Moon. is a Japanese adult visual novel developed by Tactics, a brand of the joint company Nexton, and first released on November 21, 1997 playable on a Windows 95 PC as a CD-ROM; the game was re-released five more times between 1998 and 2003. The game was described by the development team as a "Reaching the Heart AVG" (心に届くAVG Kokoro ni Todoku AVG?). The gameplay in Moon. follows a plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the three female main characters. Unlike most adult games where the protagonist is male, the protagonist of Moon. is a girl. She is named Ikumi Amasawa who joins an organization called FARGO in the hopes of discovering why and how her mother died, who was a member of the same group. After the original game was completed at least once, a bonus role-playing game became available on the title screen, though this was later removed from the full-voice DVD edition of the game.
Much of the staff that created the game later became the founding members of the visual novel company Key, so this game is often considered roughly equal to one of Key's works. Moon. was the starting point for Key's origins, and was the first time the principal Key team was formed. A novel based on the game written by Midori Tateyama was released on July 31, 1998 by Movic. The game's original soundtrack was released bundled with Dōsei's soundtrack in August 2000 at Comiket 58; Dōsei was Tactics' first game. According to a national ranking of how well bishōjo games sold nationally in Japan, the Moon.DVD PC release made the ranking of the top fifty games once at number forty-four during the first two weeks of July 2002. Moon. has been referenced in other media not directly related to the game, such as in Tactics' third game One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e, and in the second anime adaptation of Key's first game Kanon.
Moon.'s gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the duration of the game is spent on simply reading the text that appears on the game screen which represents either dialogue between the various characters, or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Every so often, the player will come to a "decision point" where he or she is given the chance to choose from options that are displayed on the screen, typically two to three at a time. The time between these decision points is variable and can occur anywhere from a minute to much longer. During these times, gameplay pauses until a choice is made that furthers the plot in a specific direction, depending on which choice the player makes. In order to explore the surroundings, the player has to manually navigate through the corridors of FARGO.
There are three main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. In order to view the three plot lines to their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices during the decision points in order to further the plot in an alternate direction. The game is split into twenty sub-parts each given a title in English written mostly in black where a portion of the title was displayed in red, and each cover a single day. There are seven ends to the game: a single true end, two normal ends, and four bad ends. In the original game, a bonus role-playing game became available on the title screen after the game was completed at least once. This was later removed from the full-voice DVD edition of the game.
Plot and characters
Moon.'s story revolves around a mysterious organization known as FARGO. The protagonist of the story is a young girl named Ikumi Amasawa (天沢郁未 Amasawa Ikumi?, voiced by: Ruru) who discovers that FARGO was involved with the death of her mother Miyoko Amasawa (天沢未夜子 Amasawa Miyoko?) six years before the story begins. Miyoko, who would often make special cream stew for her daughter, was a member of FARGO. Following this revelation, Ikumi joins FARGO to discover how and why her mother died while also slowly uncovering the group's disturbing nature of harnessing psychic abilities through torture. Ikumi ultimately wants to take out her revenge against FARGO for killing her mother.
Ikumi had been one of ten girls her age that gathered at a seminar for people who wanted to join FARGO; she had been ordered to get on a truck which would take the small group to FARGO, and on the ride, Ikumi meets two other girls with similar goals in mind as her. One of the girls is named Haruka Mima (巳間晴香 Mima Haruka?, voiced by: Aya) who joined FARGO in order to save her older brother. She starts to work with Ikumi for the sake of their mutual goals. The second girl is named Yui Nakura (名倉由依 Nakura Yui?, voiced by: Miya Serizono) who is searching for her older sister Yuri Nakura (名倉友里 Nakura Yuri?, voiced by: Komugi Nishida) who joined FARGO in order to obtain the 'invisible power', a kind of extrasensory perception. Yui has an optimistic personality which hides a gloomy past of which she has no memory of. Each of the girls have a strong will to complete their respective purposes, and they help each other along the way.
At FARGO, Ikumi meets others who are affiliated with the group. One such person is Yōko Kanuma (鹿沼葉子 Kanuma Yōko?, voiced by: Satomi Kodama), a modest believer in FARGO's cause; something happened in her past related to her mother. At FARGO, Ikumi lives with a boy known as "Shōnen" (少年?, lit. Boy or Young man, voiced by: Arashi Tsunami). He helps Ikumi in her search for the answers regarding her mother; it is never revealed what his true name is. Others include Takatsuki (高槻?, voiced by: Matsuri Yūatono), a man in FARGO with an arrogant attitude, and Tsuki (月?, lit. Moon), the symbol of FARGO and the mastermind behind the entire operation; he is the main antagonist.
Moon.'s production was headed by YET11, who also contributed to the music in the game. Planning for Moon. was headed by Jun Maeda, who also worked on the game's scenario with fellow writer Naoki Hisaya; Maeda also composed a single piece of music for the game. Art direction was led by Itaru Hinoue, while the computer graphics in the game was supplemented by Miracle ☆ Mikipon, and Shinory. Other than the involvement of both YET11 and Maeda, the music was primarily composed by Shinji Orito, with help by Ishisan. The computer graphics from the CD versions was improved upon when Moon. was released as a DVD. Excluding YET11 and Ishisan, the staff that created the game later became the founding members of the visual novel company Key.
Moon. was first released on November 21, 1997 playable on the PC as a CD-ROM. The next release on August 21, 1998, entitled Moon.Renewal, was essentially the original game, but with added support for new operating systems. On September 14, 2000, Memorial Selection Moon. went on sale, known later as the popular edition. On July 12, 2002, two full-voice DVD editions entitled Moon.DVD: Final Version and Moon. DVD LimitedEdition. were released. Both DVD editions contained an animated sequence at the beginning of the game. A CD-ROM version of the DVD limited edition entitled Moon. CD LimitedEdition. was released on three CDs on September 20, 2002. The final release entitled Moon.DVDPG Edition went on sale in Japan on January 30, 2003; DVDPG stands for DVD PlayersGame.
A 256-page novel based on the game written by Midori Tateyama was released on July 31, 1998 by Movic (ISBN 4-89601-387-5). On October 31, 1999, an original art book was released (ISBN 4-87763-014-7). The game's soundtrack was released bundled with the soundtrack for Dōsei, the game Tactics made before Moon., and was called Dōsei and Moon. Original Soundtracks. The album contained a single CD and was released on August 10, 2000 at Comiket 58 by Exobitant Records. The disc contained thirty-one tracks; the first fifteen pertained to Dōsei and the latter sixteen were for Moon..
According to a national ranking of how well bishōjo games sold nationally in Japan, the Moon.DVD PC release made the ranking of the top fifty games once at number forty-four during the first two weeks of July 2002. Moon.Limited also made it on the list only once, achieving the ranking of forty-eight in late September 2002. Four characters from Moon. can be seen as background characters during an early scene in the cafeteria from One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e; the characters are: Ikumi Amasawa, Yōko Kanuma, Haruka Mima, and Yui Nakura. There is a reference to Moon. in the sixth episode of the Kyoto Animation version of Kanon which can be seen as the movie poster of a horror film that Ayu and Yuichi go to see.
- "Original Moon. official website" (in Japanese). Tactics. Retrieved December 3, 2007.
- "PC News national ranking for bishōjo games; Moon. ranks 44" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
- "Image screenshot from One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e with the Moon. characters". Retrieved November 22, 2007.
- Yuichi Aizawa and Ayu Tsukimiya. (November 9, 2006). Kanon episode 6. [Anime]. Kyoto Animation.
- "Outline of the twenty sub-parts in Moon." (in Japanese). Asahi Net. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
- "Outline of the seven endings in Moon." (in Japanese). Asahi Net. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
- "Moon.DVD's official website" (in Japanese). Nexton. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
- "Moon. staff information" (in Japanese). ErogameScape. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- "Comparison screenshots between the CD and DVD versions" (in Japanese). Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- "A list of the six Moon. releases" (in Japanese). Getchu.com. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
- "Moon.DVD LimitedEdition." (in Japanese). Comshop. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- "Moon.DVD Final Version animated beginning" (in Japanese). Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- "Moon.CD LimitedEdition." (in Japanese). Comshop. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- "Moon. novel" (in Japanese). Honya Town. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
- "Dōsei and Moon. Original Soundtracks". VGM db. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
- "PC News national ranking for bishōjo games; Moon. ranks 48" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
- Nexton's official Moon. website (Japanese)
- Tactics' official Moon. website (Japanese)
- Tactics' official Moon.Renewal website (Japanese)