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Dated 15 November 2006: Tsukihime

Mirror Moon completed their English translation patch for the Tsukihime game. This is no small feat, as the Tsukihime game reportedly contains as much text as all the Lord of the Rings books. (I have no idea if this is true or not.)

Don't blame Hisui for these ungodly hours.

I'm far enough along to understand why I keep seeing "This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair" pasted all over the place. (It had it coming.) Just a few observations:

  • From the anime, I concluded Kohaku > Hisui. Thus far through the game, the reverse is true.
  • In fact, Hisui is the only character I particularly like so far. She's the best.
  • Akiha better back the Hell away from Hisui. Damn.
  • Shiki is kind of a putz for letting his kid sister talk to him like that all the time.
  • If an American company ever licenses the Tsukihime game, I propose that they use "the vapors" for all the instances where Mirror Moon used "anemia."

Also, I'm working on my Tsukihime playlist to substitute for the rather uninspired soundtrack.

Dated 20 November 2006: Tsukihime

So, it seems many people who have played the Tsukihime game also agree that Hisui is one of their favorite characters—disproportionately so compared to the fans of her anime counterpart.

I have a theory about that, actually: Hisui spends nearly the entire game standing next to your bed.

Hisui and Akiha
Dammit, Akiha, get the Hell out of here. Hisui, go stand by the bed some more.

In other news, I've also discovered that many of the tracks from the Mai-Otome soundtracks are suitable replacements for the Tsukihime in-game music.

Dated 7 January 2007: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

So apparently there is a doujin-type Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's shooter. Aside from that, I can't tell you much else about it except that it's a Bullet Hell sort of shooter, and that I'm horrible at it since my ability to see into the future has diminished considerably as I've gotten closer to it. I also really need to get myself a good USB arcade stick, because this gamepad madness is not cutting it.

You could also play as Nanoha if you were so inclined. Theoretically. I'm just sayin'.

I should probably also take this opportunity to drum up more interest in the upcoming Nanoha sequel, StrikerS. I would tell you it's going to be badass, but I'm hesitant as a matter or principle because (a) I don't see Fate's Dracula cape anywhere, and (b) they're introducing more new characters. Has there ever been a sequel to anything that had fewer characters than the original instead of more?

Maybe I'm just saying this since I've always kinda wished Vita had killed Nanoha in episode two of A's, so that series could have been about the entire Adminstration Bureau desperately trying to keep Fate (insane with rage and grief and consumed by unholy bloodlust) under control as she spent the next 10 episodes hunting down and whacking each of the Knights—with considerable collateral damage. Ah, don't worry, she would have let Hayate live.

Dated 23 March 2007: Guwange

So, my new favorite game is Guwange. I'm not a big fan of the Bullet Hell school of shooters, but the gameplay and controls in Guwange are balanced enough that even I stand a chance at navigating safely through the storm, albeit usually with fervid maneuvering bordering on panic.

The giant spider-cat boss from Guwange.
The giant spider-cat boss from Guwange.
Man, that's just not right.

But seriously, though, fuck that giant spider-cat thing. How messed up do you have to be to come up with something like that? Nightmares, man, nightmares. It's even worse than the creepy baby thing that you face later.

Dated 18 July 2007: American McGee's Alice

Alice box art with Vorpal blade
I'm disappointed I didn't get the "controversial" Vorpal box cover.

Too busy playing Alice to watch anything.

We need an anime based on this game. Given Japan's affinity for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I would expect this to be a done deal already.

Dated 26 September 2007: The world is not ready for NAKED PINAFORE

With apologies to Kero-chan from Cardcaptor Sakura and Paiway from VanDread, it's time for another KARMABURN CHECK.

This installment of KARMABURN CHECK features another anime fashion staple that needs to become more popular in the real world: The PINAFORE.

Meido Tai
The Idolm@ster Xenoglossia Maid Troop revs Imber's engine.

So what is a pinafore, and how is it distinguished from an apron? Basically, a pinafore is different from an apron in that it is meant to be (more or less) a permanent part of an outfit, compared to an apron which is usually just worn while cooking or during NAKED APRON fantasies. Also, while an apron fastens with stringy ties, a pinafore has broad sections of cloth that wrap around one's back, usually tied into a bow. (Pedantic fashion mavens may argue here that pinafores are no more permanent than aprons and should really be pinned on instead of tied. Screw them.)

The best known pinafore these days is probably the one worn by Alice in the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland, although I don't recall if Alice originally had a pinafore in Lewis Carroll's books.

American McGee's Alice
American McGee's Alice.

There's also American McGee's Alice, although that Alice's pinfore is a little...different.

Dated 10 January 2008: Gyakuten Saiban ~Only Love~

Phoenix Wright covers
Phoenix Wright game cases.

I've been playing the Phoenix Wright Nintendo DS games. If they ever make an anime adaptation of the series, they're going to have to make it a harem comedy or straight-up hentai, because all the female characters practically throw themselves at Phoenix. The sexual tension between Phoenix Wright and Franzisca von Karma in particular is ridiculous. I'm talking San Andreas Fault-level tension, your honor.

Franzisca von Karma contemplates revenge
Franzisca von Karma. Kugimiya Rie, your next tsundere role awaits.

My biggest complaint about the games is that they are excruciatingly linear. That, and your inability to bend these chicks over the evidence table even though they are totally coming on to you.

Dated 19 March 2008: Tsukihime revisited

Anime Hisui doesn't stand by Shiki's bed as much.

I've started re-watching the Tsukihime anime while re-playing the game. I never completed more than half the possible routes in the game, so there's still plenty left in the visual novel that's unexplored.

Arcueid surprised
This isn't what it looks like.

Shingetsutan Tsukihime (Lunar Legend Tsukihime) impresses a viewer differently if he is familiar with the original game. The first time I watched the series, I was wholly ignorant of the game aside from knowing that it was somehow related to Melty Blood (which I had played long enough to remember that I'm ghastly at fighting games).

Young Kohaku
Young Kohaku. Wait, oh no....

Nevertheless, I liked the Tsukihime anime enough to purchase the DVDs (including the very nice box) immediately as Geneon released the R1s. Even then I had little more than a vague understanding regarding the various plotlines and possible endings of the original game.

Hisui blushes
This isn't what it looks like either.

Now that I've finally played the game and completed enough of the paths to be familiar with the backstory, the anime takes on a whole new dimension and I recognize when the anime hints at the untold story's actual depth. Of course, there is no possible way to cover all that material in a single-season series, especially considering that many of the possible plotlines are divergent and mutally exclusive depending upon the player's choices. So, I have a greater appreciation of the work J.C. Staff managed in producing the series.

Ciel surely Jedi-mind-fucks everyone when changing for gym class.

In retrospect, it now seems obvious that the show is aimed at viewers who have played through the game (or are at least well-versed in its story). Still, the series works for viewers that approach the title without knowing anything about the game, and to that end I think J.C. Staff succeeded.

Arcueid surprises Shiki
"This really really isn't what it looks like"
"At least she didn't turn into a dragon."

Still, complaints that the Tsukihime anime is convoluted and poorly paced are understandable. This is not a perfect series by any means, although as a stand-alone work it doesn't stumble as much as the Fate/Stay Night anime (which I mostly completed only out of general principle). Highlights in J.C. Staff's adaptation of Tsukihime include superlovely character designs (Arcueid in particular is a game-breaking home run) and excellent work evolving the "you-get-the-idea" stills and backdrops from the game into beautiful designs and lavish settings that remain instantly familiar. For example, Shiki's knife looks like a possible heirloom instead of something he pulled out of a kitchen drawer and the Tohno mansion itself actually looks opulent.

Shiki's knife
Shiki's knife.

Akiha and Kohaku
Akiha plays her violin.

Also notable is the music, which is quite good here and much improved from the game BGM. Like many people, I've experimented with replacing the original Tsukihime game's music with a variety of other tracks. Currently, it comprises mostly of tracks from the My-Otome soundtrack, which is going to evoke some curious juxtapositions when I re-watch My-Otome, I'm sure.

Ciel watches over Shiki
Ciel watches over [Edit: stalks] Shiki.

Not so good are the unremarkable fight scenes, but I'm willing to let that go because (1) fight scenes are a persistent J.C. Staff shortcoming (Azumanga Daioh snowball fight notwithstanding) and (2) well, the original game contains only stills, so any animated fights are technical improvements, I suppose. Moreover, even if the occasional fights are nothing special, the show itself looks great.