Lunar Legend Tsukihime: Life Threads Vol. 1
This is a bit of a retro review for me, since I previously featured Shingetsutan Tsukihime in February, right after the final fansub episode went online. Now I get to review the first official DVD of the series, officially titled Lunar Legend Tsukihime. Personally, I preferred the name adopted by a few fansub groups: True Moon Chronicles. It reflects the gritty True Crime roots of the show rather than sounding like a magical girl show of epic proportions. I think I've commented enough in the previous feature on the music and animation, so I'll skip that in this review. Just understand I really liked both of them a lot.
This DVD contains the first four episodes, which introduce us to the main characters. Shiki Tohno, the central character, has been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to see lines of death, the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, since his accident eight years ago. A pair of glasses --given to him by a mage--block the lines, yet Shiki still feels out of place. His two best friends are Yumitsuka and Arihiko, his classmates at school, and the mysterious sempai, Ciel.
Shiki is called back to his family's house after eight years because his father has passed away and his younger sister, Akiha, has become the head of the house. On the eve of his move, Shiki suddenly removes his glasses and attacks a young woman in a playground, brutally murdering her. Shiki thinks this incident is nothing but a horrible dream. The next morning, she greets Shiki on his way to school. Shocked, Shiki runs away, yet finds himself dragged anyway into a dark world of death, vampires, and Arcueid Brunestud, Princess of the True Ancestors.
Watching Lunar Legend Tsukihime again was an entirely different experience. This time, I could sit back and let the show unfold without having to constantly take in information and figure out what was going on. Senseless tidbits stood out as foreshadowing that I had missed the first time, such as Shiki not remembering or even recognizing Ciel and how the lock on the shed was broken in Yumitsuka's flashback. Other things, like why Shiki flips out and kills Arcueid, still remain a mystery.
I was also able to see characters in a different light. Akiha is less of a dangerous enigma; now I see her as merely a protective sister trying to do the right thing and keep Shiki safe, especially from himself. Arcueid became more of a predator than a mysterious love interest. Kohaku the cook and Hisui the maid became clearly H-game derivatives, even more so than during my first viewing of this series. I also saw just how good Lunar Legend Tsukihime is at twisting the knife of guilt, especially in Shiki. He seems to be plagued with the hero-saves-girl complex.
I didn't like how the life/death vampire distinction was made as True Ancestor/Dead Apostle. Those are corny names and they do not emphasize the impression of ying-yang duality that I got from the fansubbed editions.
My rating would be higher if but for the lack of extras. The only extra, aside from Geneon trailers and DVD credits, is a clean opening. Even the trailers weren't that great: Demon Lord Dante (read Andrew's reviews over the past few months for details), Captain Herlock and Gun Grave. I'm hoping that the choice of titles was more of an "If you like Lunar Legend Tsukihime, try..." marketing tactic than promoting these titles as the newest.
I'm really enjoying Geneon's trend of reversible covers. This one reverses to showcase the maid Hisui on the cover, whereas the normal version stars Arcueid.
I found the dub to be of equal quality to the subtitles, if but a little weird to my ear. I finished Witch Hunter Robin in dub last month, so hearing the same voices sounded a little disturbing, but I could accept their voices as being the character's, so no foul made.
If I can get this much enjoyment and the feeling of discovery from watching Lunar Legend Tsukihime again, this time on DVD, then you probably will as well!