Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy - not Your Typical Isekai

 I am currently hooked on the isekai genre wherein the main character is sent to another world one way or another. The main character or MC is usually sent after being hit by a vehicle, particularly “truck-kun”.

My current “addiction” to this genre was caused by “That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime”. For this isekai the MC was stabbed, died, and then reincarnated as an overpowered slime. I enjoyed watching the MC slime grow in power, gather followers of different races, build a kingdom, and become the most powerful in the world. I caught on the latest episode and I cannot wait for the next season so I moved on to reading the unofficially translated light novel.

My interest with the isekai genre actually started way back during childhood with the anime “The Vision of Escaflowne”. Then there is Fushigi Yuugi.

My current isekai rage brought me to very good to very bad anime, manga, and light novels. I consider very bad isekai the ones where harem is very blatant (Farming in another World), have MCs with disgusting morality (I’m looking at you pedo MC of Moshoku Tensei), and very cringey or boring MC or plot (Re: Zero). The very good ones in my opinion include Ascendance of the Bookworm, Tanya the Evil, Tensei Slime, Overly Cautious Hero, Campfire Cooking in Another World - and recently - Tsukumichi: Moonlit Fantasy.

Tsukumichi: Moonlit Fantasy is about a high schooler whisked away by a god to be the hero of a world ruled by a goddess. The fickle goddess rejected the MC due to his “ugly” (actually average) looks and threw him away to the edge of the world inhabited by demi-humans. He gained strong allies - the invincible dragon and the Spider of Calamity - by overpowering them. The story progresses with him expanding his influence from the edge of the world to the lands of the humans ruled by the petty goddess.

I say that Tsukumichi is not the typical isekai because of the lack of harem and the MC is not interested in building one. Another is that the MC doesn’t flaunt his power despite being OP. Another positive point about this isekai is the world-building which drives the story forward. This is so unlike other isekai that only focused on the overpowered MC and ignored the society, economy, and the environment where the story is unfolding.

What truly caught my attention is the interaction of the MC with other characters and his actions for every challenge. He is protective with his people just like Rimuru of Slime Isekai but not quesy in murdering those who threaten their peace.

Another positive point is that the MC is OP but not too OP to the point that he cannot be killed. This gives the story the tension that it needs to make it thrilling. 

The MC is also weak in other areas (i.e. lack of knowledge of the new world) that makes his supporters relevant since they can truly provide help to the isekai in areas where he is lacking.

The different factions also provide spice to the story because of their tensions with one another. The demon army vs humans. Then there is discrimination against demi-humans by humans. There is also the anti-goddess faction who reject the goddess but still hate demi-humans. And the biggest tension is between the MC and the goddess.

There are more tidbits in the manga that I enjoy and when collected as one makes Tsukimichi as an isekai worth of my time.

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Experiencing Laguna (Part 1): Rizal Monument and a Peek at the History of Biñan

 Our family usually goes to the City of Biñan because of its palengke. Biñan's marketplace or palengke is much bigger and offers cheaper options compared to those in Cabuyao or Santa Rosa. It is the "bagsakan" of vegetables and fruits, which are the items that are on the priority list of My Beloved Wife. That’s why if you ask our kids what they think of Biñan then the palengke will be on the top of their mind. 

There is more to Biñan than its palengke because it is a town that is strongly connected to the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal. We discovered this connection when we saw Jose Rizal’s school near the palengke. Biñan fosters this connection by featuring a Rizal Monument in Biñan Plaza, which is located at the center of the poblacion.

I brought my kids to Biñan Plaza one time while we were waiting for My Beloved Wife to finish her visit to the market.

Rizal Monument of Biñan with the lberto House in the background
Rizal Monument and the Alberto Mansion in the background.

Standing prominently in the park is the golden statue of Jose Rizal.

Rizal Monument of Biñan


This is the same statue that was beheaded in 2015 after being hit by lightning. Good thing that the Biñan City Government prioritized restoring Rizal’s statue to its former glory.

This statue was once considered as the tallest Jose Monument in the Philippines. However, that title was taken by Santa Cruz, Laguna when a 7.9-meter bronze Jose Rizal statue was erected in that town in 2014. Calamba later on took over the title when it built its new Jose Rizal Monument with the height of 13 meters.

Biñan’s Rizal Monument may no longer hold  its record as the tallest but it certainly holds the title of being one of the oldest monuments dedicated to the national hero. It was said to be more than 100 years old and was sculpted by Guillermo Tolentino.

On the pedestal are the words "AL DR. JOSE RIZAL EL PUEBLO DE BIÑANG EN CUMPLIMIENTO DE SU DEBER"

The text read in English as: "To Dr. Jose Rizal, the people of Biñan fulfill their duty." I relied on Google Translate so I am not sure if it's the correct translation.

At the foot of the pedestal are statues of ladies — who are not the statues of Jose Rizal's love interests but the muses typically depicted in artworks.

Lady Justice at Rizal Monument of Biñan

The history of Biñan's Rizal Monument is also written at the foot of the pedestal.

The plaque says that Biñan's Rizal Monument was finished on May 14, 1918 and cost about 4,000 pesos. The building of the monument was led by Jose M. Rizal, who was a relative of the National Hero.

Biñan boasts of a personal connection to Jose Rizal because this is the hometown of his father and mother. In fact, the house where Teodora Alonso, Jose’s mother, spent her teenage years just across Biñan Plaza is now called the Alberto Mansion. I was not aware that that old house is a very important heritage structure. Unfortunately, Teodora Alonso’s house was almost destroyed by a private company who planned to demolish it. The house was saved by the city government but it was not restored to its original form.

The Alberto Mansion is claimed to be the place where Jose Rizal’s parents met. Jose’s father lived just across the Alberto Mansion, which is said to be the place where the Biñan Market now stands.  

There are other interesting spots in Biñan Plaza. Facing Rizal's Monument is the stage known as Los Maduros Bandstand, so named because its construction was made possible by the donation by Los Maduros Club.

Los Maduros Club of Biñan


This is also considered as a local heritage site and serves as the platform for cultural events and other social activities. The stage is said to be unique because it looked like the front of a "bakya" or wooden clog, which was the main product of Biñan.

The Los Maduros Club is a civic organization established in 1947. The club conducted community services and infrastructure projects in Biñan. The city government exerted efforts to revive this defunct club as part of their goal for the cultural revival of Biñan.

The Los Maduros Bandstand is embellished with statues depicting the rural life in Biñan.

Rural Life in Biñan

The city government also made efforts to preserve the heritage houses and structures surrounding Biñan Plaza aside from the Alberto Mansion.

Heritage Houses of Biñan

San Isidro Labrador Church, which is Biñan's oldest church, is just across the plaza.

San Isidro Labrador Church of Biñan

Biñan is fortunate to have city leaders who are aware of the importance of culture and history. Preserving the city's cultural heritage is one of the best gifts that they can give to the citizens of Biñan and the future generations.

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References:

1. Century-old Rizal monument in Laguna 'beheaded' by lightning by Inquirer.Net

2. Rizal's Tallest Monument by Calamba City Government

3. Laguna erects world’s tallest Rizal statue by Inquirer.Net

4. Experience Biñan: Plaza Rizal now a tourist magnet by Opinyon Laguna

5. Biñan City Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office

6. Araw ng Biñan inaugurates new Plaza Rizal by Property Report PH

7. The Families of Old Binan, Laguna I by Remembrance of Things Awry

8. Biñan wins 10-year fight over house of Rizal’s mother by Inquirer.Net