For a romantic vampire show, Tsukihime deals in more drama and emotion than even Blood+ could handle.
We’ve all seen this similar type of vampire show before in Hellsing and Trinity Blood. However, Tsukihime is a much more unique show, because it is based on a ero-ge visual novel. Sentai Filmworks recently re-released the box set.
For anyone who doesn’t know, an ero-ge is typically a dating simulation game with scenes of nudity and sexuality near the end of each romantic storyline. Most of dating simulations feature a motley of girls who all fight for the main character’s attention. Tsukihime features the same premise, but with a much more unique cast of vampire girls fighting against an ultra-powerful villain.
The show opens with the young male protagonist, Shiki, moving to his sister’s mansion. After what seems like an ordinary day at school, Shiki meets a simple blonde woman in a turtleneck sweatshirt. Then he completely loses his memory and wakes up in a bed at home.
To say the least, his dream was very weird. He literally dreamed that he literally stabbed the blonde woman with a knife. The next day he literally runs into the same woman, Arucreid, who explained that he was the guy who sliced her up into 13 pieces yesterday. Shiki tries to run away from the woman, but he faints due to his own anemia.
Despite the shocking premise, Arucreid reveals that the painful attack wasn’t so bad, because she is a vampire. All vampires have the power to regenerate. Arucreid decides to keep him as her partner, to defeat an all-powerful evil vampire.
Technically, this is most basic plot imaginable for an anime. The animation quality is very low, making for some extremely stilted movement. However, the action choreography has a unique, poetic attractiveness to it. This show plays out in the same dramatic fashion as an old spaghetti western, like the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The romantic relationships are also extremely well written. Shiki runs into many girls who are typically obsessed with him. However, there’s something beautifully touching about Shiki and Arucreid’s desire for a world without any daunting obligations or responsibilities. Their chemistry is much more convincing than anything I’ve ever seen from other ero-ge adaptations.
Even the action is much more fluid than many other vampire shows. Hellsing has a habit of turning everything extremely gory and bloody for no real reason except to add eye candy. Trinity Blood loads in too many humongous, overblown battles. Blood+ takes people on tangential side stories that end up going nowhere. Only Tsukihime really finds a way to settle down all the action on the screen.
As strange as the premise is, Tsukihime is one of the few ero-ge adaptations that actually progresses beyond the limitations of the genre. Unlike romance shows like Kanon, this is definitely a series that deserves a re-release with higher quality animation.
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