Hello all, and welcome to the pilot post of Anime Appliances! Today we will be talking about Lunar Legend Tsukihime. This will focus on episodes 1-4, so there will be spoilers, but only for those episodes, so….Anyway, these first impression reviews will be in three parts. Part 1 will deal with background information on the purchasing of the dvd (whether it was my pick or RishRaff’s, what I was first thinking when looking at the box, etc.), Part 2 will be my impressions/review, and Part 3 will be where I answer the question of whether or not I will continue watching the show.
With that out of the way, let’s begin!
When RishRaff and I did this for the first time, I was on a bit of a horror kick. I wanted to take a shot at some horror looking shows in the hopes of finding a hidden gem or new favorite. Lunar Legend Tsukihime was one of the somewhat spooky looking dvds at the store that looked interesting. I was honestly more intrigued by the back of the box description, which tried to explain the first episode of the show, but only came across as confusing. Here it is in verbatim:
“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… Afterall, it takes more than a simple cut to kill a vampire”
As you can see, the box description seems to be confused/unsure about the plot of its own show. So this kid can see threads that allows him to kill people, but he has it in check with protective glasses, but he then kills this girl “unwillingly” anyway, but then he actually didn’t kill her and she is a vampire? This was complete with the tagline, “You will take responsibility for killing me.” I was hopelessly lost, but also extremely curious. It was that curiosity that made me buy the first volume and see it for myself. Not to mention the title “Death Perception” is so badass, that I just had to see it in action. I knew going into it that the show was about vampires, and while I was pretty sure the show wouldn’t be scary, I had hopes for a well made dark show with some cool action mixed in.
After watching episode 1, I can see why the back of the box was so confusing. It is certainly hard to explain in such a short manner. Regardless, here is the MyAnimeList description, which does a better job:
“Shiki Toono sustained a life threatening injury as a child, and due to that incident he was sent away from the Toono household and was given to a relative to be raised. Years later, when Shiki is in high school, the head of the Toono household—his father—dies, and he is ordered to move back in by his sister Akiha, who is the new head of the household. However, Shiki holds a huge secret. Ever since that injury, he has been seeing lines on objects, and only with a special pair of glasses is he able to stop seeing them. Also he is unable to remember anything well from the time before his accident. The day he moves back to the Toono household is the day he stumbles upon a woman named Arcueid Brunstud and decapitates her with one stab of his knife in a temporary fit of insanity. When she suddenly showed up beside him later alive and well, and ask him to be her bodyguard, Shiki’s journey to unravel the mysteries of his past begins.”
Despite the initial confusion, the first episode plays out really well. It does a great job at slowly providing pieces of background information, and not providing too much all at once. A lot is shown in the episode, like Shiki getting his glasses, his school life, moving in with his sister, the showing of hostile vampires, and of course, the murder.
The big murder scene was shocking. Even though I knew it was coming, the way they did it made my jaw drop. I loved the way they played with what you don’t see in the scene. They show just enough to give context, and let the viewer’s mind fill in the rest. It immediately sucked me in and made me want to know more. We’re also introduced to mysteries about Shiki’s past, as he, in classic protagonist fashion, has partial amnesia (or maybe repressed memories). Who gave him the glasses? What was with that flashback that had Shiki and his sister as kids with a dead body? What the heck is Ciel’s deal? Not a lot happens in this episode beyond the murder, but I was invested the whole way through.
Thankfully, that level of intrigued stayed with me for the remaining episodes on the disc. It really is more of a slow burner, but again, the interactions and mystery kept me intrigued. This is largely thanks to the characters. Each character seems to have their own motives, mysteries, and backstories that fill me with excitement to learn more about. Shiki makes for a good protagonist in my opinion. I really feel for him as he was thrown into this situation by circumstance with a deadly power that he does not fully understand. His sister, Akiha, has already had some interesting development/has grown on me due to her backstory. But of course, the one who steals the show for me is Arcueid Brunestud. Along with having a name that is admittedly hard to remember at times, there’s a lot to her character. First off, her unfamiliarity of the world around her makes for some funny moments. She can be really playful and fun at times, but can also get serious and do some cool stuff. Like most of the characters, she seems to have some skeletons in her closet that haven’t been revealed yet that I can’t wait to learn about.
(She just might go down as one of my favorite characters depending on how the show progresses)
And now to answer some questions I had when looking at the box:
Is it scary? Well, no. Not to me anyway. There are some dark moments and gory bits, but I was never trembling with fear.
Does it make good use of horror? Now that’s a different question. The show is definitely horror influenced, taking the vampire trope and kind of doing its own thing with it. I really like the liberties taken with how vampires work here, as it makes Lunar Legend feel slightly familiar while being its own beast. It uses the classic horror monster as a starting point to tell an interesting story. After extensively ranting about the failures of Diabolik Lovers on the RishRaff blog, it’s good to see a take on the blood suckers that feels more refreshing and interesting rather than cringey and annoying.
I also love the show’s style and aesthetic. The visuals haven’t blown me away, but they work well with the storyline, and there are some beautifully dark moments. The soundtrack, however, is perfect for the show. There’s a lot of somber strings and piano here, which very much plays into the dark vibe and aesthetic. It can be absolutely stunning to listen to, and really elevates each scene far beyond its original emotional impact. Major props to this show for having opening and closing music that continues this style. That opening choir and drum beat really gets me pumped for the show, and the closing is beautiful. This is one soundtrack I will probably be looking into purchasing once I’m done watching it. Through the sound, characters, and story mysteries, the show has a healthy amount of melancholic beauty and an air of tragedy, and I’m liking it.
3. Will I Continue Watching It?
If I haven’t made it obvious already, absolutely. In fact, I am currently watching the rest of it. Sentai Filmworks had a flash sale recently, so I was able to pick up the full series for a really good price. I also finally have Angel Beats and Ano Natsu de Matteru on DVD, but I digress. I realize that a lot of what I like about this show so far involves the build up in plot and character development. There is, of course, a chance that there will be no pay off at the end of the series, and the show will fall flat on its face. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen, and I have a feeling it won’t. I’ve also learned that this show somehow ties into the Fate series. As a fan of Fate Zero (insert shameless plug in for the Rishraff review of that here), I’m very curious as to how it’ll fit. Regardless, this was a fantastic find at the store, and I’m glad this little game worked so well on the first try.
Thank you all so much for reading! Have you seen Tsukihime? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.