Tsukihime: Lunar Legend Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 226
  • ISBN: 1-59796-075-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Tsukihime: Lunar Legend Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     February 10, 2006
Release Date: June 10, 2005

Tsukihime: Lunar Legend Vol.#01
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Writer/Artist: Sasakishonen / Original Creators: Type-Moon / Tsukihime Project
Translated by:Michiko Nakayama
Adapted by:

What They Say
A childhood accident has left young Shiki Tohno with a very special ability. He can now see the hidden lines or weak points in all things -- be they organic or inanimate. By striking or cutting along these lines Shiki can slice through virtually anything like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately the gift comes packaged with a nearly irresistible urge to kill using this new ability. In the very first volume, a young girl falls prey to Shiki's killing lust. Yet she is apparently reborn unharmed and demanding Shiki's aid. Who is she and what could she want? More importantly, what is the fanged darkness, which shadows her every step?

The Review
The series is printed left to right and uses the original Japanese cover. It’s a nice wrap around cover with an appealing color scheme that uses red and orange against various shades of blue. The cover depicts Arcueid with an outstretched arm, which wraps around to the back cover, showing her fingers elongated to sharp points in an inhuman way. Which contrasts nicely to the normal fingers on her other hand and her pretty face. I personally enjoy wrap around covers, unfortunately my copy was poorly laminated on the back cover, causing about a half dozen bubble creases. Being obsessed with books and properly caring for them, I was disappointed, but not enough to keep me from purchasing this copy. On the other hand, the books flexible format is very appealing. It’s possible to open the book wide and read through to the end without having to crease the covers like many other mangas.

Unfortunately, the buyer has no description of the storyline anywhere in the book. It’s missing from the back cover because of the artwork. But it is also missing from the inside of the front and back covers. If the buyer is unfamiliar with the story, their only option is to read through a portion of the book to determine their interest in the story.

There is a Table of Contents (spelled incorrectly, Table of Contest), but no other extras.

This title has good artwork. The book has appealing character design and good fight scenes, along with a few grisly carnage scenes that will appeal to horror fans. The artist does a good job of making Arcueid look cute and adorable one second, and deadly dangerous the next. The background artwork is good and contains a fair amount of detail, much better than many titles in fact. Panel layout provides for good flow to the story. There are many top to bottom of the page panels, which contributes to a feeling of depth. I especially enjoy the illustrators’ use of whole page pictures to emphasize characters emotions, the horror of ghastly deeds, and action of certain fights. There is a little problem with the tone work. Dark shades tend to blend in to the black portions of the artwork.

The translation is clean and fairly well written, though there are few grammar mistakes. But they don’t really take away from the flow created by the artwork. Honorifics remain, along with the Japanese SFX, with smaller English translations next to them. Throughout the book, Japanese text/sign translations were placed between panels, and there is even a definition of the word ‘familiar’. I personally thought it strange, but maybe the translator or someone at the publisher is unfamiliar with the definition of ‘familiar’ when used in the context of ‘a witches familiar’ (no pun intended). The way the publisher deals with the main characters’ inner monologue is quite interesting. Since the characters’ thoughts were not written within a ‘verbal bubble’, the publisher left the Japanese text and wrote the English translation next to it without taking over too much of the artwork.

Contents: (please be aware the contents portion may contain spoilers)
Shiki Tohno survives a serious accident as a young boy. Afterwards, he awakes in a hospital to find lines scribbled across everything in his world. Each object, living or not, shows these strange lines, but only Shiki can see them. One day, he discovers he has the amazing ability to cut any object on these lines and destroy it. No matter how big or tough the object, he can destroy it with little effort if he follows these lines, ‘The Eyes of Death Perception’. But, constantly being forced to see lines across everything in your world is enough to drive anyone insane. Lucky for Shiki, a mysterious woman gives him a pair of eyeglasses that block out the lines and help him retain his sanity.

The story picks up with Shiki attending high school. He has been living with his aunt and uncle since his accident, but today will be the first time he returns home to live with his younger sister and two servants. On the way home from school, Shiki encounters a girl in the park. Before he knows what’s happening, an uncontrollable urge to kill takes over his personality and he kills the girl by using a knife to cut along the scribbles he sees on her body. He passes out from the shock of his deeds and awakes in his parents’ home.

It all seemed like a dream, until he meets the girl he killed, alive and walking around. It turns out this girl is a vampire, Arcueid, and she hunts other vampires. Since Shiki was strong enough to nearly kill her, she demands Shiki help her kill a vampire as penance for attacking her. This draws Shiki into her world of the supernatural and he is forced to fight for his life against another vampire, Nero, and his ‘familiars’. Nero has really cool big cat and wolf familiars, who he can summon from the shadows of his long coat. He can also absorb his victims into his shadow. I’m looking forward to seeing what other powers Nero and Arcueid have.

Mysteries abound. Who is Arcueid and what does she really want with Shiki? What is the mysterious relationship between Shiki and his sister, and why haven’t they seen each other since his accident? What are the dreams of death Shiki has when he sleeps? Are they nightmares or memories? And why was Shiki’s sempai, Ciel, dressed like a nun and fighting with magical swords against the vampire chasing Shiki and Arcueid?

Lunar Legend Tsukihime is well drawn and written. I personally like vampire stories and I thought this was an interesting story with attractive characters and enough unsolved mysterious to have me eagerly awaiting the next volume. I think the main characters ability, ‘The Eyes of Death Perception’, is fairly original. Along with the fact that unlike most protagonists, who ‘don’t want their special power’ (which usually makes the character a big badass fighter), Shiki’s power is something you truly don’t want to live with. Without his glasses he sees lines across everything in his world, which sometimes brings out the uncontrollable urge to kill.

Many people may be familiar with the Lunar Legend Tsukihime Japanese pc game, or more likely the twelve-episode anime released by Geneon. Being familiar with the anime, I was fairly disappointed by the failure of a story with so much perceived potential. The anime felt choppy and short, with too many threads left unexplained. However, I’m going to keep my hopes alive for the manga. It has the potential to be much better than the anime if it does a better job of fleshing out the characters, revealing the mysteries, and delivering a satisfying ending.

So, if you watched the Tsukihime anime and hated it, then this manga probably isn’t for you. If you like vampire stories and excellent artwork with the power to bring you into the story, then you might want to check this one out. Personally I’m excited to see where it’s going and how it will get there, I just hope it doesn’t go the route of the anime.


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