Chizuru's story starts off in quite a common manner ( minus the rounin who are chasing her for reasons unknown ). Her father goes missing and she decides that it's been far too long since she heard from him so armed with a sword and a boy's attire, she sets out. Only to attract the attention of rounin who have nothing better do than chase a "boy" who did nothing to them ( I still have no idea why they were chasing her but well, rounin are rounin and we need something to start off with ).
Much to Chizuru's horror, the rounin are cut down by demon-like men, their hair gleaming white in the dark of the night. And they're about to cut her down too, when three men suddenly appear and save the day. But no, these men are not your conventional heroes. They are part of the Shinsengumi, a group of "police officers" whom the general population share no feelings of camaraderie for, at that time, a rebellion was slowly stirring.
Chizuru is handled none-too-gently for witnessing what happened and the Vice-Commander, Hijikata Toushizou is convinced that "he" must be killed. The gentle Commander, Kondou Isami is hesitant and we are slowly introduced to the other characters at this point. Okita Souji, Saitou Hajime, Harada Sanosuke, Toudou Heisuke, Nagakura Shinpachi and Sannan Keisuke. Chizuru is saved by the fact that the Shinsengumi too, is searching for her father and they they agree to keep her with them until he is found.
Hakuouki is a historical anime and still surprisingly, all the main male characters are models of the real-life people, apart from Sannan-san. One thing that you'll love about the anime is the male characters. All of them, while fiercely protective of Chizuru, do not display what typical reverse harem boys do. They don't constantly try to grab her attention or sweep her off her feet, only trying to cheer her up and sharing their true feelings with her. If there are any special feelings, the boys give way to the canon couple because there is no time to fight over love when everything they've been fighting for is falling apart.
Chizuru, while spending time with the group, discovers quite accidentally exactly why the Shinsengumi are searching for her father and is shocked. A not-so-chance meeting with a mysterious blond who is after her reveals much about herself that even she had no idea about.
Most people describe Chizuru as a spineless character who is of absolutely no use but I think that's exactly what she exists for - to bring out the best of the male characters. It's true that she's mostly unable to fight for herself, having to constantly depend on others but it's not exactly her fault. She has the ability to move on and tries her best to help others.
The anime managed to capture my attention with the events that were going on. Slowly but surely, the cogs of fate began to turn and started breaking down the protective shield that made the Shinsengumi what it was. Hakuouki is not at all the sparkles and rainbows it appears to be. The events of the anime faithfully follow what happened in real life and then you begin to realise that victory doesn't come as easily as it appears to.
Even so, Hakuouki is intriguing exactly because of that. Enemies and evil are not black and white. It's a blend of colours, never singular and that's exactly what the inevitable war that the Shinsengumi are about to face is. The end of this first season points towards more bloodshed, tragedy and unfortunate events. At this point of time, can they keep holding on?
The characters are not one-sided. They have flaws, their own personalities and they make decisions that might not always be the right thing. Their lives, quite refreshingly, do not centre around the female lead and the choices they make might, at times, be surprising. If you're someone like me who has a strong interest in historical events, then Hakuouki is the anime for you. It explores what happened in a truly gripping way.
I fell in love with the OP and ED but the OSTs are quite mediocre. The voice acting, however, was superb and the characters were really expressed well, especially Okita's voice, which I really fell in love with and Chikage, whom Tsuda Kenjirou-san voiced ( I absolutely loved him as Spanner ).
The animation was one of the strong points, in my opinion, Hakuouki is rightfully not tagged reverse harem but the bishounen quality is still there and the colours are kind of dark-themed, there aren't really any bright colours.
Hakuouki, as the first part of the series, did a wonderful job of introducing the characters to us and I will explore the second season in my review for it.
It's not just fans of historical anime, I honestly don't think action fans will be disappointed by this either and if you're a huge fan of romance, then Hakuouki will definitely fulfill your thirst for it. Masochistic people ( like me ) who just can't stop watching tragedies, then, this, surprisingly might just be your cup of tea.
This is a well-done anime based off a great otome game.
Even though the story starts like a first-person character story about Chizuru, it ends up being a second-person story where we just view what happens around Chizuru. This bothered me a little because Chizuru (as most female otome protagonists) was very shy and quiet, and showed little personality. We, as the audience, could of gotten more attached to her if we were able to hear her thoughts, or explanations to why she did or did not do things.
That is my only little grip about it. The story does a good job in spreading out Chizuru's involvement with all the characters. Even though she lacked personality, the guys really made up for it! The story is very heavy and serious as far as the plot goes, but there are sparks of humor and (of course) romance.
The only other thing I'll complain about is the lack of the connection between Chizuru and the Rasetsu until the very end. I guess I just wanted to see more "gooshy" scenes that should of totally happened.
Anyway! If you are a fan of otome, or interested in dabbling into it, Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan is a must watch!
I really enjoyed this anime. I was not really sure what to expect when I started it, but was drawn in quickly. It is hard to give a specific genre to this anime other than historical. It seems realistic in conparison to other animes, even though it has fantisical elements. It is a romance, but not like your typical shojo romance. It is very heartfelt, but not overly dramatic. It is bloody and contains lots of sword fights, but there is more to it than war (even though war is what takes place in the anime). Somehow, aside from all "action", my girly side was still apeased. Beautiful animation and music. The only reason I don't give it full points, is because there were still a few questions I had after the second season was over (but not enough to make me unhappy with the ending).
In the end if you like swordfights and historical elements, you will like this anime.
If you like lots of handsome men protecting one girl, you will like ths anime.
Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan (Demon Cherry Shinsengumi Group)
Plot: "The protagonist, Yukimura Chizuru, is the daughter of a doctor who works in Edo. The father leaves Edo to work as a volunteer doctor and moves to Kyoto without his daughter. As time passes by, Chizuru starts worrying about losing contact with her father, so she decides to go to Kyoto in search of him. On the way, Chizuru is attacked by few criminals and witnesses a fight between an oni and the Shinsengumi. Taking her into custody and saving her, the Shinsengumi debate on what to do with Chizuru when they discover that she is the daughter of the doctor they are also looking for. So they decide to become Chizuru's protectors and help her look for her father(the doctor). Lots of events happen while she stays with the Shinsengumi, as they discover mysterious secrets and also fight against the Bakumatsu group. The story is overall romantic with a historical and political background." (Synopsis taken from MAL)
Story: I try to recall how the heck i got to watch this show and when i think about the time when i was watching Senkou no Night Raid i came across a recommendation to watch this show mainly because they were linked by historical references. As a side note, Night Raid depicted the begining of the Manchurian war, a crucial moment when the Japanese imperial army conquered the northern provence of China in 1931 and the predictions regarding a new global conflict much more bloody than the first one. In the Japanese historiography this moment played an important role in the first half of the 20th century. Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan on the other hand depicts probably the most important moment in the Japanese history that completely changed the country in all main aspects (political, economical, social, cultural, administrative, etc) and that is the fall of the last Shogun, the fall of the Shogunate Era and the begining of the Meiji Era. From this point of the Emperor will play a more important role in the country organization while the Shogun at first has more restraint priorities while later on they will become none. Due to the arrival of the western powers, which came with different conceptions, mentalities, technology (fire weapons especially) they started to provoque turmoil amongst the japanese clans and military organizations. The story of Hakuouki revolves around a girl named Yukimura Chizuru. One night while being chased by some criminals she witnesses a battle between an oni and warriors from the Shinsengumi, a notorious group of ronin warriors. Because she witnessed the fight, she is taken to the Shinsengumi headquarters and after a short interrogation they decide to keep an eye on her. It is not long when she confesses to the main leaders of the organization, Kondou Isami, Hijikata Toushizou, Hajime Saitou, Keisuke Sannan, Toudou Heisuke, Harada Sanosuke, Nagakura Shinpachi and Okita Souji that she is actualy the daughter of a doctor named Koudou Yukimura, a person that interracted with the Shinsengumi in some mysterious affairs in the past. Hearing Chizuru's motive that made her come all the way to Kyoto from Edo, the Shinsengumi offer their help in searching for the missing Koudou while also keeping Chizuru in their headquarters. A funny moment was when Hijikata and Sannan realized that she is actualy a girl, despite the fact that she is dressed like a boy, i really enjoyed seeing the faces of the other leaders. However, unsolved issues remained and the questioned that bothered Hijikata the most is why the oni attacked Chizuru from all the people. As the story develops, Chizuru comes to play a more important role in the Shinsengumi. Even though she does not possess any special combat skills she always managed to raise the morale of the leaders. As the time went by, Hijikata and the other leaders started to put faith in her and decided to make her a part of the Shinsengumi, acting as a messenger in case the others are fighting. But what happens when three mysterious warriros which happen to call themselves "oni" atack Chizuru and do all possible to get ahold of her? Surely many questions need answers but its impossible to answer without spoiling whats good out of this show. Hakuouki while adapting a historical moment they also combine with a fantasy story in a perfect harmony. The story is kinda slow-paced, it advances slowly but surely, the plot line is occuring during a bigger number of years. This isn't the typical comedy show but rather a more melodramatic show, expect alot of heart-wrentching moments while watching it.
Animation and Sound: The animation quality, design and directing are the work of a genius. The sceneries, the background design are well made and fit the theme and the environment of the show, while the character designs are also very eye-candy~ish, this anime featuring many bishoujo/bishounen typs of characters. The soundtracks are also very listenable, especially the opening song of this show Izayoi Namida by Aika Yoshioka which i couldn't resist and i really had to acquire it. The ending was so-so as well, but it didn't impress me the same way like the opening did.
Characters: Even though at first the characters seemed to be weakly developed with mostly no background information, as you pass through episodes more background information about certain characters is revealed. The appearences of new antagonists and also of new allies will play a vital role in this show.
Overall: Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan proved to be an oasis of hope in a desert filled with mediocre works. The good news is that the second season of this show is also over, and also it managed to put an end to this almost excelent work. Somehow i feel bad that this finished since this year i could barely find a handful of shows that would keep me so excited and so worked up for more episodes. Hakuouki will be a delight for fans of historical themed anime and also for those that can put aside the sci-fi aspect and walk into a feudal setting. Die hard romanitcs might want to keep an eye on this one since its inspired from a dating sim visual novel (yeah it has a romantic subplot in it as well). This gem somehow managed to pass unobserved this year.
Continuation Review : Hakuouki Hekketsuroku
~Enjoy and Cya Around~
Hakuouki is an anime made by Studio DEEN, who have, in recent years, gained infamy for putting their names to a variety of very poor shows in recent years, as well as making a horribly butchered adaptation of Umineko. So, does Hakuouki enter the ranks of awful DEEN series, or does it redeem the studio? Well, put simply, it is terrible. It is a perfect example of why DEEN are a bad studio. There isn't a single good thing about it.
But before I get into the details about why Hakuouki is horrible, let's just sum up what Hakuouki is about for those not familiar with the series. The series is introduced with a young "boy" trying to escape from a strange vampire-like demon. At the last minute, "he" is saved by a group of samurai, who then take "him" hostage. As it turns out, the "boy" has seen more than he should have done, and is now being held captive by a large group of suspiciously attractive men. As it also turns out, the boy is named Chizuru and is not a boy, and is a girl disguising as one. If this sounds cliché to you then that's probably because it is.
As it turns out, Chizuru is looking for her father, a doctor who went missing in Kyoto. Later on, it turns out that her father is involved with the medicine that turns men into the aforementioned vampires that are never once called vampires in spite of being nocturnal creatures once human but now superhuman who lust after human blood.
Now, the biggest problem with Hakuouki is, rather simply, that it is boring. Throughout the entire 12 episodes, the show held my interest for maybe 5 seconds at most. Despite being a show about swordsmen and demons, there is very little action. While a similar statement can be made of Saraiya Goyou, a similarly themed show that aired at the same time, the fact is that while the latter keeps the viewer's interest with a quirky style, fascinating dialogue, and originality, Hakuouki does nothing of the sort. Hakuouki is rather bland, having no real selling point other than the cast of bishonens. Stylistically, the themes that run through Hakuouki have been done before many times, and better. And the worst complaint that can be said of it is the dialogue. Hakuouki is an adaptation of a visual novel, but it doesn't seem to understand the "adaptation" part of that. Everything in this show is just talking. The action is almost never focused on, and is completely weightless when it is. The plot has no intrigue or suspense. It is just talking. This could have been forgiveable, but even worse is that the dialogue isn't even good. It's just boring and lifeless, and it begs the question of why this was taken from a VN at all when it simply acts exactly like one.
Now, I said before that the selling point of the show is the bishonens, but there's a problem with that too. As a heterosexual male, I know that I am not the target audience, but there are still some clear problems even taking that into account. For a start, there isn't a single character in this show with a likeable or memorable character trait. Every single one of them is completely one-dimensional. None of them are developed on, very few of them go through any kind of personal struggle, and at the end of it almost every character is simply forgettable. To make things worse, the character design in Hakuouki is extremely weak. It is often completely impossible to tell one character apart from another, with them all being uniformed, alongside many of them sharing various features with other characters, and combined with my previous complaint it can often make the show confusing out of a lack of basic knowledge for which character is which.
The only character who is actually worth mentioning here is Chizuru, the shoddily disguised centre of our reverse-harem. But don't mistake my meaning, she is by no means a good character. For the most part, she is only memorable simply for being the only girl. But due to her being in focus, unlike 90% of the cast, she becomes memorable, and her faults become noticeable. For one, she does not help the plot at all for most of the series, except towards the end, in which her only role is to become a living MacGuffin that the enemy forces want. When thrown into combat, she is completely useless, and seems to have no self-defence instinct whatsoever, leading other characters to become injured in her stead while she just stands there.
The ending is one of the few moments where the show is actually interesting, but it may also be the worst for the complete contradictions we are shown. Now, I don't want to spoil anybody, but it's going to be hard to discuss the ending without doing so, so if you are particularly spoiler-sensitive and want to watch this series for whatever reason, I would advise you to skip the rest of this paragraph. Basically, one of the samurai is killed in front of Chizuru, and a member of the enemy force is nearby at the time, though he was not the one responsible. Another member of the samurai sees this, blames the demon, and drinks the potion that turns people into the not-vampire creatures so he will have the strength to kill him. Now, there are several problems with this. For a start, a very curious question is raised... where did he get the potion? The potion is not supposed to be easily accessible, for obvious reasons. He had no reason to plan for an event like this, so he would not have prepared it. There is no foreshadowing or reason that suggests he was already considering the change. It simply doesn't make sense. But on top of that, after the battle, he reveals that he knew that the man wasn't responsible for his death. Which now means that the drinker just sentenced himself to a life as an undead monster to get revenge on a man he knew wasn't even responsible.
Sadly, Hakuouki repeatedly proves itself to be a terrible show without a single redeeming feature, but just to put the cherry on top, DEEN are giving it a sequel in the fall. Yes, you heard that right... somehow, this mess of an anime has gathered enough of a fanbase to warrant a sequel. So sadly, we haven't even seen the end of this series.
I'm sure I've made this clear by now, but my verdict on this anime is simply a no. It does not deserve to be watched by anybody, and if there is any justice in the world it will have been completely forgotten by the end of the year... at least if DEEN don't end up making a third series.
Final Words: I'd have more fun watching paint dry.