Maybe Onegai Twins is just a tribute to Tsukihime? The drama between Kohaku/Hisui and Akiha, and the drama between Arc and Ciel… It’s just so memorable.
Kinoko Nasu’s popular smash hit is a tour de force in a lot of ways. It’s sort of like eating a burger the proper way, and you’re not sure if your body agrees with some of the burger’s content.
But having said that, I downed the game in its entirety over the course of a week. It was a lot of fun and somehow I gotten to like Shiki a lot. I think, in all things, having some kind of significant attachment to the main character really helps the reader. It is probably the best thing about Tsukihime. (And probably the largest flaw with Shingetsutan Tsukihime.)
But starting out the new year about a porn game, sadly, is not how I’d like it. And as much as some of us may deny the erotic aspect of the game (in honest), Arc is still pretty hot. Perhaps my biggest complaint of the game, then, is that there’s just way too much pornographic material in the story. And I think a lot of it is excessive. It’s to the degree that after I was through with my second major ero scene I was holding down the fast forward button. Come to think of it, nearly all of the ero scenes were excessive and can be either simply cut, or worked around with the same effect. To be honest there were only a couple more enticing in-game scenes than the 6 different faces of Hisui, and that sort of stuff is just more amusing and morally sensible. In other words, I was just skipping 80% or more of the erotic content just fine, and to me they’re just excessive baggage of the genre norm for these kinds of games. Boooooring. Honestly I’d rather be more bothered if the porn part of the game was better, and as much as it may be something that I initially expected, I was pretty quick to resign to a more morally sound position.
What is more disturbing than the tender loving care Shiki Tohno dispenses to his nonlinear harem is the psychotic violence described in Tsukihime. It didn’t agree with me, but I see why it’s there and the point it makes. It’s pretty interesting because as much as it’s easy to bring about disturbing, snuff-like violence, it’s another to do so by making you feel it. Doubly so with just words. Tsukihime has little visual violence, and those moments aren’t the ones I’m talking about. I’m partly impressed but also kind of put off because a lot of it is not exactly directly related to the story it tries to tell, either.
I think the primary Tsukihime schtick is basking us with ambiance and then it paints our minds with careful, concise statements about whatever Kinoko Nasu wants to talk about. As a result a huge amount of the story is dedicated to painting that ambiance. it’s like drowning your resin kit with a sea of primer, only to put three dots on it with your paintbrush. Mmm, hairless naked figurines? It’s not the most masterful in the execution, but it isn’t terrible. A little blunt, but it gets the point across well. Well, it’s really blunt. For example:
The torrent breaks through.
Spinning. Spinning. Spinning spinning the world is spinning.
Sun and moon. Female and lion. Angel and pollution. Colliding uphill paths. Broken hourglass. Upwards falling sand. Shattered window and a door without a handle. Darkness. Darkness. Darkness. Darkness. Darkness.
* * *
I’m getting crushed.
Melting wall. Solvable meaning. Self who can explain. Smoothness of changable permeability. Transitioning time. Observation life and execution function. A pinky-less hand. Headless eyes. Rolling carpet. Once. Twice. Three Times. 777 cages. Burst balloon. Unfulfillable promise. Unprotectable law. Death contract. Poison and honey. Red and afterbirth. Murcury lamp and bug light. Light refracting to countless dimensions. Swimming fish, singing at the ocean bottom. Tools, tools, tools. Towards endlessly reproducing stars without meaning, without will. Better than wishes. Another only me. Unraveling deep sea. Contradictory that appears from microscopic organisms. Detailed view of a quark. Rejection of everything. Formless form. An embryo within a hearse. I curse and celebrate their existence.
* * *
“What, is this—-”
Cessation is disregard. The bleeding earth. Trade your blood for poison and you will attain immortality. Rose. Rose. Rose. Rose. Your splendor will not last forever. The way to reach Lohan’s temple, eat this bread. Spreading defilement. The April that’s farther than May, the reversal of limbs, awaken in the shrine of balance beyond the dual serpent and scorpion. The skin of rotten fruit. Burned puppet of celluloid. The cannabis of Legion. Grinding and friction. Sun and Moon. Colliding uphill paths. Female and lions. Broken hourglass. Spiraling clouds. I am unparalleled. Upwards falling sand. Eight years ago. Killed. Killed. Killed. Killed.Killed. Killed. Killed. Killed.Killed. You. Killed!
One thing Tsukihime does, like many other complex, multi-pathing kinetic/visual novels, (well) is having a couple major story lines and then fill those out with character story lines, each filling in the gap the other missed. What makes Tsukihime marvelous in this aspect is that its two main stories “near side of the moon” and “far side of the moon” complemented each other very well. I sort of think that the “far side of the moon” was really a story about Kohaku, but they realized how it’s very useful by forcing her story to be unlocked last, it gives Hisui and Akiha’s stories much more “oomph.” It’s a bit of a cheat, I guess, but it’s to good effect. Well, I suppose “well” is kind of relative too, given the fairly lean connection between the major story lines.
I shouldn’t play favorites, but it’s so fun to do it with this game–pretty much everyone’s story are fairly good. One personal favorite part about Tsukihime was that the whole Arcueid-cide aspect came about very well. In fact I think overall Arc’s story is probably my favorite because it is a hair’s breadth away from invoking a Jesus allegory with a straight face. An allegory in the line of Aslan in C.S. Lewis’ famous book about a wardrobe. And it’s subtly wonderful in that how the story BEGINS with it. It’s probably not a common way to look at this story, but I think it pans out in full.
There was a lot of thought that went into Tsukihime, I get the feeling. If a visual novel is the paradigm of excess in a text-narrative world, then Tsukihime loaded this visual novel up with a lot of excessive text, true to the nature of the medium. Excess in words, in feelings, in the relationships and what’s unnecessary but yet so vital to the entire experience. What’s more, it carries the weight, look and feel of a doujin production. It’s a game not for the squirmish, but if you’re adventurous and open minded, this is one hella of a ride.
Flawed, but not fatal; highly recommended.
For reference, I played the game using my copy of Tsukihime from Tsukibako, and used the ONScripter adaptation in English from Mirror Moon. Make sure you use the latest version! The translation, as a post script, is adequate but leaves a lot to be desired; but don’t let that turn you away from this landmark piece of gaming history. For post-post script, a shoutout to chendo and a certain friend in Japan who made this experience possible.