After cheering myself up with the OVAs, it’s time to throw myself back into the serious stuff! Bring on Hakuouki Reimeiroku!
Name: Hakuouki Reimeiroku
Japanese Name: 薄桜鬼 黎明録
Air Date: July 9 2012 – September 24 2012
Studio: Studio DEEN
The year is 1863 and as Japan’s long festering wounds of political discord erupt into violent waves of street clashes and murder, the Tokugawa Shogunate sends a new force of masterless samurai called the Roshigumi to the aid of the Aizu forces in Kyoto. However the new ‘police’ are anything but a cohesive force and assassination has already split them into two opposing factions. The stronger is led by the brutal Serizawa Kamo and the lesser by the more honourable but less assertive Isami Kondou. It is into this pack of wolves that Ryunosuke Ibuki is dragged by the rabid Serizawa. Forced to be a virtual slave by blood debt, he hates the samurai and everything they stand for. But as he sees how the other half of the samurai live, he begins to believe that there may still be a chance, for both himself and Japan, if only Kondou will step up and take down the mad dog Serizawa!
[via Sentai Filmworks]
Final season before I move onto the delayed Campione! Don’t blame me for delaying it… blame the bishies! It’s all their fault xD
Hakuouki Reimeiroku serves as a prequel so it shows the Shinsengumi’s beginnings and how the group came together. I can see why it’s a prequel rather than a sequel; there’s nothing to continue from the second season and even if it did, what will the plot be based on? Most of the Shinsengumi are dead which is what upsets me the most. I’m still torn up over that. But they’re alive here! Yahoo!! *Punches fist in air*
It’s strange how Chizuru isn’t the main protagonist in this season. Instead it’s a man named Ryunosuke Ibuki. To be honest, I feel relieved to not see her. I sound very harsh don’t I? But it’s true. However, Ryunosuke can’t fight even though he has a katana attached to him. It’s Chizuru all over again (-_-) brace yourself Jimmy. What’s the point in having a katana if you’re not going to use it? It’s not some sort of decoration that you can carry around… oh wait. That’s EXACTLY what they’re doing? Maybe Chizuru and Ryunosuke are related? xD
I get to see my beloved characters again! Souji, Harada and crew are back! Throughout the first episode, I was looking for Saito in particular and guess what? He makes his appearance at the end of the episode *･゜ﾟ･*:.｡..｡.:*･'(*ﾟ▽ﾟ*)’･*:.｡. .｡.:*･゜ﾟ･* Saito, you kept me waiting! I am not a patient girl but you still look as beautiful as ever so I’ll forgive you! Don’t you ever change! And also, he smiles more which is lovely. Saito looks better when he smiles, it shows off his facial features more and his true nature. It’s more natural when he does plus he is super adorable when he does so ❤
Serizawa is really harsh. Calling Ryunosuke a dog and mongrel. He doesn’t even acknowledge him as a human which proves how low he truly is. Ryunosuke wanted to leave quickly after thanking everyone for their hospitality however Serizawa said that he owes him a debt thus makes Ryunosuke his slave. To make matters worse, he kicks or punches Ryunosuke whenever he does something wrong ( ಠ_ಠ) I really don’t like this man. I think Toshi and Souji don’t like him as well… we’re on the same page here. Well it’s understandable, Seizawa is a loathsome character. Don’t we all want to beat him up? Join the petition! Join the fight!
Harada, Shinpachi and Heisuke are really kind to Ryunosuke and they treat him like one of their own. They barely know him and yet they still treat Ryunosuke as a person unlike Serizawa. They really care for him and look at for him so it’s no wonder they get close in such a short amount of time. The four of them are a great group of friends ＼(^o^)／ nothing goes wrong with the power of friendship!
I don’t know what happened at the end of episode 2 but I think Saito and Shinpachi got into a fight. They returned to the base covered in blood whilst Souji and Ryunosuke could only look on in shock. Their beautiful faces and bodies are stained with blood. That’s pretty symbolic in a way. Also, Souji has changed in many ways. All he wants to do is kill rogue samurai. Obviously everyone is shocked and they’re like “what the hell is going on with you man?!” but Souji, being the badass he is, just walks out of the room without explaining. This is probably because of Serizawa’s presence and influence. Seriously, what is this man doing to my precious Souji?! (ノ`д´)ノ〃┻━┻ if my English teacher saw me typing this, she would be like “you have to think about the social and historical context at the time.” How about no thankyou? This is a series that kind of throws stuff in at random y’know.
Harada and Ryunosuke are quite close. They’re really good friends and Ryunosuke talks to Harada about everything even love problems! I like their friendship though because it’s as though those two are naturally comfortable around each other and they’re not afraid that the other will spread their secrets etc. Ryunosuke also has a good friendship with Heisuke which is nice since they’re around the same age. It’s good to see Ryunosuke settling and enjoying himself; he looked uncomfortable there at the beginning of the series.
Souji had a really sad past. His sister took him to the dojo where Isami was an instructor and left him there because she could no longer afford to look after him. He was 9 years old. Souji was a live in student but he was treated more like a servant. Then the students at the dojo kept beating him up because they think the instructors favour him but Souji continued to stay strong and refused Isami’s help. One day, a tournament was held and Souji continued fighting despite having blood streaming down his face from a cut caused by his opponent. Souji’s skills showed through with the brutal defeat of his opponent; Souji was discovered as a prodigy swordsman. Gosh, I really love Souji. He’s such a sweet character and doesn’t want people to worry about him but he’s become more warped thanks to Serizawa. What happened to make Souji act like this? I hope that Isami can bring some sense back to Souji, I want him back!
Speaking of Serizawa, I actually despise him now. He looks down on people and treats Ryunosuke like crap. He acts on his own because in episode 6, he strikes down some unarmed sumo wrestlers with Souji. Maybe it was on impulse but that alone caused the Roshigumi’s reputation to go down. What is that man thinking? He’s also supporting the use of ochimizu – the medicine that can increase physical and healing abilities at the cost of the person’s sanity and turning them into a Rasetsu. Sick people. You people make me sick! And here I was thinking that I would be free of those unnatural creatures…
I’ve never seen Toshi so pissed off. He went all out this time I swear! When he heard about the incident where Serizawa and Souji cut down some unarmed sumos, he couldn’t stop yelling at Souji. Man, Toshi needs some anger management classes I reckon xD maybe I could sign him up for some before Christmas? I can understand why he was so angry though, they cut down UNARMED men. Toshi tells Souji that even if those men started to fight, they didn’t have to fight back. Especially if they’re unarmed. Even I agreed with Toshi on that one, that’s going too far. Serizawa has crossed the line.
Could somebody kill him already?
Hakuouki Reimeiroku was a beautifully depicted story that kept me watching without any complaints. Although it was a prequel, this in my opinion was the best out of the three seasons.
A new character – Ryunosuke Ibuki – is introduced as a samurai hating man who was born into a warrior family but was disowned by his mother for being a failure as a samurai therefore he left. Whilst walking on the road, he is beaten up and left to die on the pathway until Serizawa stumbles across and saves him. Thus Ryunosuke lives with the Roshigumi and is Serizawa’s personal slave in order to repay the debt. Although Ryunosuke is unable to fight, I still like him as a character. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong or weak physically but he grows stronger mentally as the series progresses thanks to the help of Harada, Heisuke and co. I think he shares Heisuke’s and Shinpachi’s childishness too as he also fights over food ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*. Ryunosuke attempts to steal Saito’s food but the latter evil glares him…THE DEMON HAS BEEN UNLEASHED! Hehe, just like me and my food. We’re best friends so you can’t separate us! He also had a nice little romance thing going on with a maiko (geisha in training) named Kosuzu (*´ω`*) but it’s a shame that Studio DEEN never continued to develop this relationship further. It’s only implied that Ryunosuke cared for her.
Serizawa was not as bad as I originally thought. He had a reason behind his actions which was mainly for the Roshigumi. Also, he simply wanted Ryunosuke to live. Even though he treated him badly, it was for Ryunosuke to find a resolve. I’ve been misunderstanding his motives all along and now I feel terrible. It doesn’t help that he’d been fighting a serious disease which took the life of the woman he first loved. Now I feel even more terrible! I apologise Serizawa! *Bows head low*
The use of flashbacks helped the story move along. Through them, more is learnt about how the characters became who they are now. The character development was the best by far but I was a little surprised by Souji’s attitude, especially at the end of the final episode. He corners Ryunosuke on a bridge and pushes him into the river below. Then he claims that Ryunosuke died from the fast flow of the river. Great. Souji pretty much returns to normal in the last few episodes and then BAM! He goes ahead and does that. I don’t know what to believe anymore 。・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。well too bad Souji, Ryunosuke is alive and well no thanks to you! I-I’m sorry Souji…don’t look at me with those puppy eyes! You know I can’t win if you do that to me. See what I have to deal with guys? The adorableness that is Souji Okita ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
I have no complaints about the animation whatsoever. It maintained the good standard from its predecessors and once again I praise Studio DEEN for their work! Every moment was flawless and fluid. The best had to be when Saito fights; you barely see him strike. It was so quick that even Souji – one of the best swordsmen – didn’t notice. Saito has got skills! Bam! Hehe, you never disappoint me Saito (๑´ლ`๑) overall, the animation was unique and dynamic. Studio DEEN rarely fail when it comes to animation!
SPOILER: The Roshigumi are given a new name: ‘Shinsengumi’. However Isami, Toshi, Souji, Harada and Sannan are ordered to kill Serizawa as he has tarnished the Shinsengumi’s reputation with his antics and behaviour. But when they arrive, Serizawa drinks the ochimizu and becomes a Rasetsu. A difficult battle ensues as Ryunosuke tries to stop them but to no avail as Toshi stabs Serizawa through the heart. Serizawa says some words to Ryunosuke before he dies. Ryunosuke runs away but Souji finds him and pushes him into the river below. Ryunosuke is now on his own journey when he passes a girl otherwise known as Chizuru, thus a new story begins to unravel as Ryunosuke looks up to the sky and sees Serizawa’s face.
Hakuouki Reimeiroku was the perfect prequel and I couldn’t ask for anything better. Everything was in the package: beautiful animation, a good plot, fantastic character development and wonderful music. The Hakuouki series has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I laughed, cried, smiled; this series stirred a lot of emotions within me and it’s quite rare for an anime series to do that. I’m upset that the series have ended but it finished on a high note which I’m proud of. I normally don’t praise a series like this but honestly I have so much love for Hakuouki. Well at least I have two Hakuouki movies to look forward too in 2013! A real jewel, I recommend Hakuouki to everyone regardless of your gender. You’ll love it as much as I do!