Hakuôki -薄桜鬼〜新選組奇譚, (Hakuōki ~Shinsengumi Kitan) TV Series (2010)

Hakuouki.Shinsengumi.Kitan

Hakuôki is an anime series adapted from a video game by Idea Factory. It is an historical fiction produced by Studio Deen, and composed of two seasons, (Hakuôki Shinsengumi Kitan and Hakuôki Hekketsu Rokku) and a prequel intituled Hakuôki Reimeiroku. Each season is composed of twelve episodes of 26 minutes. As far as I know, the series has been aired in Japan and North America only.

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I discovered the anime by chance, found the animation quite good and managed to see the whole series in less than three weeks. I was kind of repeating to myself: ‘That’s sooo girly, that’s sooo girly…’ and yet I couldn’t stop watching. I guess it might be the key element to determine the quality of a TV series.

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Let’s start the analysis with the plot. Basically, the father of a young girl named Chizuru is missing. She chooses to go and look for him and travels disguising herself as a boy. Of course, as soon as she arrives in the Capital, night falls and she is attacked by some white-haired strange men. She is saved just in time by some members of the Shinsengumi (Hijikata, Okita and Saito, the more “fashionable” of the milice) who take her back to their house. Soon after, they all discover that they have a point in common: they are all looking for Chizuru’s father, who was a doctor helping the Aizu clan in some matters. As you can guess, Chizuru stays with the captains of the Shinsengumi, the only ones who know about her gender. And the story goes on, following the main historical events (there are more than enough for two seasons without even starting to get bored).

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So, the series’ main principle is to follow a good-hearted and quite insipid young girl in the middle of young and beautiful swordsmen who are all, of course, single. Girly, that’s so girly… And at the same time, the animation is quite nice, the movements smooth, the character design… Well, is good for a shôjo (meaning manga or animation for girls). Some musical themes by Ôtani Kô are very good (Sakurabana and Ketsui are by far my favorites). Another good point is the choice of the voices: the Japanese dub is almost perfect. Black points now? Well, the main character’s lack of character. (She is not the worst I have ever seen in Japanese animation, but still, sometimes you really want to hit her hard). The plot is also predicable (of course, it’s mainly historical). I also am not fond of the vampire-like things they put in the series, and which I won’t describe any further because I am not that fond of spoilers.

To conclude, I would say that I initially thought that this series would work only with girls, but some of my male friends also found it quite good, so…

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Here’s a link to the series’s teaser (not a very good one according to me, but you can still have a look and see the quality of the animation):

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clF2MAsiEzY

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