Tsukihime: Lunar Legend Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Matthew Alexander
Review Date: Monday, March 20, 2006
Release Date: Friday, September 09, 2005

Creative Talent
Translated by:Michiko Nakayama
Adapted by:

What They Say
To repay for cutting her to pieces on their first encounter, Shiki sides with Arcueid in the battle between the True Ancestors and the Dead Apostles. But Shiki’s “Lines of Death” do not seem to work on Nero Chaos whose life form is a collective body of 666 beasts. Everything seems to fail as Arcueid is trapped in Nero’s “Live Creation Soil” and Shiki is mauled by the beasts. On the verge of losing his consciousness, Shiki begins to see “points” that form within a bundle of the “Lines of Death”...

The Review
The publisher continues to use the original wrap-around Japanese cover, which depicts Ciel wearing her school uniform and holding three swords in each hand. Ciel is cute and innocent looking on the front cover, but then her left hand is holding swords on the back cover. The color scheme consists of shades of blue with the text color a bright yellow that goes well with Ciel’s yellow sweater. This image nicely mimics the cute but mysteriously dangerous image of Arcueid from the cover of volume one. This volume also has an extra color picture of Ciel, Arcueid, and Akiha on the first page and a color page for the table of contents with a picture of Ciels’ swords.

The quality of the cover has increased greatly with only a tiny bubble blemish on the back cover of my copy, compared to the large ridges of bubbles on my copy of volume one. The publisher also switched to a heavier paper that’s whiter than the previous volume. On one hand, I personally prefer the whiter paper of this volume, but prefer the more flexible spine of volume one. Oh well, I guess you can’t always have the best of both worlds. The one thing this volume still lacks is a synopsis of the volumes’ contents from the publisher. I don’t want the art on the back cover altered or covered up by a story summary, but I would think it could be printed on the books last page.

The art is appealing with well executed shading and dynamic fight scenes filled with a fair amount of gore. Blacks are solid throughout the book and the backgrounds are well detailed when the action is slow and allows for it. There is a large amount of variation in the panel layout, which lends itself nicely to the storytelling. The fight scenes are easy to follow and the artist does an excellent job of showing the contradiction between the beauty of Arcueid’s graceful movements and the savagery of her fighting style. There is also a large amount of detail shown in the characters faces, which really works well in this volume when Shiki slips in and out of “hotshot bloodthirsty killer” mode.

The translation reads well with only a slightly awkward spot or two in the way it reads. There were no major grammatical errors. The original Japanese honorifics and SFX remain with smaller translations that capably leave the artwork unmolested. In volume one, Shiki’s inner monologue was left in Japanese and also translated in English, which tended to give the panel a cluttered feeling. Volume two did away with the Japanese text and left only the English version, which made the panels cleaner and didn’t bother me since I can’t read Japanese anyways.

Contents: (please be aware the contents portion may contain spoilers)
Shiki and Arcueid take the opportunity daylight affords them to rest and recuperate from their battle with Nero the night before. During this time, the two of them spend hours conversing and we learn more about Shiki’s childhood. While the two are talking, Shiki comes to the realization that he has to help Arcueid kill Nero to repay her for saving his life and to avenge his high school friend that died during Nero’s attack on the hotel where Shiki and Arcueid had been hiding. It’s nice to see characters actually learning about each other and building up an affinity between them instead of the “hey we just met, now lets go save the world together” maneuver.

With nightfall approaching, Shiki and Arcueid head out to the park where they first met so they can battle Nero and his horde of familiars. The battle scene is much more detailed than its previous anime interpretation, and we learn much more about Nero and the other 27 Dead Apostles and why Arcueid is on a mission to destroy all vampires not belonging to the ‘True Ancestors’ tribe. During Shiki’s battle with Nero, we see more of Shiki’s past and the change in his demeanor when he digs his feet in and decides to defeat Nero even if it takes Shiki’s life to accomplish.

After the battle with Nero, Shiki returns to the Tohno house to recuperate and reflect on his interactions with Arcueid and the battle with Nero. During this time he interacts more with the housemaids and begins to rebuild his relationship with his sister, Akiha. There is also a lot more playful interaction between Shiki and the girls of the house, which adds an appreciated new element to the story and makes Shiki more likable. The last page shows Arcueid sitting atop a skyscraper watching people move about the streets below. With this first story arc finished, where will the story go next? Will it continue to closely follow the anime or branch off on its own? When will we learn more about Ciel?

DrMaster really improved my opinion of them as a publisher with volume 2 of Lunar Legend Tsukihime. A new editor cleaned up the simple mistakes seen in the previous volume’s text, and color pages at the front and a slightly better printing with less bleeding of dark shades into the solid blacks, all add to the quality of the second volume. I would even dare to say it was worth the delayed release, especially when one considers the 25% reduction in price.

I personally like this story and I think fans of the Tsukihime anime will be able to appreciate the greater depth of the story displayed in this manga. The story is given a chance to develop and so far has lived up to my hopes of doing something more than the anime was able to accomplish. Both Shiki and Arcueid are given time to flesh out as characters and we learn a lot about Shiki’s past. Also, the battle with Nero is expanded in both length and drama, and we actually learn something about him and the Dead Apostles, both of which were sadly lacking from the anime. The story arc in this volume has a definitive ending with just a small hint on the last page that there’s still more to come. So hopefully the next volume will continue this level of quality in both storytelling and production.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: All
Released By: DrMaster
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 227
ISBN: 1-59796-076-4
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left