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Hakuouki Hekketsuroku – Special »

Hakuouki – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「十六夜涙」 (Izayoi Namida) by 吉岡亜衣加 (Yoshioka Aika)
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「雪華の都」 (Sekka no Miyako)
“Sekka Capital”

Being based on a female romance adventure game, Hakuouki is one of the series I knew the least about coming into its premiere episode, but may just prove to be a dark horse this season. I quickly came to that conclusion after this first showing gave me very little in terms of overall plot, but left me wanting more. It didn’t cover much more than what I described in the Spring 2010 Preview, starting off with Yukimura Chizuru (Kuwashima Houko) being chased by a couple of ronin. While searching for her, they’re suddenly killed by a couple of blood-thirsty and deranged samurai, who promptly go after Chizuru next. She’s saved by three men wearing similar clothes however, before passing out from the shock of it all. The group’s vice-chief Hijikata Toshizou (Miki Shinichirou, on right) then decides to take her back to headquarters, rather than killing her for witnessing what happened.

When Chizuru wakes up, she finds herself gagged and tied up, but a man comes by to untie her, introduces himself as Inoue Genzaburou (Kobayashi Norio), and informs her that she’s at the Shinsengumi‘s headquarters. Still restrained, Chizuru is taken to a room to meet the rest of the Shinsengumi, where their chief Kondou Isami (Ookawa Tooru, on left) eventually gets Saitou Hajime (Toriumi Kousuke) to explain the situation. According to Hajime, they finished off the “failed ones” who got into a scrum with some ronin and Chizuru witnessed it all. Fearing for her life, Chizuru pleads that she didn’t see anything, but Okita Souji (Morikubo Shoutarou, far right) insists that they just kill her off. Isami objects however and they later decide to detain Chizuru but spare her life.

The next day, Toshizou catches Chizuru trying to escape and decides to hear her out in front of the others. During the meeting, several of the men are surprised to learn that Chizuru’s actually a girl, before she explains how she’s come to the capital in search of her father, Yukimura Koudou (Saitou Ryuugo), whom she’s lost contact with for over a month. Hearing the name, Toshizou is quick to question how much she knows about her father’s work, but she’s at a loss to what he’s referring to. Hajime then explains that the medical clinic that he was working at was burnt down a month ago and his whereabouts are currently unknown, as his corpse wasn’t among the rubble. The Shinsengumi then reveal that they’re searching for her father as well, so Isami and master sergeant Sannan Keisuke (Tobita Nobuo, closest) decide to make her Toshizou’s attendant while she’s with them. However, Toshizou and Hajime are still wondering if Chizuru’s actually here in search of their secret, even though Souji highly doubts it.

For now, Chizuru is simply asked to continue pretending to be a guy so that she doesn’t stand out, and Toshizou is even kind enough to give back her short katana. Some time later over dinner with the others, Chizuru starts thinking the Shinsengumi aren’t that bad. Genzaborou later comes by with a report from Toshizou informing them that Keisuke was seriously injured and may lose the use of his left arm. While his life isn’t in any danger, everyone considers the inability to wield a sword properly a grave loss, with Nagakura Shinpachi (Tsuboi Tomohiro) wondering what the upper Shinsengumi will do. Hearing this confuses Chizuru because she’s under the belief that Isami is the chief, to which Toudou Heisuke (Yoshino Hiroyuki) inadvertently starts talking about how their Shinsengumi is different. Before he can say another word however, Harada Sanosuke (Yusa Kouji) angrily punches him for almost revealing their secrets, leaving Chizuru in shock.

 

So as I mentioned above, not a whole lot happened aside from the introduction of a lot of characters, but there was just enough plot build-up to leave me really curious about the Shinsengumi’s dark secret. As things stand now, it appears they have some sort of sickness that can cause them to degenerate to blood-thirsty monsters if they don’t keep it in check, which the red vial and glowing eyes in the opening sequence seem to support. If that is indeed the case, then it remains to be seen whether Chizuru’s father is responsible or if he’s trying to find a cure. There wasn’t much else in terms of story in this premiere episode, but the fact that I’m already considering various possibilities says this series is doing something right in my mind.

Production-wise, Studio DEEN‘s animation looks fairly good and I have no qualms with it. The number one highlight for me though is Kuwashima Houko’s portrayal of Chizuru, which I found absolutely adorable even though she’s not trying to be. I mentioned before how I really enjoy Houko’s performances, and given how she’s rarely in anything nowadays, they tend to be something I really look forward to. In fact, I feel like I’ve been in a “Houko anime dry spell” as of late (yes, it’s that bad), so I’m almost inclined to continue following Hakuouki simply because she’s starring in it. Of course, it never hurts when you have a mysterious premise as the foundation to the story either.

Finally, I should mention that the opening theme is by Yoshioka Aika, who performed all the theme songs in the Hakuouki games (yes, there are several). It’s a pretty good song and worth a listen, much like the ending theme here by mao.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「君ノ記憶」 (Kimi no Kioku) by mao
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼

April 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm
46 comments »
  • April 4, 2010 at 2:36 pmClick

    Looks really nice :O I plan on watching one or two more episodes though to see if I’ll follow the rest of the episodes.

  • April 4, 2010 at 2:41 pmLe

    Sweet.. Something more serious. I haven’t watched it yet but just by the look of it, I can say I might enjoy it. Like Click though, I’ll wait until I get two or three episodes into it before I give it a personal thumbs up or down. :]

  • April 4, 2010 at 2:41 pmPikapu

    Hmm… trinity blood art?? (cept rounder faces… and not as pretty…) well i guess mainly just the eyes are the same/similar.

  • April 4, 2010 at 2:50 pmshirokiryuu

    I’ll probably watch this, and I need my bishie fill. Plus I’ve played some Idea Factory Otome games, now I hope I can finally fully understand the story of one hahaha

  • April 4, 2010 at 3:15 pmxdaybydayx

    the first episode looks really good. can’t wait to see it. ^^

  • April 4, 2010 at 4:06 pmtab

    I just want to mention that when reviewing your RSS feed from Google Reader, none of the images show.

  • April 4, 2010 at 4:24 pmRei

    Why does it look so pretty, DEEN shouldn’t be alluring but it is, lol. Definitely in for this coz of Houko ♥♥

    • April 4, 2010 at 4:37 pmdivine

      Yeah, Studio DEEN’s work is pretty hit and miss at times, so I’m pleasantly surprised with it here.

    • April 4, 2010 at 6:44 pmmegalith

      QFT

      I begin to ask myself, WTF is up with that? This makes me really curious about it.
      Though maintaining quality isn’t DEEN’s strong point so I’m still skeptical.

  • April 4, 2010 at 4:57 pmimerik

    An innocent stumbling into a group with a dark secret that involves dissolving into deranged monsters… coupled with some decent quality animation? This season’s Ookami Kakushi with samurais?

  • April 4, 2010 at 5:50 pmStinger

    Why aren’t you doing any thoughts on each show that you blog. I would really like to know your thoughts on each series. Why don’t you do that? :/

    • April 4, 2010 at 6:06 pmdivine

      Hmm? Everything in the last three paragraphs are my thoughts. For series introductions, my impressions always tend to be broader and focus on the show overall rather than specifics.

    • April 4, 2010 at 6:06 pmNellie

      Why not read the whole thing, since divine’s thoughts are within. Omni was the one who put his thoughts after the ED.

    • April 4, 2010 at 6:16 pmdivine

      Just confirming what Nellie said:
      I’ve long since moved away from having a dedicated summary section so I don’t feel obligated about summarizing in every post. However, more often than not I’ll summarize when I feel it’ll help convey my thoughts (like in the above for a new series), in which case the core part of my impressions will be after the double line break.

      Ideally, I’d like readers to read everything (or else I wouldn’t bother writing it), but when parts are clearly a summary, I wanted to give some visual indication on what you can just skim over.

      • April 4, 2010 at 7:21 pmStinger

        Ok, thanks.

  • April 4, 2010 at 6:29 pmLonelyRurouni

    thanks Divine, keep them coming! :)

  • April 4, 2010 at 6:33 pmtomoyostar

    hmmm.. quite curious about the girl wearing a kimono op and ed…she looks exactly like chizuru!

  • April 4, 2010 at 6:40 pmKaitune

    Glad to see that it isn’t only just a bishi-fanservicing fest. While all the men are indeed (very) appealing, they don’t scream ‘fangirl-bait’ either, which is a nice touch. Might consider watching this one if the next episode is good.

  • April 4, 2010 at 6:47 pmAsuka

    Thanks for that post!! ^^

  • April 4, 2010 at 7:02 pmaeriolewinters

    I’m definitely going to watch this. Houko’s in, I’ve rarely seen her doing work nowadays, so why would I miss this.

  • April 4, 2010 at 7:09 pmnightcoffeebean

    Hmmm I wonder how long until the animation quality starts to decline. (I obviously don’t trust DEEN with anything anymore)

  • April 4, 2010 at 7:11 pmHuitzi

    Thanks Divine for those reviews, I suppose was really hard, but this is actually very pleasant.

  • April 4, 2010 at 7:55 pmjackrowen

    Reverse harems are my guilty pleasure. They could be standing around, facing a wall and muttering gibberish for 26 episodes and I’d still watch it as long as they look good doing it.

    I’ve been having bishie withdrawals for way too long.

  • April 4, 2010 at 8:26 pmewok

    Image no. 5 is a delicacy for bondage fans out there…
    Other than that I am not sure if this will have amount of action I like, but certainly this is a show I will keep an eye on.

  • April 4, 2010 at 8:56 pmChloesong

    It looks unexpectedly pretty O___O
    I’m on the fence about this one… “bloody thirsty” plots have been disappointing as of late >__<……….
    lol@ jackrowen :3

    I'll give this a go though.

  • April 4, 2010 at 8:56 pmChloesong

    ah and ty for the post<33 =DD

  • April 4, 2010 at 8:58 pmChloesong

    oh and I love that littttle tiny smiley face at the bottom under the submit comment XD Was that always there or was I just unattentive O.O?

    • April 4, 2010 at 9:25 pmdivine

      What smiley face are you referring to?

      • April 5, 2010 at 6:39 amPras

        I guess Chloesong is referring to the smiley under PURA ^___^

  • April 4, 2010 at 11:42 pmpierce

    The screen caps look so amazing that I have a hard time believe this is actually done by DEEN. The other recent show I watched from DEEN (Seitokai no Ichizon) can’t even compare to this.

    @Chloesong

    You are right. I can also see a little smile just below “PURA”. :)

    • April 5, 2010 at 1:31 amdivine

      Oh, I see what you guys are referring to now. It’s there for a plug-in.

  • April 5, 2010 at 1:01 amyohkoyamamoto

    Oooh… I love this! I hope you continue blogging… I find the female character interesting…

  • April 5, 2010 at 8:28 amYoruhime

    Yes, finally <3
    I really hope you will continue to blog this one xD

  • April 5, 2010 at 8:49 ammadamebin

    bishies bishies BISHIES!!!

  • April 5, 2010 at 9:34 ambrianleung8912

    the series i look forward to the most…ahhhh, good old historical shows, sort of.

  • April 5, 2010 at 10:22 amcookielicious

    studio DEEN + Shinsengumi = reminds me of Rurouni Kenshin :D

    some shots of Chizuru also looks like Miyuki from YUA (also by studio DEEN)

    I’ll be keeping an eye on this, I’ve always loved shows where characters wear wafuku… plus Rurouni Kenshin is one of my all time fave series (at least up to the Shishio arc lol); hopefully this will help restore my faith on studio DEEN, their work has been rather “disappointing” as of late (Seitokai no Ichizon was decent though)…

  • April 5, 2010 at 2:48 pmadobochan

    This anime looks promising despite how most reverse harem really turns off most of the crowd (excluding fangirls and fujoshis). Also, it has the nicest OP and ED among the titles I’m watching this spring.

    By the way, do you know other fansub group beside Kesenai that will pick this up. Can’t really wait for this to be subbed.

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:23 amnaixil

    OMG! i’m absolutely swooning over this new show!
    granted i’m female and love all the yummy males in it. mwahahahhaa!

    i’m actually surprised that Hijikata wasn’t that all-serious as i’ve seen in the PVs.

  • April 6, 2010 at 1:09 pmIrenesharda

    Ahh, gotta love sword-weilding bishies. I have no idea concerning the games, but the opening and ending is giving me a lot of hope for the series. I have seen the sub and I have to say that I already have my favorite bishonens! All the guys are hot in their own kinda ways, but Souji just reminds me of an even hotter looking Ichimaru in the way he’s kind of always smiling and has sort of a homicidal streak going. Haisuke reminds me of hot, little imp, epsecially with his wierd blue eyes. Hijikata is hot with those violet eyes of his and Sannan is rather hot with those glasses. But my overall favorite has to be the silver-eyed Hajime! OMG is he a fangirl magnet or what!
    This series definately has my attention. I can’t wait to watch more!

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:35 pmJoojoobees

    I’m really glad this show turned out as well as it has. When I first saw the artwork I thought we might get a really beautifully drawn samurai show, and now it looks like that is exactly where it’s going. The plot is indeed intriguing, with questions about why there are two Shinsengumi groups, and the “failed soldiers”.

  • April 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm^kirakun^

    First thoughts. Pretty. Always liked TB/GB art, especially the girls. But for some reason, I don’t like how Saito looks like Byakuya from Bleach and Okita looks so unlike Okita from other shows(if that makes sense). Well, it seems everyone doing Shinsengumi stuff makes their own style for those two. Hijikata, Sano, Kondo, Kenpachi and the rest are “ok” in the “what they should look and act like” category. I was surprised the only introduction we got was the basic names. No troop identifiers though most Japanese probably know the Shinsengumi OB by heart. I wonder if they will follow history since they are in Winter 1865 especially with the foreshadowing at the end though only people who have read Shinsengumi history will get it I think.

  • April 8, 2010 at 4:56 pmManjoume017

    Who is this in the background? Is it Chizuru? If it is then does it mean that she’ll turn bad later on? http://randomc.net/image/Hakuouki/Hakuouki%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2002.jpg

  • April 17, 2010 at 3:39 amWheate

    Please continue to blog this! I love it, the characters are so handsome >_<

  • May 30, 2010 at 2:58 amSasori

    I realy enjoyed watching ‘Hakuoki’. All the characters are incredibly awesome. It is dark also, funny. Okita Souji is damn cool btw all of dem r seriously handsome I like all of them. Lookig 4wrd 4 mooooore

  • June 30, 2010 at 10:33 amRah

    Well, i have to say that i loved Hakuouki XD
    I watched the 12 episodes and i have to say: The finale is great *-*
    I really recomend for all.
    Aaand, will have a second season! For my hapiness XD

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