Tsukihime Lunar Legend
Volume 3

Starring (voice): Hitomi Nabatame and Kenichi Suzumura
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 13 March 2005

Tohno Shiki is an ordinary kid when he is involved in a near fatal accident. Following the accident Shiki is sent away to the care of a relative. But, after the accident Shiki can see lines of death. In order to lead a normal life he is given a pair of glasses by a woman he meets that he knows only as Teacher. When his father dies he must return to his own household and start school, but he is haunted by a memory of killing a young girl...

Tsukihime (2003) volume three contains episodes nine to twelve of the twelve episode run. Having had an opportunity to see the show in its entirety I'm quite willing to stick my hand up and say that the show is better than my original review of the second disc. The story is a very slow burner with a scarcity of dialogue but an excess of beautiful images. You pretty much have to watch the show in a small space of time, it's a bit like Sapphire and Steel was when it was on television, it's way too easy to forget what happened in previous shows, so very easy to get lost.

The series has a form of inner ennui. The world that has been created has all the elements of a traditional horror story, vampires, zombies and a lot of death. However, Tsukihime transcends all of the clichés and presents a world of almost beautiful sadness which shrouds the characters in a creeping malaise. Mood is important here, which is most probably why the initial batch of episodes seemed almost random in its storytelling.

In episode nine, Death, Shiki is taken back to the family house after he has been attacked by Roa. While he is recovering he sees visions of a woman impaled on a tree. Confronting his sister after his wound heals too quickly, she denies being a vampire but does tell him that there is something in the family's blood. Shiki is even more determined to find out the secret of his past, to this end he searches the house and finds a small dungeon room with the words "Help Me" painted in blood on the walls.

Vermilion Crimson Moon: Shiki is refusing to leave his room. He knows that something is really wrong and that everyone has lied to him about his past, his wound has started to re-bleed. Arcueid turns up to get him to go on a date with her as it's something she has never done before, pretty understanding, I thought, as he killed her the first time they met. Arcueid gets to go all Buffy as she saves Shiki from a band of vampires.

Misfortunate Night: Things are really starting to go wrong for Shiki. Arcueid is drawn to his bleeding wound and he has to be rescued by Ciel. After Arcueid runs off Ciel tells Shiki the story of the Moon Princess and her fall from grace at the hands of Roa, Arcueid's story. When he returns home his sister finally gives in and lets him read her father's journal - the journal which holds the truth about Shiki and Roa.

The truth, as they say, is out there and in episode twelve, Lunar World, the truth regarding everyone's real past is revealed, with this confrontation between Shiki and Roa is inevitable, but who will survive?

There's not much in the way of DVD extras, only a set of trailers and the DVD credits. Shame, really, as this spoils a very good disc. It would have been nice to have some info from the creators of the show. Audio comes in either English or Japanese stereo, with subtitles. The sound remains clear as a bell, but the soundtrack, by Toshiyuki Omori, is so good it really cries out for a 5.1 treatment. The title song remains haunting; in fact the music in this series is of such superior quality that I'm surprised that it's not available separately. Continuing their run of good prints the picture is clear and artefact free.

So, a good end to a fine, if short, series. Hopefully there will be a box set some time in the future, with some interesting extras thrown in.

Charles Packer

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