Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Season 1 Series Review

Lots of cute guys, historical setting, swords, and a girl disguised as a boy in the middle of it all. Where have I seen that before?

Review:

This review is going to be a bit difficult to write. Mostly because this anime is fine and I actually think a lot of viewers will really enjoy it, evidenced by the fact that they made another two seasons of it and you find references to it everywhere on line and copious amount of fan art of the characters. I didn’t actually dislike this anime while watching it, but I also got to the end of it and kind of wondered if there had been some sort of point that I had just missed or if there was something about the characters I was supposed to remember because other than their designs they all seemed pretty much exactly the same. To the point where I would honestly struggle to match their names to their faces if I were forced to do so.

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Which makes it difficult to review. The music was fine. I’m not walking around humming any of the songs and to be honest I’ve forgotten what most of the background music was like, but the OP worked well enough and I never found the music a particular problem.

Visually it is very pretty, much like many of these kinds of anime. There’s a lot of time and attention put into character designs for a large cast of characters, though in this case that is only true of main cast members. Supporting members of the various factions are all very generic historically Japanese looking and they get routinely cut down and nobody cares. Scratch a main character and everyone will be up in arms, but run through three of the guys with the standard hair cut and nobody will even pause to watch them fall. Okay, that might be an exaggeration but it felt like that at times.

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My biggest issue with the visuals was they went to a lot of trouble to explain that the main heroine disguised herself as a boy but realistically at no point does the viewer think she might be a boy and every single character in the anime knows she isn’t a boy more or less immediately, so you have to wonder why they even bothered. Its another one of those plot points that seems there because someone at some planning meeting thought it sounded cool or added something but then they never did anything with it but they also didn’t edit it out. And yes, it is a historical anime so it kind of makes sense that she would need to disguise herself as a boy, but then they should commit to that and actually kind of make her look like a boy.

However, what really failed to sell me on this anime was the story itself. We’ve got classic historical moment going on and we jump from conflict to conflict getting a nice narration to tell us what the different groups are up to. And then we have some supernatural mumbo-jumbo that utterly fails to be interesting and doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story at all. Characters fight, they get injured, some change sides, some pretend to change sides, more fighting, occasionally they remember they are looking for her father, there’s some weird elixir that turns people into demon like things but not all of them because some manage to not go crazy, and then we kind of get to the end of the season where clearly things are going really poorly for them but that just leaves room for the sequel where they can maybe stage a comeback.

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I guess it is interesting to some but for me it just felt like it was going through its paces and as I never really got drawn into the characters I wasn’t that hooked by their comings and goings.

Overall, if you really like historical fiction with a bit of a reverse harem going on, there’s probably a lot you will enjoy about this one (though you’ve probably already watched it). For me, I’m not so sure I’ll get around to season 2, though I guess it might happen at some point. This wasn’t impossible to watch, it just didn’t leave much impact.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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6 thoughts on “Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Season 1 Series Review

  1. After finishing Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds (the visual novel) a few months ago, I decided to pick up the anime after falling in love with the game. I believe it’s one of those anime adaptations which makes more sense to those who have played the games. I watched the anime with my boyfriend (who hasn’t played the games) and he did get a bit lost in places.

    Season 1 of the anime follows the events of Kyoto Winds and ends at the same point that the visual novel does. The story mainly follows Hijikata’s path with other small sections of other characters’ paths thrown in to help explain other things going on. Season 2 follows the events of the second game, Edo Blossoms. I haven’t watched this yet though as I want to finish the game first. The third season is apparently about events of the Shinsengumi before Chizuru came to Edo.

    The thing I loved most about this anime was that the voice actors are either the same people from the game, or they sound almost identical. That sense of familiarity was wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I reviewed the visual novel for this on Vita last year and really enjoyed the story. It seems like the anime and game share the same story and the series is broken into two different games — Kyoto Winds (which this anime seems to follow) and it’s immediate sequel Edo Blossoms. The benefit of the visual novel is that it highlights terms, names, and places in purple text and offers definitions for them. Without them, I would have been wholly confused. This is how I’d imagine watching the anime is like.

    Having enjoyed the two visual novels, though, I’m more curious to watch this. I had no idea they were even doing an anime adaptation.

    Like

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