Report an issue on this page.

Review of Tsukihime

SubjectTsukihime
ByVote: 9rampaa on 2020-09-04 last updated on 2020-09-08
ReviewA long long time ago, when Type-Moon wasn't preoccupied with milking Fate series since it didn't exist yet, a visual novel called Tsukihime (lit. Moon Princess) was made.

Bad things first: It has no voice acting, it has a very limited number of BGMs, it has poor drawings in today's standards and its h-scenes are nothing to write home about. Even its anime adaptation was a big fiasco, it was so bad at adapting the visual novel that the collective consciousness of the visual novel community decided to deny its very existence whenever possible.

And before you even start to ask, no, you shouldn't bet your hopes on a remake that was announced over 12 years ago to fix those shortcomings. For one, we don't know if it will ever be released. And even if it does get released eventually, we have no idea whether or not it will have voice acting, there's even a good chance that it will butcher some of the mature plot points of the game to make it more family friendly. And no, I am not only talking about the h-scenes here. Type-Moon is guilty of glossing over some mature plot points in F/SN's Realta Nua edition, so there's enough reason to believe that they can do the same with a possible remake of Tsukihime - that is if they even release it.

My review so far might make you feel like I have a grudge against Tsukihime, Type-Moon and everything -including a failed anime adaptation and remake promised so long ago, it wouldn't even pass as a loli anymore- surrendering them. But fear not, that's certainly not the case here. I am not here to bash Tsukihime, on the contrary, I am here make the case that you should give Tsukihime a chance, even if some of the aforementioned factors put you off before.

First things first, this review is written by a shallow person, you should know that before you hear the rest. I read visual novels mainly because of waifus. I enjoy cute girls, I care a great deal about how they are drawn and how sweet their voices are. I have certainly refused watching or playing old things before, just because they were old and I've superficially disliked them because of that and my attitude has yet to change on that regard. And despite all that, Tsukihime is my all times favorite visual novel, and I did read my fair share of visual novels over the years.

What is this Tsukihime thing about anyway? Well, it's about a boy named Toono Shiki (no, he's not revealed to be the Moon Princess) who started seeing lines on everything after a big accident that left him with a chest wound. And fate had it that those lines were no mere product of defective eyes, Shiki's eyesight was just fine. What he saw was the death of things. Everything that has a beginning shall also has an ending, and Shiki saw their ends in the form of lines. Just lightly tracing those lines was enough to bring those things' end.

I pity Shiki's first victim, the poor hospital bed. I am sure it never occurred to it that it could be so easily unmade by a child with a fruit knife and I pity the child Shiki all the more. When his doctor asked him how -and not "why", mind you- did he annihilate the bed, he told them the truth, yet they did not believe him. Those pesky adults with their common sense... They could at least be nice about it and ask Shiki to make a demonstration, it's not like it would kill them, it would only kill the object he would make a demonstration with, but oh well.

So what did Shiki do? He had a chest wound that hurt, he saw the death of things manifested as scribbles and no one believed him about the bed thing. Well, he figured if he were to run away from the hospital maybe all of his problems could be solved somehow (don't try this at home), so he did that with all his might. He was but a child so he couldn't run too far away, but his legs served him well enough so that he could have a fate encounter with a deus ex machina red-haired chick named Aoko whom he decided to call Sensei (a.k.a. the missing 6th heroine!) because she seemed like a big deal.

At first, Aoko kicked him in the face Shiki talked about many things with her but not about the thing about seeing lines everywhere, what a fine lad Shiki was. After having a few more rendezvous with her, he finally decided make a demonstration of his ability and got slapped in the face for that. According to Aoko she has done that to convey that the death of things are not to be made light off -and according to me, she has a tendency for violent actions!- and said she would give him a present tomorrow. During their next meeting she revealed that she's a magic user and she stole a pair of glasses from her big sister for Shiki (so much for all that morality lesson, eh). Those glasses were special in that they could suppress his ability to see the death of things. After that, they said their goodbyes for the last time, much to little Shiki's dismay.

Thereafter Shiki lived with his relatives instead of living with his own family, that is, till his father departed from the world and his sweet but harsh little sister Akiha summoned him back home. There waited 2 red-haired twin maids (Hisui and Kohaku) and a sweet little sister for him, so he really couldn't decline the offer, could he? What could a man want more anyway? Surely not a blue-haired curry-lover senpai whose name is Ciel, but I digress.

Speaking of girls, have you ever encountered a girl so beautiful that made your heart throb, took your breath away? So beautiful that you wanted to **** her there and then? Just so you know, Shiki did and he is one the finest lads around, so he did not half-ass it. He tailed a golden-haired beauty (Arcueid) to her room and killed her. Have you ever experienced the girl who you killed waiting for you in your way to school with excitement? Not even once? Too bad for you but Shiki did experience that as well. What a fine example of a boy-meets-girl boy-meets-victim story indeed.

This is essentially how our story begins. And I did say all things that have a beginning shall have an ending (or multiple endings, in this VN's case) as well, so what about its endings? After all, there are many stories that have an interesting beginning but have endings that leave much to be desired. All I will say about that is, Tsukihime is certainly not one of those stories, so be at ease.

Speaking of endings, let me talk about Tsukihime's story structure a little bit. Tsukihime has 5 routes and 2 main branches in total. Also most -but not all- heroines have one true and one good ending. There are also many bad endings, which lead you to "Ciel Sensei's Lessons" section, where Ciel Sensei teaches you where did all go wrong and what you should have done instead. I did enjoy getting all the bad endings, and some of those bad endings let you understand some characters better, so I would definitely advice you to do the same. Here's a good English walkthrough for it: link

The routes of Arcueid and Ciel are known as "Near Side of the Moon" and the routes of Akiha, Hisui and Kohaku are known as "Far Side of the Moon". The Near Side of the Moon branch focuses more on fantastic things like vampires and plays more along the lines of "The boy 'meets' a girl and takes the responsibility for it". While the Far Side of the Moon is more about Toono family, past promises and their past in general. I personally enjoyed Far Side of the Moon much more than Near Side of the Moon.

tl;dr: Tsukihime has an enticing story that keeps the reader engaged. It has a great world building, it has good characters. And it has a great protagonist, if not the best I've ever seen. And last but not least, it has a great atmosphere to it. I swear to you, you don't have to be some sort of snob to enjoy Tsukihime. Where it lacks in technical issues it makes up more than enough with its story, characters and atmosphere. And it does not bore the reader at all. So really, make yourself a favor and give it a try.

It's not a proper review unless you make a best girl ranking so I will end my review with that:
Akiha>Arcueid>Hisui(>Aoko>Satsuki)>Kohaku>Ciel

Comments

#1 by mordant-seer
2021-09-02 at 11:29
< report >Thanks i was looking for a perspective from a similar person like yourself.