The first episode wasn't that great, but I thought it had potential. Unfortunately I think it didn't use that potential. I just thought it was plain boring. I kept spacing out and day dreaming while watching. By the end of the show, I didn't know what was going on, because I mossed a lot of important talks. Even the action scenes weren't that great. Most of it consisted of boring fights with grunts, in battles that didn't have too much importance.
The characters weren't that great. They were so lazy. The main character didn't really seem to try hard to complete what she first set off to do. She just seemed to hang around the base. They just had boring conversations until there was some battle. It was a reverse harem, so I guess girls might like the male characters more IDK. They just seemed boring to me.
This is one of my favored anime genres, the historical type so I usually stick with them until they let me down. Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan is historical in most regards. All the facts are pretty good too and not so much that you can't have a fun little fantasy happening on the side. This is more strait forward, non-magical, plenty of battle and sword play anime. Something I've been lacking in my anime diet. There is a sense of horror as there's a bit of Frankenstein play going on, but I'll explain later in a non spoiler fashion. Yukimura Chizuru is searching for her father, who left her for some time in Edo, to work in Kyoto as a volunteer doctor. She decides to search for him and ends up witnessing some ronin fight demon like beings. She is seen as a witness by the Shinsengumi (a band of ronin that acted like a type of special police force in the late shogunate period.) to something of a medical experiment gone bad. They capture her then later, learning who she is (and that she's not a boy... some laughs are had), they explain they also seek her father and decide to protect her and mutually work to find her father.
At first glance I thought it was going to be something of a reverse harem type but it truly is just an action and story based anime. Something that will keep you wanting more at the end of each episode. It's got that something that Katanagatari has but can deliver to me more than once a month. I can't find much to hate about the story. The characters have decent interaction and are all very samurai like and carry this out in their actions. So it's all good... but it could be a little less generic. I'm just being picky but it leaves a little, tiny bit to be desired. Well, it makes up for that in the politics and wartime talk. What I'm noticing is the lack of characters slapping each others butts and carrying on out of serious context. There's very little explicitly humorous in situation here. No chibi and only a little romance at the moment. Not the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket at all. Just the way the Members of the Shinsengumi treat Yukimura. That's my one hope is that there will be a romantic story line to round this one out. That'll make it a 9 or better.
The animation is quite good. I'm not seeing too much non-animated content. The character costume is very nice. Authentic? I'm not an expert on ronin fashion but they look pretty good to me and aren't restrictive and move with them. Sword play is fair with minimal teleportation tricks. However, just like in real life, everyone back then can jump over buildings and almost fly as well as take a few stabs before even getting a little woosie. Lots of action and few shortcuts show that good time is put toward this one.
The music is good. The OP and ED are J-pop but you'll hear mostly piano, orchestral or pads and natural sounding ambient as the sound track. As usual, non-obtrusive and used well. Sound effects are serious and are really good in a battle. Pump up the volume during fights to get the most out of them. They don't do it better than anyone else really but it comes together really well. This is the period where gun powder was used normally so there are guns as well as cannons so you'll have a lot of explosions too.
Character design is very good. Everyone of the Shinsengumi have a different personality and look. Although they kinda-sorta follow cookie cutter personality we do have a lot of them. And they are all based on historical figures so you have that to look forward to... knowing who's going to die if you study enough or realizing, like me, that ignorance is bliss. There are not many other women and there is nothing ecchi about this one. It's pure and that's respectable given all the ecchi I've been seeing pop up lately, not that I don't like that... but variety is spice. They have good conflicts and resolutions. Some pasts to learn about and demons to work out. Very well rounded if not a tiny bit generic but the historic part brings a bit of flavor to it that you should enjoy more if you like historical drama.
This is definitely one I'm picking up and sticking with if the current formula persists. More so since it's starting to get really good. I think anyone who is a samurai purist will love it and I also think the fantasy-samurai lover will get something good out of it. I don't feel it's too appropriate for kids due to the blood involved but I was watching Devil Man OVAs and Ninja Scroll when I was a kid so I don't have room to talk much. I think this is well worth your time unless you only like girly cutesy magical girls... which is nice too.
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 was, by no means, wowed in anyway by this series. Other than the gorgeous men (which helped boost its rating from a 6 to a 7), this series was only average.
The story lacks appeal. The idea of vampires and Japanese history didn't really tickle my fancy (although, vampiric samurais were super hot :D).
I don't think anyone can argue the fact that the animation aspect of this anime was spectacular. Beautiful sceneries, and even more beautiful characters. Everything flowed smoothly and was extremely pleasing to the eye... especially if you're like me, someone who loves watching handsome men kick ass. Like I said, the animation was possibly the best aspect of the series.
Sound wise, it was only slightly above average. I didn't notice the background music... which generally means it wasn't good enough to be noticed (especially for someone like me whose super sensitive to epic background music). The opening was nice, which brings it from average to slightly above average.
The characters were hot, gorgeous, eye candy, sexy, yummy, etc, etc. However, personality wise, I didn't particularly feel attached or seem to favour any of them... which generally means the character development sucked. But since the series was barely 12 episodes, I guess there wasn't much time to develop them.
Overall, I'm disappointed with the series. It looked so promising in the spring lineup but alas, it did not rock my world. Season 2 is coming up and I find myself looking forward to it... but not because of anything other than seeing these sexy boys in action (and new uniforms!) again.
All I can say for now is... next.
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.