Tsukihime Lunar Legend Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 12 & 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. #2

By Bryan Morton     August 22, 2005
Release Date: August 08, 2005

Tsukihime Lunar Legend Vol. #2
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
The nightmare is far from over. Arcueid's true target, Roa, still roams the streets and is claiming more victims. But how can you destroy a man who keeps being reincarnated? This person could be anyone? Shiki's friends... his family... even himself? The mystery deepens as Shiki investigates the secrets that have shrouded his life.

Episodes Comprise
5 - A Bow Of The Sky
6 - White Dream
7 - Blue Sin Mark
8 - Origami

The Review!
Four more episodes of Tsukihime and barely an action scene in sight, as the series opts to spend some time exploring the characters and their secrets. That turns out to be a little more interesting than it sounds, as there are a lot of secrets to be uncovered here, but Tsukihime's slow pacing continues to put a dampener on things.

Audio is provided in both English and Japanese 2.0 stereo - I listened to the Japanese track for this review. With this disc being very dialogue-heavy, there wasn't really much opportunity to make use of the side channels - there are some background effects that provide some directionality, but that's about it. Dialogue does come through very clearly, though, and there were no obvious defects.

Tsukihime continues to be a very good-looking show. The style of animation and detail used adds a lot to the atmosphere of the series (one of its strong points), while both the quality of animation and the transfer are very good. Night-time scenes come across very clearly with no apparent colour blending. Daytime scenes are colourful and bright. Subtitle tracks are provided in both songs-and-signs and full translation forms - the yellow-on-black font used is clear and easy to read. Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format.

No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Following the theme of the first volume, the main menu again uses a full moon and night sky as its background, this time featuring Ciel in her Executioner outfit, while the opening theme plays. Sub-menus are provided for episode select, extras and language setup - with no transition animations to slow things down, it's all very quick and easy to use.

As with volume one, there's very little here in the way of extras, with only a creditless version of the closing animation provided, along with a few trailers for upcoming MVM releases.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Everybody has their secrets, and that's certainly the case for most of the characters in Tsukihime. This volume of the show brings four episodes of the main characters working around each other, trying to figure out where they each stand and what's going on, while Shiki remains for the most part blissfully unaware of the connections some of his friends have to each other.

Arcuied starts the revelations by filling Shiki in on what she knows about what's going on in town. It seems Nero wasn't her real target - he was just an assassin, sent to keep her from getting close to the real villian of the piece, a demon known as Roa. Roa's been searching for a solution to eternal life, and may have found what he was looking for - at any rate, finding him will be difficult as he's able to move from one 'host' body to another. While tracking Roa himself down is set to be a difficult task, finding his handiwork is much easier - humans he's fed on become 'the Dead', and they're beginning to become a problem for both Arc and Shiki, particularly when some of his classmates are turned.

Shiki has other problems when Akiha learns of his nocturnal outings. With her trust in him blown away, she insists on tagging along with him when he arranges to go to an amusement park with his friends. With Arc having found a way to join them as well, Shiki has to spend a day with Ciel, Arc and Akiha in the same place - Ciel and Arc are obviously far from being friends, but they set their differences to one side when they both realise there's something decidely not right - inhuman, even - about Akiha. The scenes with the three of them trying to deal with each other are almost comic, and definitely one of my favourite parts of the show so far. Each one seems to think they have some sort of claim over Shiki and that's driving them almost as much as their dislike for each other.

The most intriguing 'mysteries' come from Shiki's family itself. When Akiha passes out one evening, Shiki's understandably concerned, but Akiha begs him not to call a doctor. Later, he sees Akiha feeding in some way from Kohaku. Remembering what Arc told him of Roa, he begins to believe his sister may be the creature Arc is looking for. To add to his confusion, he also encounters a man in bandages who claims to know him and also has the ability to see life lines. His mere presence causes Shiki to start bleeding heavily, and it's only Ciel's intervention that stops him from cutting Shiki to pieces. Curiously, he seems to know about Shiki's past - specifically the parts he can't remember - and taunts Shiki with that. Ciel herself is dropping more and more hints to Shiki about what he should be looking out for, although her reasons for doing so still aren't clear.

Put it all together, and you get a story that I still find keeps the attention quite well. The characters work well with each other, and as with the first volume, the show just drips atmosphere. The slow pacing of the series means that new information gets revealed in bite-sized chunks that give you time to think for yourself how it all fits together, although events do feel a little bit forced or telegraphed at times - the progression of the story doesn't always feel entirely natural. Overall, though, this is still an enjoyable show to watch.

In summary-
Despite the presence of vampires, demons, and executioners, Tsukihime stays well away from the sort of action-based stories that you'd expect from those sorts of characters, instead setting its stall out firmly as a character-based show. While these episodes do a good job of filling in who's what and teasing you along by slowly revealing everyone's secrets, the slow pacing again spoils the feel of the show. Tsukihime's not a bad series by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be considerably more enjoyable if it was a little quicker about getting to where it's going.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Creditless Closing 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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