Hakuoki Impressions and Review – Spoilers

I realized I cannot review Idea Factory’s Scarlet Fate without referencing their earlier game Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and its definitive edition re-release Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi. As many reviews detailing what kind of game it is, who the Shinsengumi are, and the general plot already exist, my impressions and review will focus solely on the characters and routes. As always, these are just my reactions. If you enjoy a route I don’t, more power to you.  Also, wordpress is fighting me on the formatting so apologies for the layout.

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Toshizo Hijikata’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura, the MC: I like how much initiative she has during key plot choices, but her flustered crush the entire route got old.


On Hijikata: I like him the least as a character in this route. He spends much of his time bemoaning the fate of Kondou, the other Shinsengumi, and the way of the Samurai. And it IS hard, but in this route you get to hear all the horrible things the Shinsengumi did in the past while reading chapter after chapter of angsting. In the other routes, I sympathized with Hijikata. In this route, I kind of felt like if they had done all those horrible things to their soldiers and prisoners that I was okay with their losing.


On the relationship: Make up your **** mind, dude. Either you’re into her or not. I really felt the age difference, and for so much of the route Hijikata seems to feel it too and treats Chizuru as a parent would a child. And he’s good in that role. It never does feel like a relationship between equals even in the best ending.


On the plot: This route is the longest, and my goodness did I ever feel it. It just drags on. And on. And on. I did however enjoy one of the secondary character that only appears in this route, Ootori Keisuke. He represented a unique viewpoint, using Western tactics while standing with the shogunate.

Souji Okita’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I don’t like how she has to keep making choices to seek out such an obvious jerk. The writing where she finally remembers how her origin family was destroyed and her accompanying emotions was lovely though.


On Okita: Nope. Cruel tease who loves Kondou way too much for it just to be friendship.


On the relationship: I don’t understand why they’re together. I really don’t. Maybe the “and then they both die” ending would make me understand?


On the plot: The main antagonist is Kaoru, Chizuru’s brother. Kaoru resents that Chizuru is a girl and therefore was cared for better than he was, and spends the second half of the game trying to make her as miserable as possible. Because she has a uterus and he doesn’t. Apparently he too wishes to be stalked by homicidal demons and forced to bear their children. What the heck.

Hajime Saito’s Route

On Chizuru Yukumra: She’s not as active as here as she is in, say, Heisuke’s route, but she’s intelligent and feels the most mature of the fully-fledged character routes. In this route she cares about all the Shinsengumi, but the menace from them always is present. She also doesn’t idealize individuals or different worldviews, something that really grated in some other routes.


On Saito: Intelligent, loyal, and deeply focused, Saito is not the person to choose when you need a hug or a chatty drinking partner. He’s not mean or dismissive – just not interested in anything outside his goals. Any time I read a story in which one of the main characters is supposed to be cool but the author makes him a jerk too, I want to email this route. Reserved, quiet people don’t need to be jerks.


On the relationship: I like this route because it feels like the MC’s choice the most. Chizuru and Saito know each other as comrades for years before a romantic relationship begins. Saito does not pressure her, she does not pressure him, and she makes her own decision. There are barely any romantic moments in the main story so don’t choose this route it you’re in a mushy mood, but the epilog is incredibly sweet.


On the plot: The first time I played through it I expected Chizuru to die, but I was fine with that because, again, she feels like a grown-up making her own decisions. I was also fascinated by Amagiri, one of the secondary demons. He works with Chikage yet has his own goals and ethics.

Heisuke Toudou’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like how active she in this route and that she calls Heisuke on his crap.


On Heisuke: The youngest of the group, Heisuke is still trying to figure out who is right and wrong in this civil war and what actions can be justified.


On the relationship: This is a romance between equals and feels believable.


On the plot: The secondary characters Senhime, Kimigiku, and Sannan drive this exciting story. Kimigiku broke my heart at the end.

Saonosuke Harada’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like how active she in the first part of the route and how the revelation of her true nature deeply shakes her. She’s terribly dense about Harada’s interest though.


On Harada: I appreciate that he (and his best friend Nagakura) wish to protect others, not cling to an old code.


On the relationship: Chizuru’s cluelessness about Harada’s feelings is painful to witness. That may be why his is the only route with a sex scene – he’d tried every other way to make her understand he loved her.


On the plot: Secondary demon Shiranui Kyo features prominently and never fails to make me smile. The guy’s nuts. This route focuses much more on personal relationships than the battles and politics.

Kazama Chikage’s Route

On Chizuru Yukimura: I like her in this one. Her assessing the situation at different points then taking the most logical option (even if it does make everyone else do a double-take) is refreshing.


On Chikage: He still wants Chizuru to be his demon baby mama, but I liked him once I decided to ignore his characterization in the other routes. He can be considerate while still wanting to take over Japan.


On the relationship: It’s a prolog – a fun prolog, but there isn’t a relationship by the end.


On the plot: See *Default Route*

Default Route

Nearly everyone but Chizuru dies. I actually like this one. XD

Overall: A well-executed civil war tragedy in which romance takes a backseat.

Idea Factory’s Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is available on PSP and the definitive Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi is available on PS3.

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