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Shingetsutan Tsukihime


a.k.a. True Lunar Chronicle Tsukihime

Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 10/9/2003 to 12/25/2003

As a child, Tohno Shiki was in a terrible accident that nearly killed him. When he awoke, he could see lines covering everything in his sight, but no one else could see them. An enigmatic woman gave the young Tohno a pair of glasses that removed the lines from his vision. Sent to live with a relative because of his frail health, he returned to his home years later just as a string of mysterious murders began in the town. What are the strange lines he still sees? And what is his connection to the killings?

summary by Madoka


Reviewed: 04/18/2004 by
Grade: 75% av-Madoka

Highs: Art and music; audience involvement

Lows: Insufficient character background and focus

As a different take on the stories of vampire lore that often appear in anime, Shingetsutan Tsukihime is more mystery and drama than it is horror. As Shiki tries to piece together the jigsaw puzzle of his memories, the audience is pulled along with him as he solves it. Although some of the characters would benefit from more background and development, on the whole the completed puzzle is worth the effort.

With most of the settings and characters bathed either in the glow of twilight or the darkness of night for the duration of the series, the art sets the perfect atmosphere for the story. The action scenes are smooth, and the few shots of gore are appropriate for the mood without being excessive. The music, relatively sparse but powerful, suits the tone set by the animation and the mysterious story. With the audience joining Shiki as he moves into a new home, the feeling of being in new, uncomfortable surroundings is shared by the protagonist and viewer alike. As pieces of the puzzle are placed, the viewer watches them create the larger picture along with Shiki. Both of these elements combine to successfully involve the audience.

The more perplexing mysteries of this anime, however, are the characters. For being the title character, Arcueid receives little of the attention she deserves. The parts of her history that are revealed are told by another character, making it hard to identify with her experiences and background. Although she does change in the course of the story, there is inadequate attachment to her as a character because very little is shown from her point of view. Another important character with the potential for a detailed and interesting background is Ciel, who also has frustratingly few details about her and her perspective. More focus on these two characters would further involve the viewer in their roles in the story.

The parts of those characters that are shown and the involving story are compelling enough to keep Shingetsutan Tsukihime interesting and hold the audience’s attention. If there had been more episodes to spend exploring the backgrounds of Arcueid, Ciel and other side characters, this anime might have been one of the best of the year.


Shingetsutan Tsukihime can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.


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