Hakuouki (薄桜鬼)

All posts tagged Hakuouki (薄桜鬼)

The confused main female protagonist.

The audition to select the first winner of the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title reached the halfway point with my review of the first season of Hakuouki, an anime set up in the days of the Bakufu era, just like Blade of the Immortal etc. But unlike the latter, the former already have a second season lined up and ready to go later this year. Japan, why is that many decent but unfinished anime series out there doesn’t get an extension?

A cross-dressing girl went to Kyoto to look for her missing father, but in double-quick time she has to run away from bad people. Suddenly, her pursuers were ambushed by some creepy uniformed monsters that craves for blood, and the pursuers were killed on the spot. The monsters then tried to sink their fangs upon the helpless main female protagonist but another ambush happened and the monsters were killed, also on the spot. The main female protagonist sighed in relief after being saved by some kindred spirits, only to realize that her saviors also wears the same uniform as the monsters’. She fainted in terror and the newly-anointed bad guys brought her back to their female-less headquarters so that they can do ‘this’ and ‘that’ to her…

Imagine that you combine Peacemaker Kurogane (a very similar anime to this one – I watched it before this blog started) and  La Corda D’Oro ~primo passo~, and you will get this reverse-harem title. There are no Western classical music in this anime, but more importantly, the main female protagonist is not an emo unlike her counterpart in  La Corda D’Oro. She is seriously incompetent though, but not an emo that I want to strangle to death. And there are no overt romance too, how on earth did that happened I have no idea.

The story itself is quite decent, and portrayed the events of that era from the eyes of the main female protagonist. This anime is definitely more accurate historically (not fully though) than Peacemaker Kurogane. But to not cause this anime turning into a History Channel documentary, the writers decided to put some supernatural stuff in so that academically-challenged viewers will not drop this anime en masse. In the ending, the writers even made the main male protagonist drink something that his counterpart in the real world definitely hasn’t done. That ending sets up the second season nicely, but I will not be surprised if the writers ditched the history books aside and steer the second season into the realm of fiction.

Yet another time jump…

The presentation of this anime is very unique in the fact that it uses the time-jump literary device extensively. In fact, I dare say that this anime has more time-jumps in it than the previous 30 anime titles reviewed here combined. The time jumps varies in length, from weeks to months at a time, but all-in-all, this is why this anime main storyline stretches between 2 or 3 years timeframe. The numerous time jumps, the portrayal of the historical events of the era (complete with narration by the main female protagonist) and the lack of flashbacks are what lends the aura of a documentary upon this anime series.

The usage of the time jumps does has drastic consequences upon character developments in this anime. Omitting the main female protagonist, you can divide the Shinsengumi members into two groups; one consists of members who have drunk the ‘something’ essence I have mentioned above, and another group that consists of those who aren’t. The members of the latter group practically has stagnant character developments, from the start of the anime until the end. The member of the former group doesn’t fare better, but the virtue of having drunk the said ‘something’ mean that they are involved more in the supernatural sub-plot. No best characters in this anime.

For the main female protagonist, which I presume doesn’t exist in the real Shinsengumi of yore, she quickly forgot her mission of finding her father right after she laid her eyes upon the handsome Shinsengumi dudes, and as of the finale episode, her father is nowhere to be seen.

Ignoring seppuku threats, the main female protagonist and her minions doing things that they shouldn't do.

Character Design:-
Another reason why I claimed that this anime is similar to La Corda D’Oro ~primo passo~ is that their character design are similar. Plenty of handsome guys in here (the real Shinsengumi members would be rolling in their graves if they see their portrayal in this anime) and has the lowest amount of female characters that this anime can get away with. Not surprisingly really considering the demographic of the game this anime is based from. A positive aspect for this anime.

Voice Acting:-
This anime is actually losing out to La Corda D’Oro in this aspect. Voice acting in this anime are just average overall, but the main female protagonist is quite good at performing her dual role of being a weak and stupendous character, and also being Sir David Attenborough the narrator in this anime.

The OST is decent but not more, while the OP/ED themes are forgettable.

This anime is placed under a rare situation in this aspect because while its fast-paced scenes are animated without any issues (but not the best), normal scenes are riddled with jerky and abrupt changes of movements (just like Powerpuff Girls Z). There are some lazy animation too like in the screenshot below. Choreography is just average, which is a pity because there are plenty of katana battles in here. The director has done his job very well, especially with managing those time-jumps and also some very good camera works.

Oh BTW, this anime doesn’t have the nauseating animation technique too, just like Nodame Cantabile Finale. Another good decision from the director. I hope the next 5 anime reviewed here will also be the same.

Lazy animation efforts here. Can you spot it?

8 out of 10.
We now have a clear front-runner for the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title. If this anime can survive the challenge from the participants of the second half of the audition, naturally this anime will be featured at the sidebar of this blog. I have a feeling that the first winner of ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ will not have a perfect score.

So what’s next? You have to wait…….

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