9/04/2007

Visual Novel Review: Kagetsu Tohya

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly.
Kagetsu Tohya is a visual novel by Type-Moon. It essentially is the "sequel", in all intention, to its popular predecessor Tsukihime, one of the most gripping and emotional stories I've seen this side of, well, actual books. (Which I admit I do lack in.)

This, as has been addressed and joked about in my two earlier posts about KT, should be all you really need to read in this post, because either you will be:
1) Completely lost and ignore this post
2) Proudly crossing this game off your Completed Type-Moon Works list
3) Dashing to get your hands on the patch.

To be honest Kagetsu Tohya isn't one of those things where you can simply go "Heh, CCY's raving about it, let's go play it," because while the story is for all purposes separate from that of Tsukihime's, both some of the minor aspects and many of the in-jokes will fly far, far over your head if you have not played the original. There's a reason it's called the Tsukihime Fun Disc, and not Tsukihime II.

So if you don't know who Ciel-sensei is (or if you answer Ciel), why Sacchin is sad, or why Hisui is so moe you're going to die I would highly suggest you play Tsukihime first. The patch can be
found over at Mirror Moon.

That advice applies even if you've watched the anime and think you have a grasp on what Tsukihime is, because to be honest...you don't. There's four full paths you're missing out on. And they're all the good ones.

That said, if you're bored and curious what exactly Kagetsu Tohya has to offer - perhaps, if you need a reason to get into Tsukihime, or if you still live in the land of the 56K modem, or maybe if you just want to hear me rant about Sacchin - then read on. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum.

The protagonist of Kagetsu Tohya, Shiki Tohno, is an almost ordinary high school student with an eerie power to see points/lines of death (which if cut, are basically instakills, dot period) and uncannily good reflexes that surprise even himself. He gets to know a bunch of equally mysterious people, including a man/demon/animal hybrid, an awfully friendly, naive, and powerful vampire, and a unkillable killer; not to mention the many mysteries that surround the seemingly typical tsundere sister and twin maids that inhabit his household.

But all that's what takes place in Tsukihime; in Kagetsu Tohya, Shiki finds himself in the awkward position of being run over by a truck from scene one, which places him in a Groundhog Day-type loop of repeating a single day over and over, beginning each day as a clean slate and searching for a way out.

This is not to say Kagetsu Tohya is a short game by any sense of the word, as the main core of the game took me about 80 repetitions of the same day to complete. And it's not like the repetitions were...well...repetitive much either. With each phase of the day - morning, midday, afternoon, and night, loosely - offering a wealth of different choices, there's plenty of content to be found, not even taking into account options that appear, dissapear, and change later in the story.

For example, the first choice Shiki encounters (after a lengthy monologue, I might add) is whether to go to school or stay at the mansion on that particular day. If the latter is chosen, we get another lengthy scene before we are presented with no less than eight choices on what to do in the morning. Pick one of them and you'll have another six selections to choose from.

And then it'll be lunchtime. The day's not half over, as anyone who knows Tsukihime knows that all the fun stuff goes on at night.


And by fun stuff I mean plot stuff, in any case. Kagetsu Tohya takes on much of a lighter feel than Tsukihime, as being a game with less of an urge to complete things, since the day repeats over and over, there are lots of entertaining things to do on the side. This goes for pretty much anyone's definition of entertaining things; whether it be physical comedy, awkward groping scenes (please, no), self-reference, character interaction (take your pick), or maybe just a bit of relaxing and contemplating the infinite, Kagetsu Tohya is highly quotable and will probably have a little something to make you smile.


Not that it's not a serious game. While it's not Tsukihime, and it doesn't have the power to make you shed tears, it will touch you, perhaps send you off on a little brainstorm monologue of your own. It's more of a deep-thinking game than a crying game; Shiki's (and others') strangely serious and realistic monologues will make you think and compare it to your own situation, and it's really a good contemplating piece. You're not going to be deriving a lot of hidden meaning from this work (most of it's pretty straight forward), but it does allow for a sort of emotional connection.

If you are a lolipedofin you will be at home with this game as the character that Kagetsu Tohya revolves around the most (other than you as Shiki) is the loli and/or furry Len, a human with strangely cat-like characteristics. There isn't a lot of moments that will make you feel dirty as Shiki is a nice pure guy and often regards Len as a family member more than an object to lust after, but it does get a bit messy at points; and as such the game comes includes with an option to skip sexual content completely and automatically.


This option may not be as safe as Mirror Moon's option to completely obliterate H-scenes in Tsukihime on install, but what this means is that you can jump in and out of H-content if, say, the maids are more your flavor than the loli.


In which case you are a sick, sick person for thinking of violating Hisui. (Hint: The picture depicts how she can be 110% awesome while still clothed.)

In any case, Kagetsu Tohya delivers content in spades even outside of the huge main storyline, with ten unlockable sidestories titled the "Ten Nights of Dream". These stories are stand-alone and range from the serious, back-story-filling-in ones to the side-splitting, self-referential stories that will leave you on the floor rolling. Or maybe shedding a tear for sad Sacchin. Again.


And these side-stories are quite long. I was intending to tear through them in a day, but at what is gauged to be about a half-hour read for each of them alone, that's five hours of content, not pausing for food or sanity breaks.

As such I cannot give a 100% review of KT as there is undoubtedly some extra content lying in the crevices somewhere, including an easter egg left apparently by the translation team which looks to be interesting (once I finish the side stories, again). In case you have not found it, what they say is that "It's where the FUN lies."


There are also cute little messages you recieve on game startup, and on every return to the main menu (i.e. finishing a day, Ten Nights story, etc) you can probably get a different one. There are even special ones for special days (for special sad characters~) so a completionist will go mad trying to see each little humorous variation.


Oh yeah, and there's a sizeable fanart gallery as well in addition to the usual CG viewing area.

Kagetsu Tohya in short is a very content-filled visual novel and quite replayable after "completion" compared to other ones, despite the lack of separate "paths." The story is decently in-depth and it will take you a bit to complete it (just in case, Ciel-sensei is there to help as well!), not to mention power through all the random and/or silly choices (please, ignore the fact that raiding the closet of a contract killer is a Very Stupid Thing, because it's one of those things where Hilarity Ensues. No, really.) to get all the flavor text.


It's a must-play (read) for any Tsukihime fan. For those who have not been introduced to the Tsukihime universe previously it's highly reccommended that that be done first, both on the merits of the original and to ensure 100% understanding of all the funnies that the visual novel makes in reference to the plot of Tsukihime.

All in all, a good balance of humor and plot, especially since you can have your pick in a sense which is your flavor.

-CCY

(Final note: Hanepin should have happened to Tsukihime a lot earlier.)

16 comments:

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When you're surfing Google looking for how to unlock the final story in KT (Drinking, Dreaming Moon, which is pretty cool, by the way), and you come across your own blog in the MT forums.

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