fuji TV under the title Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo. It starred Miki Honoka as Aihara Kotoko and Furukawa Yuki as Irie Naoki. At the end of 2014 was aired the sequel -Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Okinawa- with both lead actors reprising their roles. The second season ended in March, 2015.
In 2015, it was adapted into a Thai drama series Kiss Me รักล้นใจนายแกล้งจุ๊บ. It starred Pirath Nitipaisankul and Sucharat Manaying, and aired on True4U.
In 2016, it was adapted into another Taiwanese drama, Miss in Kiss, starring Esther Wu as Yue-Qin and Dino Lee as Zhi-Shu. It has 48 episodes (30 minutes each) from December 8, 2016 – March 24, 2017.

Characters

  • Kotoko Aihara 
    is a ditzy and poor achieving high school student. She has been in love with the handsome and intelligent Naoki Irie since their first year in high school after hearing his speech at the opening ceremony. She eventually writes a love letter to Naoki, but is rejected right away. On the same day as her confession, Kotoko’s poorly constructed house is destroyed in a mild earthquake, and she and her father Shigeo are invited to stay at a house owned by her father’s close friend Shigeki. Arriving to the house, she is shocked to find out that Shigeo’s friend is the dad of Naoki, and that she will be living in the same house as him. In the beginning of their new life together, Naoki often teased Kotoko, but the two eventually warm up to each other. Naoki later realizes that he is in love with Kotoko and confesses to her, and the couple marry in their first year of college (the third year in the manga version). Kotoko is known as Kotoko Irie onwards. After coming back from her honeymoon with Naoki, Kotoko decides to become a nurse, so that she could be a wife fit for Naoki. After several years of marriage, Kotoko has a daughter with Naoki named Kotomi.

 

  • Naoki Irie 
    is the smartest and most handsome guy in his high school. He is rumored to have an IQ of 200, and is praised by his peers as being perfect all around. He receives a love letter from Kotoko, but rejects her before she finishes confessing, explaining that he despises “dumb girls.” When Kotoko and her father move in with Naoki and his father, he gives Kotoko many hardships and maintains a rather cold attitude towards her, although he secretly began to fall in love with her, because he believed that the trouble she caused made his mundane life more interesting. Though Naoki’s grades allow for him to attend any university of his choosing, he eventually decides to attend the same college as Kotoko. After his wedding to Kotoko, Naoki becomes a doctor.

 

Manga Monday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Manga Monday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Itazura na Kiss is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Kaoru Tada. Itazura na Kiss was first serialized and published in 1990 by Shueisha through Bessatsu Margaret magazine. It became successful very quickly and became the manga series that Tada became known for in Japan. The manga became so popular that three live TV series have been made so far in 1996, 2005, and 2010, with a sequel of the 2005 drama in late 2007. In 2013, a remake of the Japanese live TV series, called Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo, was made. Despite its success, the manga was never completed due to the unexpected death of the author in a house accident while she was moving to another house with her husband and son. However the manga series continues to be published with the permission of the artist’s widower. On January 27, 2009, Digital Manga Publishing issued a press release announcing the acquisition of the license to publish Itazura na Kiss in English. They will be publishing the series in 12 omnibus editions; the first two are scheduled for November 2009 and March 2010, respectively. The last two volumes are available in their Akadot Retail store.

Plot

In this romantic comedy story, a high school girl named Kotoko Aihara finally tells a fellow senior named Naoki that she has loved him from afar since she saw him on their first day of high school. However, Naoki, a hottie “super-ikemen” (handsome male) who is smart and good at sports, rejects her offhand. Fate intervenes when a mild earthquake ruins Kotoko’s family house. While the house gets rebuilt, Kotoko and her dad stay at the home of her dad’s childhood bestfriend…whose son is Naoki. Naoki eventually falls for Kotoko and starts to have romantic, protective feelings for her.