Looking at the screencaps I took while reading my way through Tsukihime it struck me how many of them featured Akiha. As a general rule I screencapped whenever I felt a given moment was especially important to the story so the folder of pics that’s sat on my hard drive since I finished the VN really helped jog my favourite memories of it. I don’t want to downplay the significance of the other two leading ladies in this of course: Hisui and Kohaku have well-written backstories that build on the unfolding of the scenario as a whole which, by the way, explains a hell of a lot that the TV show didn’t.
Disarmed me with a smile
There’s also an avenue which left me a little frustrated: Yumizuka was another fascinating character who, in my opinion at least, is crying out for a side-story of her own. Whether the rumoured re-release of Tsukihime will resolve that I don’t know; it certainly continued to give a ‘one rewrite away from brilliance’ feeling because the emotional clout of the story was stretched too thin: after all those replays I found myself wondering if I was able to care about all of them enough. Forgive me then if this post very much about Akiha.
The first route of Tsukihime focuses on the aspect of the story concerned with Arcueid’s battle against the True Ancestor Roa and the vampire Nrvnsqr Chaos, with poor old Shiki caught in the middle. I must confess Arcueid is my favourite character of the lot here – one of the two memorable heroines from the VN as a whole. What is it about female vampires like her that captures my attention? Maybe that goes without saying but she’s a brilliantly-written character whose playful yet self-assured personality and fascinating background make for a suspenseful and entertaining read.
My cup runneth over/like blood from a stone
Ciel’s part in the piece however is an example of the issue I had with Tsukihime‘s sprawling structure – perhaps the reason why it’s being given the re-release treatment sometime in the future is because the current version feels one re-write away from the level of quality that Fate/Stay Night spoiled me with. In my opinion Arcueid is a fantastic heroine for the story but Ciel was better suited to a prominent supporting role; the Arcueid part of the route had a much more convincing chemistry between the heroine and protagonist while the Ciel aspect was more rewarding in the exposition department.
The original Tsukihime VN is another case where I saw the adaptation before the source material which is something I normally try to avoid. On the plus side it’s the arrangement that leaves you more bemused at first, but less disappointed at the end in that disjointed or poorly-explained plot points and insufficiently-developed characters are set out in their entirety, with a wonderful feeling of seeing things fall into place with supernatural grace. It’s like watching God play Tetris or something.
I recently dug out and rewatched my old copy of the first disc of the Lunar Legend Tsukihime TV show and although I now know all its background and hence its failings, on reflection it’s still not a complete loss. I hope the There Is No Tsukihime Anime joke is old news now but should anyone feel the need to dig up that old fossil I do offer the choice of whether you want me to use the knife or needles on you, at no extra charge. There IS a Tsukihime anime but it’s a very different, and less well-fed, beast. The creature of the night that spawned it however comes highly recommended.