Friday, February 21, 2014


As Visual Novels are a major past time of mine, I'd thought I'd start my blog with the very first visual novel I finished, Tsukihime. Now, most of you know should know about Anime and Manga. But I'm sure a lot of you might be asking, what the heck is a Visual Novel? If you haven't Googled it already, it's a type of game in which text and pictures tell a story. It's basically a comic book with a little interactivity. I'll get deeper into this when I start reviewing different types of Visual Novels. Without any further distraction, here's my take on Tsukihime. I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

So, weird things are going on in Misaki Town, and it's up to a anemic teenager to save it. But Tohno Shiki isn't just any anemic teenager, he's got the eyes. As a child, Shiki survived a near-fatal injury. As a result, he gained the ability to see the lines and points of things; by touching these, he kills or destroys the living thing or object, respectively. After the near death incident, Shiki's weak body made him unfit as an heir, and was kicked out of the Tohno household. Several years later, Shiki’s younger sister and current Tohno family head allows him to come back. Thus, the story begins.

The writer of Tsukihime, Kinoko Nasu does a damn good job of building an incredible setting. He describes Misaki Town in fine detail, instantly immersing any who read it. Nasu builds it's lore, and keeps you wanting to learn more and more about it as the story goes on. In this world, vampires known as True Ancestors rule the night, and only a select few know of their existence. The magical elements that exist here are just as mysterious as the people who use them. Every character has an amazing back story behind them (some of which I wish I got to see more of...Isn't it sad, Sacchin?). Shiki, hands down, is my favorite character. Everything about him, from his thoughts to the things he does are extremely believable given the situation. He's just really easy to relate to. He even has that cool factor about him.

Now seeing as Tsukihime is an interactive Visual Novel, it branches off into to multiple routes depending on the choices you make in the story. There’s Arcueid, the titular vampiric carefree airhead, Ciel, the kind and caring upperclassman, Akiha, the prim and proper type, and Kohaku and Hisui, two maids who are polar opposites of one another; Kohaku is cheery, and Hisui is cold and stoic. Watch out, though, because you can actually make bad choices in the game, getting someone killed as a result. Yep, but it's all good. Ms. Ciel will help you figure out what you did wrong! Either way, take your pick; it’s kind of like those “Choose your Adventure” books, except with less page turning and more sex.

The lovely heroines of Misaki Town.

Yeah, that’s one thing I forgot to mention. Tsukihime is an erotic game, or an “eroge.” There are sexual scenes in this game, but they don’t show up until the latter half of the game. It's not like hardcore porn or anything, it's just there, just so you know. Nasu does a wonderful job of placing these scenes in such a way that do not break the immersion of the story, and I love when stories do this just right. I honestly wish the artwork was a little bit better to look at during these scenes, but I digress.

The artwork can get pretty bad...

...and then there's the not so awesome artwork.

The art isn't bad, it just seems to get a little goofy sometimes. Some scenes look pretty good, others are...blah. Certain scenes had my fingers at the ready, clicking to see what would happen next, while others, the art just didn't sit right with me. Either I really don't like pillow shading, or I think the art in the Tsukihime manga spoiled me a little. Some proportions in the character art just seemed weird. Or maybe the graphics don't hold up after all these years. *shrugs* The music on the other hand is pretty well done, but since the soundtrack is so limited, it can get repetitive. Let's just say that while you may tolerate it during the first and second playthrough, you won't be able to get certain songs out of your head on subsequent ones. There's no voice acting, but Tsukihime doesn't need it. If anything, voice acting might ruin the ambiance the story creates.

So you've heard good things and bad things about Tsukihime, but the question is "Is it good?" It's a resounding "Yes." The story is worth every playthrough, especially if you're like me and want to learn about every character and more of it's mythos. My favorite route is Arcueid, hands down. Just learning about her dark past while Shiki struggles with his Mystic Eyes of Depth Perception (Yeah, that's what they're really called) made me root for these characters all the way. I recommend this to anyone who loves Visual Novels, especially those sharing the TYPE-MOON branding.

Oh, and like I stated before, Tsukihime was adapted in a 12-episode Anime by Geneon. While I love to see visual and light novels (and even manga on the rare occasion), the Tsukihime anime just seemed watered down. I can understand why that would be, but trying to cram a 40+ hour visual novel into a TV series (a 12 episode one at that) wouldn't do it justice. I say read the visual novel first, and give the anime ago if you're a fan. Even then, I think you're better off forgetting that it even exists.

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