The beginning of Hakuouki series, this installment tells the story of Ryunosuke Ibuki, a boy who loathes samurai while also being the son of a samurai. After being robbed and left to die on his way to Kyoto, Ryunosuke is rescued by the Roshigumi leader, Kamo Serizawa. Serizawa treats Ryunousuke as a servant and calls him a dog. Meanwhile, Ryunousuke watches as the Roshigumi slowly unravels around him.
Source: Sentai Filmworks
Dawn of the Divine Warriors
Led by Destiny
Rules for a Pack of Wolves
The Blade Drenched in Blood
Stairway to the Blue Skies
Howling from the Darkness
Oath Made on the Wind Blowing Over the Grass
The Shackles of Pandemonium
The Light of a Flashing Sword
The Brightly Burning Beacon
A Moonlit Night Filled with Flowers
The Great Dawn
Even though it is offically the third season, this was the first Hakuouki I watched. WHen the two first season came along I was unable to past by the vampire in Edo Japan storyline and decided against watching the series. As it is the prequel, the role of the demons and vampire is less present (and completely absent of the summary I read before starting), so I started watching it. I am quite happy that it was the case because for the most part is it an enjoyable historical anime. In this prequel, you can meet all the interesting characters and learn their back stories without needing the first two seasons. On top of it, the annoying main character of the other seasons is not yet in the picture. Instead, there is a brand new main character (a guy this time) who is interacting with the Shisengumi before they became the Shinsengumi and evolved throughout the season. I love the main character (I call him my favourite baka) and I find him funny. I reccomand this anime.
I'll start with the things I loved about it. The visuals impressed me. The background and characters are very well shaped and the colours are very warm during social time but soon turn to cold when the plot thickens. I liked how the characters were drawn and some hair styles and face shapes really stood out. I liked the backstory of each character and the fact that they are portrayed as having both good and bad within them so you're constantly changing your mind whether you like a character or not. There is a little bit of swordplay involved, but not too much. I have to say I was expecting more action, but the few scenes of swordplay I saw weren't bad. The series has a slower pace and at times I enjoyed it but other times I just wanted for anything to happen. There isn't much suspense so each episode is not dragged on into the other. Now the things that could have gone better: What bothered me the most is the lack of justice sense. Characters get corrupted and while I started taking a side at the beginning I was on no one's side at the end. While this type of situation is more fitted for reality, it makes an unwatchable series but thankfully you don't know it until the end. In the process of corruption of innocent minds, there is really no strong enough factor that contributes to it. There is a little bit of internal turmoil from some characters but nothing that would indicate they are going off the rails. There is no hero and no bad guy to fight against. It's great to have characters with both good and bad, but ultimately there needs to be epic fights driven by clashing morals. Instead you get 'cardboard' characters fighting because that's what they do. No supreme jutice or protecting the weak or even protecting their honour. It's a mess. I talked about cardboard characters. Although there are hints here and there that characters are developing, the changes in them can't be seen. They remain cold and unpenetrable so you can't empathyse with them. Actually you start empathysizing at first but as it goes they just remain plain and any liking towards any of them vanishes.
May contain some very vague spoilers. So this is the only one of the 'Hakuouki' series that I have (and intend) to watch. I came for the bishounen and they were literally the only reason I forced myself to stay until the end. Story The story was possibly one of the slowest I have ever watched. It sort of seemed like every day was spent watching Ryunosuke get sake for Serizawa, and watching the others roam the streets on 'patrols' which usually just left them frustrated at being ostrasised by the townspeople. I feel that there was a lot of potential within the plot, for the characters to develop and grow, but I can only assume that this development was being saved for the later seasons...? The whole plot felt like it was just floating along, not really going anywhere, and that was exacally what happened. It just sort of teetered off with an opening for the later seasons. It was disappointing that this season felt like it was treated as an accompanyment for fans that would actually want to watch more. Animation The characters were fairly diverse, though they did fit into some tiring tropes that I have seen before in other animes. They were all distinct though, so I will give points for that. But overall, Hijikata's hair is what is earning the animation most of its points. Sound I never know what to say about the sound. It was fine, not particularly memorable. Characters The characters, like the story, didn't go anywhere. They were completely two-dimensional. Again, I must assume that they want the heroine of the following seasons to unlock their backstories and watch them grow (because of course they can't grow without a love interest present!).Serizawa was the only character who had some interest to him, but he was actually quite an inconsistant character, which was portrayed very sloppily.Our protagonist, Ryunosuke didn't really go anywhere,except for the last ten minutes of the final episode where he looked somewhat promising. His motivations were never made clear (at least in this season). Especially in the last episode. If you make it that far, I assume you will understand what I mean. He is a completely incomprehensable character, and not in a mysterious way, I promise you. Overall There are plenty of more satisfying animes out there, and this was more or less a waste of time.
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