If I ever find myself in charge of naming a fighting game, I probably won't go with "Melty Blood". I'll probably opt for something sensible instead, like "Cul-de-sac Fisticuffs", or "Binge Drinking Brawler". And even if I'm brainstorming during a David Lynch marathon, I probably won't piece together "Hologram Summer Again, Tri Hermes Black Land" as a subtitle. As a fighter which has never seen a Western release, Actress Again's nonsensical full name is an indication of its very hardcore heritage.
The story of Melty Blood begins in 2000, when fledgling developer Type-Moon released its first graphic novel, Tsukihime (Lunar Princess). Although a tad risqué by Western standards, Tsukihime's narrative focused on a secondary school student named Tohno Shiki who, like a 21st century Grim Reaper, gets mixed up with vampires after discovering he has the power to sever lifelines. Then in 2002 Type-Moon teamed up with French-Bread and released Melty Blood for the PC, an experimental 2D fighting game featuring characters from Tsukihime, but without the hentai undertones.
After it proved a hit with fighter fans, Type-Moon followed it up with the arcade release of Act Cadenza in 2005. This drew more broadly from Type-Moon's books and was ported to PlayStation 2 the following year. By this stage the Melty Blood series had established itself as a serious fighter, to the point where Act Cadenza featured for three years straight in Japan's heavily contested Arcadia Cup Tournament. With such prestigious credentials, a second sequel was inevitable and arcade fans were treated to Actress Again in 2008. The version I'm playing is the recent PlayStation 2 port.