Tsukihime (月姫, Tsukihime?, Moon Princess) is an eroge visual novel released by TYPE-MOON as a doujin work 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's shounen magazine Dengeki Daioh, completed in ten volumes. Tsukihime's success led to a fan-disc sequel titled Kagetsu Tohya as well as the fighting game series Melty Blood. First announced in 2008, the remake of the game is slated for a 2021 release under the name Tsukihime -A piece of blue glass moon-.
The events in Tsukihime take place in Misaki Town (三咲町, Misaki Cho?), chronologically, the end of the story of Tsukihime takes place around the beginning of Fate/stay night. Notable locations include Asagami Private Girls Academy.
Tsukihime's story is split among five diverging narratives, collected into the Near Side and Far Side routes. The Arcuied and Ciel routes fall under the Near Side, and the Akiha, Hisui, and Kohaku routes are within the Far Side. Both Near Side routes are immediately accessible, while unlocking the Akiha and Hisui routes requires clearing the game at least once. Unlocking the Kohaku route requires a second clearing, one of which must be the Hisui route.
Tsukihime chronicles the story and life of a teenage boy named Shiki Tohno. As a young boy, Shiki suffered a life-threatening injury. As a result of this injury, Shiki became able to see "death lines" on objects and people; if Shiki traces these lines with a sharp object, the person or object that they belong to will die or be destroyed. Soon after discovering this power, he is given a special pair of glasses by a mysterious woman. While wearing these glasses, Shiki cannot see the lines, and can thus live life as normal. Later, Shiki discovers that he can also see "points" on objects and people; these act as more immediate and powerful versions of the "lines." Eventually, it is revealed that Shiki is not merely killing a person or destroying an object when he cuts its lines or pokes out its points, but is instead removing the meaning of his victim's existence.
The game plot begins during Shiki's high school days. After years away from the Tohno household, which he was banished from after his injury, he moves back home following the death of the head of the Tohno family, Shiki's father. Shiki's sister, Akiha, assumes the responsibility of being the new head, and decides to let Shiki come back. As the story progresses, Shiki gradually discovers his mysterious past, and becomes implicated into strange adventures.
- Shiki Tohno (遠野 志貴, Tōno Shiki?)
- 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 "dots" on objects and people. He has been living with the Arima family, one of the branching families of Tohno, since an accident eight years ago. At the beginning of the game, he moves back home with his sister, Akiha.
- Arcueid Brunestud (アルクェイド・ブリュンスタッド, Arukueido Buryunsutaddo?)
- 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, but she does not actually die and, in turn, recruits Shiki to help her fight Roa.
- Ciel (シエル, Shieru?)
- An upperclassman of Shiki's who is actually an executor for the church organization, where she is part of "The Burial Agency" a group of skilled assassins feared even within the church itself. Her body was used in Roa's previous incarnation, and until Roa dies, she cannot.
- Akiha Tohno (遠野 秋葉, Tōno Akiha?)
- Shiki's younger sister and the current head of the Tohno family. She is very prim and proper and carries a grace and nobility about her. When her Tohno blood awakens, her hair turns a crimson shade and she can literally suck the heat out of her surroundings, which creates a burning effect on the object.
- Hisui (翡翠, Hisui?)
- 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. She is a Synchronizer, a person that can give someone life energy through exchange of body fluids.
- Kohaku (琥珀, Kohaku?)
- The older of the two twin maids in the Tohno mansion, Kohaku, 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. Like Hisui, Kohaku is a Synchronizer.
- Michael Roa Valdamjong (ミハイル・ロア・バルダムヨォン, Mihairu Roa Barudamuyōn?)
- Among the Dead Apostles, he is known as the Serpent of Akasha. This is due to the serpent being the symbol of infinity and cycles. Shedding its skin and gaining a new body, it was perfect for his name. On the other hand, he is recorded in the Church as the 'Infinite Reincarnator'. His human name is Michael Roa Valdamjong. He is also simply referred to as 'Roa'. Roa was a priest of the church that sought immortality and tricked Arcueid into drinking his blood, causing her to go berserk and wipe out almost all the True Ancestors, and also turning Roa into one of the most powerful Dead Apostles. His original body was finally defeated by a coalition comprised of Arcueid and the Burial Agency, and he has been reincarnating ever since then.
- Nrvnqsr Chaos (ネロ・カオス, Nero Kaosu?)
- This vampire is known as the tenth of the twenty-seven Dead Apostle Ancestors, the highest in rank of the vampires in Tsukihime. Has 666 beasts on his body.
- Aoko Aozaki (蒼崎 青子, Aozaki Aoko?)
- A mysterious red-haired woman who always carries a suitcase. She met with Shiki eight years prior to the start of the series, and to this day, is the only person he will call "Teacher". She gave Shiki a pair of glasses that blocks out the death lines and allow him to live a normal life.
- Arihiko Inui (乾 有彦, Inui Arihiko?)
- Shiki's classmate and best friend. His parents died when he was young, and he lives with his sister, Ichiko.
- Makihisa Tohno (遠野 槙久, Tōno Makihisa?)
- The patriarch of the Tohno family. Dies just prior to the events of Tsukihime. He severely abused Kohaku when she was young.
- Satsuki Yumizuka (弓塚 さつき, Yumizuka Satsuki?)
- Shiki's classmate, who has had a crush on him since middle school. In the Far Side of the Moon scenarios she's revealed to have been turned into a vampire. Shiki is forced to kill her.
Tsukihime works as a normal visual novel. 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.
The original story of Tsukihime was based on one of Kinoko Nasu's ideas for a novel. It featured Arcueid as a cold stereotypical vampire that is the complete opposite of her finished incarnation. The basis for Shiki was a middle-aged old, worn-down vampire who says to Arcueid upon her first approach "I have no interest in women I've already killed once." The tone of the story was the complete opposite and only the tagline of "a biting relationship between a murderer who can see death lines and a vampire" remained in the final version.
Upon developing the story for Tsukihime, they pictured Arcueid as a cool and princess-like "Noble Vampire", but thought that it overlapped with Akiha's "Lady" character. All of the heroines spoke politely to the main character, so they figured that the only character who could fit the role of someone who didn't speak politely would be Arcueid. They eventually came up with the idea of a "pure white" vampire that developed her character very differently from the original version. At the time, they had yet to think up Arihiko or Satsuki as a classmate for the main character, so the original prototype version of Satsuki they developed at the time was a gay male classmate. He was a psycho who thought Shiki was his friend, and they think he overlaps with Fake Shiki's character too much to have actually used him in the story.
There was originally a planned Satsuki route for the original version, but it was later cut. The names of the scenes of the storyline were to be:
- Inversion/Reactionary Impulse (反転衝動, hanten shoudou?)
- Vampiric Impulse I (吸血衝動I, kyuuketsu shoudou?)
- Vampiric Impulse II (吸血衝動 II, kyuuketsu shoudou?)
- Planetarium I (プラネタリウム I?)
- Sand Aquarium I (砂水槽 I, suna suisou?)
- Sand Aquarium II (砂水槽 II, suna suisou?)
- from dust. (1) - 7／ from dust. (2)
- Planetarium II (プラネタリウム II?) - 8／kill dawn.
- Cold-Blooded Love (人でなしの恋, hitodenashi no koi?) - 9／Stardust (スターダスト?)
- Depletion Garden (枯渇庭園, kokatsu teien?)
- Destruction of Dream and Reality (夢現解体, mugen kaitai?)
- Wishing upon a Star (星に願いを。, hoshi ni negai wo?)
It has only been officially released in Japan, but an English translation patch for Tsukihime was made by mirror moon, a TYPE-MOON fan translation group, on November 5, 2006. The patch translates the entirety of the original Japanese text to English.
Several trial versions of Tsukihime were released before its 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. That version was developed to take place over the span of one month. Shiki had an aggressive personality, possibly attributed to Nasu playing the visual novel One: To the Radiant Season. Though Takeuchi told him “Too long! At this rate, you’re never gonna finish!”, Nasu ignored his advice, but stubbornly decided to admit his inability to make it in January 2000. He lowered the timespan of the game to ten days, but the plot had to be adjusted to fit the time frame, causing the first two weeks of plot to be thrown out. Due to the release date for the finished work was planned for summer, Nasu felt it was an action close to giving up.
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.
Adaptations and sequels
The first addition to the Tsukihime franchise was the Tsukihime PLUS-DISC released in January 2001. The original version includes one light-hearted metafiction side story, and one serious side story that shows Shiki's face for the first time. The updated version includes two more metafiction stories. In its original edition, it included wallpapers, the first four chapters of Kara no Kyoukai, rare early demo versions of Tsukihime, a contemporary Tsukihime demo, and two short side stories. The main story is Alliance of Illusionary Eyes (幻視同盟, Genshi Doumei?), following Akira Seo, an underclassman of Akiha Tohno, as she becomes acquainted with someone calling themselves Shiki Tohno, who is in fact a disguised murderer and is later taken care of by Ciel and the real Shiki.
The metafiction stories include Geccha and Geccha 2, which take place in Ahnenerbe. The first follows Arcueid, Ciel and Akiha discussing various questions they have about the storyline and mythos while drinking tea, and the second follows Satsuki Yumizuka and Neko-Arc discussing Satsuki's route in Tsukihime that was planned but never made, including some concept art. Kinoko's Masterpiece Experimental Theater (Kinoko Meisaku Jikkenjyou?) is a short experimental story that takes place inside Shiki's head. It was first included with Kagetsu Tohya as a standalone application.
They published a true sequel in the form of Kagetsu Tohya (歌月十夜, Kagetsu Tohya?), a fan-disk released August 2001. TYPE-MOON released the Tsuki-Bako (月箱, Tsuki-Bako?, Moon Box) during April 2003 that includes a specially packaged three-disc set featuring Tsukihime, an expanded version of Plus-Disc, Kagetsu Tohya, a remixed soundtrack, a trial version of Melty Blood, and other assorted multimedia. The Melty Blood series is a fighting game spin-off set after the story of Tsukihime.
There have been a number of references to a possible Tsukihime 2. The short stories Prelude and talk. are set before it, and there are a number of notes in Kagetsu Tohya as to what would be included within the game. References to it have been mostly been made into jokes during recent interviews, and they have displayed no current plans to actually create the project.
- Main article: Lunar Legend Tsukihime (anime)
In 2003, Tsukihime was adapted into a 12-episode anime TV series. The anime, directed by Sakurabi Katsushi and produced by J.C.Staff, began airing in October 9, 2003 on BS-i, TBS and Animax, who went on to broadcast it under the title Lunar Legend Tsukihime worldwide, including in Southeast Asia and South Asia. In 2004, Geneon announced it had licensed the series for distribution in North America as Tsukihime, Lunar Legend.
- Main article: Lunar Legend Tsukihime (manga)
Tsukihime was adapted with story and art by Shounen Sasaki. The manga began serialization in ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Daioh December 2003 issue, and ended in the September 2010 issue of Dengeki Daioh. There are a total of ten volumes (seventy-three chapters). It was well acclaimed by TYPE-MOON for expertly connecting all the different plotlines.
The manga was licensed in the U.S. ComicsOne in 2004 as Lunar Legend Tsukihime. The license was taken over by DrMaster in 2005.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: Miscellaneous, p.136
Q: About Tsukihime, which has the same background world setting as Fate/stay night, which story happened first chronologically? And how many years apart are they?
Q: About Tsukihime, which has the same background world setting as Fate/stay night, which story happened first chronologically? And how many years apart are they?
A: The end of Tsukihime is the beginning of Fate/stay night.
 Kara no Kyoukai Special Pamphlet - Encyclopedia: Tsukihime [Others], p.036 [T]
A Visual Novel Game written by Kinoko Nasu.
It was a story about a youth who had Mystic Eyes of Death Perception just like Ryougi's.
It shared many similarities with Kara no Kyoukai, and the two were also subtly connected.
It was published as a doujin work, and is currently out of print. The remake seemed to be in the works, or maybe not...?
- Staff Roundtable - The First Night
- 月姫無料告知フロッピー (Japanese). Type-Moon. Retrieved on August 28, 2010.
Tsukihime Data Collection (2000-12-31) - Proto-Tsukihime [Lost Artifact]
The pilot version of Tsukihime created in 1999.
Believe it or not, the game period was one month! Shiki’s personality was really aggressive in this version. Perhaps it was influence from the visual novel “One: To the Radiant Season”, which the scenario director had just played.
…Honestly, he must have been out of his mind.
“Too long! At this rate, you’re never gonna finish!”
The sagacious art director offered words of wisdom, but the scenario director stubbornly refused to heed them.
January 2000. In the end, he finally admitted his error and lowered the span of the game from one month to ten days.
However, because the plot had to be adjusted from the very beginning to account for the new time frame, the two weeks that had already been written were torn up and thrown out entirely. Given that the planned release date for the finished work had been that summer, it was painful act that felt close to giving up.
- 月姫 体験版 (Japanese). Type-Moon. Retrieved on August 28, 2010.
- 月姫～半月板～ (Japanese). Type-Moon. Retrieved on August 28, 2010.
- 月姫～完全版～ (Japanese). Type-Moon. Retrieved on August 28, 2010.
- Type-Moon's official Tsukihime website
- Tsukihime Plus-Disc at Type-Moon's official website
- Tsukihime Plus+Disc at Type-Moon's official website
- Shingetsutan Tsukihime Official Site
- Shingetsutan Tsukihime Anime News Network Encyclopedia Page
- Tsukihime Wikipedia Page
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