MANGA REVIEW | "Fly Me to the Moon" - Volume One
It’s hard to describe my love for what Kenjiro Hata has brought to the manga and anime world. His Hayate the Combat Butler still stands as one of my all-time favorite series, as it showcased many huge laughs and endearing moments throughout its run. (Though I wish VIZ would release the rest of the series quicker, but I digress!) Now after a little sabbatical, Hata has returned with his follow-up to Hayate & Nagi’s story with a unique rom-com entitled Fly Me to the Moon. Does it contain the same level of comedic chops, or does it have something else in mind?
Nasa Yusaki is a strong and ambitious guy who was blessed with an unfortunate name. Spending his life studying and topping quiz & test grades, Nasa aims to be more intelligent and faster than the space program he was named after. But during a trip to take a high school entrance exam, he come across a mysterious woman. Her beauty takes him so much by surprise, that he walks in front of an incoming truck to talk to her. Nasa is mangled up badly, but his heart is more powerful than any pain he may be feeling.
Still in bad shape, Nasa asks the mysterious girl if he could take her out on a date. She obliges, but only if he agrees to marry her first! A couple years fly by, with the girl missing after Nasa’s accident, causing him to think that he’ll never see her again. On his eighteenth birthday, the girl suddenly appears at his front door with marriage certificate in-hand and her name on her tongue: Tsukasa. Without hesitation, the two wed, as they begin a new life under one roof in a 1DK apartment.
The tone of Fly Me to the Moon can be summed up in one word: adorable! Although the concept of two strangers tying the knot can be questionable, it’s handled in a way that makes it impossible not to feel dorky over. From how they handle the living & sleeping arrangements to Nasa constantly feeling like the luckiest guy alive, every little action and sentence is presented with rose-tinted glasses. Needless to say, if you’re not a fan of mushy romances, then this series might not be to your liking.
This does lead me to one minor issue I have with the manga, and that’s its humor. Although we’re just at the starting gate with the story, it already feels like a much tamer story than what Hayate the Combat Butler was. (After all, the first volume started with a failed kidnapping, the titular character punching Santa Claus, a talking tiger, and more jabs at various popular anime and manga than you could shake a stick at!) Here, the story seems to be taking its time with fleshing out the humor that Nasa and Tsukasa aim to deliver.
Yes, there are some silly gags, ranging from Nasa ignoring his two broken legs to talk to the then-mysterious girl to Tsukasa’s sleeping habits. But Fly Me to the Moon seems more focused on being cute with its comedy than knee-slapping. There are some lines that are definitely snicker-inducing, such as how Nasa refers to touching Tsukasa’s hand as an “all-you-can-hold buffet”. Nevertheless, the jokes will make you say “D’aw!” more often than “Ha!”
Visually, Hata’s style is a lot more crisp than Hayate the Combat Butler was. While the settings can be somewhat run-of-the-mill, it’s the look of the characters that steal the spotlight in the drawing department. The author knows how to create cute-looking people, with Tsukasa and Nasa having beautiful details. However, the drawings comes fully to life when Nasa is on Cloud 9, with his reaction to all of Tsukasa’s things bringing forth the warm fuzzies on his face.
Fly Me to the Moon’s first volume doesn’t exactly take off like Apollo 11, but it has potential to grow into a fine rom-com. Its sweet tone makes for some endearing moments, as we watch Nasa and Tsukasa grow into a couple who’ll know more about one another as they live together. Although it’s certainly taking its time with building up its relationship, the pace does match up with how the best sorts love tend to blossom. Comedy may not be the main forte of Fly Me to the Moon, but you can’t deny it does cute right and proper!
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media