Shingetsutan Tsukihime

Also Known As: Tsukihime, Lunar Legend
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: J.C. Staff
Director: Katsushi Sakurabi
Vintage: 2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Mira
Tohno Shiki was sent away from his family home when he was small. His parents are dead, his memories of them are dim and his older sister, Akiha, is a virtual stranger, yet she’s sent for him to return to the family mansion. Unsure what to expect, Tohno finds a sterile, cold and mostly vacant house upon arrival. To make matters worse, Akiha’s sister is formal and strict. It’s hard to see why she bothered to send for him in the first place. Just as you are sure this story is about familial conflicts and reconciliation, a secret about Shiki is revealed, as he is seized with a sudden irresistible compulsion to kill a pretty female stranger. In a whirl of blood and haze he slices her into shreds. Then, as if from a dream, Tohno awakens in his bed, unsure of what he’s just seen. Perhaps it was some strange hallucination? But then the stranger returns, demanding why he killed her.

Field Agent Report by: Mira
Overall 8.75

Shingetsutan Tsukihime is a breathtakingly rendered vampire story that is, in the end, not really about vampires or drinking blood at all. In fact the main vampire Arcueid has resisted the temptation to drink blood for hundreds of years. Instead, Tsukihime is about complex relationships, love and betrayal. Based on one of the most popular fan created erotic adventure games of all time; Tsukihime manages to stand alone as a solid storytelling effort and leaves behind its less savory H game elements.

Tsukihime is beautiful eye candy with rich color, superb character design and artistic flair. When characters refer to the beauty of the vampiress Arcueid it’s easy to see what they are impressed with. The artwork is excellent and the whole series has a superb balance between the real and the stylized. I especially enjoy the opening and closing sequences and their accompanying scores.

Every episode of Tsukihime reveals something dynamic and leaves you with questions. I rushed to watch the next disk up to the end. Sometimes the plot is a little hard to follow but not enough so to ruin the story. The series leaves you with many unanswered questions at the end, but none of them are that crucial to the main plot. Even so, Tsukihime could have used more episodes to flesh out its complexities.

Everything in Tsukihime is dripping with some emotional weight. Even the battles are about drama rather than action. Aside from flashes of blood and shadows, the specifics of combat are often omitted. While Tsukihimeis perhaps too melodramatic for some, I would sum it up as a dark and beautiful romantic drama that is worth your attention.