published in Empire No.72, Sydney
Tsukuyomi Moon Phase starts off innocently enough. While on another humdrum job for his occult magazine, ghost photographer Kohei meets a young vampire girl named Hazuki interred in a suitably spooky Gothic mansion. Kohei is completely insensitive to paranormal presences, which makes him impervious to the castle’s powerful barriers. Hazuki presumes him to be her fateful saviour and attempts to enslave him through her vampire kiss. What starts out as a dark tale of possession and domination becomes a hilarious love-hate screwball affair between the two, as Hazuki embarks on a journey to escape her fateful bloodline while Kohei gradually comes to terms with a secret legacy born through his own family heritage.
At that level alone, Tsukuyomi Moon Phase would be entertaining. But the unsettling mix of latent and manifest sexuality in the depiction of Hazuki makes the series a wonderful example of how anime can be so much more than the sum of its parts once it is imported into western culture. This vampire babe is a seriously heady mix of severe eroticism with near Tinkerbelle-porn bite. The animation never shies away from depicting Hazuki as a mega version of anime’s infamous ‘Gothic Lolita’ archetype. You’ve been warned.