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Lunar Legend Tsukihime Volume 1    by Tsukihime Project order for
Lunar Legend Tsukihime Volume 1
by Tsukihime Project
Order:  USA  Can
Dr. Master, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Reading between the lines takes on a whole new meaning in Lunar Legend Tsukihime: Volume 1, where readers are introduced to Shiki Tohno-Kun. After awakening in a hospital, Tohno-Kun sees lines everywhere he looks; on furniture, on his hands, and all over other people. He soon discovers that these are break lines, and that he can swiftly destroy an object simply by dragging his finger or knife along such lines. Things only get stranger. After returning to his family's house, Tohno-Kun begins hearing news reports about people being found in the city with their blood completely drained. A young woman keeps following him; a young woman he believes he killed recently. Is he losing his mind? The woman, Arcueid Brunestud, turns out to be a vampire, haunted by what Tohno-Kun managed to do to her. Together, as they sort through these and other mysterious events, they are confronted by familiars of Nero Chaos, a renegade vampire who lays siege to the city.

Consider it an old bag with some new tricks. This manga graphic novel (read backwards by Western standards and right to left) packs over two hundred and twenty pages of entertainment, following Tohno-Kun on his path of discovery and battle. As a first in the series, it sets up decent subplots with his friends and family but manages to keep the main thrust of the story focused on the weird events involving vampires and his line-seeing. The black and white art remains consistent throughout the story, with plenty of character variation so that one can quickly identify them without flipping back and forth to remember who is who. A weird attribute is that sometimes background people and even main-framed people are missing eyes. One might think this is an artistic choice for the context of the story at that point on that page, but it may also be a printing mishap. Also, some text exposition is accompanied by Chinese fonts, most likely saying the same thing but still interesting to look at.

Mixing macabre qualities and cuteness seems to be one of the defining aspects of manga, and this graphic novel proves true to form. The use of big pupil-filled eyes, round and undefined faces, and very small mouths make our heroes likeable in contrast to villains whose facial proportions are distinctly different. Nearly everyone has a hard time in high school, but it's worse for Tohno-Kun, who has to wear glasses to inhibit all the strange lines he sees, and keep an eye out for beastly dogs acting on behalf of a blood-thirsty vampire. But the reader is left with no doubt there's more in store for him and thus far, it has been entertaining to follow his adventures.

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