Hakuouki (series)

All posts tagged Hakuouki (series)

The main female protagonist who owned a harem full with swords-toting pretty boys.

This review of the 10-episode Hakuouki Hekketsu-roku, the sequel of Hakuouki reviewed here before, is so late mainly because of Chinese New Year and a little bit procrastinating on my side. As a recap, the first season has done fairly well before during the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ audition, and definitely the best reverse-harem title reviewed in this blog to date. So did the second season, which will also compete for the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title just like its predecessor did, continues building on the solid foundations that has already been laid? read on to find out.

She finally fulfill the reason why she comes to Kyoto in the first place.

After the main female protagonist and her pretty boys entourage retreated from Kyoto, the Tokugawa Shogunate started to disintegrate while the era of the Meiji Restoration started to dawn in Japan. In the turmoil caused by the warring factions, she finally finds her missing father (and as an added bonus, her brother too) in tragic short-lived reunions. As history chiseled away the Shinsengumi group episode-by-episode, they has to fight monsters and demons too in addition of the imperial forces.

One thing that has definitely improved in the second season is the storyline. The fictional parts of this anime is more overt now than it is in the first season, and the only possible weakness in the plot is the appearance of the main female protagonist’s brother being too early for my liking. Actually, after learning that the second season only has 10 episodes, I feared that this anime will go the way of Hatenkou Yuugi (an extremely bad reverse harem title) but fortunately it didn’t. While it is all fine and dandy when it comes to storyline, the second season suffers a serious regression when it comes to presentation.

Considering the circumstances detailed in the first season, this character died too early for my liking.

In the first season, the anime’s pacing is quite decent if not a little bit fast because of the numerous time jumps, plus the flow of the story progression is basically flawless. But in the sequel, you cannot say the same thing for the presentation aspect of this title. The pacing in this sequel is faster than in the first, and because of it the improved storyline seems to be presented in a hurry. Events comes and goes faster than it is in the first season. This sets up a cascading chain reaction where the fast pacing also caused the flow of the storyline to be negatively affected.

A good example of this is the disconnects between the events of the main female protagonist brother’s death (in the first two episodes), the arrest and execution of the Shinsengumi leader (happened in the next two episodes) and also the death of the main female protagonist’s father (the next 3 episodes after it). Scene transition problems is really apparent in those cases, it is as if you are watching an episodic anime title. But this weakness is mitigated by the fact that the problem only happens in the fictional parts of the anime, not the historical parts of the storyline. The time jumps in this second season are still numerous as ever, but didn’t affect the anime negatively.

I’m pretty damn sure that the real Shinsengumi guys in our world doesn’t have to fight these guys.

Speaking about that, in my review of the first season, I did mention that I predict that the second season storyline will deviate from official history books. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen, and changes are restricted mostly on how some members of the Shinsengumi died. And those changes are most dictated by the emergence and resurgence of the fictional parts of this anime (consisted of parts like the main female protagonist and the Rasetsu monsters). The ending is good but ambiguous, but if you consider the way this anime treated its historical sources, it is not that hard to extrapolate what has really happened to the main male protagonist at the end. A few things left unfinished though, like what happened to the remaining two Shinsengumi members.

He is also not part of the canon history books.

Character developments in this anime has been improved compared to what happened in the first season, a great feat considering the lower numbers of episodes this anime has. Regardless whether a character is a Rasetsu or not, each and every one of them has decent airtime as the Shinsengumi numbers eventually wears down. Exceptions are the two characters I mentioned before which fate and whereabouts are unknown after the ending credits rolls in.

After watching all two season of this anime, IMO this is one of the better reverse harem titles out there; better than the likes of Ouran Koukou High School, La Corda D’Oro ~primo passo~ or Hatenkou Yuugi. If you have a thing for pretty boys and a penchant for documentaries, this is definitely a title for you.

The time jumps are still there in all its glory.

Character Design:-
My comment from the first season of this anime still applies.

Voice Acting:-
My comment from the first season of this anime still applies.

Another part in this anime where improvements can actually be seen. The OST is still decent as it is in the first season, but in this season the OP/ED themes are actually good. The ED theme in particular is great.

For the animation and choreography parts, my comment from the first season of this anime still applies. But for the directing, the scene transition problems is a blip for the director.

Rain effects in this anime is better than the fake ones seen in Legend of Legendary Heroes and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

8 out of 10
. Same score as the first season, and therefore Katanagatari will still retain the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title for the time being. To know the next title I will watch, see the sidebar of this blog’s Facebook page. It is highly likely another 2010 anime title that should remain nameless until I started watching it.

Unfortunately for the audience, the anime doesn’t show what happened after this scene. Oh well, you have to settle for the Princess Lover OVA instead.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-kE

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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