Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 01

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Reversal Impulse"

I think this is the first show I've seen where characters' (non-sunglasses) glasses subtly tint a character's face. Not saying it's the first, but it's the first I've seen. Or maybe I've just never noticed it before.

That should be enough to base a review on this show, right?

I can't remember the last anime that left me with as much of a "what the heck is going on?" feeling as this one. I can't really try to explain the plot, because it drifts from weird, fantasylike dream sequences to graphic murder shots to everyday life at school. There is one thing that ties it all together, though, and that is the slow, methodical pacing of the show. This really adds to the mystery of the show, which is good, because frequently slow-paced anime just tends to drag on needlessly, without enhancing the end product.

Also adding to the sparse, dreamlike feel of the show is the music, which is very laid back, fleeting and nostalgic. The whole show feels like it has been fuzzed out a bit, which also helps with the presentation, which is almost universally top notch. The art and animation is very good, screaming high production values.

I'm grateful that unlike most shows, Shingetsutan Tsukihime's first episode feels like the beginning of a story, instead of a forced, one-shot episode used to introduce a few main characters.

Though I have no idea what's going on, or even what kind of show this is, its understated style has definitely piqued my curiousity for the next installment.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 02

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Black Beast"

Now I know what this show is about! See, there's this woman--well, but she's actually a vampire! Yeah, so this vampire woman, you see, she's one of the good vampires. There are good ones and bad ones, you know (or perhaps varying degrees of bad, from a human standpoint). Anyways, so there's this good vampire woman, and she's trying to stop the bad vampires! So, what we've got, esentially, is the story of a vampire turning against her own kind.

If that's not an original idea, I don't know what is!

Wow is this a slow-paced show. I don't think it really takes away from it, though, as the slowness is well done. As I mentioned before, with the art, acting, music, and all aspects of the production, it all fits into the texture of the show. Err, well, all of it with the exception of the school stuff, which is yet another original twist.

It's still too early to really say what the heck this show is about (other than general premise), but I was impressed by the gutsy decision to have a brief vampire confrontation, and finish it with no resolution! Most series are far too worried about hooking viewers to not offer a little bit of closure (at least for an episode) this early in a show.

Though, maybe if it wasn't so slow, we'd be farther along.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 10:58 PM | Comments (3)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 03

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Mystic Eyes of Death Perception"

Three episodes of Shingetsutan Tsukihime, and the thing that stands out the most to me is how consistent the pacing of each installment is. Definitely feels like we're getting one part of a story after another, rather than one or two one-shot episodes, then a three episode story arc, or something like that.

On the other hand, this is one of those really slow-moving anime series, where it feels like the first three episodes could have been condensed into one, and you still wouldn't really know what's going on. But like I've said before, the show seems perfectly happy to move slowly, using it to build up atmosphere.

We have a few story hooks so far, but not enough has been revealed to really grab you yet.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 04

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Garden of a Cradle"

It must be that the slower each episode of Shingetsutan Tsukihime is paced, the cheaper it is to make. Something like that. That's the only way I can possibly explain why this show is so slow. Luckily, it doesn't drag to the point of irritation, so you just sort of feel like the show is taking too long, without being too painful.

The problem is that absolutely nothing happens in a thirty minute episode. The few things that do happen feel like they could have easily been shown in about five minutes.

This episode is sort of like a bridge episode from the opening story arc to whatever is coming next, where the main character thinks that all the craziness is behind him, but the audience knows that he's nowhere near the end.

A few hints of story, but nothing concrete. Pregnant pauses abound.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 05

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Bow of the Sky"

If there's one thing that Shingetsutan Tsukihime is good at, it's framing shots. The show has an exceptionally good aesthetic quality that the slow pacing really brings out.

However, if there's one thing that it is bad at, it's having things happen.

Like I've said in a few reviews now, this is a really slow show. The plot inches along, as our heroes go in search of Roa, and make just about no progress. Looking back, I have to believe that some stuff happened to take up the episode's time, but I really can't put my finger on anything. Other than a few quick revelations that aren't really all that surprising (or things about various characters' relationships that weren't already obvious), we slowly move through this plodding, but gorgeous show.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:08 PM | Comments (3)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 06

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"White Dream"

Shingetsutan Tsukihime moves very deliberately from one scene to the next, with few superfluous settings or lines of dialogue. I have grown to enjoy the slower pacing of the show, though I have to admit it has taken some time. There is a definite feeling of weight with each line the various characters deliver. Overall, a feeling of sadness, loss and nostalgia permeates the show, and this feeling is brought to life exceptionally well.

This weight gives a realistic dimension to the burgeoning relationship between the two main characters, which is a feat, when you consider the fantastical nature of the plot.

At first I believed that this show would deal primarily with the vampire slaying plots, but it seems that this is more of a character-driven show, which is actually much more to my tastes. There is little of your usual anime silliness present, which is also a big plus (rare as it is for an anime series to be able to keep a consistent sense of mood).

I'm sold on this show now, and am looking forward to seeing where our main characters' relationship leads.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 07

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Blue Ruins"

Considering the first six episodes of this series, this one starts out almost seeming too cheerful, with a lot of daylight and bright colors. I don't see how people can take the name "Arcueid" in stride, looking from the outside, it just screems vampire. But then, let's just chalk that up to blissful suspension of disbelief.

Serious kudos to the show for doing a hot springs scene without any sort of fanservice, perversion, or other annoying staples of anime. It passes by tastefully and aesthetically, just like everything else in the series.

Also, I haven't really mentioned the extremely good (cute) character designs in the show. They all definitely fall into a character design you'd see on a more tradition romantic comedy, but the other parts of the show work well enough to make these characters fit right in.

There are some interesting revelations (more questions, actually) in this episode, about Akiha (a suspicious character since the beginning), which mainly comes to light through the very weird interaction between Ciel, Akiha and Aruceid.

I still can't say if the pace is taking away from the show. I think it isn't, as I'm always surprised after an episode finishes, getting deeply engrossed in the beautiful art and bittersweet dialogue. If you don't like slow shows though, you probably won't like this one.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 08

Lunar Legend Tsukihime


It must be a testament to the moral turpitude of anime in general that when I see a brother and sister exhibit any sort of affection to each other, I immediately begin to worry I've been sucked into yet another series with a disgusting, incestuous love story.

There's a pretty good action sequence in this episode, but the sound is over-foleyed, which makes it sound kind of ridiculous. (Two knives sound like big swords crashing into each other.)

Something that you may or may not have expected is revealed in this episode (though if you didn't see any strangeness coming, you need to be less trusting). Character interaction feels lacking in this episode, as it's mostly plot driven. Given how the show's been going, this actually hurts it, and makes it less enjoyable than the previous episodes. Action (which was found in the earlier episodes) actually feels out of place, at this point, especially as it's over-dramatized, and Tohno running around slashing with his knife has always seemed a little off.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 09

Lunar Legend Tsukihime


Wow, this episode was actually pretty heavy. They pour on some pretty disturbing scenes throughout its course, with a lot more information about the Tohno family revealed. I am kind of confused, though, about how exactly the Tohno family storyline has anything to do with Arcueid's story (I have some suspicions, but we'll see).

Also, I'm not sure if there's more to the relationship between the Tohno family and their twin maids, or if it's as simple as it seems, and their purpose is to serve the Tohno family.

This might be the first episode where Shiki doesn't have to sneak out at night, and for that I am intensely grateful. We're closing in on the end now, and more and more information is finally coming out.

But it's still pretty slow.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 10

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Crimson Red Moon"

Reflecting back on a decade of Shingetsutan Tsukihime episodes, it occurs to me that the Shiki/Arcueid relationship wasn't built up in the most convincing way. Sometimes it's hard to accept that being killed by Shiki somehow piqued a romantic interest in Arcueid (plain interest, I can see). Either way, when they are together, their interaction seems believable.

The truth about Ciel is revealed in this episode, and while there have been some hints before, the actual truth is somewhat surprising.

More than that, though, I was happy to see more of the love story (can it really be described as love?) between Shiki and Arcueid, these two extremely different chracters (not only to each other, but for anime in general).

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 11

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Night of Disaster"

The surprise identity revealing that happens in this episode shouldn't surprise you if you have even the smallest bit of intuition, but on the off chance you don't, I won't spoil it here.

Ah, at moments like that, I can't help but recall the lines from The Matrix Revolutions:

NEO: That's impossible.
SMITH: Not impossible... Inevitable.

I suppose I could further describe the content of this episode using another Keenuism:


I joke, but in all seriousness, this is a great episode of the show, and definitely the payoff that we've been waiting for. After a little detour, we get more of the Shiki/Arcueid romance, along with plot revelations at every turn. If you've been able to live with the pacing of the show (it doesn't bother me at all anymore), then here's your reward.

Rating: A+

Posted by Kei at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Episode 12

Lunar Legend Tsukihime

"Moon World"

Wow, just when I was about to complain about the bland character designs (especially when Shiki takes his shirt and glasses off... say hello to every generic male anime character) in general, when Ciel takes her coat off, and displays all sorts of interesting Christian tatoos. But, it's a little late for that.

Well, this is the last episode, so I guess I need to do a little wrapup. I'm not going to say anything about the ending (in this paragraph) except that it was good, fitting. It's a much more complete ending than the usual fare in anime, and for that I'm intensely grateful. (But for the love of god, can we stop rolling the credits in the middle of the ending!)

Now, here's my spoilerific review of the content of the last episode (skip the next paragraph if you haven't seen it for yourself).

You don't really expect there to be a happy ending after everything that went by, and the episode tries to convince you there's hope for a happy resolution. Thank goodness there isn't. It could have worked, I suppose, but what they used makes the most amount of sense, and has a great deal of emotional impact. Not to mention the fact that it fits so perfectly with the style and theme of the show.

Overall, the show had great animation, visuals, music and voice acting. If there was one knock on it, like I pointed out many times: if you can't stand a slow-paced show, you won't be able to watch this one. This show definitely didn't turn out the way I expected it to, as it constantly made me re-examine my expectations.

Rating: A+

Posted by Kei at 01:28 AM | Comments (3)