the definitive nekomimi mode


Okay, I said this before. Loli, goth, nekomimi, yuri, kawaii, onii-sama calling, bloodsucking vampires = hawt.

Continue along page one for slight spoilers or skip to page two for lotsa screenshots.


Furu-furu-furu moon!

Nekomimi isn’t anything new in anime: it’s a nice typical harem stereotype along with classics like “girl next door,” “little sister,” and “violent man-hater.” Only it’s severely underused compared to those. Oddly, I’m surprised that no one thought of, “Well, let’s just take a cute girl and — for absolutely no reason — stick some cat ears on her and not question it. Not once. (Okay, maybe once.)” Welcome to Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ (月詠 −MOON PHASE−) based on the manga of the same name from Keitaro Arima. An interesting story, a likeable cast, and the iconic nekomimi makes Tsukuyomi one very entertaining series.

The Master and the Servent


Kouhei is a normal photographer. Very normal. So normal that the supernatural doesn’t effect him nor does he even notice various supernatural events around him. That’s probably why he wasn’t scared off by some dark, gothic European-ish castle in which Kouhei sees a beautiful girl in the light of the full moon, and it compels him to enter and find this mysterious girl.

Hazuki is a normal girl. Well, that’s a lie. She’s a very special vampire as her father is not only a pretty powerful figure, but their bloodline is special. Not only can she wield powers surpassing other vampires, she can also walk in daylight like our good man Wesley Snipes, and since vampires can absorb other vampires powers by sucking their blood, her overprotective father sealed her inside this dark, gothic European-ish castle to prevent other vampires from preying on her. But, she’s lonely and misses her mother, so her father compels her to stay by forcing the more obedient Luna personality into her. During a fateful full moon, she sees a slightly naive young man who she wants to become her first servant.


Tsukuyomi‘s vampire lore is slightly different from Buffy, so I’ll run down some key differences: (1) a vampire creates a servant vampire by sucking a human’s blood and turning them into servant vampires (2) vampires must feed during full moon or they nibble through those nice Bed Bath and Beyond pillows (3) as stated already, sucking the blood of another vampire grants use of their power (4) people known as “vampire lovers” or “vampire companions” exist in the world and when a vampire sucks their blood, they are granted use of stronger powers and, if they were a sarvent vampire, they can break the servitude bond. Also, these people cannot be turned into vampires.


Kouhei is a vampire lover, and Hazuki, after succeeding in sucking his blood after Kouhei wandered into that dark, gothic European-ish castle, wonders why he hasn’t become a willing slave. He’s actually very thick-headed, dense, and insensitive. She’s actually very stubborn, childish, and selfish. A perfect pair. Still, after drinking Kouhei’s blood, Hazuki is free from Luna, and Kouhei does something clumsy that allows her to leave the castle. Kouhei, though, has yet another special ability up his sleeve that won’t manifest itself until later, and it has to do with his inability to feel the supernatural.

She tags along with him back to Japan to look for her mother, and she skillfully manipulates everyone into taking her in. Nekomimi also describes her personality fairly well. She moves in Kouhei and his grandfather, and the setup is complete. The rest of the series involve developing Hazuki’s and Kouhei’s relationship, looking for Hazuki’s mother, and their battles against other vampires as well as Hazuki’s father. Best I can describe the eventual outcome is Aa! Megami-sama with vampires instead of goddesses and polar opposite personalities for K1 and Bell. There’s even a mysterious, talking black cat amongst them.

Extended Character List

Of course, added to the mix are an interesting group of characters including an even loli-er girl that Kouhei is supposedly betrothed to and more nekomimi donning vampires.



Kouhei’s grandfather who lives with him and runs an antique store. He is actually a very powerful shikisami user and comes up with many devious old man plots, like how he adds a condition to Hazuki staying with him and Kouhei in that she keeps the nekomimi. His vast knowledge of vampires and supernatural aids Hazuki and Kouhei quite a bit.



Extremely powerful shikisama user and friend of Jii-chan and Kouhei as Seiji and Kouhei grew up together. Almost too slick and too powerful for his own good as, well, he doesn’t do much.



Kouhei’s editor at the occult-ish magazine that he works for. She likes cute things, so she takes a quick liking to Hazuki and enjoys dressing her up in cute outfits. She is one of the few characters who doesn’t know about Hazuki’s true nature, but she’s always helpful and cheerful. Has a not-so-secret crush on Seiji.



Enslaved vampire to Count Dooku Count Kinkel, she is assigned to bring back Hazuki. Along the way, she bumps into Kouhei, sucks his blood, and all things don’t go as planned since Elfried moves in with Kouhei and Hazuki, much to Hazuki’s protests. Elfried has a sad past where her loved ones were viciously taken from her. Provides a nice contrast to Hazuki as Kouhei would occasionally tease Hazuki’s more childish features whe compared to Elfried. Interestingly, Elfried is supposedly quite old whereas, even though vampires can live longer than normal people, Hazuki’s true age is never quite given but hinted as young in the manga. As the series progresses, Elfried’s true preference may be revealed (might even be Hazuki…).

Hikaru and Kaoru


Hikaru and Kaoru are sisters who are really, really young yet really, really brave and strong Midou shrine maidens. The two are betrothed to Seiji and Kouhei respectively. Of course, they don’t like Hazuki since she’s a vampire trying to steal away Kouhei.



Introduced later on (think Peorth to the Aa! Megami-sama timeline), Art is Hazuki’s little sister, who doesn’t like Hazuki very much as Art is very jealous of all the attention that Hazuki/Luna gets. She is assigned to fetch Hazuki, but Art would prefer to kill Hazuki instead. Art is accomplied by her guardian, Balgus, and that’s a very suitable name, if you’ve watched Escaflowne.



Their “cat,” a summoned spirit from Hazuki’s mother. A disconnect from the manga as I don’t remember the humanoid, floating form in the manga.

There’s, of course, a lot more characters, but I feel talking or introducing some of them would represent major spoilage.

Story Quality

I found the original manga to be fairly slow and prodding. There’s nothing wrong with that, just the anime series feels a tad faster as Hazuki and Kouhei rarely have time to enjoy some quiet time together. Even though the story flows well, and the progression of events is logical, there’s a Witch Hunter Robin moment (same type of “twist”) about 2/3rds through the story, and Tsukuyomi really picks up the pace after that incident.


Pacing aside, one of the more enjoyable aspects fo the story is the developing relationship between Kouhei and Hazuki. They’re both very stone cold set in their own ways and worlds, but they break enough of the ice to occasionally let the other through. Hazuki is always running off, threatening to make new servants, and Kouhei always ends up going after her. Kinda charming, in a very dysfunctional way.

They also show some growth as the series progresses. A theme to the series would be acceptance, and it’s interesting to see how people accept Hazuki– from Kouhei to Kaoru.


There’s also a nice balance between comedic points and the heavier vampiric storyline. Some of the bits like when the crows beat up Hazuki to get her steamed buns was just hilarious or when Jii-chan tries to hit on some nurses. I liked how the pans kept dropping and knocking out people when they get a bit high and mighty. You know, like how I’m expecting a wash pan to fall out from the sky and knock me out ~~ouch!~~ about now. A nice touch that wasn’t originally (at least from what I remember) in the manga.

The main plotline for the anime focuses more on Hazuki trying to escape her father and his henchmen than searching for her mother, which the manga does a better job of expanding on. Still, I’m not watching this series for the vampire ninja action per se.


Animation Quality

Overall, the animation quality is fairly average. The details and backgrounds are very complex compared to the manga, but there’s not a lot of movement most of the time. Not as awesome animation-wise as Stand Alone Complex but not as pathetic as Suzuka either. The animation, though, is very stylish, and unlike Gonzo stylish, it doesn’t detract from the show. The story and content is well mixed with the nekomimi fanservice.

Sound Quality

Chiwa Saito (Hazuki, Becky from Pani Poni Dash, and Natumi from Keroro) is quickly becoming one of my favorite seiyuu. Does a great job with the range of voices and emotion from Hazuki. Yumi Kakazu (Elfried) stands out as doing a good job as well, and I kept expecting an “anigimi-sama” from her. (If you understand my attempted joke there– congratulations, and welcome to level 5.) Of course, I can’t leave out the ass-kicking opening, Nekomimi Mode, as well as the equally hypnotic ending Kanashii Yokan.


The Little Things

One portion that I really enjoyed from Tsukuyumi that I think most other series don’t do well enough is to carry a motif through the episodes. Like it or not, nekomimi were a huge theme and not just for Hazuki to wear… everything, I mean everything, was tied into it. For example, the shrine arch wears a nekomimi, the mountain ranges in the background look oddly like nekomimi, the steamed buns look like nekomimi, the very male ninja headband even has nekomimi. Some people will find it annoying, but, um, if you don’t like nekomimi or cute things, maybe this isn’t the series for you.


The TV series also put in little extra touches that I enjoyed. When Hazuki and Luna trade places, the standard Nekomimi Mode opening is replaced with the darker Tsukuyomi Mode opening, and when the two halves were in conflict, the opening replaced all instances of Hazuki with nonsensical objects (not that the opening is sensical to begin with). The last scene of the credits is usually some Hazuki fanservice drawn by famous illustrators, including Harada Takehito (Disgaea) and Yagumo Kengou (Kujibiki Unbalance). You might see an Arcueid Bumstead fly by too. The series definitely has some enjoyable Easter Eggs to look out for.

Nekomimi Mode De


I enjoyed Tsukuyomi quite a bit. There’s just something to be said about anime that can iconify something as simple as the nekomimi while still presenting an entertaining story. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of parallels with Aa! Megami-sama… just darker, noisier, and nekomimier (mmm… nekomimilicious). Highly recommended– two nekomimi up.

Page two for way too many screenshots.


Official Website
Animenfo page
Tokyopop’s Tsukuyomi manga page

4 Responses to “the definitive nekomimi mode”

  1. I’m such a fanboy of this series. Hazuki has to be the cutest character ever!

  2. Great review, and yes I watched this show till my eyes bled, all the episodes in one shot, thats how charming she is, a great anime, just super cute.

  3. Ummm…This is sort of out of order–I really enjoyed your blog entry, didn’t understand much of it though–but I was hoping you could help me.

    This guy whom I used to work with took a picture of me wearing cat ears and put it on MySpace with this caption: “Nekomimi modo! (tsukuyomi op theme) sheSo cute!” It was without my permission and I’m just hoping you could tell me what’s going on.

  4. Hello


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