Tsukihime (月姫 lit. Lunar Princess?) is a Japanese eroge dōjin visual novel game created by Type-Moon, who first released it at the Winter Comiket in December 2000. It was adapted in 2003 into an anime series, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, produced by J.C.Staff and Geneon, and a manga series, which has been serialized since 2004 in MediaWorks' seinen magazine Dengeki Daioh, with seven bound volumes having been released so far.
Tsukihime's official subtitle states: "Blue Blue Glass Moon, Under The Crimson Air". Its fame and renown is often attributed to its comprehensive and expansive storyline and its writer Kinoko Nasu's unique style of storytelling. As well as its anime and manga adaptations, it has also spawned numerous merchandising and memorabilia franchises. A remake to the series is also currently being planned.
Tsukihime's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the game's duration is spent on reading the text that appears, representing either dialogue between the characters or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. The player is presented with choices, some affect the story in large ways, others do not affect the story at all or affect it in small ways. Changes that affect Shiki's opinion on the characters and heroines usually change the direction of the story drastically. There are two scenarios: the Near-Side Route (as in "near-moon") which includes Arcueid and Ciel as selectable heroines, and the Far Side Route (as in far-moon) which includes Akiha, Hisui, and Kohaku as selectable heroines. Every heroine except Kohaku has two possible endings. When the player has achieved all possible endings, a new section is unlocked, entitled Eclipse. Eclipse is an ending to all routes, and an epilogue of sorts.
Tsukihime's follows the perspective of Shiki Tohno, a second year high school student of Misaki Town, who suffered a life-threatening injury when he was young. When he regained consciousness, Shiki was able to see "death lines", death lines are the lines by which things will eventually break when they die. This includes the death of inanimate objects as well as living beings and undead beings. Because of his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception making him see death lines Shiki has immense headaches as his mind cannot cope with the sight of death. Soon after he is given a pair of glasses that blocks the sight of these lines. The game then advances to Shiki's second year of high school. After his injury, he was banished to a branch family of the Tohno household. After eight years he is called back home by his younger sister, Akiha Tohno, when she assumed the responsibility as the family's head. After moving back Shiki has trouble adjusting to the old-fashioned lifestyle his sister lives by.
As the story progresses the plot diverges depending upon the choices the character makes. Shiki must use his powers to confront supernatural beings such as vampires (known as True Ancestor (真祖 Shinso?) and Flock of Death or Followers of Death (死徒 Shito?))
The player assumes the role of Shiki Tohno the protagonist of the series. He has Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, which allow him to see the death of things in the form of "lines" and "points" on objects and people; cutting the lines destroys the portion cut, while piercing the point destroys the existence of the object itself. He carries a pocketknife named Nanatsu-yoru (later learned that it can also be pronounced "Nanaya") and is quite skilled in its use. He has been living with the Arima family, one of the branching families of Tohno, since an accident 8 years ago. At the beginning of the game, he moves back home with his sister, Akiha.
Arcueid is one of the main heroines in the series, a beautiful blonde with ruby red eyes, Arcueid is a mysterious vampire princess. But since she is a True Ancestor, she lacks some vampiric qualities, such as that of needing to consume blood to survive, and being nocturnal. She seems to be quite knowledgeable about many things, but is very naive when it comes to modern ideas. She is killed by Shiki in the first chapter, but she doesn't actually die, because she's a vampire, and, in turn, recruits Shiki to help her fight Roa. The second heroine Ciel is the sole member of the Japanese tea ceremony club and an upperclassman of Shiki's, or so it seems. She is actually the seventh most skilled executor for "The Burial Agency", a shadow branch of the Church created to exterminate "heretics". Her body was used in Roa's last incarnation for its superior magic circuit. She has a strange obsession for curry and will agree to almost anything for food that is curry-related.
Shiki's younger sister Akiha Tohno is one of five heroines in the series, she is currently the head of the Tohno family. She is very prim and proper and carries a grace and nobility about her. As the story progresses, the viewer discovers that she has had mysterious powers since childhood. When her Tohno blood awakens, her hair turns a crimson shade. Akiha can manipulate her hair in as if it was prehensile and she can drain the life force out of anything her hair is in contact with, which creates a burning effect on the object.
Hisui is the younger of the two twin maids in the Tohno mansion, Hisui is a childhood friend of Shiki. She wears a western maid uniform and attends to Shiki when he comes back to the Tohno mansion. She acts cold and unfeeling, but it is only an act to hide her kinder nature for the sake of her sister. Her name, Hisui, is the Japanese word for jade, referring to her eye color. She is a Synchronizer, a person that can give someone life energy through exchange of body fluids. Kohaku is the older of the two twin maids in the Tohno mansion and along with Hisui, is a childhood friend of Shiki. She wears a Japanese kimono and is always seen to be smiling and cheerful, being especially gifted with medicine. She hides her tragic past behind a cheerful face and Hisui's cold demeanor. Her name, Kohaku, is the Japanese word for amber, referring to her eye color. Like Hisui, Kohaku is a Synchronizer.
Script error Satsuki Yumizuka was originally meant to be one of the heroines in Tsukihime with her own scenario, however it was cut from the final product.
Several trial versions of Tsukihime were released before it's full release. The first preview version of Tsukihime was released at Comiket 56 in 1999, only 300 copies were distributed for free on 3½ floppy disks. The game was so early in the making that the cast had not been finalized yet. At the next Comiket 57 a trial edition was released with only 50 copies being distributed on 3½ floppy disks. The cast was still not finalized at this point. Both preview and trailer verions were later included in Tsukihime Plus-Disc. At Comiket 58 Tsukihime Half Moon Edition was released, 300 copies were sold for 1,000 yen each. This version contained Arcueid and Ciel's "Near Side of the Moon" storylines.
The final product of Tsukihime was first released at the 2000 Winter Comiket. Soon after, Type-Moon released Tsukihime Plus-Disc in January 2001, a light-hearted addition to Tsukihime that featured three side-stories and assorted multimedia. The first edition includes wallpapers, the first four chapters of Kara no Kyōkai, an early demo version of Tsukihime, a contemporary Tsukihime demo, and two short visual novel side-stories featuring Tsukihime characters. In April 2003, it was re-released along with Tsukihime and Kagetsu Tohya as Tsukibako. The newer version came with two new stories compiled from NScripter to the more capable KiriKiri engine.
In August 2001, Type-Moon produced and published a fan disc to Tsukihime, Kagetsu Tohya (歌月十夜 Kagetsu Tōya?, lit. Ten Nights of the Singing Moon) at Comiket. In April 2003, Type-Moon released Tsuki-Bako (月箱?, lit. Lunar Box), a specially packaged three-disc set that included Tsukihime, Plus-Disc (in an expanded version) and Kagetsu Tohya, a remixed soundtrack and other assorted multimedia. In 2008, a remake of Tsukihime was announced by Type-Moon, which would feature updated art and storyline, which they stated would be their next project after Mahōtsukai no Yoru.
A 12-episode TV anime series adaptation titled Shingetsutan Tsukihime (真月譚 月姫?) was directed by Katsushi Sakurabi and produced by J.C.Staff. The series was written by Hiroko Tokita and features original music by Toshiyuki Ōmori. It first aired between October 9 to December 25, 2003 on BS-i, TBS and Animax, who also subsequently broadcast it worldwide, including its English language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, under the title Lunar Legend Tsukihime. Two pieces of theme music are used for the episodes; one opening theme and one ending theme. The opening theme was titled "The Sacred Moon" by Toshiyuki Omori, and the ending theme was "Rinne no Hate ni" (輪廻の果てに?) by Fumiko Orikasa.
Geneon announced it had licensed the series for distribution in North America in 2004 under the titleTsukihime, Lunar Legend. Upon Geneon's American operations having shut down, the newly instituted licensor Sentai Filmworks acquired the North American rights to the series, with Section23 Films handling its distribution and marketing, along with other titles.
In 2003 a Tsukihime manga, illustrated by Sasaki Shonen, began serialization in ASCII Media Works' shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Daioh. The series is currenly ongoing with eight volumes published by Media Works. The manga was licensed for an English-language release in North America by ComicsOne in 2004. In 2005 DR Master took over the publication of ComicsOne's manga titles including Tsukihime. The plot largely follows the game's Arcueid route with a mix of the other routes.
Melty Blood is a PC dojin fighting game developed by Type-Moon and French-Bread, it was originally released at Comiket 63 in 2002. The game features characters from the Tsukihime games as well as new characters specific for the games. Multiple updated versions of the game have been created as well as a sequel. It later spawned an arcade version, titled Act Cadenza, that was developed by Ecole Software and was later ported to the PlayStation 2.
Kagetsu Tohya is a sequel takes place one year after the events in the main Tsukihime storyline. Shiki gets into an accident and has a repeating dream sequence in which he must relive the same day over until he finds Ren. As the player repeats each day they are able to make different choices which affect the flow of the narrative and unlock extra content in the game, including 10 side-stories.
A remake of the visual novel's soundtrack was released on February 24, 2004 entitled Ever After ~Music from "Tsukihime" Reproduction~. Two soundtrack compilations were released for the anime Shingetsutan Tsukihime, titled Moonlit Archives and Moonlit Memoirs.
Script error The manga series has shown high sales figures in it's later volumes. Volume seven stayed in the Japanese comic ranking for two weeks and volume eight stayed in for three weeks.
- Type-Moon's official Tsukihime website (Japanese) (outdated since 2003)
- Type-Moon's current commercial website (Japanese)
- Shingetsutan Tsukihime official website (Japanese)
- Tsukihime anime at J.C. Staff (Japanese)
- Tsukihime (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia