Tsukihime (literally "The Lunar Princess") is the first real "brick" of the Nasuverse as it is known, and is undoubtedly one of the major contributors to the success and fame of Nasu's works.

The choice of the genre

Published as Visual Novel the title, as it will be for some of Nasu's later works, was forced to be released as an eroge. the market of the time, in fact, was very limited and required, to encourage sales, the adhesion to the erotic genre, and therefore the inclusion of sex scenes, in order to hope to have a success. For this reason, although Nasu does not like to include explicit sexuality in his stories as it was deemed unnecessary, under the advice of his friend Takeuchi, the author tried to maximize possible profits by launching his work in the erotic market.

This choice was not and is still not uncommon in the field of Visual Novel: many works whose main selling point is the narrative include erotic content, now many times optional, in order to increase their user base and the possibility of earning.

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The risks of a failure

If on the one hand the economic return needed a push of this type in order to have a successful completion, the risk that the work would remain in the oblivion of a very specific audience niche was therefore concrete, especially because of the style of Nasu's specific writing that gives life to rather bizarre and surreal erotic scenes, clearly written as filler in a listless and almost stereotyped way, become a popular source of hilarity in the fan community on the net.

Despite the reluctant choice and the cutting of a part of the story originally planned, however, Tsukihime managed to give Type-Moon an unexpected success, repaying all the risks and difficult choices that Nasu and Takeuchi had to make during the development ( including drastic changes in character design and tone, originally opposite to that of the final version).

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A remake announced

To the detriment of its success, however, Tsukihime is the only kind of eroge of Type-Moon to date that has not yet received a remake that puts aside the erogenous side of the title: this actually happened through the Réalta Nua versions Visual Novel by Fate, remakes that excluded the erotic content of the original version to provide a product not bound by the 18+ market. Also for Tsukihime a remake was promised, announced in the course of 2008, which should have included among other things a new route, the one originally cut from the script, greatly expanding the original story. This remake still remains without a release date and there is no way to know if the project is still in the works or if the company has chosen to take a step back on it.

Tsukihime structure

Tsukihime is a Visual Novel, and as such it is a real guided novel that combines the text with a soundtrack appropriate to the atmosphere of the events described, background scenarios depicting the areas where the event takes place and artwork depicting the characters involved.

Furthermore, the reader is called, occasionally during the narration, to make some choices in the story, experienced firsthand from the point of view of the protagonist, with the possibility of changing its course towards one outcome or the other and even prematurely concluding the story. if the choice made should lead to a dead end.

The routes

The work is divided into two parts (which take the name of the two faces of the Moon) which are in turn divided into 5 alternative stories called "routes", a very common medium for the type of product that allows you to prolong their duration and explore more facets of the narrative according to the route taken.

They are dedicated, as a norm in the eroge, each to a different heroine of the story, leading the protagonist to choose between Arcueid, Ciel, Akiha, Hisui or Kohaku, assigning the chosen heroine the role of co-protagonist in their own narration. The chosen one will enter into intimacy with the protagonist, who will be able to deepen the story by having the heroine associated with the route taken as the focal point of the events and changing the events by virtue of the relationship she will establish with her. Each route has two distinct endings: a "Good Ending" and a "True Ending" (except for the unique ending of the Kohaku route), which will take place based on the choices that the reader will make throughout history, giving Visual Novel a total of 9 main endings to which are added the 34 "Dead Ends", endings that involve the premature termination of the narrative as a consequence of one or more wrong choices and, finally, an overall epilogue of the story obtained as a prize once viewed all 9 main finals.

History

Introduction

The events of Tsukihime take place in the fictitious Misaki, a modest town, between the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 and deals with the life and vicissitudes of Shiki Tōhno, a teenager who as a young man fell victim to an almost fatal accident from which it has acquired the power of the Mystical Eyes of the Perception of Death and, through them, the ability to perceive the mortality cracks in people and objects, killing or destroying its target, sometimes it should cut the cracks with a sharp object. Equipped with a pair of glasses that allow him to live normally by hiding the cracks, a gift from a mysterious woman, Shiki is removed from his prestigious family and cared for by his uncles for eight years, but returns home following the death of his father, who made his younger sister Akiha the head of the family, who decides to welcome her brother back.

The mysterious girl

One day, upon returning from school, Shiki runs into a young girl from whom he is strongly attracted immediately and, caught by an unstoppable homicidal impulse, kills her. In shock following the event, Shiki discovers, surprised, that no media reported the death or disappearance of the girl, who returns in front of him a few days later introducing herself as Arcueid Brunestud, a warrior vampire princess who aims to balance the world of vampires and that of humans by chasing her fellow men, an aim that led her to meet Shiki in her path since on the trail of an evil vampire.

In debt for killing her (albeit failing), Shiki is forced to help the vampire in his hunt by gradually discovering an unimaginable world, a side of the city that is difficult to believe in and a hidden past of his own family and of himself, thanks also to that gift that had caused his departure.

Tsukihime's success

Despite not having significantly profound content in its narrative, Tsukihime was a key title for the success of Type-Moon, with a manga adaptation published between 2003 and 2010 with great commercial success.

The animated adaptation, produced by the JC Staff studio in 2003, proposes a completely unedited story that does not draw on the routes of Visual Novel. Its shortcomings and its superficial structure have led both fans and Nasu himself to deny the anime.

Visual Novel was never brought to the West except through amateur translation patches and, despite this, Tsukihime is a product that has been able to attract enough attention to build the first signs of a community destined to grow bigger and bigger, keeping a basic cohesion through the narrative tones used and the subtle connections to Kara no Kyōkai.

Tsukihime Plus-Disc

In January, in 2001, the first addition to the franchise was released: Tsukihime PLUS-DISC, an expanded version of the original work with the addition of a secondary story with humorous tones and a secondary one with more serious tones.

Together with them, PLUS-DISC includes wallpapers, the first four chapters of Kara no Kyōkai, some old Tsukihime demos and two short stories about secondary characters of the Visual Novel.

In August of the same year, the real sequel was released, entitled Kagetsu Tohya. Two years later Type-Moon releases Tsuki-Bako, a complete set that includes Tsukihime, an expanded version of PLUS-DISC, Kagetsu Tohya, a rearranged soundtrack, multimedia content and a trial version of the spin off Melty Blood.

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Kagetsu Tohya: a looping story

Kagetsu Tohya does not present the route structure of its predecessor, but a long main story with several branches flanked by some short stories that are unlocked as the events connected to them in the main story unfold.

Ten of these stories are combined under the title "Ten Nights of Dream" while the central narrative takes the subtitle of "Twilight Glass Moon, Fairy Tale Princess".

Synopsis

It takes place a year after the events of Tsukihime and sees the return of Shiki Tōhno, again the victim of an accident who finds himself, on waking up, in a bizarre dream in which he repeats the events of the same day cyclically, apparently indefinitely, starting all over again regardless of which of the infinite conclusions he can make.

However, the boy discovers that there is a chance to escape the cycle, and that the key to his freedom lies in finding Len, the creator of that dream.

Although the gameplay structure is almost identical to that of Tsukihime, the system through which the reader lives the different versions of the day in which Shiki is trapped differs in the number of choices available, much higher than previously proposed as well as the way the plot follows the choices made is different: some choices may in fact cancel previously established events depending on how they affect the narrative as a whole

The story of the Tsukihime franchise continues with Melty blood.