Hakuoki was actually my first otome game on my brand new PSP 3000, so I was really excited.
Well, this game is not your usual otome game, since it has a heavy historical background: the Shinsengumi.
The game focuses on the downfall of the Shinsengumi around the 1860 and 1870’s. Therefore it’s very dramatic and depressing (there are quite many bad endings) and the romance factor is limited. You can go after a guy, but since everyone is dying, it’s not your happy-go-lucky game, so be prepared. ^^
I won’t summarize all history facts and fights. To be honest: I’m too lazy. (/ω＼) Just read it on wikipedia or wherever you want. 🙂
According to which guy you pursue, the story will unfold with different POV in each character route. There are also slight changes in the story in each route, so it’s really worth to play all routes. There are 6 character routes, while one of the 6 is a “secret” route.
Story (No spoilers):
Chizuru Yukimura (her first name is changeable) is a young girl from Edo, who travels to Kyoto in search of her missing father, a western-trained doctor. Of course our heroine is smart enough to dress herself as a boy to avoid dangerous situations, while searching for her father. When she arrives Kyoto, she is unfortunately caught up in a bloody incident involving the Shinsengumi. Since she witnessed them killing some ro-nin (masterless samurai’s), they take her to their headquarter to decide if she’s to die as they cannot let that incident leak out. So basically she becomes a captive.
Of course her crossdressing doesn’t fool most of the Shinsengumi captains and when she explains her situation and why she came to Kyoto dressed as a boy, it turns out that the Shinsengumi are also searching for Kodo, Chizuru’s father.
Since she is Kodo’s daughter, they decide to spare her life and let her stay with them and protect her, if she’s willing to help them to find Kodo.
Extended Story (SPOILERS!)
One day Chizuru finds out, that the Shinsengumi has a special unit called the Corpse Unit with the furies. A furie is a creature with heightened speed and strengh and the ability to heal from almost any wound. Drinking the “Water of Life” will transform a human into a fury. In order to truly kill a fury, you have to stab it through the heart or remove its head. Furies are weak to sunlight and have a strong desire for blood. Most of the furies can’t the bloodlust and go insane. The strength and power the furies gains when they transform will shorten their lifespan significantly. In a fury state, it has white hair and red eyes. (So much like vampires… LOL)
Moreover there are 3 demons after her: Chikage Kazama, Kyo Shiranui and Kyuujyu Amagiri. It’s revealed that Chizuru is a pure blood demon like Kazama, so he wants her to become his bride and bear his children. So he sometimes visits the Shinsengumi to capture Chizuru.
This game has no minigames, there are ONLY choices to pick throughout the game. But I think the story was thrilling and good enough, so it don’t feel like something was missing. You could even cheat and press the “☐-Button” to return to reload a read dialogue part if you chose the wrong answer or replay the voiced senctence in the “record”. There are only limited dialogue parts, you just read, saved, but enough to navigate smoothly, when needed.
– CG Gallery
An additional feature from the CG Gallery is, that you could watch the scnenes with the CG’s… Very nice. 😀
– Ending clip for each ending (credits)
It’s nothing special, really… You can see the credits with some character CG’s of the route you played.
The encyclopedia contains all information about historical facts, persons and special days, incidents and much more… It helps one to understand some of the history facts better… It’s not like everyone is a pro in Japanese history, so I was very grateful for this encyclopedia. ^^
– Record of Service
You can find every chapter you’ve been on in this record. In chapter 1-3 you will make decisions, that will determine, which character route you will get and so chapter 4+ are the characcter routes. You can also start in any chapter you played once, for example to get missing CG’s or getting all bad endings. Very convinient.
– Toshizo Hijikata (Vice-Commander)
– Souji Okita (Captain of the 1st division)
– Hajime Saito (Captain of the 3rd division)
– Heisuke Todoke (Captain of the 8th division)
– Sanosuke Harada (Captain of the 10th division)
– Kazama Chikage (pureblood demon)
– Isame Kondou (Chief)
– Keisuke Sannan (Vice-Commander)
– Shinpachi Nagakura (Captain of the 2nd division)
– Susumu Yamazaki (Spy)
– Kodo Yukimura (Doctor and Chizuru’s father)
– Kaoru Nagumo (Chizuru’s twin)
– Sen (pure blood demon princess)
– Kimigiku (Sen’s bodyguard)
– Kyo Shiranui (pureblood demon)
– Kyuujyu Amagiri (pureblood demon)
I only wanted to review the game in one post, but the character routes are too detailed to put them alltogether, so I’m going to split them up. 🙂 My impression of the whole game can be found on the last character route.
CV: Miki Shinichiro
Hijikata is the main guy of the game and therefore his route is the longest of all routes and give us the most information regarding the downfall of the Shinsengumi. He was actually the guy I got on my first playthrough (even though I wanted to end up with Okita… LOL). Hijikata is the oldest pursueable character (unless Kazama is older, like 300 oni years or so :D) and the vice-commander of the Shinsengumi. He’s also called the “Demon Commander”, since he’s very strict, kind of cold and heartless. But that’s just on the exterior. He may be cold and harsh with words, but he really cares for his men. By the way Hijikata has a quite foul mouth. He swears really often…
It’s revealed that he is from Edo and that he was selling medicine before the Shinsengumi was formed. Kondou and Hijikata, who had known each others since long ago, are very good friends and Hijikata supports him a lot.
When he fights Chikage Kazama one day he becomes a fury (rasetsu) by drinking the “Water of Life” (ochimizu). Even though furies are not supposed to stay up at daytime (furies are weak to sunlight), Hijikata still does, since the work is keep piling up. So he kinda became somewhat resistent to sunlight, well at least more than the other ones.
Chizuru can offer him blood when he’s having “bloodlust” and he’s NOT holding back, when it comes to drinking her blood. I’m NOT LYING, he drinks more blood than the others. Maybe working at daytime causes him to be more exhausted, which makes him wanting to drink more blood, but I mean Saito does work at daytime too and he only gets to lick 4 drops of blood, while Hijikata always sucks like 1 liter blood. I wonder if that’s the privelege of being the main guy. LOL
When the Shinsengumi went to Edo, the Shinsengumi begin to wear western clothes and the main guys all cut their hair. (Hijikata looks so gooood in western clothes) After losing Kondou, Hijikata is left in charge of the Shinsengumi, and begins to wonder what he’s fighting for. The Shinsengumi later joins a westernized army with Keisuke Otori as their boss/minister.
Kodo as always is trying to build a kingdom of demons and furies, so he and Chizuru can live in peace. Sanan and Kodo decided to work together on the research of furies. Everyone thought that Sanan lost his marbles and betrayed the Shinsengumi, but Sanan’s reason to continue the research was simply to save his fellow furies. He knew that furies had no future, so the only thing he could do is to let them die in battle. While Heisuke, Hijikata and Sanan fight the army of furies, Kodo protects her from a fury attack, but dies in doing so. Kodo regrets his creation of furies and admitted, that he only wanted to bring back Chizuru’s clan, her family, that was killed by humans, even though he knew that the furies were failures. After the battle Heisuke and Sanan died, because their fury lifespan had come to an end and they turned to ashe. Sanan said that Hijikata should go north after the battles, because the water there will weaken the “Water of Life”.
When the last battle is coming, Hijikata orders Chizuru to stay while the Shinsengumi heads to Ezo. She stays behind, but only to follow him to be assigned as a page to him with Otori’s help. Sorry, Hijikata… You just can’t win against a stubborn Edo woman 😀 .He’s clearly shocked that she followed him and tries to get her to leave with the letter, that says she’s assigned to him by Otori. She takes the letter back, but rips it! HELL YEAH! ≖‿≖ And yells at him for being a stubborn old man, who is always pushing others away to suffer alone! xDD After that he gives up and admits, that he was such a wreck without her and that he needs her.
When Otori came by some time later he asked Hijikata: “Your assistant here is quite something. Tell me, where did you find her?”
He answered: “…Well, I think some samurai wannabe had her sent over here without my permission. You know anything about that?”
Kazama is a total ore-sama in Hijikata’s route, looks down on the Shinsengumi and hates Hijikata with passion for scratching his beautiful face with a sword! 😀 It’s your own fault for underestimating Hijikata. LOL But in the end he’s acknowledges Hijikata’s strengh calling him a demon instead of a “fake” demon and gives him the name “Hakuouki”, aka the withering demon, since the power of changing into a fury is draining his life away slowly. After this Hijikata manages to defeat Kazama and the latter dies while saying that his pride allows him to die through Hakuouki’s hand, because Hakouki was acknowlegded by Kazama. Later the Shinsengumi surrender peacefully to the forces and the new “Meiji era” begins, where samurai’s are not needed anymore.
In the Epilogue Hijikata and Chizuru are watching cherry trees, while Hijikata says that the cherry blossoms reminds him of her. They are uncertain about the future, that awaits them, but they will struggle against fate if they have to…
Hijikata is the type, who is stubborn and not letting anyone near him, when not needed. I loved Hijikata’s voice and even though he was harsh with words, his actions were always kind and considering others feelings. His life only contains the Shinsengumi, but in the end, Chizuru grows important to him and when he opens up, he’s really sweet. I think at first he felt like a “father person” to Chizuru, but that changed with the time she spent with him and the Shinsengumi. I wasn’t that interested in him, but his route was very nice and satisfying, even though almost everyone else dies…