Moon Phase (Phase 3: Beauty IS the Beast)
For those needing a refresher with Moon Phase, these episodes start up after Hazuki has been rescued by supernatural photographer Kouhei, goes to live with his family, gets nabbed by Count Kinkel and returned. There’s more to it than that, but anything else would lead into spoiler territory. It sounds exciting, but it isn’t. In Phase 3, the mundane threatens to eclipse what is technically a beautiful series.
There’s another kidnapping here, but first Hikaru and Kaoru are up to some devious tricks and as a result delay their return to Kyoto. With Kouhei conveniently out of the way for most of this episode, we get to see a very temporary cessation of hostilities between the two girls and Hazuki. While it probably was designed as a character building episode, it just felt like filler – filler designed to dress Hazuki up in a badly drawn cat suit and look even more “cute”. It didn’t work. The more things change, the more they stay the same as we watch the girls unable to resist being catty towards one another the entire episode.
The next three episodes address Count Kinkel directly with the kidnapping of both Ryuuhei and Hiromi. The head editor of Occult Magazine shows up and sets the wheels in motion by informing Hazuki and Kouhei they need to go to the white mansion that Hazuki used to live in if there’s any chance of getting them back. Popular ways to kill/affect vampires are brought up, and we learn that holy water has a minor effect and sunlight is the most deadly as the group prepares to fight Count Kinkel. We also learn that certain vampires are also “daywalkers”. Daywalkers are not affected by the sunlight and relatively rare. These challenges make the battle against Count Kinkel a bit more complicated than originally counted on. They don’t really know what they’re up against until they’re in the middle of things.
The last episode addresses most of the aftermath of the battle with Count Kinkel. While things appear to be back to a sense of normal, certain things appear to be very different with the young vampire Hazuki. For starters, her split personalities appear to be have merged and her latent vampire talents have risen to the surface as a result.
What does it mean? Where will Hazuki go next? It really doesn’t matter unless you’re already a fan of Moon Phase from the beginning. There is nothing entirely striking in these episodes that would convert a casual watcher into a fan, and not much for continuing watchers to grasp on to. Unfortunately even the best dressed visuals cannot hold back the boredom of a non-engaging plot.
The cat’s out of the bag on this one: All style with non-engaging substance. For dedicated fans only.
Four episodes, art cards, and a nice thick booklet of interviews and episode summaries help make up for this lackluster affair, but only somewhat. The cards in Phase 2 are visually more appealing, as a matter of personal preference.