Looking Up at the Half-Moon – Review

Hoo boy was this show garbage. Hot, steaming garbage. This is actually the most negative review I’ve written for ANN, beating out even the Sword Art Online Swimsuit Episode. At least that had SAO’s usual solid aesthetics to create some interest – this was just a collection of terrible ingredients tossed together in a terrible stew. Do not watch Looking Up at the Half-Moon.

Feel free to check out my review, though. And you can look back on all my permanently exasperated, frequently disbelieving notes below!

Looking Up at the Half-Moon

Episode 1

Those friggin’ yellow subs

Nice backgrounds

Dude sneaking through a shopping center at night

Sneaking into a hospital

The lighting isn’t great. Presentation a little flat

Yuichi’s the main dude, Akiko is the nurse who’s mad at him

He snuck out of the hospital

Ridiculous faces and overreactions

Pervy old man, oh boy

Nice fast transition with the closing door to the next scene

Tsuaka’s Yuichi’s friend

Yuichi has hepatitis, and that’s why he’s stuck in the hospital while he recovers

Yamanishi is the other friend

So he’s bedridden for two to three months with “acute hepatitis”

Rika Akiba is the girl. They’re both seventeen

Obviously she has blood cough of some kind

So he’s bored out of his mind

Backgrounds are okay. Character designs are rough in an early 00s way and pretty generic

Akiko wants Yuichi to talk to Rika. Getting them together to give Rika a friend. She says that’s the condition for moving the couch from his door

Rika is pretty much immediately ready to warm up to him, but he’s just bluffing

Akiko is pretty much immediately forced to admit he’s being put up to this, and apologize

“That’s the one I told you absolutely not to check out.” Alright, Rika

Rika being ridiculously standoffish, forcing him to go to the library again

So her condition is he become her slave. Uh, okay

So she’s just a kid looking for a friend, basically

The characters are actually pretty expressive. And Rika is ultimately very normal – kinda vindictive and standoffish, but understandably so

She has a faulty heart valve. Her father died of the same, during surgery

Her father took her up Mt. Cannon before his surgery. Clearly these two will…

Yeah, she just said it herself. She wants to go there before her surgey

Mr. Tada, the lecherous old man, is dead. Jeez

And he bequeaths Yuichi his girly mags

And they race off on a moped. Kids being kids. A very archetypal story

The colors are all kinda faded

“I’m ready now. Ready to die.”

They’re going for max sads, but this is way early in the show

“My dad told me I should always treat girls with care.”

So they’ve both lost their dads


Episode 2

“When you find a girl you like, go after her with everything you have!” Thanks, Tada

“I’m a fool. Because of that, I lived a life of regret. And that’s a hard thing to live with.” Seizing the day, I guess

Light piano music

He doesn’t remember confessing to her, of course

Another nice energetic speed-transition

“I wonder what I said to her” my god. Really?

“Nothing good will come of staying with me.”

And now light jazzy guitar. It’s like sad VN music, or music in a Panera Bread

Oh god, now it’s the harmless harmonica with plunking synths. This music is the worst. Elevator music

Yuichi examining his collection with his friend

Rika is all “oh wow, you sure have a lot of them” and smiles to seeing his collection. It’s a good reaction

And now she’s mad. Slapstick etc

Haha, she locked him outside. Funny joke

Dr. Natsume is the bearded doctor

And now no beard

“I’ve known Rika for six years. Her talking about her illness with someone else… I don’t think she’s ever done that before.”

Natsume also wants him to stay close to her, as a friend

“There are some who say men and women can never just be friends, but that’s a lie. After all, you two are friends, right?” What even is this discussion

Wait, what, is Natsume a love rival or something?

Flower falls to the ground lol

More dumb slapstick

“She’s immature. It’s only natural for a boy your age to have a girly mag or two squirreled away”

“She’s seems kinda sad about it” Typo

“Whether she’s happy or angry, she’s always extreme about it.”

Natsume gives him a girly magazine right there, which will of course fuck things up with Rika. What is this story


So Natsume’s just acting like an actual child. Remembering some present from a girl in the past. His daughter? Something?

Natsume has some past, of course

“Those kids don’t have much time together! you’re taking away what time they have!”

“Why did you do something so cruel?” “Because it was fun.” Welp

“Rika… I miss you. Rika!”

Rika attempting to act casual is pretty great. So we do know her okay now

And now being tsun

“I won’t do anything to hurt you ever again!” lol

Rika’s actually unusually normal for an anime love interest, particularly in this genre

“I forgave you because Dr. Natsume said I should.”

Oh no, Yuichi is mad because Natsume is pulling the strings!


“What can you see in him?!”

And Yuichi throws her dad’s book

This is the worst show

Episode 3

Soft rock is the heaviest part of the soundtrack. This is so bad musically

The characters are as dumb or perceptive as the drama requires at any given moment

Yuichi sneaking out again

Hanging out with Tsukasa

Oh no, it’s going to rain! He has to save the book!

So he’s going down on a rope to save it

And now he’s stuck hanging from a rope in the rain

But he got the book back! But I’m sure the evil doctor will sabotage him again

Tsukasa once saved a cat, and that’s how they became friends

“Now run for that girl like you did in the race!” Rika’s a pretty passive player in Yuichi’s journey. Actually setting her as a goal? Eh

“Damn, she’s cute.” Lol. They have such a strong bond

This fantasy scene is taking way too long

But was it really a dream whoaaoooaaoo

The book is “Night on the Galactic Railroad”. Anime sure likes that book

And now he’s burning the porn collection. Saying goodbye to each magazine individually is actually a pretty great gag

Why is he now totally fine with Natsume? So I guess he was just jealous and felt their bond wasn’t strong? This writing is…

Everyone still treating their relationship this way


The idea of these kids making the most of their meager days is a solid one

Quoting Night on the Galactic Railroad to each other

Natsume’s lighter with the moon and cat. A gift from “her”

Oh no, Natsume’s a DRINKER!

And now Natsume’s asking Yuichi to drink

“Is the adult saying he’s jealous?” YEP

Natsume punched him. Okay

Aaand now he’s kicking him on the ground. Welp

Of course, Natsume lost his love to illness, and now he hates seeing, uh, anyone be happy ever

“Hope is like garbage.”

Night on the Galactic Railroad was a clue to the fact that Rika doesn’t think she’ll survive. And Natsume knows the outlook is looking even worse

So of course having one patient who’s likely to die leads Natsume to drink on duty and beat up his patient’s boyfriend

Episode 4

Oh god, the episode’s titled “School Life for a Day”. Hate that conceit

“Did I do something?” Welp, the doctor was so drunk he doesn’t remember doing anything

And he says sorry, and now they’re friends again!

No character actions in this show make any sense. Nobody acts like a human being

“Still, it was fun. Best days of my life.” This show seems like it was written by a teenager. There’s no perspective at all

“Go away! Go away!” This guy is super 100% an adult

“Treasure Rika. Treasure her as much as you can!” And then he… ROARS? NOBODY HERE IS A HUMAN BEING

Rika wants a picture taken of her

And now it’s the “crazy car lady” gag

Dr. Natsume’s apparently super talented, which I definitely believe to be a true thing

Oh hey, one more real shot transition

Misako Yosano, the nurse’s friend, appears. I’m sure she’ll cause a dumb romantic misunderstanding

Yep, we’re doing the classic “I’ve never gotten to go to school” routine for the sad girl

Ugh, this plodding synth and harmonica track again

Zebra Mask again

Rika being totally reasonable now. Alright

Rika asking Yuichi’s childhood friend about his past. This is a fine scene

“Are you afraid of dying?” “I wasn’t before, but now…”

They’ve gotten pretty cute together

The quiet conversations are good. And at least the father stuff is a consistent thread

OH NO SHE COLLAAAAPSED damnit this show

Episode 5

Nice trick with the machine beep sounds at the start here

“What’s a guy like you doing here? Is this some kind of harassment?” Dr. Natsume continues his solid streak of never acting like a human being

“Then why give me a lighter, Sayoko?” So we’re finally getting Natsume’s backstory

Sayoko was his wife

BAM greyscale

All the turns are obvious, but the show just drags them out

His wife’s heart was weak as well, of course

Yuichi wanders out and runs into Misako

And then Natsume kicks Akiko out of her chair. Lol


Wait, wow, he’s actually having sex with her. What the hell

Yuichi’s actions just never make any sense

And then the adults beat the shit out of him. Alright

And now Misako’s crying and laughing. This show. Human beings. What

And… I guess Dr. Natsume also cheated on his wife. Alllright

“Don’t let Rika find out. It’ll definitely do her harm.” blargh

“I will risk my life to be yours.” great. just great

“Oh, you’re here. It’s over.” And of course Natsume draws it out

“I think, for you, this is the worst possible outcome.” WHAT IS THIS SHOW

Episode 6

“All that’s left is an illusion called hope, concealing a reality called hopelessness” oh dear

The surgery worked? So Natsume was just being a dick?

“Why is this the worst outcome for me?” “You’ll see soon enough. Whether you want to or not.” WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS DOCTOR

Animation is really jerky

“You don’t know?” They’re all just hiding the big sad reveal from him for artificial dramatic effect. It’s teeeerrible

“She’ll be able to live a normal life, right?” “That’s none of your business.” WHAT IS WROOOONG WITH THIS MAAAAAN

So now they warn him to not go to the east wing and see her. This is definitely how human beings deal with problems

This whole episode is just sad artificial buildup to a reveal. Kinda perfect for this show, actually

So now we finally get the Natsume story, though we already know it

Laughing pretty hard at this drama

So now they’re framing the sad dying women as a burden to their men. What in the fuck

Kinda like this rock song for the big dramatic finale sequence

Yeah, this becomes more and more “the girl is just a prize” as it goes along

Sacrificing his future for her. romaaaance

So Natsume wants to save Yuichi from wasting his life the way he did, of course

4 thoughts on “Looking Up at the Half-Moon – Review

  1. First, a small note on formatting, since you now use bolding quite liberally through your notes (for lines that you’d like to refer to during meatier write-ups?), maybe you should use Heading 3 and/or break lines (>hr< in the HTML editor, but reverse the >< to <>) to make it easier to see where one episode’s notes end and another’s begin?

    Later, during their fight, Yuichi snaps at Rika for her reliance on her doctor, and even tosses her book over the hospital roof – something totally out of character up until then.

    This sounds as if it happened in one of the earliest episodes? This is always a funky topic, because, how do you introduce something as a character trait without, well, bringing it up? Or was it brought up after he was already an established character and this didn’t gel?

    And either way, here’s something else to consider. Suppose they brought it up in the first 5-10 minutes (I know they didn’t), which would make this part of the character-defining moments, in terms of defining him to us, the watchers. Let’s say that his actions from now on don’t match this behaviour at all, would we say this moment is out of character, or all of his future actions that don’t mesh with how the character was defined once? Or will we still likely translate every other action he does from then on through the lens of this moment? We likely would. And yet we (and this very much includes me) will reject this moment when it appears later.

    Character definition/attachment forming isn’t really a science, is it? It’s much more like an alchemy, very much dependent on where we are at the time, just like what I described in my piece on SAO. Suppose we don’t reject this moment as “out of character”, how would we then treat the moments leading to it upon rewatching the show?

    Not that I wish for you to rewatch the show, because if anything, it only heightens one’s perception, and this show sounds like slim pickings indeed (and in a sub-genre you don’t particularly care for, and outdone by shows you dislike to boot!). But it’s still interesting to think of this aspect, even if the show that raised the thought wasn’t really worth it, or up to the task of doing the question justice.

    • Forgot above (feel free to delete and edit into that one :P) – Drama anime often goes one extreme or the other. I’m all too used to things in drama not being out of character, because it’s the same thing over and over again. Over and over again. Yes, real life “drama” often follows the same cycle, and is often drama because people get more annoyed each time things repeat, but it’s not very enjoyable or interesting as a viewer – especially when “drama” is of the “cloying fight between two people”. See Nagi no Asukara, White Album 2, and Sakurasou, for increasing levels of “same conflict” examples.

  2. Thought you dodged a bullet when you weren’t tasked with Saikano (a series that sounds rather similar as far as shortcomings go based on your assessment), but it seems that victory was short lived

  3. I remember watching the first episode of this back when it was new, and then I just never watched the rest. I don’t remember having any negative feelings about it, I just didn’t really care at all. And I felt kind of bad about not caring at all, since the set-up was clearly something I was /supposed/ to care about.

    Anyway, this review made me feel better about dropping it.

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