Tsukihime Lunar Legend Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tsukihime, Lunar Legend

Tsukihime Lunar Legend Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     June 27, 2005
Release Date: June 13, 2005


Tsukihime Lunar Legend Vol. #1
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
The ability to see the threads that bind everything and to be able to destroy anything just by severing it is known as the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. Shiki has such a power, or would that be a curse that he must endure? Thankfully, he was given glasses that can seal this curse and he was finally able to live life normally... until now.

When Shiki is strangely attracted to a woman and unwillingly kills her, his life takes a strange turn in that he didn't actually kill her... After all, it takes more than a simple cut to kill a vampire...

The Review!
How would you feel if... In what appears to be a dream, you kill a woman, cutting her into 17 pieces. Next day, you meet her (again?), and she's able to list the pieces you cut her into. That's what happens to the lead character of Tsukihime, Shiki Tohno, at the end of the first episode of this series. It's quite an effective way to catch the attention.

Audio:
Both the English and Japanese audio tracks are in 2.0 stereo - I listened primarily to the Japanese track, dipping into the English track during several key scenes. The show is heavy on dialogue, which for the most part sticks to the centre of the soundstage and is easy to pick out. There is some use of directionality during the more action-oriented scenes, but nothing that really makes the sound stand out. There were no apparent glitches.

Video:
Tsukihime is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and benefits from a good-looking transfer. There are a lot of sunset & night-time scenes - I didn't notice any issues with colour blending here, which can sometimes be an issue. Daytime scenes make good use of colour and are similarly free of problems.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The main menu sports an image of Arcueid, standing against a background of a full moon & night sky, with the occasional bat flying by while the opening theme plays. The usual submenus are provided for language setup, extras & episode selection - there are no transition animations, making the menus quick & painless to use.

Extras:
Other than the usual selection of trailers, the only extra provided is a textless version of the opening animation.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Shiki Tohno's not quite what you'd call a normal guy - he's 'gifted' with the ability to see the lines that hold all things together, a gift he wears special glasses to suppress. The glasses were given to him several years earlier by a woman who claimed to be a Mage, who also told him that one day his ability would be needed to protect someone he loved. It's that ability which allowed him to dismember his victim frighteningly quickly - but like Shiki, his victim isn't what you would consider normal, either. When she finally gets a chance to speak to Shiki, she introduces herself as Arcueid Brunestud, a vampire - one of the original True Ancestors who don't need to drink human blood in the same way that other vampires have to, and it's her duty to hunt those vampires that do. She's as curious about Shiki as he is about her, and with his ability to kill having been amply demonstrated to her, she's decided to use Shiki as her personal shield. In return, she'll let him live - after all, vampires don't forgive their killers too easily, and Shiki's attack has left her weakened and unable to fully defend herself.

It's not long before Shiki's skills are required, as Nero Chaos, a bloodthirsty vampire who's been leaving a trail of victims in the town, tracks Arcueid down. Their first meeting ends in Arcueid and Shiki beating a hasty retreat, but with Nero being unaware of Shiki's abilities, Arcueid has a plan to lure Nero to his defeat, and having learnt that his classmate Yumistuka has been listed as missing at the scene of one of Nero's attacks, he's got a new-found determination to take him on.

Shiki's very much the reluctant hero - he's essentially a gentle person, carrying some emotional scars from an accident he'd had as a child (especially as his ability only appeared after that), and all he wants is a normal life. Being hauled around town slaying vampires certainly wasn't on his to-do list, but fate seems to have it in for Shiki and has decreed otherwise. As for Arcueid, most of the time she comes across as far less arrogant than you would expect someone with her powers to be. She even has a soft side, and by the end of this volume seems to be developing an attachment to Shiki which could make for some interesting situations later.

There's more to Tsukihime than just Shiki and Arcueid - Shiki's life at both home and school also feature, although at this stage it's not clear what part in the story his family and friends are going to play. At home, he's just moved back in to the family home after having been living with relatives for years. With both his parents dead, only his sister Akiha and the family maids Kohaku and Hisui live there. It looks like his new home life is going to take a bit of getting used to for him - Akiha appears to be a quiet, solitary girl, although she runs the family home with a list of restrictions that Shiki immediately rebels against. Hisui was a childhood friend of Shiki's - although he doesn't have clear memories of that far back, she still seems quite attached to him. Kohaku is Hisui's twin sister, although outwardly they have quite different personalities.

In school, there's Ciel - an outwardly friendly girl who seems to have a double life as a demon slayer of sorts (or as Shiki sees it, she has a liking for cosplaying in dark streets); Yumitsuka, who has a soft spot for Shiki and narrowly escapes falling victim to one of Nero's attacks; and Inui, one of Shiki's best friends. In her high-school persona, there's something about Ciel that doesn't feel right, and her appearances in her fighting persona back that up. There are no pointers given as to whose side she's on, but you get the feeling Arcueid may need to worry about her at some point. The friendship of Yumitsuka and Inui gives Shiki at least one part of his life that seems to be normal, although you have to wonder how long it will stay that way.

The relationships are what makes Tsukihime tick - the action scenes, which are all quite short, are okay on their own but seem to work more as events that are used to develop the relationships between characters than anything else. In particular, I'm looking forward to seeing how Arcueid's attachment to Shiki develops. The dark atmosphere of the show, and the way its world is depicted on-screen, does a good job of drawing you into events.

What doesn't work quite so well is the pacing - it takes a while for anything to happen, with a lot of time taken up by characters talking to each other about things that don't seem to have any real significance. It's possible that a lot of what happens here doesn't really come into play until later in the series, but at the moment it feels like there's a lot of filler.

In summary:
I quite enjoyed this volume - while there are parts of Tsukihime that don't quite work as well as they could, the direction the story seems to be taking and the characters involved are interesting enough to make me want to see more. The most noticeable issue is with the show's pacing, which is quite slow - there's a definite laid-back feel throughout these episodes, and after four episodes it still isn't clear exactly what's going on. So far, though, the good outweighs the bad, and I'm looking forward to seeing the next installment.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening Animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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