Despite the “Hekketsuroku” addition to the title, this is a direct continuation of the series that aired back in spring, hence the episode number thirteen next time. Normally the numbering wouldn’t matter, but in the case of Hakuouki, they treated this as the midpoint of the series and used it to recap. What a way to premiere the sequel. With a recap… -_-;
Coincidentally, this is a blessing in disguise blogging-wise. I never did cover the original twelve episodes past the premiere one, so the recap lets me use this first post as an introductory one to walk through the key story developments thus far. As for my overall impressions on the series, my write-up in the Fall 2010 Preview sums them up fairly well. Long story short, I only finished watching this series after it was done airing due to the sixteen shows I was blogging at the time, but when I finally did, I quickly realized that it was a sleeper of the season. It’s a bit of a shame it didn’t get more limelight than it did among English-speaking fans, but hopefully that’ll change a bit this season. Bishounen or not, we have real samurai in a fictional story on top of non-fiction, which contrasts nicely with the completely over-the-top Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls that I’ll be covering.
Below is my recap of season one with a history lesson to boot.
The heroine of the story, Yukimura Chizuru (Kuwashima Houko), arrives in the capital of Kyoto in search of her father and is saved by the local Shinsengumi from blood-sucking variants of themselves.
Yukimura Koudou (Saitou Ryuugo), the man whom Chizuru and the Shinsengumi are searching for.
The Shinsengumi prove themselves as a viable special police force that serves the shogunate (a.k.a. Bakufu), but it comes with casualties.
The next example of a historical event — the Kinmon Rebellion, a.k.a. Hamaguri Rebellion. The pro-Imperial rebels from the Choushuu domain attempt to storm the Imperial Palace, but are stopped by the Aizu and Satsuma domains with the help of the Shinsengumi. Hijikata ends up squaring off against Kazama Chikage (Tsuda Kenjirou) of the Satsuma domain.
Kyoto is set ablaze during the battle. Hundreds perish, tens of thousands of homes are destroyed.
The “Ochimizu” elixir that Chizuru’s father helped develop grants the Shinsengumi demon-like strength and the ability to overcome severe injuries…
…but with the severe side effect of transforming them into blood-crazed demons known as “Rasetsu”.
Kazama sets his sights on Chizuru after realizing her wounds heal instantly, just like a pure-blooded demon such as himself.
The Shinsengumi have something to say about that though.
Senhime, a.k.a. Osen-chan (Ishikawa Ayano), comes before the Shinsengumi and reveals that she too is a pure-blooded demon.
She reveals that Kazama wishes to breed with another pure-blooded demon to produce even more powerful offspring. The Yukimura demon clan from the East that was believed to be wiped out lives on in Chizuru.
Okita is tempted to drink the Ochimizu to overcome his tuberculosis, whereas Toudou already has to overcome his fatal injuries sustained during the Aburano Kouji Incident — a historic incident where he was killed alongside military advisor Itou Kashitarou after joining the breakaway Goryou Eji group.
Another historic event. Kondou Isami (Ookawa Tooru), Commander of the Shinsengumi, is shot during an assassination attempt but manages to survive.
Okita drinks the Ochimizu to exact revenge on those who shot Kondou, only to learn that Nagumo Kaoru is actually Chizuru’s twin brother and out for his own kind of revenge.
The Battle of Toba-Fushimi, a key turning point in the Boshin War. The Satsuma domain joins the a pro-Imperial of 3500~5000 and overwhelm the 10,000-15,000 Bakufu samurai using their firearms. The Shinsengumi suffer heavy losses.
Inoue Genzaburou is killed during the battle (while protecting Chizuru), which is in accordance to his actual death.
Hijikata resorts to drinking Ochimizu to take on Kazama, who was forced to show his true demon form.