Moonlit Fantasy: The Differences Between the Manga and Anime

The following may contain spoilers for Tsukimichi- Moonlit Fantasy Season 1, streaming on Crunchyroll.

Tsukimichi – Moonlit Fantasy is a popular isekai series with a unique storyline despite using many typical isekai tropes. However, fans of the manga may have noticed many missing story elements in the anime adaptation that alter the urgency of certain story arcs.

The anime successfully depicts the main story of Tsukimichi – Moonlit Fantasy, but the discrepancies between the manga and the anime adaptation may mean that fans are missing out on details that could change opinions on certain characters, as well as the relationships between the protagonist and other significant roles in the story.

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Key Moments In the Tsukimichi Manga

Based on the original light novel series written by Kei Azumi and illustrated by Mitsuaki Matsumoto, the manga adaptation of Tsukimichi was serialized online by AlphaPolis in 2015. With illustrations by Kotora Kino, the manga was collected into ten tankoban volumes.

The manga follows Makoto Misumi, a seemingly average but well-loved high school student who served as the vice captain in his school’s archery club. One day, Makoto is summoned to a fantasy world by the god Tsukuyomi and reluctantly succumbs to his fate of becoming a hero in a war against demons. However, the Goddess of this world dismisses Makoto after deciding that he is too ugly to be worthy of her realm, banishing him to the far edge of the world, telling him that she has already chosen two other attractive heroes from Earth to replace him.

With only the ability to understand all languages except the common human tongue used to interact with the world’s other heroes, Makoto is thrust into the edges of the wasteland. The only consolation he has after his unsavory interaction is Tsukuyomi, who grants him a portion of his power out of sympathy for his situation and tells him that he is free to live however he wants.

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Makoto discovers that an unusual physical and magical potential has awakened within himself, making him ridiculously strong. In his journey to spite the Goddess and form friendly relationships with humans, Makoto encounters various legendary monsters and demi-humans that end up following him, including an invincible dragon named Tomoe and the “Black Spider of Calamity”, Mio, eventually building a community where the non-human races peacefully coexist.

Aside from Makoto’s adventures in the new world, the manga also includes the journey of Hibiki Otonashi, the school council president of Makoto’s high school, and Tomoki Iwahashi, a weak-minded middle school student with an inferiority complex. These two characters are the beautiful heroes that the Goddess has summoned to replace Makoto, with their experiences and struggles littered throughout the story in between Makoto’s narrative as they fight against the demons.

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Tsukimichi – Moonlit Fantasy’s Anime Adaptation

Tsukimichi‘s anime adaptation was handled by C2C, and Season 1 was released in the summer of 2021. The anime itself is faithful to Kei Azumi’s narrative of the story, however, only towards the adventures of Makoto himself.

The anime follows Makoto’s journey, and his encounters with Tomoe and Mio, unwittingly making servile contracts with both of them and the amusing events that follow the trio as Makoto tries his best to live amongst both human and non-human species in this fantasy world. From building the Demiplane that houses several non-human species to his struggles in communicating with humans and creating a merchant guild that sells the fruits and products unique to the Demiplane, the anime successfully depicts the progress Makoto makes as he explores the fantasy world and establishes unlikely friendships in the surrounding chaos.

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How Do These Changes Effect the Story?

With Hibiki and Tomoki’s only being mentioned momentarily at the end of “Episode 12: Guided by the Moon…”, many of the underlying threats and dangers of the overall story are missed. For example, the lack of disclosure of the war means that fans of the anime are unaware of the messy politics and conspiracy plans that are taking place at the same time as Makoto’s adventures. As Makoto becomes a more influential and powerful person in this fantasy world, he is slowly being exposed to threats from both the humans and the demons, who both see him as a danger to their plans, as well as the struggles that both heroes battle against.

Another factor that is overlooked in the anime, is how the encounters between Hibiki and Tomoki provide the audience with an insight into how corrupt the Goddess is. With the characters surrounding Tomoki showing discontent towards the Goddess and the conspiracies that surround him due to that discontent, viewers of the anime are unable to fully understand the circumstances that lead to Makoto being dragged unwillingly into the Goddess’ mess by the end of the season.

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Although it is typical of an adaptation to not include the entire story in a single season, the anime misses out on many major story elements that not only overlook the imminent threats of the world Makoto is trying to survive in but also discard a lot of detail behind the characters. With Season 2 of Tsukimichi – Moonlit Fantasy confirmed, and no release date currently announced, fans are hopeful that Hibiki and Tomoki will be introduced in Season 2, along with more of Makoto’s adventures.

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