Kaze Hikaru (風光る) is a historical shoujo manga by Taeko Watanabe, set during the time of the Meiji Revolution in the 1860s. Tominaga Sei is the story’s crossdressing heroine. She shaves the top of her head in a boy's hairstyle, takes on the name "Kamiya Seizaburo," and joins The Shinsengumi (a shogunate police force) in order to avenge her family’s death at the hands of anti-shogunate rebels. After her family’s murderer is killed, she stays with the Shinsengumi out of a sense of loyalty and duty, and because of her budding feelings for Shinsengumi Captain Okita Souji.Kaze Hikaru is being published in English by Viz (Shojo Beat).This series has examples of:
Said to have been the situation with Kondo with his wife
Hijikata breaks off his own planned engagement over the course of the story.
And then there's the time that Kondo and Hijikata attempt at one point to arrange one for Okita but he manages to unwittingly screw up their plans spectacularly.
Attempted Rape: Many, many times on Sei, whether it's as herself or as "Seizaburo". It's happened to other women in the series as well, and has been implied or mentioned to have happened to Hijikata Toshizo and Nakamura Goro in the past.
Big Damn Kiss: Between Hijikata and Ito of all people. Although, because of that, it's both played for laughs and subverted, considering that while Ito has been infatuated with Hijikata from the get-go, Hijikata hates Ito's guts. The reason why this even occurs is because at the time, Ito could've easily swayed Todo to turn against the Shinsengumi, but chose not to, and rather than wanting to owe Ito for it later, Hijikata (angrily) planted a big one on his smacker.
Bungled Suicide: Sanosuke Harada, who is proud of the scar he bears from a failed attempt at seppuku, as well as Okita's first love.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ito, in spades. Even Utsumi, his right-hand-man and long-time acquaintance, more than once has voiced aloud his amazement that such a dignified, charismatic, discerning advisor-scholar persona and fearsome manipulator who plots the destruction of Shinsengumi can inhabit the same body as the goof who shamelessly harasses and chases after Hijikata. And eventually, he's even learned to play up his quirks to distract or outright side-step Hijikata's suspicions regarding his sneaky business.
Cast of Snowflakes: The mangaka does a rather admirable job at giving just about everyone unique and recognizable features, even bit-part characters. Quite a feat for a story where everyone has black hair in similar hairstyles.
Of course, this can at least be partially attributed to the fact this is a historical piece, and the mangaka based many character's designs on existing photos and/or descriptions of their real-life counterparts.
Celibate Hero: Sei's situation requires this of her, while Okita is this way because of his Backstory. To Sei's chagrin, she has earned herself the reputation of being a lady-killer due to her spending 3 days of each month at the brothels when she gets her period, which of course causes her fellow soldiers to jump to the one possible conclusion...
Clueless Chick Magnet: The number of girls that fall for Okita is impressive; the times he fails to notice it even more so.
Sei has ironically become this. Due to her "cute boyish looks" she attracts both women and men, though she's at least mildly more aware that she has admirers, if only because hers are more forward with it. Still, it came as a shock when she learned virtually everyone in the first troop had fallen for her as a man.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: It's not hard to forget, but that idiot named Okita who loves sweets, adores children, and spends most of his time with a goofy smile on his face is one of the most feared and ruthless members of the Shinsengumi and could kill you in less time than it takes to blink and without a hint of remorse.
Daddy Didn't Show: Sei meets her father for the first time after he fails to return home in time to spend his wife's last moments with her. Sei claims that while she respected him as a great physician, she never really thought of him as her father to the day of his death. It takes a talk with Doctor Matsumoto, who personally knew her father, to get her to really appreciate him as a parent.
Depraved Bisexual: Ito is married, but he outrageously chases after pretty men AND women (in his own words, he's a lover of beautiful things) and the later volumes show him more than willing to use his sexuality to manipulate others for his plans.
Foregone Conclusion: According to history, a vast majority of the cast is going to die within the next few years of the time period.
Fourth Date Marriage: Harada meets a girl named Omasa, proposes to her, and marries her within the span of about a week. Which at the time was actually considered quite generous as many couples of the era would, due to Arranged Marriage's, meet their spouses the day of their wedding.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kondo and Hijikata big time, to the point they've on several occasions referred to themselves as "husband" and "wife", and "father" and "mother" of the Shinsengumi respectively. Hijitaka has all but admitted that the reason he's decided to remain a bachelor for life is because of the Shinsengumi, which only happened because Hijitaka followed Kondo in the dream to become Bushi.
Also, Soda and Yamaguchi can be interpreted as this. The "heterosexual" part is debatable since they both are attracted to Sei who they genuinely believe to be male, but they don't appear to be interested in each other in that sense, yet are almost never seen without one another.
Happily Adopted: Historically, many individuals in Japan, particularly males who weren't the first-born son, were "adopted" in some manner into another family in order to get a chance to advance in life since they weren't the direct heirs to their own families. This is the case for several characters that pop up in the story.
Okita's brother-in-law Rintaro was "adopted" when he married Okita's sister, taking on the family name Okita.
Kondo was adopted at age 16 into a family that ran the Shieikan dojo, which is where many core members of the eventual Shinsengumi had come to train.
While Okita wasn't really adopted, he was raised from the age of 9 at the aforementioned Shieikan dojo because his family could no longer afford to care for him. Okita at first felt he'd been abandoned but eventually grew to love his new life.
Historical-Domain Character: The political figures that appear in the story and pretty much every member of the Shinsengumi with the exception of Sei. A few other named notables also are historical domain characters, such as the doctor Matsumoto Ryojun.
Important Haircut: In order to come off more convincingly as a man when joining the Shinsengumi, Sei shaves the top of her head, something which was viewed like a punishment if it happened to a girl during the time. Okita takes it as proof of her resolve.
Historically, Japanese males during the time period would shave their bangs upon undergoing the coming-of-age ceremony known as "Genpuku". Okita notably refused to have his head shaved after his genpuku, however.
Sei actually runs into a bit of trouble when Kondo and Hijikata ask if she would like to go through the ceremony, because if she were actually male she'd have no reason to refuse, but having the bangs allows her to dress up and connect back to her identity as a girl.
Incest Subtext: In flashbacks, Councilor Ito is shown with a very close relationship with his younger brother.
The Knights Who Say Squee: The Shinsengumi, basically. Kondou's dream is to guard the Shogun by his side, and everyone in the organization is dedicated to supporting that dream.
Lad-ette: Sei. She drinks with them, she fights with them, she even has her own "woman." She is Bushi!
Last Name Basis: Most Shinsengumi members are primarily called by their family name. Heck, for some minor characters, the only name we are given for them is their family name! Even Sei is far, far, more often called "Kamiya" rather than "Seizaburo", and only very occasionally ever given the chance to be called Sei.
On the flipside, many civilian characters only have a given name, as it is explained that during the time period you had to be of a certain class to be granted the use of a family name.
Love Martyr: Sei is stubbornly in love with Okita regardless of all the sacrifice, suffering, and emotional baggage that goes with it.
The Medic: Sei, due to being the daughter of a doctor and having helped him out at his clinic, is sometimes called upon to care her fellow troop members since she has basic knowledge on how to treat illness and injury. Later though the manga brings in Doctor Matsumoto, who is an actual trained physician, to look after the Shinsengumi.
Naïve Newcomer: Sei's ideals are seriously challenged when she meets the men of the Shinsengumi.
No Periods, Period: Deliberately averted by the mangaka, who makes it clear she wanted Sei's situation to be portrayed as realistically as possible, which means Sei has to think of creative ways to deal with her period without it becoming noticed, and regularly gets it in-story.
Not So Different: It takes Sei awhile to admit the similarities between herself and Hijikata, Okita and her father, and that her enemies including the man who killed her family may have their own codes of honor.
Oblivious to Love: Okita; even the other characters notice it ("Is this idiot serious?")
Playing Sick: A variation of this trope happens when Sei and Doctor Matsumoto collaborate to fake her having a medical condition so she can avoid unwanted attention and continue to be part of the Shinsengumi. Particularly important for when she finally hits an age where it would become mightily suspicious for a boy's voice to not have changed yet or for their physique to remain so lithe.
Recursive Crossdressing: Sei gets to do this at one point, when she's asked to do an infiltration job dressed as a girl.
Revenge: Sei's reason for joining the Shinsengumi is to avenge the deaths of her father and brother.
Secret Keeper: Okita finds out Sei's a girl early on and chooses to look the other way. Other individuals that come to be privy to Sei's true gender are: Akesato, a Shimabara courtesan who once was in a relationship with Sei's brother Yuma. Yamanami, who finds out through Akesato. And Doctor Matsumoto, who was a colleague of Sei's father. Saito is the latest addition, who deduced Seizaburou's true identity through her slip of tongue about a secret which was supposed to be only between her brother, Yuma, and "Sei", which Saito knew about due to being Yuma's friend.
Seppuku: Yamanami Keisuke; another character is executed after refusing to commit seppuku.
Sick Episode: In order to explain why Okita collapsed during the Ikedaya Affair without having the reason be Tuberculosis, which is the commonly thought but unlikely historically accurate reason for it, the mangaka had him fall victim to heat stroke which Sei had to treat him for. Okita also became bedridden a few times during his backstory after having a number of scuffles with Hijikata, one of which resulted in him breaking his arm.
Yamanami falls ill after he learns Sei is a girl, as he couldn't tolerate the stress and worry it caused him. He even starts deliberately faking illness in order to keep Sei out of the battlefield.
Sei herself gets a fever after badly injuring her leg, which forces her to take several days off.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: For Sei and Hijikata, to an extent. Both are often being hit on by other men and some of their admirers take it too far.
Subordinate Excuse: The biggest reason Sei is intent on staying with the Shinsengumi is so she can stay by Okita's side.
Those Two Guys: Soda and Yamaguchi of the first troop, who are resident "Kamiya Seizaburo" fanboys and Okita/Kamiya shippers. They are thus far the only troop members without any specific connection to major or special officers to be granted names and many recurring appearances without ever having a story that specifically focused on them.
Title Drop: The term "Kaze-Hikaru" comes from a Haiku that was written by the real-life Hijikata. We get to see him write it in the story.
Tsundere: Hijikata is a heavy-on-the-tsun Type A. He easily blushes to his ears if he shows any sort of fondness or admiration for someone, or if someone sees through his Noble Demon mask. He covers this up with his trademark aggressive anger, which works on everyone except those closest to him.
Doctor Matsumoto and Sei also show this trait, albeit in a considerably milder fashion.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Yukiya, whom Saito at first thinks is a girl who highly resembles "Kamiya", only to find out he's actually a male prostitute.
Unstoppable Rage: When Okita's downed at the Ikedaya affair and Sei assumes he's been killed, her despair and fury transforms her into a fearsome force that none of her opponents could match. The episode ends up giving her the nickname of "Ashura" a.k.a. "God of War" from enemy and comrade alike.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Okita and Saito, Type 1. Saito often insults Okita, either in his head or aloud, mostly for being an oblivious idiot. But even so, it's clear that they're very good friends with a lot of trust and respect between them.
Warrior Poet: Quite a few major characters. Particularly standout examples include:
Ito, who prides himself for being both a master of the sword and of the academics,
Yamanami, who is also a well-learned and philosophical individual,
and Kondo, who despite his farmer roots studies as much as he can and has a strong desire for truth and to protect Japan.
And then there's Hijikata, who tries his darnedest to hide the fact that under his merciless personality is a man who's favorite hobby is to write Haiku.
Why Did It Have To Be Gays?: Hijikata is a raging homophobe, and his extreme discomfort with the notion of same-sex relationships is often played for laughs. The story goes is that a male sales clerk once tried to come onto him, which left him permanently traumatized. Unfortunately for Hijikata, his looks have made him the object of affection of several men over the course of the story.