Tsukihime, Lunar Legend Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tsukihime, Lunar Legend

Tsukihime, Lunar Legend Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 18, 2005
Release Date: February 22, 2005

Tsukihime, Lunar Legend Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The relationship between Arcueid and Shiki is deeper than others may realize. But can this relationship endure their heritage? Roa has finally appeared and Arcueid’s mission couldn’t be more evident than now. But how is Shiki tied to this? The Tohno family secret is revealed as Shiki’s memories of the past return…

The Review!
Meandering its way to the conclusion, Tsukihime truly invokes some game images before it gets into the brief bursts of dark violence that settles everything.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a stereo mix that's not all that immersive. A lot of the show is seeming quiet pauses and then a few lines of dialogue or a passage of music. The music for the show is gorgeous and the opening and ending sequences showcase it nicely, but the incidental music tends to not stand out too much. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout it and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This series is very heavy on the dark colors with much of it taking place at night and a good number of sequences at dusk. The blacks maintain a good solid feel to them and most of the varying shades of gray do as well. In general, the colors look good throughout this but there's some noticeable gradient issues going on with it due to the style of digital painting used. On our Panasonic 50" set, it was very noticeable in a lot of the darker scenes and you'd see the gradient waves across a solid image. On the Dell 23" set it was far less pronounced and often invisible during a number of scenes. It may be the difference between 480p and 720p. Cross coloration and aliasing are both non-issues with this release and other than the gradient issue; this is a good looking transfer.

Using the artwork from the Japanese DVD release, Akiha is the center of attention here and I think it's one of the few times we actually see her close to something of a smile. She looks good here against the indistinct background with the bit of a red glow around her. The Japanese logo for the series sits in the upper right corner and we get another one along the lower half with just the title and its subtitle, just like the Japanese release. The back cover gives a focus to the moon and places various character headshots and splotches of blood all around. The summary below is pretty simple and we get a good listing of the episode numbers and titles as well as the basic technical features. The insert has a less zoomed in image of Akiha against a bit of a cleaner background. It opens up to a two panel spread where the first panel has a look at Akiha with a few words about her and the second one covers Arcueid in the same way. The back of the insert has the episode number and titles as well as some interesting quotes for each episode, along with showcasing future artwork. The reverse side of the cover art has a really nice looking detailed image of Arcueid against the same kind of background as the front cover but she has an almost angelic glow about her.

Set with a collage of clips playing underneath the series logo and a looming moon just above it, the menu is nicely animated and plays out very well with the beautiful music from the opening sequence to it. I was amused at one point in coming back to the main menu that the cursor was available before the selections had appeared or faded in though. This is another release from Geneon that seems to be combining the extras and setup information into one menu, something I'm not sure I like yet or not. The disc did read our players preset language information correctly.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final four episodes of the series, we finally get some basic questions answered about the series and revelations that help propel things towards the ending that's otherwise fairly obvious from the start. While there are some twists mixed into things here, the series has had us so uninterested in it from almost the start that while there are some neat moments throughout these last episodes, it doesn't change the overall opinion of the show.

One of the key things that needs to be worked through with the series is for Shiki to truly understand exactly what it is that's in his past that's now haunting him by his enemy. The pain in his chest and the sudden bleeding there points to something very serious but he's finding himself kept in place by Akiha early on. To his surprise, the maids actually help him in understanding what's going on by urging him to check the residence when Akiha is out. Inside her private study, he comes across a key that feels just right and begins to check what seems like every lock in the house. As he's going through the hallways and the doors opening or closing but revealing nothing, it reminded me so heavily of the original Myst game with the sound of the doors opening and closing and the awkward movements of Shiki that it lost its suspense value.

What Shiki finds is boggling but not too surprising; a cage located underground and very well sealed. But this revelation only serves to open the floodgates in his mind and before he knows it he's outside in the woods and the incident eight years prior becomes as vivid as anything that's going on today and he learns the reality behind the events of what put him in the hospital. While he originally was told that he was in there due to a car accident, we see the events unfold as he and Akiha are there with her real brother and the fatal incident goes down. The truth of it hits Shiki strongly but it also puts him in the right frame of mind he needed to be for dealing with Roa who has been dangling this information in front of him for awhile.

This just seems to be too much for Shiki and after he confronts Akiha over it, he simply collapses and drifts off, though when he wakes and Arcueid is there and ready for a date as she senses that the final time is near and her encounter with Roa may not go well. The two get to spend a good bit of time together and while nothing major is unlocked, the clarity of feelings and the way their lives are looking to be is given just the right amount of time to it and it sets things up nicely for the final two episodes which brings us to the final fight between Roa and everyone else, now that all the secrets have been revealed.

In a way, these last few episodes felt like the women were all tattling on each other as we learned the secrets of Akiha, Arcueid and Ciel all in such close progression. From the maids revealing secrets they weren't supposed to and then having Arcueid reveal the truth about Ciel, it almost felt like they left too much of the real information for the end and left too much mystery to the first half. If this had been a full length series, much of what we learn here would be applied over the next dozen episodes before the really big finale and the dynamic of the relationships would change over what's revealed, but instead it skips all of that and just goes to the fighting side of things and goes for the drama that way. The fights, albeit brief, are pretty well done and worked well with the music and choreography but with little investment in the characters it continued to feel very disconnected.

In Summary:
Tsukihime was a title that right from the start had a difficult time with us for a variety of reasons as mentioned throughout all three of our reviews of the series. A lot of times it was just so obvious that it was coming from PC game origins that you could almost feel like you were moving the characters around in their stiff way with a mouse. The look of the show with its character designs and atmosphere was really good and it definitely took on the oppressive feel that it was supposed to, but with the characters being uninteresting right from the start and the way the show felt like it had little vitality to it just nullified a lot of that. If I had played the game it may have been different, but that's just not happening here so on the basis of the show alone, this is one that I can't imagine checking out again.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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