Tsukihime is an Elegant Vampire Anime!

Story – 5

Tsukihime starts off with a brilliant and very evocative opening episode that creates a very high level of expectation at the start of the series. The story begins with a perfect blend between revelation and mystery that builds up a good level of anticipation and suspense that I feel (on stand alone basis) deserves a genuine five star rating. Unfortunately, Tsukihime runs out of gas soon after the first few episodes, and that initial sky-high expectation disappears quickly into thin air.

I feel that the main reason that pulls down the rating for Tsukihime is its storytelling pace. The way the plot of the story unfolds at snail-pace really, REALLY frustrates me. Instead of spending the precious time in the twelve episodes to foster good character development and a cohesive plot, Tsukihime fills itself with a lot of very meaningless interactions between Shiki and Arcuied that did not help to augment the general development of its storyline.

While Tsukihime belongs without doubt in the vampire genre, it really isn’t the common story of how a super indestructible, blood-sucking, and limb-hacking type of vampire that goes around killing its foes on sight (if that is what you are looking for, try Hellsing, Trinity Blood or Blood +). In contrast to the vampire genre norm, Tsukihime focuses more on how a ‘forbidden love’ kind of relationship (between a vampire and a human) develops between Arcueid and Shiki.

Animation – 9

In terms of animation, Tsukihime deserved the top-notch ratings I have given it. The urban environmental setting in the series had a very good level of detail with the presence of people and objects (in the background) that were drawn in proportion to its surrounding and with great vividness. On top of that, J.C. Staff also managed to masterfully manipulate the use of dark and dull colors to create a very depressing atmosphere that really runs parallel to the intended melancholic mood in the anime.

Character designs also served to justify the high score for Tsukihime’s animation. I felt that the way the characters were portrayed and animated really brought out the true emotions they were feeling. One could accurately decipher whether characters like Shiki’s sister, Akiha was feeling anxious, afraid, or annoyed by a good look at their facial expressions. Furthermore, there were no annoyingly common facial distortions of characters when seen from different angles.

Another aspect I noted was how the transition from scene to scene and the movement of objects and characters flowed smoothly throughout the series. I felt that these factors of sharpness and smooth transitions really enriched the experience and satisfaction gained when watching Tsukihime.


Sound – 7

Tsukihime had a wide array of string intensive audio (in particular the violin) that blended well into the series. I felt that the gothic and choral opening theme, “The Sacred Moon” was really compatible with the general sorrowful mood setting in Tsukihime. Similarly, other musical pieces like La Sola and the ending theme, Rinne no Hate Ni was also compatible with the show and would make an excellent addition to anyone’s anime soundtrack collection.

Voice acting was very appropriate with the absence of abnormally high, glass-shattering, and overly energetic voices that would have totally devastated the mellowness gained from the dark atmosphere of the series. Voice actors like Hitomi Nabatame (who played Margery Daw in Shakugan no Shana and Nanao in Bleach) did an excellent job in maintaining the proper voice timbre and tone required and expected in an anime such as like Tsukihime.

The only minor letdown in sound was one of the background music piece normally played when Arcueid was fighting. This particular music piece was so very out of place and inappropriate that I felt it severely reduces the rating for sound from a higher score to its lower present level. It is really very odd that a song that was meant to be played during a fight should sound like the trumpeting entrance of a grand medieval King.

Characters – 3

To be honest, Tsukihime had a collection of very interesting characters that really stimulated a lot of curiosity and excitement the first time they appear in the show. Characters like Akiha and Ciel both had some mysterious aura and background that I felt was the reason I was glued to my computer screen for hours without end.

The fact that I had to Google up each character after the end of this twelve episode series gives you a glimpse of the terrible character development in Tsukihime. Putting aside Shiki and Arcueid, the rest of the characters had virtually nothing revealed on their backgrounds, experiences, and motives. This was extremely evident in the character Ciel that came out of no where and integrated into the show with hopes that viewers would completely ignore her ambiguous nature (fat chance!).

Yet another unacceptable and unforgivable flaw in Tsukihime was the absence of a highly developed antagonist character needed as a counterweight to provide a real challenge to the protagonist. The antagonist of Tsukihime lacked revelations concerning his real motives and devious intentions on why he acted as he did and ended up being just another character that only served to ensure the continuation of the story.

Overall – 6

Generally, I felt that Tsukihime was a great big disappointment. Present in Tsukihime were all the elements (in terms of plot, characters, visual arts, and music) required for an extremely beautiful anime masterpiece. Unfortunately, the lack of character development, poor execution of its storyline (storytelling pace), and lack of clarity ultimately led to its downfall. In the end, the whole mumbo jumbo of a story was forced to wrap itself up prematurely which left viewers like me very dissatisfied and lost.

One Response to “Tsukihime is an Elegant Vampire Anime!”
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  1. […] Kara no Kyoukai and Lunar Legend Tsukihime are visual novels written by Kinoko Nasu that have enjoyed widespread success together with […]

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