Title: Sleeping Moon // 眠れる月 (nemureru tsuki)
Story & Art: Kano Miyamoto – 宮本佳野
Publisher: Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., LTD., (Japan) // SuBLime (USA)
Synopsis: In order to solve the mystery of a rumored curse that brings early death to the male descendants in his lineage, Akihiko Odagawa goes back to stay in his family’s ancestral home. One night, he experiences a time slip that lands him 100 years in the past! There he meets Eitaro, a student from the Meiji Period who is also trying to solve the same mystery. Bridging the gap between the past and the present, the two men traverse time and space as they work together to unravel the family’s secret. (via SuBLime)
It’s been a while since I’ve read this manga, so I had to re-read volume one to make sure I had all of my thoughts in order. Being that this is my first time coming across Kano Miyamoto’s name, I feel like this is a nice introduction to her work. Sleeping Moon (眠れる月) was originally published in Japan in 2009, so it’s not all that old. 🙂 To be honest, reading the first volume was refreshing and made me step outside of my usual reading genre.
The first volume of Sleeping Moon is split into five Acts and a bonus chapter called ‘Snow Lantern’. I will only cover Acts 1 – 3 in Part One and Acts 4 – ‘Snow Lantern’ in Part Two. Act 1 opens by focusing on Akihiko Odagawa who is leaving Tokyo to visit family in the country side as well as to work on research. This research being the events that have caused the family curse. It’s been seventeen years since he visited his dad’s side of the family, so one can only wonder what he’s been doing in Tokyo all this time. Meanwhile the quiet guy eavesdropping on Akihiko’s conversation with his Aunt happens to be his younger cousin, Ren Sakaki. Akihiko admits to his Aunt that he has been having the same reoccurring dream, but doesn’t tell her that it’s one of the reasons that he came back for a visit.
During Akihiko’s first night there he has the dream again – but something isn’t quite right. This is where he discovers a mysterious figure standing on the balcony and it causes him to wake up after it notices him. The next morning we get a better introduction for Ren. The tall younger cousin that Akihiko sometimes picked on when they were younger. Oh how time flies by~ Did I mention that Ren has a twin sister named Eri? But she doesn’t fully show up until Act 3. 🙂 The rest of Act 1 continues into Akihiko providing a little more back-story about Sakaki family curse, his father, and how he feels that he will be next in line to die. Ren also becomes even more mysterious when he suggests that Akihiko return to Tokyo as soon as possible. What up with that?! The Act finishes out with Akihiko returning to the dream where he sees the figure again. Again, something isn’t quite right….
See where this is going~? Moving onto Act 2!
Turns out it isn’t a ghost like Akihiko thought. The man happens to be Eitarou Shinjou who is also connected to Sakaki family, and that Akihiko has officially landed himself in the past. Eitaro then mentions that he’s a student of Akihiko’s great-grandfather (who happens to be a natural history scholar). Akihiko and Eitarou begin to talk about the curse and how no one has yet to uncover any answers on both sides of the time gap. Eitarou then gives Akihiko his good luck charm, a small bell, which he believes could be used as a way to call him back into the past. Which does end up working, but I will get to that in just a bit. Wait for it, okay~
Act 2 also gives us a little more information about Ren. We learn that he tends to hit his head on the door frame due to how tall he is and that he is a history major (anyone else see a connection here?). I should also mention he has connections to magic and spirits, but I won’t go into too much detail about that just yet. You will have to wait and see when you read it~! Though there was something that I wasn’t fully expecting when I initially started to read Sleeping Moon. This happens to be the moment when Ren starts hitting on Akihiko after he witnesses what happens. Akihiko is left in a slight mess and Eitarou becomes a little disappointed when Akihiko doesn’t respond to his bell. This Act ends with Eitarou looking out into what looks like a river where he sees the ghost of a woman who resembles someone named Ophelia.
Heck, I would probably be a flustered mess if this happened to me too. It’s okay Akihiko, I understand. But now it’s time to talk about the last act in this part of the review.
In all honesty, Act 3 is where Ren x Akihiko becomes more established. The memorial service is where most of this action takes place, but there is a little more to it than just that. This is where we learn that Ren has no set sexual preference when it comes to sleeping with someone. So he has no problem with hitting on Akihiko when he can. Remember how I said that we would get to meet Eri, Ren’s twin sister? Eri has some health problems but she was able to make it to the memorial service to meet Akihiko. Though the services is cut short when Akihiko and Ren are kicked out after Akihiko gets freaked out after seeing a spirit on the ceiling rafter.
Ren reveals that he’s been able to see demons and spirits ever since he was young and that the reason Akihiko is able to see them now must have happened after he returned to the family house. Akihiko then nervously asks if his cousin would be willing to investigate the curse with him and Ren accepts buuut…
This proceeds into Ren being more flirty than usual. He then reveals that he has no problems with flings since he doesn’t get attached to his partners. Ren finally manages to get Akihiko on his back, whispers some things into his ear and a little tongue action before the duo is broken up by Eri calling out for her brother. She finds them in bit of a mess but isn’t aware of what happened between the two. This gives Akihiko and Eri some time to catch up with each other while Ren leaves, but their conversation doesn’t last every long.
That evening Akihiko is summoned by Eitarou by the power of the bell while he’s sleeping. It’s snowing in the past, so Eitarou invites him inside and they go inside to talk. Eitarou somehow believes that Akihiko is a ghost and touches him to make sure if he’s right or not. Here we learn that Eitarou is in an arranged marriage that will take place the following year. Eitarou then brings out some of the information he managed to find throughout the village. From what he has gathered, he believes that the curse began 100 years before his own time. The downside to his thought: there’s no documentation to prove it. This causes Akihiko to believe that the documents might have been destroyed on purpose, but doesn’t have a clue as to who could have possible destroyed them. Before the Act is over, Eitarou mentions to Akihiko that espers have been know to exist in the Sakaki family. These espers have the ability to travel back into the past and this makes Eitarou believe that Akihiko has the powers of an esper. The Act closes with Ren leaving his room to check on Akihiko in the middle of the night, only to find the small bell on Akihiko’s pillow.
But before this is over I wanted to point out something about the first edition of Sleeping Moon. During Act 3 there just to happens to be a typo (I had to read it super slow to notice it).
SuBLime has the official English release of Sleeping Moon already printed and in stores, but if you are wanting to read a scanlated version online you should/might be able to find one. Please, please, please consider buying the SuBLime release to help support the mangaka and her work! It would mean a lot if you did. Volume one and volume two can be found on Amazon if you are unable to find either copy in a bookstore. Don’t forget to check out Kano Miyamoto’s profile for more links if you wish to follow her. ❤
I will be sure to include my final thoughts (and possibly more details) about Sleeping Moon in the next section of the review, so I hope to see you there! 😀
Stick around for Part Two~! ❤
|| Part Two》