MOON. General Discussion

General discussion topic for the Visual Novel MOON. by Tactics. (Not to be confused with the Moon route of Rewrite). This is a full-spoiler topic. Make sure to mark references to outside works with [spoiler] tags, providing adequate context in parenthesis.

Alongside One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e, MOON. was developed by several of the founding members of Key while they still worked for Tactics, before founding Key.

Here's what help I can offer with the installation

You may immediately run into this problem when trying to install:
This happens because newer versions of windows lack compatibility for old software. Even running on Windows 10, I never had this problem, so I can’t help that much, all I can recommend is trying out a Virtual Machine. I’m fairly certain the game itself is 32-bit just with a 16-bit installer, so if you can get past this you shouldn’t have any more incompatibility problems (hopefully).

You may have problems if you don’t let it automatically install to: C:\Program Files (x86)\nexton\Moon
After installation the folder will look like this:
And like this after applying the English patch:
Shouldn’t have any problems getting to that.

Everyone who I’ve talked to who’s gotten the game to work has run it in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2) and as Administrator for good measure, so it’s probably a good idea to do the same.

If, when you try to run the application, you get a dialogue box that begins with “MS” followed by japanese characters, make sure your system locale is set to Japan and that you have the MS Mincho font installed. Apparently this font can just randomly disappear (this happened to me recently) but you can just re-download it without any issues.

If you get this:
It means you probably haven’t installed the game properly. You should probably attempt a fresh re-install in this case.

You’ll probably get this once you actually open the game:

This is no problem. It means exactly what it says. You can fix it by installing the xvid codec, but I wouldn’t bother. Just click through it to get to the title screen and watch the videos from the snd folder.

Lastly, it’s possible that the menu won’t display properly. Once you run your mouse over the screen, it should start doing so, but if this is happening at all it probably means you’re not running in administrator mode and should probably do so.

This is by no means guaranteed to make MOON. work properly. A previous situation that I attempted to assist with ended with the computer simply giving no reaction to attempting to run the application. However, there are still a small myriad of problems I can offer solutions to here.

Finally, even though we are discussing MOON. here, keep it PG.

After my recent second-reading of MOON., I’ve found myself with a lot to say about it. Too much, in fact to limit to one post, so I’ll spread it out over time.

Since we’re so early in the topic and this really is quite an important late-game scene, I’ll put it in spoilers for now:

The first thing I wanted to talk about was the fucking psychedelic scene succeeding this line:
Beginning with this image:

and ending with this one:

The first time I read it, the pure fucking insanity of this scene totally masked how well it was written into the narrative for me. I didn’t fail to recognise that it’s a brilliant scene of course, but it was so overwhelming that it left me confused as to it’s purpose in the narrative, even once Doppel-Ikumi went through the trouble of spelling it out for me.

The first thing you notice about this scene is the total change in art style from anything we’ve seen before in MOON. However, I’m honestly more interested in how Doppel-Ikumi’s Theme is what’s playing in the background. That should have been my first hint, to be completely honest. It serves a greater purpose than just facilitating her appearance at the very end of the scene. We’ll get back to that.

The idea that Ikumi killed her mother, is quite well foreshadowed earlier in the game. Especially given how unreliable a narrator Ikumi is concerning her own past. The evidence even stacks up against her further following this scene, in Youko’s backstory, when we find out that killing a beloved family member is a guaranteed way to qualify for Class A. Doppel-Ikumi’s strong insistence that Ikumi didn’t kill her mother is quite compelling evidence that she didn’t, and even though there’s no absolute way to know for sure, the presentation of this entire scene strongly implies that Doppel-Ikumi is right.

In order to prevent facing the idea that she killed her own mother, Ikumi’s thoughts fly off in a totally schizophrenic direction. Trapped in a literal labyrinth of her own thought, Ikumi loses her grasp on reality. The correct path out of the labyrinth involves avoiding a creature called “shame” with undecided features. It is perhaps unsurprising when, on your quest to avoid the “shame”, going so far as to buy a drainboard for no particular reason, Doppel-Ikumi shows up. It’s also not surprising that Doppel-Ikumi, the one who most often forces Ikumi to face her shame directly, is particularly affronted by her efforts to avoid this nebulous shame that shouldn’t even exist. This small scene also does a good job of highlighting how Doppel-Ikumi and the Elpod aren’t fundamentally against Ikumi, but rather the opposite, which is only natural when you think about the nature of Doppel-Ikumi’s existence on the most basic level.

The major question one should ask themselves when reading this whole scene is “why isn’t this more like a Minmes scene?” You’d think that in a situation like this, Ikumi would lose herself in her happy memories of her mother. But Doppel-Ikumi spells it out at the end. “You can’t acknowledge that you killed your mother with your own hands. …because you, meaning us, most decidedly did not kill your mother with your own hands.” Ikumi can’t acknowledge that she killed her own mother precisely because she, in fact, did not kill her own mother. If she had, I expect we would have seen a more Minmes-like scene. However, because she didn’t, she’s pulled into a more Elpod-like scene with the same exaggerated story-telling and self-confrontation. This is especially obvious in her ridiculous efforts to avoid and protect herself against the shame.

This scene totally brings several things into focus, particularly the Elpod and Doppel-Ikumi, but it also properly serves as the part of Ikumi’s self-denial over killing her own mother, even being presented in a very specific way to subtly support the fact that she actually didn’t kill her mother. If anything, the way this scene says fuck you to subtly on the face of it masks the brilliant subtly of it in it’s purpose in the narrative (maybe even to too extreme of a degree). Unfortunately, the scene makes it too easy to write off the brilliant subtly of some aspects of the narrative as just part of the total lunacy of the presentation.

With the serious analysis over, this scene immediately boosted Doppel-Ikumi up to one of my favourite characters, second only to the subject of a future post: Youko Kanuma

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Since Kaza is being closed down I’ve decided to put my thoughts about all the Key stories I’ve experienced so far (well I’m gonna try at least) and I’m starting with the first work of the Key team: MOON. (sorry Dousei nobody cares about you).

My first contact with MOON was while reading a VN review where the author hated it and said it was the worse VN he ever reviewed and for years I thought it was an awful VN…
I’ve discovered the existence of Tactics and that MOON was a pre-Key VN, years after having discovered the series. I was really happy to learn that there were more Key stories to read and today I love the Tactics VNs so much that I wish they were more popular among the fan base.

So MOON is extremely different from the others Key VNs, it’s not your typical high school slice of lice nakige but instead is a psychological horror story with a lot of drama.
Key is a series where every episode is different from the others and that’s why every Key fan has his favorite(s) episode(s). They can be different by their context, what they convey or in the case of MOON or Rewrite by being really different from the others and I like that diversity.

Most of the Key VNs start with a happy story and cute romance and you have to wait to see how fucked up and horrible the story truly is, that really bothered me when I was reading Kanon for the first time without knowing anything about the series. I like that in MOON or in planetarian, the sadness and misery of the story are present right from the start.

I’ve seen some people that were very surprised to learn that it was written by Key writers. I can’t totally blame them, it’s kinda hard to see how it relates to the next VNs but if you search you’ll find the connections.

Hisaya after leaving Key made almost exclusively dark themed stories with girls having supernatural powers. It was true for MOON CHILDe, the VN he co-written after Kanon, for his anime sola and it’s also true for his most recent work: Crystar (which shares a similar theme of cruelty with MOON).

In Kanon (spoilers), Hisaya made a story about two sisters, the older one denying the existence of the young one, that’s awfully reminiscent of the story of Yui and Yuri. Not to mention, Shiori and Yui both try to kill themselves at some point. For these reasons (and also because Yui looks to be more a Hisaya character than a Maeda one), I think Hisaya wrote the story of Yui and that it influenced him later to create the one of Shiori.

The story of MOON revolves around the relationship between Ikumi and her mother. And as you know it, family is one of the biggest themes in the stories of Maeda. (AIR spoilers) Just after leaving Hisaya and becoming more independent, Maeda made AIR which revolves a lot around the bond between a daughter and his mother (in all the routes of the VN).

One other big thing of Maeda we find in this VN is his obsession for alternate worlds. Here, the MINMES or the ELPOD are more oriented toward psychology than the earlier ones because they really are inner world (even if things like the Eternal World or the Illusionary World also talk about the inner emotions of the characters). Maeda made MOON after finishing his psychology studies so I guess that makes sense.

Oh and yeah, I also need to mention that Maeda wrote a horrific story after MOON: (a bit spoilery about Kanon)


(I don’t think the moon in the background is intentional but it’s still cool.)

The VN also include a male character as one of the important characters (the boy) which is a thing that Key will try to do more often later.

MOON is a pretty old VN and even today most VNs still need to have h-scenes if they want to sell but I think at the time it was even more important especially for a young company like Tactics. I think it was a very good idea of Maeda and Hisaya to integrate sex as an important part of the story right from the start to justify the h-scenes.

And so the story uses rapes as parts of the horror lived by the heroines.
And I think that’s the reason why most people hate this VN. I’ve read some pretty bad opinions on the subject, like that it was an insulting story for women’s condition, I think it’s laughable when you know the story and its writers.

But the focus on h-scenes was a problem even for me, I found that some ELPOD scenes were ridiculous, like the h-scene where Ikumi gives a fellatio honestly made me laugh. However, most of them were good. I think the psychological torture ambiance of the ELPOD is really well made especially with the Doppel-Ikumi theme playing in the background and with the great writing/VA of the character. This VN obviously has a big family message like the other Key VNs but I think the most original thing said by it is to accept our inner demons no matter how strange and embarrassing they’re.

I also need to mention the final h-scene of the Haruka arc which is the best h-scenes I’ve seen in a VN so far. The writing is just really good and it’s a really good combination of horror and love, two things that I think h-scenes are really good to convey.
As the h-scene progresses, we can feel the forbidden love of the siblings for each other but we also feel more and more the danger of death on Ryousuke. When we reach the climax, in place of an orgasm, Ryousuke’s body fell appart, covering the face of his sister with bloods. In his last moments, Ryousuke managed to free one of his arms to embrace her sister, a thing he wanted to do since the beginning of the scene
Sorry for the description but man, I’m the only one thinking that’s it’s an awesome scene really?

Another things that the game is surprisingly good at are the bad endings. My favorite is the lost body ending.
I was very surprised to go back to the roots of Key, in a horror story and still see a scene with the typical high school setting of the studio. I like this scene for the same reason that I like the Sayuri scene of Kanon 06. It reminds me that the slice of life parts of Key stories, that can seem boring, are what the characters treasures the most, it gives beauty and value to these parts. My headcanon is that the cameo of the characters in ONE is some kind of continuation of the dream of the lost body ending where they managed to escape in some kind of form the horror of the story.

The end of the game has a lot of good ideas. Like the depression of Ikumi which passes the time faster, the descent into the underground of FARGO where Ikumi desperately pulls beautiful flowers up, or the fact that Ikumi uses the MINMES to see the boy one last time.
But my favorite moment of the game is the confrontation with the director of FARGO (thanks machelmore for your analysis of it). It’s a moment of the game where I usually recommend people to not use a walkthrough and to “explore” the possibilities of this never ending nightmare. This thing made me feel like I was loosing my mind. It reminds me of the Silent Hill series where the evacuation of the reality is what creates the feeling of fear and uneasiness.

To finish, I would also like to share this really good MAD video I’ve discovered not long ago: and to recommend to watch the promotional video of the game if you haven’t watched it because it’s really good (be careful about spoilers though).


The version of MOON that everyone knows in the English community is the DVD Limited Edition since it’s the only version that has an English translation.

I don’t think a lot of people know this but all the graphics (except the background CGs) were remade for the Limited Edition. Since I have the original versions of MOON, I wanted to share some side by side comparisons of the original and remade graphics.

(sorry, it’s a bit NSFW but the old CG is too cute to not share)

As you can see they redid all the coloring. Sometimes, the backgrounds were remade as well (the flashback and MINMES CGs are the most affected). The clothes and some elements (like the console of Ryousuke) have been sometimes changed. In most CGs of the original versions, the eyes have a triangular shape that is the same used in ONE, the hair lighting is very close to what the artists did in Dousei. The position and size of the drawings were slightly changed and the censorship of the HCGs is also more present than in the original version.

Aside from the graphics, another big difference is the fact that you could move with the keyboard in the original versions (with the arrow keys in MOON Renewal and with the numpad in the very first version) which is FAAAAAR better than the crappy mouse controls of the Limited Edition. The original versions are also famous for having an omake RPG minigame where you can fight against the developers.

If you’re interested to play the original versions of MOON or any kind of very old VNs that have the musics installed on the audio part of the CD, make sure that the CD (or the mounted image of the game) is associated with the first letter of your optical disc drives otherwise the musics will never load.
It seems stupid but it took me months to understand that :uguu: