Full Moon o Sagashite (満月をさがして Furu Mūn 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 published as Full Moon, although the full title is given on the front cover.
The manga was published by Shueisha in the 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. The series was adapted as an anime television series produced by Nihon Ad Systems, which ended before the manga was completed, plus an OVA distributed with an issue of Ribon. The series was broadcast on TV Tokyo, where it enjoyed high ratings, and is also licensed in North America by Viz Media.
12-year-old Mitsuki Koyama is a talented singer who dreams of becoming a pop idol, but she is afflicted with sarcoma, which is curable only through a surgery that could cost her vocal cords and her ability to sing. The tumor in her throat also affects her ability to breathe well and sing loudly. On top of that, her grandmother hates music, and is completely opposed to Mitsuki's wish to audition. Her dreams seem impossible to achieve, until one day she is visited by two shinigami whom only she can see. Without knowing Mitsuki can see and hear them, they discuss how she only has one year left to live.
Realizing she cannot wait any longer to fulfill her dream, she runs away from her house and the shinigami to try to audition for a singing competition. However, the shinigami catch her before she is able to audition. Mitsuki moves one of the shinigami, Takuto, to make a deal with her—if she goes quietly when her one year is up, he will help her become a singer so that she may leave the world without any regrets. He gives her the ability to transform into a healthy 16-year-old self who is not encumbered by a throat tumor. Though there is much competition, she is able to win over the judges with her enthusiasm for singing and her excellent voice. To conceal her true identity, she chooses the stage name Fullmoon.
Mitsuki decided to become a singer two years before the shinigami's arrival, when she was 10 years old. She made a promise with Eichi Sakurai, then a 16-year-old boy she met in 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 will be able to hear her sing and realize her feelings for him.
Shortly after her first audition to become a singer, the plot of the manga and anime of this series separate. The two stories share common themes, but events develop differently as the series advances. In addition, several of the characters in the anime have different histories and personalities from their manga counterparts.
- Mitsuki Koyama (神山 満月 Kōyama Mitsuki?) Voiced by: myco (Japanese), Katie Rowan (English)
- A 12-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a pop singer but a tumor in her vocal cords restricts her ability to sing. She is an orphan who grew up in an orphanage, then later went to live with her strict grandmother, Fuzuki, who forbid her from singing. When Mitsuki learned that she would die if her vocal cords were not removed, she refused the surgery, saying that she would rather die than not be able to sing. With Takuto's help, she can transform into Full Moon (フルムーン Furumūn?), a 16-year-old pop idol, completely free of cancer and able to sing. As Full Moon, she is discovered by Seed Records during an audition and releases several singles in both the manga and anime; the anime ending theme songs are all supposedly sung by her. Mitsuki chooses the stage name Full Moon both 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 wants to become a singer because she wants to tell Eichi that she loves him. However, the shinigami eventually discover that Eichi is dead. In the manga, they realize that Mitsuki knew all along; in the anime, Mitsuki learns of his death during a trip to America. Both the manga and anime revolve around Mitsuki dealing with Eichi's death, as well as her eventual feelings for Takuto.
- Eichi Sakurai (桜井 英知 Sakurai Eichi?) Voiced by: Ryohei Kimura (Japanese), Graden Gant (English)
- Mitsuki's childhood friend and first love. After his parents died, Eichi lived with his grandfather, then when he died as well, Eichi moved to the orphanage where he met Mitsuki. They became fast friends, and he eventually falls 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 wants to become a singer is to find him. In the manga, Eichi dies when his flight to America crashes; in the anime, Eichi dies in a car accident a few months after moving.
- In the manga, Takuto's first assignment was taking Eichi's soul, but Eichi refused to depart the world and instead stays near Mitsuki as a spirit, which gives her the power to see shinigami. He stays with her until the end of the manga, when he leaves after seeing that she is now happy and wants to live on, and no longer needs his presence.
- Fuzuki Koyama (神山 文月 Kōyama Fuzuki?) Voiced by: Kazuko Sugiyama (Japanese), Maureen Jones (English)
- Mitsuki's grandmother. She initially hates music because she believes that it has stolen everyone she has loved. She becomes angry when Mitsuki sings in her house. After Mitsuki runs away from home to become Fullmoon, Fuzuki constantly worries about her and gradually realizes she cannot keep Mitsuki from music, and the two reconcile.
- In the manga, as a young woman Fuzuki was friends with Moe Rikyou (the human who became Meroko) and they both fell in love with a violinist, Seijuro Koga. He chose Fuzuki as his fiancée, but broke off the engagement after Moe committed suicide in despair. Fuzuki later married someone else and had Hazuki, who became Mitsuki's mother. At the end of the manga, Fuzuki reunites with Seijuro and they attend Mitsuki's concert together.
- In the anime, Fuzuki was engaged to a man who wanted to become a famous pianist. He became obsessed with practicing the piano, and when she suggested that he should relax a bit, he said she did not understand and left Japan, breaking Fuzuki's heart.
- Yoneya "Yone" Tanaka (田中 よね Tanaka Yone?) Voiced by: Mayumi Akado (Japanese), Suzette Mattar (English)
- Fuzuki's maid. She acts silly at times, but cares deeply for both Fuzuki and Mitsuki. Tanaka is skilled at cooking, cleaning, shopping, and appears to take pride in her abilities as a maid. She is also something of a snoop and often eavesdrops on conversations.
- In the anime, Tanaka is shown as loving music and she has a radio with headphones so that she can listen without Fuzuki knowing; Mitsuki sometimes uses this to blackmail Tanaka. Tanaka also has a crush on Wakaoji and is jealous of Oshige, mistakenly believing her to be Wakaoji's fiancée. In one episode, she challenges Oshige to a contest to see which of the two would make a better bride. Although Tanaka wins all events, she concedes contest when she sees Wakaoji and Oshige laughing together, believing the two are in love.
- Keiichi Wakaoji (若王子 圭一 Wakaōji Keiichi?) Voiced by: Teruaki Ogawa (Japanese), Gerrick Winston (English)
- Mitsuki's doctor. He played keyboard in the band ROUTE:L along with Mitsuki's father, Aoi Koga, and Takuto Kira, but he quit after Aoi's death. Fans called him the "Prince of ROUTE:L" because wakaōji means "young prince" in Japanese.
- In the manga, Wakaoji performed the surgery on Takuto to remove the tumor in his vocal cords and witnessed Takuto's suicide. Mitsuki learns that Wakaoji loved her mother because of a letter he thought she had written him, but Wakaoji falls in love with Oshige when he discovers the letter was from her. In a side story, he asks Oshige to marry him and she accepts.
- Masami Oshige (大重 正実 Ōshige Masami?) Voiced by: Tomomi Seo (Japanese), Kris Rundle (English)
- Full Moon's manager, and a former avid fangirl of ROUTE:L, especially Wakaoji. She started out as an unsuccessful idol singer, under the stage name Yuina Hanakazari (花飾 結菜 Hanakazari Yuina?), before moving to management. In the manga, she has an affair with her boss out of loneliness despite his being married, but she eventually starts dating Wakaoji. At the end of the manga, Oshige marries Wakaoji.
- Madoka Wakamatsu (若松 円 Wakamatsu Madoka?) Voiced by: Kana (Japanese), Carol-Anne Day (English)
- Madoka Wakamatsu is the stage name of Chisato Kurebayashi (暮林 千暁 Kurebayashi Chisato?). She is Full Moon's rival in the music industry, who at the same time befriends 12-year-old Mitsuki. While talented, she is constantly upstaged by Full Moon because she initially lacks the heart Mitsuki gives her songs. In addition, she is insecure because she had plastic surgery to make herself beautiful as a celebrity and was disowned by her family as a result. Madoka has a small pig called Gu-chan (ぐっちゃん?), who worships her; although she sometimes takes out her anger on him, she is genuinely fond of him.
- In the manga, Madoka is shown as having pride as well as ambition: she refuses to cheat to win over Full Moon, even once resigning a commercial offer to Full Moon when she realizes that Full Moon would have won if Madoka hadn't inadvertently stolen her lyrics. In the anime, Madoka is not above using underhanded tactics to best Full Moon and does so several times.
- Aoi Koga (古雅 葵 Koga Aoi?) Voiced by: Hiroki Takahashi
- Mitsuki's dead father, and former guitarist and songwriter for the band ROUTE:L. He acted as a father figure for the orphaned Takuto. In the manga, he died in an accident while driving Hazuki to the hospital to give birth to Mitsuki; in the anime, he died when Mitsuki was one year old.
- In the manga, Aoi is shown as a laid-back, cool-tempered man. Arina Tanemura states that "He loves wearing Buddhist priest work clothes!" Aoi was very close to his bandmates and friends, Keiichi Wakaoji and Takuto Kira. He asked Takuto to name his daughter, and Takuto decided on Mitsuki. He is only briefly seen in the anime, including a scene where he gives a music box to Hazuki when she named their daughter Mitsuki.
- Nachi (那智 Nachi?)
- The lead singer of the duo OZ, who befriends Mitsuki (as Fullmoon) because she was the first person in the music industry to genuinely smile as she spoke to him. He cherishes her friendship and takes it upon himself to find a stalker hurting people close to her. Nachi and Madoka fall in love, though Gu-chan is jealous of him. When Madoka finds he has an old photo of her with her unattractive childhood fiancé, Soichiro Shido (紫堂 総一郎 Shidō Sōichirō?), she assumes Nachi is Soichiro's friend, pretending to love her to get revenge for Soichiro for rejecting him hurtfully. Madoka apologizes to Soichiro's mother and asks to break off the engagement because she loves Nachi, only to discover Soichiro is Nachi, after having plastic surgery to become an idol in hopes of making her love him. In the end, they remain engaged.
- Hikari Hayashi (林 光理 Hayashi Hikari?)
- She was Takuto's girlfriend while he was alive. Takuto discovered that she was cheating on him and the two were on the verge of breaking up when Takuto attempted suicide and went into a coma, after which Hikari realized that she still loved him. She later sees Takuto (visible to humans while on a date with Mitsuki) and attempts to revive their relationship, which causes problems between Takuto and Mitsuki.
The shinigami are the spirits of humans that committed suicide and are punished with the task of collecting souls. If a shinigami fully remembers his or her past life before becoming a full shinigami, he or she disappears and becomes a ghost.
- Takuto Kira (タクト·キラ Takuto Kira?) Voiced by: Yakkun Sakurazuka (Japanese), Jeffrey Watson (English)
- Takuto 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 to let her audition as a singer, and develops romantic feelings for her. He becomes depressed at times, especially when Mitsuki talks about Eichi, the boy she loves. As the series progresses, he remembers his past as Takuto Kira (吉良托人 Kira Takuto?), the lead singer of ROUTE:L, the band that both Mitsuki's father and her doctor were in. While Takuto was alive, he named Mitsuki before she was born, and later met her when she was four years old. After a malignant tumor in his throat took his voice, he committed suicide by jumping from the top floor of the hospital. 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 3 months of memories. Three years later, he reunites with Mitsuki during her concert, where Mitsuki jumps off stage mid-song and confesses her feelings to him. In the anime adaptation, the circumstances of his death are changed, and he is said to have been in a motorbike accident and was in a coma rather than dead. The ending is also changed, with Takuto seen in the last series with no memories, but still carrying the cat charm Mitsuki gave him. Mitsuki follows after him and manages to call out his name, and he turns towards her and then remembers everything.
- Meroko Yui (めろこ·ユイ Meroko Yui?) Voiced by: Chieko Honda (Japanese), Leda Davies (English)
- Meroko 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 Takuto's partner and is infatuated with him, though her love is unrequited. She is jealous of Takuto's affection for Mitsuki, and fears that being around Mitsuki will cause Takuto to remember his past, and thus become a ghost. Meroko was Izumi's former partner and was infatuated with him; when Izumi grew tired of her frequent declarations of love, he tricked her into training newcomer Takuto in his place. Although Meroko claims to be in love with Takuto, she eventually realizes that she still loves Izumi. As a human, Meroko was Mitsuki's grandmother's best friend, Moe Rikyo (里匡萌 Rikyō Moe?). Mitsuki's grandmother, Fuzuki, was engaged to be married when they both met, and fell in love with a violinist, Seijuro Koga. He loved Fuzuki, however, and eventually became engaged to her, whereupon her former fiancé was passed on to Moe. When Moe caught Fuzuki and the violinist kissing, she ran away, with a fallen over Fuzuki calling out to her. After her own fiancée tried to rape her, Moe killed herself. In the anime adaptation, the connection to Fuzuki and Meroko's human past are never revealed. Meroko and Izumi become partners again in the manga. In the anime Meroko becomes a ghost to save Takuto but she instead becomes an angel and leads Mitsuki to Takuto using the rabbit charm.
- Izumi Rio (いずみ·リオ Izumi Rio?) Voiced by: Megumi Ogata
- Izumi is a cold and distant shinigami assigned to the Pediatrics Ward. He can transform into an anthropomorphic dog plushie, but rarely does so because it takes a lot of energy and he says it is embarrassing. He likes to call other characters by nicknames. In his human life, he was a six-year-old boy named Lio Izumi (泉利緒 Izumi Rio?) whose mother beat him because he looked like his dead father. To make his mother happy for once, he threw himself in front of a train, and even though he saw his mother smile as he was hit, it did not satisfy him. Eventually, Mitsuki helps Izumi realize that he had wanted his mother to call him back from the tracks. At the end of the manga, he and Meroko team up again as angels. In the anime, Izumi's background is not mentioned and he is portrayed as a cold-hearted antagonist. He makes several attempts to steal Mitsuki's soul, and although he claims to love Meroko, he frequently does things to hurt her. He was responsible for Takuto and Meroko being assigned to Mitsuki in hopes it would get Takuto to remember his past life as a human and turn him into a ghost.
- Jonathan (ジョナサン Jonasan?) Voiced by: Norihisa Mori
- Jonathan is the shinigami who becomes Izumi's partner after Meroko leaves. He wears a top hat and often speaks in English. Throughout the series, he appears subservient to Izumi, while conducting covert operations including revealing to Mitsuki that the shinigami already knew that Eichi was dead and becoming a fanatic who tries to harm Fullmoon and her friends. It is eventually revealed that he is really Sheldan (シェルダン部長 Sherudan-buchō?), the head of the pediatrics ward. He attempts to take Mitsuki's life, but is stopped by Takuto, Meroko, and Izumi. He was the second shinigami to be born, and shows great affection towards Mystere. In the final chapter, he uses up all his powers with Mystere to heal Takuto's throat and give him his voice back, and disappears along with Mystere. In the anime adaptation, Jonathan's role is minor, acting only as Izumi's sidekick and a source of annoyance.
- Death Master (死神主人 Desu Masutā?)
- Also called Mystere (ミスティア Misutia?), the Death Master was the first human soul to descend to the Underworld and is the crowned queen of the Underworld. After discovering she could take the souls of humans, she encountered a dying young girl who asked her if she was a shinigami, which convinced her that she was one. Fragile and sentimental, she is believed to be the most powerful shinigami. When Meroko enters her room to erase Mitsuki's name from the rolls of the dead, Mystere gives her the keys to free Takuto, and later she listens with a smile to Mitsuki's final performance as Fullmoon. At the end of the manga, when Mystere and Sheldon disappear after using up their power healing Takuto's throat, they appear to show great affection for each other, and Mystere says that unlike the last time she died, she has no regrets about it.
- In an author's freetalk in the manga, Tanemura mentions that one day at work, she drew a picture of what she thought Peeves from Harry Potter looked like. She showed it to her assistants, who laughed and said it did not look anything like Peeves. Tanemura decided not to waste it, and used the sketch as the design of Jonathan in ghost form.
- Mitsuki's corkscrew hairstyle is taken from Ai Kago from the group Morning Musume. Mitsuki herself is modeled on one of Arina Tanemura's assistants, Airi Teito.
Full Moon Wo Sagashite was published by Shueisha in the magazine Ribon from January 2002 to June 2004 and collected in seven tankōbon volumes. 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.