Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Supernatural
Parental Guidance Recommended
1994 Saki Haiwatari / Hakusensha (HANA TO YUME magazine) / Victor Entertainment
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Sensitive young Japanese high school student Alice Sakaguchi has always been in love with the Earth, and all the life on it. Plants and animals seem to love her, as well. Could the reason be found in strange recurring dream Alice's classmates have been having, of being part of a team of alien scientists on the moon collecting data about Earth? Alice doesn't really believe that, of course...until she has the same dream. Suddenly, she begins to find even more of the 'Moon Dream' people involved in her life, even her eight-year-old neighbor is acting strange. Is history really doomed to repeat itself, even when that history carries over from a previous life...?
Not your usual formula. >>> by skysenshi
Many people have said that this movie is a condensed version of the 6-part OAV series, which is heavily based on the first 8 volumes of the manga. It has a few very short (in other words: minimal) scenarios from a couple of the later volumes. Actually, it is that, but it also has many significant events that were drawn from the last two volumes (vol. 20 and 21) of the manga. These weren't in the OAV, as Firesenshi will explain later.
I enjoyed this anime immensely because it isn't your usual formula where villains are clear-cut and easily identified apart from the heroic protagonists. Nor does it feature romance in your usual shonen-shoujo package where the guy is supposed to be a good head taller than the girl. To explain further I would have to enumerate many spoilers*, which I will do later (with a great big warning sign for those who do not want to read details before watching). Your basic premise in this movie is that there are several people who are linked by an unknown connection. They later discover that they were friends in a past life, on the moon. They each try to unravel the mystery that disturbs their dreams as they figure out how their past lives affect the course of the world they are living in now. In the center of all this is Alice, a sweet young teenage lass, and Rin, a 7-year-old boy who can't seem to stop picking on her.
There are many other characters involved here, but you might have to be prepared to take notes because you will find yourself trying to identify/connect the identities of the characters with their past personas. It's easy to get confused.
The artwork in the animated version is surprisingly better than the manga, IMHO. I find Alice to be an exquisite creature, not unlike Princess Erika of Daimos of the 70s era and her stark contrast to her past life's appearance make me appreciate her creators more.
***WARNING! SPOILER NOTES***
- It's explained in the manga in detail the exact reason for the differences in the ages -- why Rin (Shion's reincarnated self) is 9 years younger than the rest of them. In the movie and OAV, the real reason was only implied, although it should be obvious even in the animated version. Shion did not get reincarnated twice, like he claimed (even if you only saw the anime, you should have guessed this from there already). He was left to roam the moon as the only living person alive for 9 years before he finally caught the fatal disease that killed his comrades. Hence the delay in his reincarnation.
- The rape case - This was unexplained in the movie, but the "rape case" was the real reason why Rin wanted Haru-chan to act as Shion in his stead. Rin had thought that if Alice/Mokuren knew that Rin is actually Shion in the past life, she would hate him for "defiling her".
- This is the most amazing thing: Even before I knew about Rin's past life and his relationship to Alice, I had always felt that these two should be together. It should seem strange (can you imagine dating somebody who's only 7 years old???), but Rin's personality was so well-drawn out that his mature soul has already been exerting himself from day one. Yes, you might say he behaved like a baby, pulling the nastiest pranks on Alice, but that is exactly how Shion acted in his past life.
- That's the beauty of this anime. You get unusual pairings: (a) a couple where the girl is in her twenties and her man not even in his teens; (b) a rejected woman who reincarnates as a man and becomes the best buddy of the object of his/her past life's affections. I hope I didn't confuse you with that last bit. Anyhoo, despite all this, it all just seemed normal to me. Talk about effective characterization!
Individual Rating: Art 9; Story 8; Characters 10; Sounds 8