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!