Follow TV Tropes

Following

Manga / Kaze Hikaru

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kazehikaru_vol1.png
Advertisement:

Kaze Hikaru (風光る) is a historical Josei manga by Taeko Watanabe, set during the time of the Meiji Revolution in the 1860s.

Cross-dressing heroine Tominaga Sei 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 Soji.

The series was published for almost 23 years, beginning serialization in 1997 in the shoujo magazine Bessatsu Shoujo Comic; it later moved to the josei magazine Monthly Flowers in 2002, where it continued until the end of its run in 2020. The manga was collected into 45 volumes. Kaze Hikaru is being published in English by Viz under the Shojo Beat banner.

Advertisement:


This series has examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Truth in Television for the era, in which almost every marriage was arranged to some degree. Harada and Masa are a notable Aversion. Kondo and both of Okita's older sisters are in arranged marriages while Hijikata breaks off his own planned engagement over the course of the story. Kondo and Hijikata attempt to arrange one for Soji, only for Soji to screw it up spectacularly.
  • Attempted Rape: Sei has been threatened with rape many, many times, whether it's as herself or as "Seizaburo." Additionally, both Hijikata Toshizo and Nakamura Goro have had to fend off attempted rapists in their backstories. Hijikata's act of kicking the rapist in the balls and walking home to Hino overnight (a distance of roughly 39 kilometers), is considered a "heroic story" by both Kondo and Soji.
  • Advertisement:
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: By her own admission, Sei is an average-looking woman but an exceptionally pretty man.
  • Big Brother Worship: Sei adored her brother Yuma and was much closer to him than she was to her father. She was so jealous of his relationship with Akesato that she stopped speaking to him for a time.
  • 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 Hijikata couldn't stand the idea of being indebted to Ito after Ito does him a legitimate favor, and so Hijikata (angrily) planted a big one on his smacker in lieu of having it hang over his head in the future.
  • Big Eater: It's a running gag that Okita can pack away ludicrous amounts of sweets, and also that it's a sign something is bothering him when he only eats two or three helpings at meals.
  • Bungled Suicide:
    • Sanosuke Harada, who is proud of the scar he bears from a failed attempt at seppuku that he performed completely on a whim.
    • Okita's first love, who attempted to kill herself after Okita turned her down in favor of focusing on sword training.
  • 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 the bit-part characters. Quite a feat for a story where everyone has black hair in similar hairstyles.
    • It should be noted that as a historical piece, the mangaka based many of the more well-known named individual's designs on existing photos and/or descriptions of their real-life counterparts.
  • Celibate Hero:
    • Sei's situation requires this of her. To Sei's chagrin, she ironically earns a reputation as a lady-killer because she spends three days of each month with Akesato (at first in the Red Light District, later in their private home) when she gets her period, which to be fair is under the guise of a sexual escapade. Eventually she learns to take this reputation in stride and even uses it to her advantage on occasion to ward away other romantic advances.
    • Okita swore off forming romantic or sexual relationships at a young age, at first only because he felt they would distract him from his sword training, but then later because a girl who liked him (and whom he was personally fond of) attempted suicide after he rejected her and the incident horribly traumatized him from interacting with women. Falling for Sei breaks him out of this mindset, although he remains sexually celibate.
    • An unusual variation comes in the form of Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu, who is not celibate and even has several concubines, but has avoided having any offspring after the death of his first child in infancy. It is implied this has been a deliberate effort on his part. This is Truth in Television, as his real-life counterpart, according to records, didn't have any offspring until over a decade after his ill-fated firstborn.
  • Cherry Blossoms: They come up from time to time in various ways. Unsurprising given the Cherry Blossom's importance in Japanese culture.
  • 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.
  • Commonality Connection: Sei and Hijikata constantly butt heads, but the 'Oni Vice-Captain' Hijikata is surprisingly sensitive towards Kamiya's 'feminintitis' condition, and is quick to apologize anytime he implies Kamiya might be 'womanly'. Hijikata himself had feminine looks and a high-pitched voice well into his teens, which caused him a lot of torment. As a result, he's sympathetic to Kamiya's supposed plight and tries to be supportive in his own way.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Saito, although his snark is almost entirely in his head.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Girls start to get marriage propositions as soon as they get their period, often get married shortly after, and they have virtually no say in their marriage, as it is ultimately their parents who make the final decision. Boys also have fairly little say in their own marriages, especially the higher their social status is. It's also fairly common for individuals who are not even into their teenage years to get apprenticed for work and treated like they're adults, in both positive and negative ways, with some even being forced into leadership positions well before they're ready.
    • A kosho (a servant who handles the tasks of a secretary or assistant, usually younger than the person who employs them), has no right to reject their master's advances if their master wants to enter into a sexual relationship with them.
  • 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.
    • Ukinosuke, the prodigal son of a wealthy merchant who is actually Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu, one of the heirs to the Shogunate whittles away his time at brothels and paying for high ranking courtesans. When Kamiya is sent to make arrangements with Ukinosuke to 'borrow' a courtesan he has booked, Ukinosuke immediately turns his attentions to 'Seizaburo' without batting an eye. Ukinosuke repeatedly makes lewd, flirtatious passes at Kamiya at every meeting of theirs thereafter, including attempting to proposition Kamiya into spending the night with him twice.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male:
    • Harada repeatedly jokes about forcing himself on 'Kamiya' (whom he believes to be a man) and Todo, and everyone laughs it off. Even Sei, who was initially disturbed, comes to accept it as background noise.
    • When Sei runs into Yamashiro Kanji again after their last encounter ended with him trying to rape her (which was only stopped by Okita's intervention), Okita advises her to laugh it off because that's what a man would do.
    • A clerk at the store Hijikata was undergoing an apprenticeship at when he was eleven (which in modern terms would really be nine or ten) tried to make sexual passes at him, which he only escaped by kicking the man in the balls. Afterward, Hijikata decided his only safe course of action was to walk home overnight (a distance of roughly 24 miles). Despite this, his family is more upset that he lost a good job. While Kondo is genuinely sympathetic to what Hijikata experienced, he also openly blabs about the story to Okita despite Hijikata's wish for privacy. Ito's sexual harassment of him is also treated as a joke, and even after Sei realizes that Hijikata is genuinely disturbed, the concern is solely that he will kill Ito in retaliation rather than that Hijikata was, and continues to be, a victim of harassment and unwanted advances.
    • Averted with Nakamura Goro's past assault, which traumatized him, but possibly Played Straight later, depending on what exactly happened between him and Ito on the night they got drunk together.
  • Drag Queen: Yukiya is a Kagema, which is a period-typical equivalent of one. Kagema were male prostitutes who dressed in effeminate clothing and served a mixed-gender clientele, and Yukiya is introduced as being one of the most sought after in his district. Yukiya bears a strong resemblance to Sei, which gives Saito problems when he begins to crush on 'Kamiya' and simultaneously becomes the object of Yukiya's affection.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Hijikata is blessed with multiple admirers throughout the series.
  • Everyone Can See It: Most people in the story are under the impression that Okita and "Seizaburo" are already in a relationship. A good majority of them are also actively supportive of it, even the ones who themselves pine after "Seizaburo".
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: well, not everyone, but a lot of the men are depicted as frequenting brothels or wanting to have sex, and a fair number of characters actually are prostitutes and therefore this is part of their job description. The manga is also very liberal with dirty references and jokes to the point of being a borderline Sex Comedy in certain parts.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Or at least most of the men are (historically, this is Truth in Television).
    • While Sei is steadfastly in love with Okita, living around men long enough has caused Sei to become more appreciative of the beauty of other women, even being visibly caught off guard by it at times. She specifically develops a crush on the courtesan Miyuki-dayu.
  • Fake Relationship: Ironically between Okita and 'Kamiya Seizaburo'. After it comes to light that the entire first troop is in love with Sei's male identity, Okita decides to pretend that he and Kamiya are in a Shudo relationship to help fend off some of Sei's unwanted admirers, since few would try to step on such a relationship. Despite this, neither of them is aware of their mutual feelings for each other.
    • Okita also attempts to instigate a similar arrangement with Kohana, the courtesan he would often hire for company but never sleep with. He seriously considers buying her out of prostitution to live in private quarters with him, creating a front that she is his lover, which would also allow her to live a free life with her daughter. This doesn't come to pass when Kohana, who by this point has fallen in love with Okita, heartbreakingly decides that she can't bear to endure a false life with a man who doesn't love her, and turns him down.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: The Bungled Suicide of a girl after Soji turned her down in favor of concentrating on his swordsmanship is a major contributor to Soji's almost ridiculous obliviousness to love.
  • Foregone Conclusion: According to history, a vast majority of the cast is going to die within the next few years of the time period. And no, Taeko Watanabe will not spare anyone no matter how lovingly they are portrayed.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Harada meets a girl named Masa, proposes to her, and marries her within the span of about a week. At the time this was actually considered quite generous as many couples of the era would meet their spouses the day of their wedding.
  • The Gadfly: Ukinosuke, the son of a merchant who is actually a shogunate heir and eventually the last Shogun of Japan in combination with a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass persona, takes immense delight in heckling both people who annoy him and those he's fond of. To Kamiya's chagrin, he develops a particular joy in getting a rise out of her.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Several characters, but especially Hijikata whose Jerkass behavior can reach Noble Demon levels.
  • Grand Finale: The final published chapter is reported to be over 100 pages long, wrapping up the conflict and most character arcs in the series.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Kondo and Hijikata, to the point they've referred to themselves as each other's "husband" and "wife" as well as the "father" and "mother" of the Shinsengumi. Hijikata even lightheartedly jokes that Kondo is 'cheating' on him on a few occasions where Kondo shows admiration for a new acquaintance. Additionally, the narrative describes their feelings for each other as "greater than that of husband and wife". While Hijikata denies that his decision to be a bachelor for life in service to the Shinsengumi was for Kondo, Kondo is the one who made the Shinsengumi possible. However, they're both exclusively attracted to women (and Hijikata is repulsed by any thought of homosexuality).
    • Soda and Yamaguchi are both attracted to Sei, whom they believe to be male, but they aren't 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.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • To Okita, when Sae attempted suicide.
    • To Sei, when her father and brother were murdered.
  • 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 and Sakamoto Ryoma.
  • Historical Fiction: With extreme attention to historical accuracy.
  • Historical In-Joke: Tons, like Sei's involvement in Ikedaya and Hijikata's haiku.
  • Honor Before Reason: The way of life for 85% of the cast.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Saito thought he wasn't interested in shudo at all, but he develops a crush on Sei thinking she's a boy, and quickly starts rationalizing this kind of argument with himself over said crush. Then he finds out she's actually a girl, and it ends up amplifying his feelings more and he ends up considering marrying her, but he drops it realizing that she's happiest with Soji.
  • Important Haircut: In order to convince others that she is a man when joining the Shinsengumi, Sei shaves the top of her head as part of her disguise, 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 refused to have his head shaved after his genpuku, however.
    • Sei 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.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The entire first troop falls in love with Kamiya Seizaburo and even try to duel each other to be the one to 'win him'. But they all eventually realize that Kamiya is happiest with Okita and come to the conclusion that the best way to show their love for Kamiya is to root for 'his' relationship with Okita.
    • Saito eventually follows the path of the first troop regarding his feelings for Sei and decides to step to the side for Okita, albeit considerably less gracefully.
    • Okita himself takes this to extreme lengths after he realizes that he's in love with Sei. Recognizing that he would choose being a warrior over being a proper husband and how unfair that would be to her, Okita refuses to pursue a relationship with Sei. As a result, Okita believes that it would be better to wish for Sei to find happiness with someone else, and has a tendency to throw support behind or fantasize about her getting together with various other potential suitors, even to his own emotional detriment when he does so.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hijikata, no matter how vehemently he denies it.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": The Shinsengumi, basically. Kondo'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!
  • Lady Killer In Love: Yukiya is a male prostitute who was so highly desired that he was rarely seen by anyone who couldn't afford to pay for his services. Unfortunately he falls in love with Saito, who only has eyes for Kamiya.
  • 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 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.
  • Love You and Everybody: Okita very openly declares that he loves Sei... usually in the same breath that he says he loves the likes of Kondo, Hijikata, and Saito. Okita's endearingly unshy about how much he loves the people around him, but this unfortunately gives the pining Sei a lot of confusion and grief.
  • Marry for Love: Harada Sanosuke and Sugawara Masa fall in love and decide to marry within a few days of meeting each other. They almost can't marry because Masa comes from a merchant family, but her brother is high-ranking enough that it's narrowly allowed.
  • The Medic: Sei is sometimes called upon to care her fellow troop members since she has basic knowledge on how to treat illness and injury as the daughter of a doctor who helped out at his clinic, and she studies basic first aid in her spare time. Later the manga brings in Doctor Matsumoto, who is an actual trained physician, to look after the Shinsengumi.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series varies between hilarious Romantic Comedy and rather blood-soaked Serious Historical Fiction.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Soji and Hijikata to Kondo, and Kondo to the Tokugawa Bakufu. Sei is too comfortable questioning Soji to really fit this trope, while Yamanami chose to desert the troop and commit seppuku rather than challenge his loyalty to Kondo.
  • 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 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" Remark: 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?"). Okita never realizes when someone is romantically interested in him, and also has very long delays before realizing when he's developed feelings for someone.
  • Pet the Dog: Many times coming from Hijikata, who enforces a reputation of being a hard-nosed jerk, but in reality is a decent and idealistic guy. To list just a few examples:
    • Hijikata is, due to a traumatic experience, deeply uncomfortable with homosexual attentions directed at himself. Nonetheless, he graciously accepts a sword made for him by a swordsmith who falls in love with him, and blatantly looks the other way about the fact said swordsmith previously committed an offense against the Shinsengumi that was punishable by death, allowing him to live.
    • Hijikata gives Kamiya sincere advice on how to deter some of her romantic followers when he sees that Kamiya is having a difficult time dealing with them.
    • He also goes out of his way to utilize a loophole in the inter-class marriage system to help ensure that Harada and his eventual wife can get married.
  • Playing Sick:
    • Yamanami fakes faintness to keep Sei as his kosho and away from battle after he learns she's a girl, but he eventually drops the act and accepts that she wants to fight.
    • Sei and Doctor Matsumoto team-up to fake a medical condition ("feminintitis") that explains why her voice hasn't changed and her body is growing increasingly curvy without admitting she lied to join the Shinsengumi, which would force her to commit seppuku.
  • Platonic Prostitution:
    • Whenever Okita spends the night with Kohana, he literally just goes to sleep in her company, merely hiring her as an excuse to hang out with the other men in Shimabara and to hide the fact that he's celibate. It's also an excuse to help Kohana out financially and allowing her a night of rest, as he has a soft spot for her due to the fact she has the same name as one of his sisters.
    • Sei partakes in a "three-day indulgence" (a tryst inwhich one stays at a brothel for three days in a row) every month to escape headquarters and her duties on the heaviest days of her period. Sei eventually no longer has to do this when Akesato is freed from servitude and moves into a private home where she can live as Kamiya Seizaburo's lover and Sei can visit without having to pay.
    • Yamanami doesn't seem to get the point of hiring a sex worker, and just recounts historic novels to the women in question. A woman in Yoshiwara was bored to sleep, but Akesato finds it charming and begs him to pick up where he left off last time. Until they fall in love and their relationship is no longer platonic.
  • Raging Stiffie: Nothing is actually shown, but there are at least two occasions where different male characters become visibly aroused to their company, and it's played for laughs at their expense.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Sei is asked to do an infiltration job dressed as a girl.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Yamashiro Kanji makes a reprehensible impression when he attempts to rape Sei, and Okita chases him into the night with a warning. When they see him again, he is genuinely apologetic over what he did to Sei, and even helps her with a request no strings attached. He ends up dying later that night trying to protect her.
  • Red Light District: The characters frequently visit the historical Shimabara in Kyoto, where Sei's friend Akesato works until she is redeemed, and Yoshiwara, the Edo equivalent, is mentioned as well.
  • Revenge: Sei's reason for joining the Shinsengumi is to avenge the deaths of her father and brother.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Okita decides to, when necessary, pretend to be in a Shudo relationship with Kamiya to help deter some of her admirers and prevent the discovery of her gender. He realizes that he's in love with her many chapters later.
  • 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 Seizaburo'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 minor character is executed after refusing to commit seppuku.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Everyone in the first troop supports Sei and Okita's relationship, though they believe they're already together, and plot against anyone who tries to get between them. Akesato and Matsumoto, who know Sei is a girl, actively root for them to get married.
    • Sei and Okita somewhat misguidedly ship Saito with Yukiya, the male prostitute who fell in love with Saito. Despite Saito's attempts to convince them that Yukiya's attraction is onesided, they tend to teasingly bring up Yukiya whenever they cross paths with him in town and remind Saito to visit him.
    • Many members of the Shinsengumi also are very teasing and supporting of the platonic but extremely strong relationship between Kondo and Hijikata.
  • Sick Episode: Kaze Hikaru is peppered with these from time to time, often either to document periods when a character's historical counterpart fell ill, to demonstrate medical practices from the time period, or both.
    • Okita collapses during the Ikedaya Affair, which did happen, due to heat stroke instead of tuberculosis as is commonly believed (but very unlikely).
    • Okita became bedridden a few times during his backstory after scuffling with Hijikata. On one occasion, he broke 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.
    • Hijikata historically came down with a case of tuberculosis in his early 20's, and the manga depicts his harrowing battle with the illness.
    • In a Wham Episode, the shogun Tokugawa Iemochi's tragic and eventually fatal battle with beriberi is shown in all its historically awful detail as his doctors fail to give him proper treatment. His loss is devastating to the Bakufu side in years to come.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Both Sei and Hijikata are often propositioned by other men, and some of their admirers take it too far.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders:
    • Ito isn't very fond of Kondo, and doesn't find either his ideals or physical appearance to be appealing. On top of that, Ito sees Kondo as a 'rival' of sorts for Hijikata's affection despite the fact Kondo and Hijikata's relationship, while very strong, is strictly platonic. However there are occasions where Ito is caught off guard by Kondo's natural charisma, and he gets comically distressed at the idea he could be charmed at all by Kondo.
    • Hijikata loathes Ito with a burning passion from on the receiving end of Ito's relentless unwanted affection and being aware of Ito's desire to throw a wrench in the Shinsengumi. But on one occasion where they end up agreeing on something, Hijikata has a fleeting moment of thinking that Ito's 'a bit cute' and Hijikata immediately looks like he wants to run away somewhere to vomit.
    • Sei gets assigned to be Hijikata's assistant while healing from an injury. The two of them spending extended periods of time together has Hijikata getting increasingly comfortable in her presence... and then subsequently looking like he's crawling in his skin because he, still believing 'Kamiya' to be male (albeit with an illness making her feminine), can't stop subconsciously questioning Kamiya's gender.
  • Subordinate Excuse: The biggest reason Sei is intent on staying with the Shinsengumi is so she can stay by Okita's side.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Sei; the main premise of the manga.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: An unusual form of this phenomenon: The vast majority of Sei's many admirers embrace the samurai tradition of ''shudo'', and are perfectly happy to chase after a pretty boy. Saito is a more straight example who initially agonized over the feelings he developed because he didn't think he was the type to be interested in shudo.
    • Hijikata isn't actively attracted to Kamiya, but he becomes increasingly stressed when he realizes that his usual discomfort in the close presence of other men is absent when he's near Kamiya. This leads Hijikata to question the nature of Kamiya's "feminintitis" condition, which in turn also makes him feel guilty, since he knows what it's like to be judged for looking 'feminine'.
  • Taking the Bullet: A pretty classic version of this type of scene occurs when Sei takes a nasty slice to the back of the shoulder to protect Okita from an enemy, complete with panels portraying slow-motion. Sei thankfully lives, with the chainmail she habitually wears to obscure her body shape protecting her from a fatal blow.
  • Taking the Veil: Sei considers becoming a Buddhist nun twice (first when she achieves her revenge against her family's killer, and later when she believes Soji has discovered her feelings for him and incorrectly assumes that he's too disgusted to serve with her anymore, causing her to fall into despair). Her family friend Yui took vows after she was widowed (as "Suigetsuni").
    • Nui decides to become a nun after her son kills Tani, avenging her husband and his father.
  • 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: "Kaze Hikaru" comes from a haiku written by the real-life Hijikata. We get to see him write it in the story.
    "Kaze hikaru
    Makoto no hata ni
    Hana goro mo"
  • 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 that 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.
    • Okita ends up returning the favor after Sei takes a hit meant for him. [[Spoiler: Okita]] terrifyingly slaughters all of their opponents at the scene immediately after.
  • 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. It's explained that a male storeclerk made a sexual advance on Hijikata, which left him permanently traumatized. It's later also shown that this happened when Hijikata wasn't even a teenager. Unfortunately for Hijikata, his looks have made him the object of affection of several men over the course of the story.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The dance of Sei and Okita's relationship is the backbone upon which the non-historical bits of the story is built upon, and boy is it a dance. While their dynamic is so harmonious that they already come off as Like an Old Married Couple to most onlookers, a number of barriers prevent them from entering a proper romantic relationship, even once both of them have developed feelings for each other. A combination of Honor Before Reason mentality, Sei's preference to keep living among the Shinsengumi, as well their misguided ideas of what would make the other most happy, prevent them both from attempting to act on their feelings beyond that of friends.

Top