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Moon Phase Phase 2 Vol. 3 episodes 11-14

01/12/2009. Contributed by Phil Jones

Buy Moon Phase in the USA - or Buy Moon Phase in the UK

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Region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN72803. 1 DVD 105 minutes 4 episodes plus extras. Price: 15.99 (UK).

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The first episode of 'Moon Phase' in this volume we see Kyohei having to deal with three girls when there is a power-cut stranding Hikaru and Kaoru in Tokyo. There is plenty of backstabbing and jibes between the girls and Hazuki takes it upon herself to tag along wherever Hikaru and Kaoru go. In doing so they see Hazuki is not the stereotypical demon they think she is and realise she genuinely cares for the family. Saying that, there's still plenty of rivalry between Hazuki and the twins. This is more character driven and light-hearted episode, doesn't do much to push the story forward though but still an enjoyable watch.

With Count Kinkel looming large and Seiji and Kouhei wondering if there's any way to get back, Elfriede things start to heat up over the next few episodes. With Grandfather and Hiromi being captured and held by Count Kinkel the need for a rescue attempt is mounting. Can they win and defeat Count Kinkel? The last episode deals with the aftermath and life almost returning to normal.

The one thing I did like was although Count Kinkel is your fairly stereotypical villain, he comes with a range of taunts and an almost-kill-me-if-you can sort of attitude. The fights and battles that ensue are dark gothic and well produced with some interesting animation. Very stylish, as are small touches that appear throughout, but I do feel this may not be to everyone's taste. You are never quite sure who is going to be the victor of any skirmish and the outcome is often far from obvious.

Again, the Funmation dubbing is beefed up from the original script but generally keeps the feel of the characters and storyline. The voice acting is good as is the original Japanese cast. The music often has re-occurring themes but is fitting enough for the action on screen.

I think one thing that really lifts this series is the humour. On the face of it, the premise doesn't hold much. Gothic Lolita vampire girl and a none too bright young man side-kick and a mixed bunch of supporting characters. Hiding under this though is some clever writing, animation and story telling.

Hazuki's character of a cute girl with a bad temper, spoilt moody general temperament and often appearing lacking in common-sense is still a likable character even with her whiny voice and overtones. Kyohei, although likable, can still come across as being a bit flat and occasionally two-dimensional and not the strongest of characters.

Yes, it does sometimes indulge and drift off into dark Gothic fights or flippant nonsensical indulgences of cuteness. It does make up for this and the view is paid back for persevering. These episodes have less of the cuteness and more fight scenes that are stylish without being over the top with a lovely Gothic flavour to them. Still not hundred percent sure about the flip side personality of Mistress Luna, perhaps we haven't seen enough to make a definitive decision. I think it helped with finding a bit more about Luna and Elfreide and how she came to be especially in the last episode. Altogether there is a lot more story progression, there is a lot more dramatic elements and probably the most enjoyable volume so far.

Phil Jones

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