Spinoff Fighting Game based on TYPE-MOON's famous visual novel, Tsukihime. As a direct sequel to Tsukihime and Kagetsu Tohya, it is rather story-heavy, expanding the Canon considerably; a surprisingly large amount of content can be taken as correct interpretations of various characters' skills and abilities.First co-developed by Watanabe Production (now French-Bread) and TYPE-MOON and released for the PC, the game has gone through several iterations:
Melty Blood: The original, with the first storyline (Story Mode). Six playable characters with eight unlockable. Released in 2002.
Re-ACT: Introduced Arcade Mode (unique string of matches for each character, and second storyline), new move sets for doppelganger characters, and two new playable characters (Len, Satsuki). Released in 2004.
Re-ACT Final Tuned: Patch that upgraded the game to resemble the upcoming console port. Introduced a new, analog-friendly control scheme, multi-button commands, interface adjustments, and changeable color schemes.
Act Cadenza: Arcade (later console) port that, as a result of its focus on the fighting aspect, took out Story Mode (the first storyline). Introduced two new playable characters (Aoko Aozaki, Kouma Kishima) and upgraded sprites. Released in 2006.
Act Cadenza Version B: Update (later PC port) that tweaked the controls to be a bit more context-sensitive. Introduced Tag-Team Mode, Four-Player Mode, the training dummy, White Len as a playable character, stat changes for many characters, and a hidden storyline for Neko-Arc Chaos that introduced a new hidden boss, known as Neko-Chaos Black G666, that when beaten unlocks a new mode. Released in 2007.
Actress Again: Added new fighting styles (Crescent/Half/Full Moon) and moves, new Guard Meter, and two new playable characters (Roa and Riesbyfe). The console version gets 3 more characters: Shiki Ryougi, Akiha in her Seifuku outfit, and "Archetype Earth", a fully-powered, fully awoken Arcueid.
Actress Again Current Code: Essentially the PS2 version of Actress Again brought back to the Arcade with some slight tweaking. Among the differences: Different hardware (Sega RingWide instead of NAOMI), HQ2X Filtering on sprites, and some new visual effects, but nothing else major. Recently updated to version 1.05 which adds one more playable character in the form of Powerd Ciel (yes, it's spelled that way, and the official term is Executioner Ciel). A final update has been released which includes a fully playable, non-broken version of Archetype Earth. A demo for the PC version is out now.
While it has fairly generic Fighting Game mechanics, what sets it apart is the atmosphere and the characters, who have powers rarely seen in Fighting Games in general.
Life Meter: one for health (Physical Strength, yellow) and another (Vital Source, Red) for actual health-recovery limit.
Mana Meter: Magic Circuits, 0 to 300%, or 200% if playing Actress Again and using the Half-Moon Style. Used for special shielding, EX Specials, Shield bunkering, and combos. Can also recover health (up to the limit mentioned above).
Charge Meter: certain attacks and some specials can be charged. In the game terminology these are called "Blowback Edges" but are usually simply referred to as charged attacks.
It has incorporated many features from other Fighting Games; clashing (two attacks hit and cancel each other), cancelling (cancel one move into another), shielding and EX-Shielding (the latter allows for a riposte at cost of the Magic Circuit). Regular combos can be powered up by using the Magic Circuit. Specials made during Heat or Blood Heat Mode (when Magic Circuit is high) are called Arc Drives. Counters made during Blood Heat are called Last Arcs that look very cool and deal a ton of damage with some causing Circuit Break to the opponent (self-explanatory).Video here.Old Tourney Footage here.Made its American professional tournament debut at Evolution 2010.A tourney-centric fansite exists for western fans in the form of Melty BreadFor blood that actually melts things, see Bloody Murder.
Bowdlerise: Later installments for the series dropped the blood splash effect some attacks inflicted on the opponents, such as Shiki Tohno and Shiki Nanaya's Arc Drives, and specific attacks from other characters as well.
But Now I Must Go: Several endings in the first story end with Sion leaving the town for various reasons.
Shiki Ryougi: You're my senior when it comes to these eyes, lady-killer. (victory quote over Shiki Tohno)
(Fake) Chinese Girl: Miyako, whose kung fu gets an insane boost because of Wallachia.
Combination Attack: Hisui and Kohaku (when used together), Sion's Last Arc (with the "ghost" of another character), Wallachia's Arc Drive (with doppelgangers of various characters appearing for just an instant to hit the opponent).
Actress Again adds teams of Kohaku & Mech-Hisui and Mech-Hisui and Neco-Arc.
Comic Book Adaptation: A manga is being written based off this game. Unlike the Tsukihime anime adaptation, this is more of Adaptation Distillation. It condenses the plot and characters together in an excellent way. Also replaces the fight against Nero/Nrvnqsr that happened in the original game as a sign that Tatari is gaining power with with an excellentTear Jerker of an arc in which Tatari takes the form of Satsuki.
Did well enough to get a second season which is... well, you could still call it a distillation, only this time what it's distilling is all the ridiculously insane parts of the games, like Mecha-Hisui and that sort of thing. It's... interesting.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the manga, Akiha's punishment for Kohaku attempting to take over the Tohno mansion (and wiping out the Tohno family's fortune in the process of mass-producing her Mecha-Hisui army) is to invite everyone to a beach party - and Kohaku isn't allowed to change out of her heavy kimono and apron. She collapses approximately halfway through the day.
Cool Versus Awesome: Ryougi's ending against a fully powered Archetype Earth; a.k.a. "Princess Arcueid."note Hidden because of length: "RS: ........! What is this aura!? You mean I got the wrong one!? AE: So it seems. The providence of the Air (Sky) and the providence of the Star (planet) are separate things, ours paths ones that will diverge one day and move apart. AE: And yet It cannot suffer even that? Apparently, It has deemed that if they are fated to conflict, it is all the same to conclude things here. AE: What impatience. The fault lies in that your Aspect (or maybe Phase?) is an Order that encompasses all. It is all well to have many options, but to lack uniformity is a deplorable thing is it not? RS: What the.....I can't see your death isn’t the problem, no, you have no death. RS: You're........so, you're the one. AE: Yes, you need say no more. The target the Being that summoned you to eliminate is this vessel, the manifestation of lifespan (Life) most far-reaching on this planet. AE: But even that is of little meaning, for you, you came simply to bring death to that which does not die, did you not? Your actions are ones drenched with emotion, but I will not mock that. AE: Because, I am the same. Gazing at the severed limbs scattered about there, I cannot help but make a terrible smile. Thus, I will answer your provocation. RS: Heh, so you want revenge for that weirdo huh? All of this is going to be a dream anyway and everything will be back just the way it was when we wake up, but my, aren't you the faithful one. RS: But hey, why not? You got me interested, monster, because I can understand just how you feel. AE: That is excellent. Then. Flee in terror, peon. End my smile with thy death. RS: Says you, vampire. Whatever you are, however many billions long your life is, it doesn't matter. RS: Either way, it's the end of the dream. Let's do it. I'll show you that I can kill anything alive, even god.We don't know what happens next.
Cross Over: Shiki Ryogi in the console version of Actress Again. Taking bets on how many ports/releases it takes for Saber to find her way in.
Mystic Eyes of Death Perception: horrible headaches, shortened life, death with frequent use. Then again, can destroy anything that exists under Gaia.
Originally for Shiki Tohno, fixed for him later on for gameplay reasons. Ryougi seems to have no problems with it...because their eyes don't have the exact same source.
Vampirism: changes your soul, slowly kills your measly human body, undying thirst for blood. Then again, superhuman strength, perception, agility, and immortality (as long as you drink blood).
Dead to Begin With: Only Satsuki, really, as the undead form of vampire. Arcueid is a True Ancestor — a form of vampire that isn't undead. Len's not so much undead as half-alive, due to her artificial creation from dead things.
Satsuki wasn't even in the original game, despite the story allegedly following her non-existent route. Even when she was introduced into the games as of Re-ACT, she's still not on Shiki's romance radar. And in the Manga Adaptation, it's not Sacchin at all, but just a Tatari avatar.
Despite being the villain of Tsukihime, Roa (who amusingly is half-responsible for Satsuki's vampirism) doesn't appear until Actress Again. The other guy, SHIKI Tohno hasn't appeared at all. Isn't it sad, Capslock-kun?
Doing It for the Art: TYPE-MOON loves how simple and old school the game looks visually, remanescent from the old days they were a small softhouse who could only do this much; with this the developers are vocal about not ever changing or evolving the game graphically (HD sprites/3D models, more active stages & etc.). Evolution and changes in any installment will only amount to technical balance to improvements, and character additions.
Evil CounterpartWithin: The entire point of characters like Nanaya Shiki, Sion Tatari, Red Arcueid (Warcueid), and White Len. Many of them physically manifest due to Wallachia's (and later, White Len's) power.
Shiki Nanaya: what Shiki Tohno would have become — an amoral, assassin-of-demons who loves his job.
Red Arcueid: Arcueid if she gave in to her bloodlust, using her normally-restrained powers to kill.
Archetype Earth. The Full power of Arcueid Brunestud; not given in to just bloodlust but as a copy of the Crimson Moon itself. As in, the original vampire template.
Akiha Vermilion: Same deal as Red Arcueid - Akiha Vermilion has lost pretty much all of her humanity.
Sion Tatari: Sion if she completely becomes the next Tatari. This is treated as an "Alternate Continuity" character. Sion Tatari and "Good" Sion as playables don't exist in the same timeline. And the Dust of Osirus is a third Sion.
Enemy Without: This is basically the point of the Tatari's ability in the games.
Subverted at one point. Tatari can cause the manifestation of all the above-listed evil counterparts, and starting in Re-Act, they all have a story mode...all but one, that is. White Len is immensely surprised when she realizes that the Vermillion Akiha who approaches her is, in fact, Akiha herself.
Friendly Enemy: Due to nature of fighting game, most of people who would have no reason to fight each other (also Ciel and Arcueid) fall into this. Most winning quotes of Shikis love interests against him are variation of "huh, huh, I won, now you have to go on date with me <3". Contrast winning quotes Shiki, Ciel, and Arcueid have against each other, to that they have against Nero or Roa.
Gambit Roulette: Through training, Alchemists have the mental capacity to plan every possible outcome for a situation. However, once they reach a certain level they realize all paths through history inevitably lead to the destruction of humanity and the planet itself, and are driven to despair and complete insanity by the fact that they can't plan a way out of it.
Future Badass: The Dust of Osirus is a clone of Sion who became the Tatari.
Glass Cannon: Vermillion Akiha has insanely powerful attacks, but the second lowest defense in the game. The only character lower is Neco-Arc Chaos. Ironically, normal Akiha has the second HIGHEST defense in the game — the only character who's higher is the horribly-broken Archetype Earth (at least before Current Code).
Shiki Tohno's Arc Drive, the Seventeen Piece Dissection, is an homage to how Shiki cuts Arcueid into seventeen pieces in their first meeting. His quote during his Last Arc is the exact same as what he said when he defeated Roa in Arcueid's route of Tsukihime.
Arcueid's Last Arc, when used against Shiki, will hit exactly 18 times; a revenge for his "17 Dissection" of her in the beginning of Tsukihime.
Hisui's Last Arc is a jab at the numerous grammar mistakes she made in the original Tsukihime, including the famous "You will be the criminal". Her Arc Drive is a more badass version of the ridiculous-looking attack she uses in "Omogirisou" in Kagetsu Tohya.
Shiki Nanaya's Last Arc is the exact same move that he uses against Shiki Tohno in Kagetsu Tohya (he throws his knife at the heart, and simultaneously leap over their head and break their neck).
Satsuki's Arc Drive does extra damage against Shiki Tohno (and Shiki Nanaya) as revenge for failing to protect her in Tsukihime - despite it having been out of his power to do so at the time. To emphasize the point, her Arc Drive ends with her screaming "BAKA!" ("idiot!") to the person on the receiving end, but changes to "USOTSUKI!" ("liar!") against both Shikis.
Kohaku's Arc Drive involves a quick change into the Chinese dress and accent she cosplays in during Kagetsu Tohya.
Her leitmotif makes it into her stage in Actress Again, which is titled "...and nothing heart" (the subtitle of the second chapter and movie).
Some of her moves are taken from the movies (the jump and upside-down spin knifing the enemy in the head is from the first movie against one of the ghosts; the throw is from the third movie against Asagami Fujino (with the addition of a stab), and her Last Arc is from the fifth movie with the appearance of a katana-wielding Void!Shiki). And speaking of that Last Arc, it is a One-Hit Kill against you if you're in Heat or Blood Heat. Not so when you got hit? Well then, go into Heat or Blood Heat later in the round and see your HP get drained to one point. Truly a god-killing technique.
Large Ham: Neco-Arc Chaos' voice acting. JYAN JYA JYANNNNNN~
Neco-Arc Chaos' voice actor is Jyouji Nakata, who has a very extensive resume of hammy villains. Including Nrvnqsr Chaos himself.
Leitmotif: Every character has their own stage, which is tied to a specific theme song.
LethalJoke Character: Neco-Arc, Neco-Arc Chaos. Also, the noncombative characters in the original games — the twin maids, for example — are given comedic moves (most of Hisui's are tied to her cleaning of the mansion.
Love Hurts Less: Archetype:Earth's Last Arc (pre-Current Code) is pretty much a guaranteed KO for any opponent. Any, that is, except for Tohno Shiki. When against Shiki as the opponent, her Last Arc does significantly less damage than usual, only cutting around a quarter of his health.
Magical Eyes: Shiki Tohno's Mystic Eyes of Death Perception that can see the "concept of death" on anything. His Arc Drives shatter the entire screen.
Meaningful Name: Wallachia is a vampire. The real world Wallachia was a small country (now part of Romania) from whence Vlad the Impaler, the man Dracula is based on, came from.
Merging The Branches: The game declares a combination of two endings (Ciel's and Kohaku's) plus events that never actually happened in any canon route.
Arcueid: Look who it is. Are you the real one? Ciel: That is understandable. I had to kick around many of my fake selves before I came here. Arcueid: If you're involved in something that troublesome, you're the real one. So, how are you doing Ciel?
Ninja Maid: Kohaku and Hisui (thanks to Wallachia's reality-warping; they are otherwise total non-combatants).
No Pronunciation Guide: Nrvnqsr?? note It's pronounced 'Nero'. The weird spelling is because those letters correspond to the Hebrew numbering system (for "Nero Caesar") and they add up to 666.
Not So Different: What Walachia tells Sion when Shiki and her confront him. He tells her that they cannot live without taking something from others, information for Sion and Blood for Walachia. This causes her to freak out and allow her Super-Powered Evil Side to take over, and Walachia lets her loose on Shiki.
Akiha even has an attack, consisting of her crossing her arms and push-kicking her opponent, nicknamed "Gangster Princess Kick" by fans.
Ryougi Shiki can qualify as well.
One Steve Limit: Subverted. As of Melty Blood: Actress Again, there are at least three Shikis.
Also, two Sions, (technically) two Lens, two Arcueids, three Akihas, and depending on your interpretation, the Neko versions of Arcueid and Nero Chaos may also count, as well as Mech-Hisui being based off Hisui. Plus the 17th and 18th incarnations of Roa may also count... And as of version 1.05, there is now another Ciel which is essentially a playable version of Executioner Ciel from Re-ACT.
Only Mostly Dead: Characters defeated in Story Mode are never actually dead. Except the bad guys.
Recurring Riff: Aoko's theme is an instrumental rock remix of the original game's main theme song.
Ciel's new stage in Actress Again is yet another remix of the very same theme, but this time with a (naturally) Ominous Latin Chanting motif to it.
Retcon: Nero/Nrvnqsr Chaos as the boss of the first game was later retconned to be a Tatari Avatar.
Then again, a fair bit of stuff was retconned when they did Re-ACT.
Shout-Out: Neko-Arc Chaos' Last Arc involves dropping a giant Kaleidostick (from Fate/hollow ataraxia) on the opponent. Neko-Arc's Last Arc does the same, but with fricking Nasu's mushroom avatar instead.
Giant Akiha is one bigass shoutout to Apocalypse as encountered in X-Men VS Street Fighter / Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter, complete with Eye Beams, drill attack, her onscreen appearance consisting only of one arm and upper body... The only gameplay difference is that she can turn to face either direction, as opposed to Apocalypse, who was easy pickings once you got behind him.
Getting there is another story entirely. GIANT UPPER!!!!!
From the All Around TYPE-MOON drama CD comes Ryougi calling Arcueid "stupid woman" in her victory quote, as well as "This is the answer -de gozaru!" after a Last Arc Finish.
Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Within the same game, there's two "modes" of reality. One is completely serious, the grimdark world of Tsukihime and all. The other has super deformed catgirls and catboys, mecha-maids, Magical Amber, and Giant Akiha. Satsuki has to put up with both.
In fact, it has gone so out of control that there are two manga adaptations : Melty Blood, that puts up with the Sion/Wallachia serious storyline, and Melty Blood ACT Two, which follows the raw silliness of Miyako and Kohaku's antics.
SNK Boss: Certain non-playable characters verge on this (Executioner Ciel, G-Akiha, etc...)
Archetype Earth pre-Current Code definitely qualifies with insane frame advantage, high damage output and defense, an exclusive Moon Style (Eclipse) which allows her to Circuit Spark even if she's not in Max Mode and automatically refills her Magic Circuit gauge and not to mention her damn infinite combo. Largely why she's banned in tournament play.
Time Travel: The first Tatari is Nigh Invulnerable unless his Curse Escape Clause is met. The Red Moon shines down on him. Since this won't happen until 1000 years or so; Arcueid reaches forward in time and pulls the moon temporarily to the present; so that Shiki or Sion can destroy him permanently.
This leads to the events of Actress Again in the alternate future that Arcueid pulled the moon from; humanity died and only the Dust Of Osiris was left. She follows the moon to the present and decides she'll end the world now.
Titledrop: Arcueid's Blood Heat Arc Drive is called "Melty Blood." Though Arc is the main heroine of the franchise, Sion is technically the main heroine of this spin-off, not that it really matters given the nature of this game.
Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: In Nero Chao's win quote against Kohaku, he tells her he will spare her life and she should leave. It really has to mean something if the embodiment of chaos, who usually eats and devours his victims, tells you to leave because his beasts have trouble dealing with you.
Vampire Refugee: Sion is actively looking to reverse her vampirism, and despite her Super-Powered Evil Side; does manage to handle most of the symptoms quite well in her "good" storyline; though Arcueid says an outright "cure" is impossible.
Sion falls and falls hard in her "V. Sion" story branch.
Vampire Sion's summons in-game are actually her friends and are "good" (Riesbyfe, Arcueid, Akiha, Satsuki, Ciel), as opposed to Wallachia's summons of Tatari "villains" (Red Arcueid, Nero Chaos, Shiki Nanaya and Vermillion Akiha).
Tournament Play: Popular with arcade and PC versions. Was part of the Super Battle Opera tournament lineup in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 and Evo 2010, and is considered one of the most balanced 2D fighters ever made.
Tsundere: Akiha, White Len. Sion probably counts as well towards Shiki at times.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: In Current Code, playing as Archetype Earth through the arcade mode will pit you against 10 stages instead of the usual 9. Also, on the last stage, you suddenly get to control Arcueid, fighting Archetype Earth as the final boss.
Violently Protective Girlfriend: Archetype Earth!Arcueid. Although her 'girlfriend' status is questionable, when Ryougi Shiki kills Tohno Shiki at the end of her story route in Actress Again, the exchange below occurs. Despite the fact that Archetype Earth claims not to have anything resembling sentimentality, the sight of Tohno's corpse is enough for her to have the desire to kill Ryougi.
Archetype Earth: Looking at those battered limbs, an awful smile comes over me. Therefore, I am willing to buy into this challenge. Ryougi Shiki: Heh, is this vengeance for that weird person a while back?
Wall Jump: Ciel, who can then throw a projectile or go for a kick.
Writers Can Not Do Math: Despite being called Seventeen Piece Dissection, Shiki's Another Arc Drive hits seventeen times. Go on, try cutting something seventeen times and see how many pieces you get.
You Will Be Spared: During Archetype Earth's story mode, she decides on a whim to try destroying the planet and everyone on it just to see what it's like. Before she does so, she promises that she'll spare the lives of two people - the first is, obviously, Shiki, and second is her sort-of-enemy sort-of-friend Ciel.