MANGA REVIEW | "Fly Me to the Moon" - Vols. 16 & 17
It’s strange to see Tsukasa in such an intense way on the cover of Fly Me to the Moon’s sixteenth volume. Considering that Kenjiro Hata leans more into being cute & funny in this work, having the latest tankoubon start out the way it does will no doubt shock longtime readers. But with the first part of the narrative nearing its completion, Hata felt that the time was right to show his audience how Tsukasa knows so much of what occurred over a thousand years ago. And believe me, her past isn’t a pretty one.
Volume Sixteen opens with a flashback to ancient Japan. Tsukasa is a local healer, as she goes out to find herbs to make her medicines. Nearby, the legendary Kaguya lives, with news of her entertaining suitors spreading across the village. However, on the night Kaguya was set to return to the moon, Tsukasa was nearing death’s door. That’s when her father appeared, with a mysterious medicine that’s said to help heal those who drink it.
What Tsukasa and her father didn’t know was that the elixir would make her immortal. As a result, she is shunned by society, to the point where the villagers try killing her over and over again. That’s when a hatred started growing in her heart, and after she escaped from her chains, Tsukasa taught the villagers a bloody lesson. Her heart continued to feel hatred for hundreds of years, until the day a purple-haired teen first entered her life.
These first four chapters showcase why Tsukasa is the way that she is. Despite her falling for Nasa and being happily married, there’s always been something about her demeanor that felt off. The fact that she’s lived for many a century certainly is reason enough to feel out of place in modern society, which could explain why even to this date, current tech leaves her in constant awe.
Tone-wise, it’s amazing to see Fly Me to the Moon treat this back story with such seriousness. Hata is known to show a more dramatic side here and there, but almost always there’s a sprinkle of goofiness to balance it out. Here, Tsukasa’s past has nothing to laugh about, with the visuals of her being tortured by villagers bringing a level of disturbing elements that I never thought Hata was capable of. (It makes me want to see what the author would be able to pull off in a story with a more dramatic emphasis.)
Thankfully, the story returns to its more humorous roots after the flashback ends. Nasa and Tsukasa end their fight, with the couple on the verge of doing something scandalous in a church. The two then go on a proper dinner date, followed by some karaoke and honey toast. These chapters don’t have much in the form of character development, but they do have some cute and funny moments involving food and choosing songs at a karaoke parlor.
The latest volume of Fly Me to the Moon puts an end to the first part of the narrative. However, where the story goes from here remains to be seen, as the start of Part Two feels more slice-of-life than something with narrative growth to it. But be it focused on a dark past or a bright present & future, the sixteenth volume of Fly Me to the Moon never fails to entertain its readers.
...Now what’s this about a new Hayate the Combat Butler web anime?!
VOL. 16 RATING:
VOL. 17 REVIEW
In order to take on the future, one must look back to the past to see how we got where we’re currently at. Such an act can be prickly at times, what with how we might’ve been at such a younger age. But it’s important to keep that past close to your heart, as everything you’ve learned has been a stepping stone towards your present day self. This lesson is what comes to mind when reading the seventeenth volume of Fly Me to the Moon, as we learn more about Tsukasa’s past.
With granny Tokiko passing away, Tsukasa reflects on her time with the woman who gave her a second lease on life. From dealing with the fallout of World War II to being a key player in the space race, the two grow close throughout the years as Tsukasa aims to get to the moon and lift her curse. However, in the back of her mind, Tsukasa worries not just for her own happiness, but also for Tokiko’s. In the end, the immortal girl is left wondering just how glad Tokiko was to live a life such as hers.
Kenjiro Hata does not mess around when it comes to Tsukasa’s past. The horrors of war are front and center during her first meeting with Tokiko, with only rubble and chaos surrounding the two. It’s a moment that emphasizes how Japan never forgets the terrible things that occurred during that time, and why such a maddening moment in history should never be repeated. Fortunately, after the war, Japan picked itself back up and took these harsh lessons to heart when seeking a brighter future.
However, with big goals comes bigger disappointment. Seeing the first man on the moon makes Tsukasa question her main goal: finding Kaguya-sama. The moon is dark, cold, and lacking any life. It’s a realization that forces the immortal girl to ponder where exactly the princess is, and just how far out into space she might be. On top of that, she also wonders if Tokiko’s goal to help her was all for naught.
Thankfully, Tsukasa has quite a few people on Earth to remind her to appreciate the things we still have. From a nosy little granddaughter to the appearance of her Knight in Shining Armor, these new people make Tsukasa feel grateful that she’s lived for 1300 years. Yet despite her age, wisdom doesn’t tag along, as she’s constantly berated for being an airhead by the woman she saved all those years ago. It’s why that final goodbye she makes before Tokiko’s wake is hard for Tsukasa to muster up, as she’s left wondering if she did enough good in Tokiko’s life to make her feel happy.
Although comedy is the forefront of Fly Me to the Moon, the seventeenth volume leans more heavily on the drama. Hata makes every part of Tsuaksa’s tale feel both genuine and heartfelt, only going for a joke when it feels appropriate. This volume showcases just how well Hata has gotten with telling a story that grasps the heart rather than tickles the funny bone, and one hopes to see that side some more in the future. With that being said, I look forward to the lovey-dovey parts to make a return to Fly Me to the Moon. Nasa needs some snuggle time, after all!
VOL. 17 RATING:
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.