Tsukihime Redux

Your wish is my command.

Also, whoever recced me Recettear: I love you. So much. Boyfriend hates you, equally as much.


Semi-related: as it turns out, the Tsukihime manga must not have had a very successful run in English, because the issues are super hard to find, and some are incredibly expensive. I got my hands on 1, 2, and 4, but there’s ten of them, and amazon is missing 7 – 10, so even if I wanted to shell out $70 for one comic I still couldn’t get them all. I may have to fill in the gaps by reading online, gah. Kids these days and their manga foxes and internet radio.

Weirdly, there are a ton of French and Italian copies floating around. No Spanish, though, which I could actually make use of. I just really need to hurry up and learn Japanese.

Anyway, the Near Side routes.

Despite the huge break, I think I did do the routes in the right order– Sorting out what was going on in the town before figuring out Shiki’s personal life made sense, and the maids’ routes do a good job of tying up all the loose ends, while I think if you do them in reverse or jump back and forth you’re left with a lot of bizarre questions about what’s actually going on (completing Akiha’s route without first doing Ciel’s, for example, would leave a lot of holes).

I think, overall, Hisui’s route was probably the best in the game. It’s been a while since I played the Far Side, and I did really enjoy Arcuid’s route, but Hisui’s from start to finish was just incredibly impactful and tragic.

This may be the only time this is ever said on this blog: I think the rape was handled well. I think Kohaku’s whole backstory and her reaction to it was realistic, heart-wrenching, and empathetic.

My only complaint about it is that, I think because he realized including a sex scene on her route after the reveal made Shiki a terrible person, he tried to save it in a way that led to some Magic Healing Penis, where the broken girl is suddenly cured by ~two wub~ of the dickular variety. The way to do the sex scene on this route would have been for her to tell Shiki she could help before he knew, and then for him to feel horrible after finding out.

Instead he comes across like he doesn’t care about her trauma all that much or thinks he knows better than her how to deal with it, and Nasu tries to cover for it by saying she’s happy to be with someone for love, but that just didn’t feel 100% to me. I appreciate the moral that an abuse victim is not broken forever and can still have fulfilling relationships, but this was kind of an ehhh way to do it. She needed to be open to the idea but overcome her hesitation slowly, as opposed to over the course of one night. I’m making it sound a lot worse than it was– like I said, overall it was super well-done– but hopefully you get my drift.

Actually, interestingly enough, Hisui’s route did this fine– with her slowly coming to trust Shiki and let him get near her. Maybe he didn’t want to repeat the device on the Kohaku route, even though it makes sense? It’s hard to say, a lot of the Kohaku route felt kind of rushed because of its have-to-play-last nature.

What else? I agree with whoever in the comments (Roarke, I think?) said the Kohaku route had the best action scene on the Near Side. The Akiha fight was awesome. Incest aside, I liked Akiha. I liked that Nasu didn’t try to force her route to have a Good End. I liked that she continued the Nasu trend of remarkably strong and anti-establishment female characters. The internal conflict of monster-vs-self is a time-honored one for a reason, and this was a wonderful take on it.

I think that’s all I’ve got for Tsukihime. I’m sure you’ll fire away if you have specific questions. I’m glad I finally finished it!

20 Comments

  1. guestest ever says:
    Now you can play Melty Blood too!

    You probably shouldn’t but it’s an option.
    1. actonthat says:
      I had all the digimon arena games that were like this.
  2. Harpe says:
    Well if I remember correctly, there never was going to be a Kohaku route in the first place but he barely had enough time to finish it. As for the sex scene… Well at least Nasu was kind enough to tone down Shiki ‘The Lord of Bedroom Jackassery’ antics down. I haven’t played Tsukihime in a long time, but I can still remember the emotional turmoil I had in the end of the Hisui route. It’s amazing how that route has Shiki in bed for half of it, but still managed to be one of the most dynamic routes.
    The manga of Tsukihime is actually a really good example of how to merge routes of a VN into one adaption. It managed to stay coherent and even included scenes that fixed some of the problems of the far side routes. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of losing the maid’s side story.

    Well, unless you’re interested in Kagetsu Tohya, all there’s left is to experience Heaven’s Feel and then…
    CARNIVAL PHANTASM!

    1. actonthat says:
      Is Kagetsu Tohya the one with the sisters as the main characters? Because I definitely intent to play that after Fate.
      1. Ezequiel Ayoroa says:
        Kagetsu Tohya is a bonus disk full with slice of life where all of the routes (and thus, none of them) are canon; albeit with a hidden and interesting plot within. (before anyone comments, some events contradict Arcueid’s good ending)

        It is basically Hollow Ataraxia 1.0

        Of course, it is completely recommended, but keep in mind that Shiki is still the MC 99% of the time.
        The only times when he isn’t are a few of the 10 extra stories (like ‘A Story for the Evening’, that continues where Akiha True left off, ‘Crimson Moon’, with human!Roa as a character, ‘Red Demon God’ (Shiki’s biological father) ‘Dawn’ (a random victim of Nero Chaos) and ‘Nanako-chan SOS!’ (Ciel’s weapon)

        1. SpoonyViking says:
          And the best part is that the sex scenes are entirely optional! Well, I think the erotic dream isn’t, but at least you don’t have to pick… Well, no spoilers, but I’m sure you can imagine who I’m talking about.
        2. actonthat says:
          Oooh, yes, I have heard of that! I should do it, why not.

          I don’t mind the Good Endings being contradicted; there’s a reason the other ones are called “True.”

      2. Harpe says:
        Kagetsu Tohya is a very fun read, but can get really repetitive if you don’t use a guide. The gist of it is that Kagetsu Tohya takes place in a repeating day cycle with a massive amount of choices and side stories.

        The one your thinking of, I think, is Mahou Tsukai no Yoru which is about Aoko and Touko Aozaki. I actually haven’t read that yet. I need to do so, but after Hollow Ataraxia!

        1. illhousen says:
          Does Mahou Tsukai no Yoru have a full translation? Or does the current translation at least ends at a natural point? I don’t want to read half of the story only to find out I’ll need to wait another five years to learn the resolution.

          I get it in fanfics far too often as it is.

          1. Harpe says:
            Well… no. There’s like two groups trying to translate it. You need knowledge of 60,000 words and the equivalent of JLPT1 grammar to translate (well Japanese is so messed up, it’s more like localized) the Japanese equivalent of Clifford the Big Red Dog without the aid of a dictionary. They’re just fansubs, without any money put into them. Last update was like in 2013, where they said they were 50% done. No partial patches or anything. Just me being optimistic.

            Goddamn Japanese.

        2. actonthat says:
          Ah, yes that it was I meant. Hopefully one day there’s a full translation. If I would just learn faster I’d do it myself.
  3. Roarke says:
    What else? I agree with whoever in the comments (Roarke, I think?) said the Kohaku route had the best action scene on the Near Side. The Akiha fight was awesome.

    Yes, this was me, and I am not at all surprised you agree, because goddamn, Nanaya Shiki vs. Inverse Akiha. The first time I read it, I was simultaneously chilled and thrilled by how clinical the first-person narration became. I had to pick the “Kill her now” option just to see it happen, and I was like holy fuck, he actually pulled it off despite the overwhelming difference in gross might. Then the rest of the fight shows off his tactical mind; sacrificing his off-hand to determine her ability was pretty badass.

    This may be the only time this is ever said on this blog: I think the rape was handled well. I think Kohaku’s whole backstory and her reaction to it was realistic, heart-wrenching, and empathetic.

    Yes… whatever his faults, things like this set Nasu aside as a truly excellent writer.

    I have specific questions… pending. For now, I’m interesting in your take on how Hisui’s route must have naturally weakened Kohaku’s. I agree that Hisui’s route is probably the best of them as a whole, but it leaves Kohaku’s in an awkward position, because instead of a twist or reveal to build up towards, you have a boatload of dramatic irony, and that’s generally less effective.

    1. Ezequiel Ayoroa says:
      “For now, I’m interesting in your take on how Hisui’s route must have naturally weakened Kohaku’s. I agree that Hisui’s route is probably the best of them as a whole, but it leaves Kohaku’s in an awkward position, because instead of a twist or reveal to build up towards, you have a boatload of dramatic irony, and that’s generally less effective.”

      I’m always surprised when people put Hisui’s route before Kohaku’s. I feel like the only guy noticing that the king is fucking naked.

      However, you made me realize that I actually played Kohaku’s route first. That must be the reason (or at least one of them) that I liked Kohaku’s route as much as I didn’t like Hisui’s. It is Final Fantasy VIII all over again!

      1. Roarke says:
        I’m always surprised when people put Hisui’s route before Kohaku’s. I feel like the only guy noticing that the king is fucking naked.

        You can’t play Kohaku’s route until finishing Hisui’s True End. The first-day flag for Kohaku’s route is unlocked after you get that end.

        If you managed to do that, it’s probably because you originally downloaded a copy of Tsukihime that was internally cleared or unlocked. Even the game itself recognizes that Kohaku’s is intentionally the last route. The Ciel-sensei end theater declares it so.

    2. actonthat says:
      Yeah, it’s unfortunate. I get why Kohaku’s was included– there’s no way to actually directly interact with her in Hisui’s, and you end just dying for a chance to save her life– but the reveals just can’t have the same impact. It’s still a great read and a good route, but it’s more based on “fixing” the problems left in Hisui’s route than learning about the character herself, if that makes sense.

      But yeah dat fight scene.

  4. EdH says:
    I guess this is the point where I ask, what do you think of Nasu reusing characters and themes? I mean there’s Araya/Kirei, and also Azaka/Akiha/Rin. True there are differences, but there is a recurring pattern also.
    1. David B says:
      I think Kara no Kyoukai was just a prototype for the rest of Nasu’s work. He doesn’t really reuse characters and themes particularly, just repurposes some of the ideas from his early work. I wouldn’t compare Azaka or Akiha to Rin particularly, and though Araya definitely has a parallel in FSN, it’s not Kotomine.
    2. actonthat says:
      I think there’s definitely thematic similarities, but I wouldn’t say Azaka/Akiha and Rin are the same person, nor Alaya and Kirei. (Azaka and Akiha are obviously more similar because of how KnK becamae Tsukihime). I think most authors have certain things they like to explore in different ways, and there’s nothing expressly wrong with that. Nasu’s stories and characters are certainly different enough to keep me entertained; I never feel like I’m reading the same thing over, so as far as I’m concerned he should keep doin’ what he’s doin’.
  5. Goldreaver says:
    “Also, whoever recced me Recettear: I love you. So much. Boyfriend hates you, equally as much.”

    I REGRET NOTHING

    1. actonthat says:
      Why did I not know of this game before, it’s everything I love in one sandboxy sim package.

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