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Visual Novel / Hakuouki

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"At the end of an era, the men of the Shinsengumi struggle to uphold the samurai ideal. When a young girl is thrust into their midst, she finds herself irrevocably tied to their tragic fate."

In Kyoto, Japan, near the end of the Edo period, a young boy is being chased through the streets at night by a pair of revolutionaries loyal to the Emperor. Hiding in an alley, the boy is horrified to witness his pursuers' brutal murder at the hands of demonic looking men with glowing red eyes, who laugh maniacally as they hack their victims to pieces. When the fiends turn their attention to the boy, his life is only spared by the timely appearance of two samurai belonging to a group of powerful warriors loyal to the Shogun, known as The Shinsengumi. Unsure just where the boy's loyalties lie, the Shinsengumi take him into custody and return him to their headquarters.

The next day, they are "shocked" to discover that the "boy" being held prisoner is, in fact, a girl named Chizuru Yukimura. Chizuru came to Kyoto in search of her missing father, an accomplished doctor of western medicine who she suddenly lost contact with several months ago. When the Shinsengumi reveal that they too have been in search of Dr. Yukimura in relation to the strange attacks that have been plaguing the city, they allow Chizuru to remain under their care and assist with the search. Agreeing to continue living as a boy so as not to distract the men who serve her new benefactors, Chizuru quickly becomes acclimated to their lifestyle and grows to genuinely care for each of them.


Her life soon becomes anything but peaceful, as the Shinsengumi's enemies seek to overthrow the Shogun and those loyal to him at any cost. At the same time, both the numbers and ferocity of the crazed men that Chizuru's protectors cryptically refer to as "failed soldiers" continue to increase. In the midst of one of the most chaotic eras in Kyoto's history, Chizuru grows determined to do everything she can to protect the lives of her new comrades.

Hakuōki (often romanized as Hakuouki or Hakuoki) is a popular video game franchise developed by Otomate, Idea Factory, and originally released in Japan in 2008. The series comprises eight different games: two main titles and a fan-disc first released on the PlayStation 2, two spinoffs, and three handheld gaiden games. Most of the games have been ported to multiple platforms (namely: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS).


The visual novels have been adapted into an anime series by Studio DEEN and licensed for release in English by Sentai Filmworks in American and Canada, MVM Entertainment in the UK and Hanabee Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.

2021 saw to the announcement of a ten-episode Live Action television series on Japan's WOWOW Prime streaming service, with Tsubasa Sakiyama as Hijikata.

    The Games 
  • Hakuōki ~Shinsengumi Kitan~ (2008): Where it all began; a historical visual novel with some romance game elements.
  • Hakuōki Zuisōroku (2009): A collection of side-stories which take place during the events of Shinsengumi Kitan. A visual novel with romance game elements.
  • Hakuōki Junsōroku (2010): A port/compilation of Shinsengumi Kitan and Zuisōroku for Playstation 3.
    • Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi (2014): The Aksys English-language localization.
  • Hakuōki Yūgiroku (2010): A collection of mini-games featuring the cast of Shinsengumi Kitan.
  • Hakuōki Reimeiroku (2010): The second of the main titles; a historical visual novel and the prequel to Shinsengumi Kitan.
  • Hakuōki Bakumatsu Musōroku (2012): A hack-and-slash game featuring the cast of Shinsengumi Kitan.
    • Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi (2013) : The North American localization by Aksys Games.
  • Hakuōki Yūgiroku II: Matsuri Hayashi to Taishitachi (2012)
  • Toki no Kizuna ~Sekigahara Kitan~ (2012): A prequel Visual Novel set in the Sengoku period. Although it does not share the Hakuōki title, it takes place in the same world, focusing on the demon involvement in the Battle of Sekigahara which Sen and Amagiri mention during Shinsengumi Kitan, and featuring in its main cast ancestors of several of the original game's demon characters.
    • Shall We Date? Demon's Bond (2015): An English-language localization of Toki no Kizuna, released under NTT Solmare's "Shall We Date?" banner of iOS and Android app romance games.
  • Toki no Kizuna Hanayuitsuzuri (2013): A sequel/side-story to the first Sekigahara Kitan.
  • Urakata Hakuōki (2013): A spinoff Visual Novel described as "an 'if' story of Hakuōki," featuring main characters from the opposing side of the original game's conflict.
    • Urakata Hakuōki ~Akatsuki no Shirabe~ (2014): The fandisk of Urakata Hakuōki.
  • Hakuouki SSL ~Sweet School Life~ (2014): Another spinoff visual novel set in an Alternate Universe, with Chizuru and the Shinsengumi attending a modern high school. Playstation Vita exclusive.
  • Hakuouki Shinkai: An Updated Re-release of the original Shinsengumi Kitan for Playstation Vita, incorporating the Zuisoroku fandisc and some additional new content, including routes for former supporting characters Sanan, Yamazaki and Nagakura and three new orignal character routes. Released in two episodes: Kaze no Shou, covering from Chizuru's arrival to Kyoto to the Shinsengumi's leave for Edo, and Hana no Shou, covering the rest of the story. Licensed in the West for PSV and Steam under the names Kyoto Winds and Edo Blossoms respectively.
  • Hakuōki: Tsukikage no Shou (2019): A fandisc for Shinkai, released on the Nintendo Switch in the form of a visual novel. It adds new moments for the past (in the form of Chizuru reminiscing) and the Good Endings. It covers Hijikata, Sennan, Kazama, Yamazaki, Okita, and Iba; a second planned fandisc for Saito, Heisuke, Harada, Nagakura, Souma, and Sakamoto was released in 2020.

    The Anime 
  • Hakuōki Shinsengumi Kitan (April 2010 - June 2010)
    • Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ (September 2012)
  • Hakuōki Hekketsuroku (October 2010 - December 2010)
    • Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~: Record of the Jade Blood (December 2012)
  • Hakuōki Sekkaroku (August 2011 - November 2011): A set of OVAs loosely based on Hakuouki Zuisouroku.
    • Hakuoki: A Memory of Snow Flowers (March 2013)
  • Hakuōki Reimeiroku (July 2012 - September 2012)
    • Hakuoki: Dawn of the Shinsengumi (October 2013)
  • Hakuōki Dai-isshō Kyoto Ranbu: The first of a two-part feature film adaptation, which premiered in theaters in Japan on August 24 2013.
    • Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~: Wild Dance of Kyoto (June 2016)
  • Hakuōki Dai-nishō Shikon Soukyuu: The second of a two-part feature film adaptation, which premiered in theaters in Japan on March 8 2014.
    • Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~: Warrior Spirit of the Blue Sky (August 2016)
  • Hakuōki ~Otogisōshi~ (April - June 2016): A gag series of 5-minute shorts based on the style of Yūgiroku.

This series contains examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Due to their ability to instantly heal their wounds, Demons and Furies are Nigh-Invulnerable. They must be stabbed through the heart or decapitated in order to be killed.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Although the anime follows Hijikata's path of the game's storyline, it incorporates important scenes from other routes wherever possible.
    • The movies further distill the story to smoothly fit the shorter running time. For just one example: in the game and anime series, the Shinsengumi captains spend quite a while discussing how much Chizuru has seen and whether or not it's necessary to kill her before they finally learn that she's Kodo's daughter. In Kyoto Ranbu, meanwhile, they simply go through Chizuru's belongings while she's unconscious and discover a letter from Kodo, making the debate about what to do with her much shorter.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime adaptation adds some new scenes to provide closure for the character arcs of Okita and Sanosuke, who simply disappear in Hijikata's game route due to separating from the Shinsengumi well before the final stages of the story.
  • Always Second Best: Okita is motivated almost entirely by his desire to be of service to Kondou and receive his approval, and thus is constantly annoyed and frustrated by the fact that Hijikata is the person who supports Kondou the most and upon whom Kondou most relies. He vents his jealousy and frustration by pushing Hijikata's buttons as much as he possibly can.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • The historical Hijikata did in fact compose the collection of haiku that Okita and the others keep making fun of - including the "ume ume ume" poem that so baffles Saito in the Drama CD - and those who have read it generally agree that it's pretty bad.
    • Similarly, Isami Kondou really was known to be able to put his whole fist in his mouth as a party trick as he does during one of the Shimabara scenes in Zuisoroku.
  • The Anime of the Game: One exists, working around the split storylines by Merging the Branches.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The ending of the anime lacks the epilogue scene from Hijikiata's good ending in the visual novel. Thus, it is unclear as to whether or he has died from the combination of his wounds and using up his lifespan to fuel his powers as a Fury. His voice is heard saying Chizuru's name and his hand is shown wiping away her tears, implying that he's still alive, but the way the scene is framed leaves it ambiguous how much is really happening and how much is Chizuru's wistful imagination.
  • Annoying Patient: Hijikata must constantly stay on Okita's case to keep him out of battle when his health starts going downhill. However, Hijikata himself proves to be an even worse case, as not even Chizuru's best efforts can keep him from running himself ragged; it takes Saito delivering a very pointed smackdown to keep him from taking to the front lines while still badly injured from the battle of Utsunomiya Castle.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Urakata Hakuōki focuses on the Imperial loyalist side opposing the shogunate and the Shinsengumi.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given the fate of the real-life Shinsengumi, a major character body count is only to be expected.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Nearly every single character has one of these in the game.
  • Band of Brothers: The Shinsengumi start out as something of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (in Reimeiroku) and slowly evolve into a Badass Crew, before everything ultimately starts falling apart.
  • Badass Boast: Hijikata is in no short supply of these.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The Shinsengumi were an interesting enough group on their own, but in this version, they're secretly used by the shogunate as a testbed for a mysterious elixir which turns those who take it into nigh-unkillable but unstable and bloodthirsty superhumans. The water of life and transformation into furies is used as a convenient device to allow characters like Sanan, Heisuke, and Okita to remain involved in the plot well beyond the points at which their real-life counterparts died.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Barring a bad end, any time Chizuru is in trouble someone from the Shinsengumi can be counted on to appear out of nowhere in the nick of time to save her. Hijikata deserves special mention for doing it something like four times in his route. They occasionally pull it for one another as well, such as when Sanosuke, Shinpachi, and Heisuke all show up in Saito's route to help him take down Kazama.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Most of the Good Endings are this. Namely because if Chizuru's love interest becomes a Fury, he's expected to die young due to how their powers work. Ten out of twelve of her love interests become Furies, and only four of themnote are cured.
    • Okita's ending has an added layer of bitterness, as he's still dying of tuberculosis, so he's expected to die even sooner than the other men.
    • Harada and Kazama mostly avoid this and have genuinely happy endings, as they're the two love interests who don't face shortened lifespans. But even then, the Shinsengumi are no more, the shogunate has fallen, the samurai class has become obsolete, and most of the main cast are dead.
  • Blade on a Stick: Sanosuke's preferred weapon is a spear.
  • Break the Badass: This happens to virtually everyone fighting on the losing side of the revolution. Hijikata gets it particularly hard.
  • Byronic Hero: Hijikata. With loss after loss he eventually loses sight of his original Tragic Dream and decides to live on for the sake of the ones he cares about.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Furies gain various powers at the cost of shortening their lives.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Justified since this is about a military sect, though the presence of Chizuru makes this more of a Reverse Harem situation.
  • The Chick: Chizuru quickly becomes this for the Shinsengumi, and the feminine touch she adds to the group is welcomed by most of its members.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Cherry blossoms - with emphasis on their representation of the brief and transient nature of life and beautiful things - feature in the title and in several iconic scenes, including Hijikata's ending and his final confrontation with Kazama. There is also a mid-story scene in which Saito, gazing at a cherry tree in bloom, muses over how many things in life must inevitably change. The latter two scenes are incorporated into the anime.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: To a point. The Shinsengumi captains and most of the demons are orders of magnitude more effective in combat than any unnamed mook and are constantly shown mowing them down in droves. On the other hand, the lesser numbers on the shogunate side put the Shinsengumi at a disadvantage throughout the Boshin War, a fact that loses them no few battles. When they learn that Koufu Castle has already been occupied by the enemy, Saito delivers a very grim estimate of the kind of numbers they would need in comparison to the enemy to have any chance of successfully taking the place, and when only one of the three Ezo Republic warships manages to make it to the Battle of Miyako, it dooms the planned surprise attack to failure.
  • Crossover: In September 2018, to celebrate the game's 10-year anniversary, Hijikata, Okita and Saitō are released as collectible Guest Fighters in AkaSeka.
  • Cultural Translation:
    • Oni: Demons in the Aksys Games translation, devils in the Sentai Filmworks translation of the anime.
    • Rasetsunote : Furies.
    • Ochimizunote : Water of life.
  • Custom Uniform: When the Shinsengumi make the change to Western-style uniforms, the rank-and-file troops (and Shimada) wear the plain black uniforms of the period, but Hijikata and all of the captains don incredibly stylish custom outfits with little resemblance to one another aside from a general trend of Badass Longcoats and Waistcoats of Style.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Once they've taken her in, the Shinsengumi captains are entirely committed to protecting Chizuru no matter what difficulty it causes them, and nearly to a man they respond indignantly to any suggestion that it might be better for her to leave, taking it as questioning their ability to handle the challenge.
    • Kyoto Ranbu ends with Hijikata reiterating his personal promise to protect Chizuru.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In a bad ending of Toki no Kizuna, Kazuya throws himself onto Shuten-doji's claws, accepting a mortal injury in order to get past Shuten-doji's defenses and be sure of killing him.
  • Despair Speech: Hijikata when Kondou sacrifices himself so he may live.
  • Determinator: All of the Shinsengumi members, but especially Okita and Hijikata. The latter pretty much just stops sleeping entirely for a while after the retreat from Kyoto to Edo.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Some of the bad endings get kind of gratuitous. A particular example would be the bad end in the last chapter of Hijikata's route: that he and Kazama kill one another is not surprising, but then Chizuru is fatally shot immediately afterwards just to cap it off.
  • Dirty Business: Hijikata's opinion of Itou's assassination, in nearly so many words: "This is our duty, but that doesn't mean we have to be proud of it. Sometimes the path's dirty."
  • Distracted from Death: In the anime, Yamazaki dies while Chizuru has turned away to prepare water and medicine for him and is cheerfully telling him that he needs to hurry up and get better.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Harada dodges bullets repeatedly during his fights with Shiranui, who is otherwise shown to be a skilled marksman.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: The Shinsengumi, from Chizuru's point of view in the Normal route.
  • Downer Ending: The whole of Hekketsuroku, minus the first two or three episodes, is basically one long cathartic trip. Likewise, the Normal Ending in the original game is extremely depressing.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Surprisingly averted in the early stages of the story - finding out that Chizuru is a girl doesn't have a lot of influence on most of the main characters' attitudes toward her, and they're quite blunt about the possibility that they may have to kill her in order to protect the Shinsengumi. Played straight, however, by Heisuke, whose first affection gain opportunity comes from discovering that Chizuru is female and who decides as early as Chapter 3 to fight for her sake instead of either the Emperor or the shogunate.
  • Emergency Transformation:
    • Heisuke is given the water of life and turned into a fury in order to keep him from dying from the mortal injuries he receives at Amagiri's hands during the Aburano Koji Incident.
    • At the end of the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, all the Shinsengumi men, barring Harada, will undergo one if Chizuru's on their route.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In Harada's route, during one of his fights with Shiranui, Kodo shows up and unleashes an army of Furies on them. The two immediately agree to team up to take them out.
    • In Heisuke's route, he, Chizuru, and Kimigiku want to rescue Sen from Sannan. Kazama and Amagiri want to put an end to Sannan's Fury army. Naturally, they decide to work together, and part ways peacefully when all is said and done.
  • End of an Age: The end of an era is one of main themes in Hakuouki.
  • Firing One-Handed: Whenever Shiranui shoots his gun.
  • Foreshadowing: In episode 3 of the anime, Harada and Nagakura take Chizuru to a festival and Nagakura recites a poem that says no matter how great you are, eventually you will lose everything because nothing lasts forever.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Despite facing off on several different occasions, Sanosuke Harada and Kyo Shiranui rarely seem to bear one another much real ill will. Almost every time they fight, Chizuru observes that their banter and broad smiles make it seem like they're having a wonderful time. In Harada's route and in the anime, they unsurprisingly end up as allies of sorts.
    • In Heisuke's route, he, Chizuru and Kazama undergo an Enemy Mine to rescue Sen and stop Sannan's Furies. They end up developing a banter that even makes Chizuru think the term "frenemies" is very fitting.
  • From Bad to Worse: Season 1 of the anime follows the Shinsengumi as they gain power. Season 2 show their decline and remains quite faithful to history.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Embodied in Kondou, who is one of the most idealistic of the Shinsengumi but also is the slowest to understand that the times are changing and that the code of behavior he aspires to no longer holds the significance it once did. It's telling that, when the rest of the captains cut their hair and make the change to Western-style clothing, Kondou continues to dress in the traditional style he's always worn.
  • Grasp the Sun: Souji in the second OP.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: On one side, you have the Shinsengumi, who are dedicated to protecting Kyoto and upholding the values of a samurai...but on the Shogunate's orders, participated in experiments that turned men mad or into monsters. On the other side, you have the Choshu and Satsuma, who are fed up with the shogunate and want to bring the Emperor back to using tactics and weapons from the modern world, which threatens the samurai's way of life. The Demons help the Choshu and Satsuma, but only to uphold vows or debts made between their ancestors (Kazama and Amagiri) or out of friendship (Shiranui). And that's just the broad strokes of the factions; individuals have moral intricacies and, depending on route, can make different choices or have different goals.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Good luck getting into Kazama's route without a guide or very intricate knowledge of which choice raises whose affection. His affection gains are rare, so not only do you need to maximize your time with him, you need to dodge affection gains with the other characters in case they overtake him.
    • The new routes, Iba, Souma, and Sakamoto are similar, as you get one chance to start their route—if you miss it, that's it. And if you do start but pick the wrong option in your first dialogue choice, you get kicked out.
  • Hack and Slash: Hakuouki Bakumatsu Musouroku.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The show repeatedly and brutally shoots down anyone who says that warriors must fight to the end and that perseverance will prevail.
  • Half Identical Twin: Chizuru and Kaoru.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Since all the games starring Chizuru allow players to change her first name, her name is never mentioned in voiced dialogue. This is averted by Reimeiroku and Bakumatsu Musouroku which don't give the player the option at all. Ryuunosuke and Chizuru's names are spoken quite frequently in them.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: The average citizens often see no distinction between the Shinsengumi and the unruly ronin who the group are attempting to police, viewing them all as brawling thugs and equally dangerous. This is especially true in the early days depicted in Reimeiroku, thanks in large part to Serizawa and his men, who really are no better.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Shinsengumi, particularly in Reimeiroku.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Most of the Shinsengumi in the anime, apart from Hijikata.
  • High School A.U.: The fan disc contains an unlockable sequence of illustrations called "Hakuouki SSL" (Sweet School Life): a short parody of set in a modern day high school. An animated version was included at the end of the special episodes that were offered to fans who bought Hekketsuroku on DVD, and the concept was later developed into a spinoff Visual Novel for the Playstation Vita.
  • Historical Fiction: With a touch of Historical Fantasy.
  • Honor Before Reason: All of the Shinsengumi, in fact probably the whole point of the story.
  • I Am a Monster: Several characters, especially Heisuke in his route and also including Sanan and Okita, feel this way about their transformation into furies. Contrast with Saito and Hijikata; Saito in particular tells Chizuru ahead of time in his route that if duty led him to become a fury he would not consider it any different from anything else he's done in the service of the Shinsengumi up to that point, and true to his word never looks back once the deed is done, though he does express concern that he might one day lose himself to the bloodlust.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Transformation into a fury tends to take the Shinsengumi captains' already impressive swordsmanship skills into this category, especially in The Movies.
    • Even before he becomes a fury, the anime series shows Okita cutting a flower and catching it on the flat of his sword in one blindingly fast motion. After his transformation, he deflects bullets with his sword.
    • During the battle of Toba-Fushimi in Kyoto Ranbu, fury Toudou takes out an entire loyalist squad in a single running Clean Cut.
    • Also in Kyoto Ranbu, Hijikata deflects a bullet with a sweep of his sword, standing otherwise completely motionless.
  • Ineffectual Death Threat: Okita to Chizuru several time throughout the series.
  • The Infiltration
    • Saito leaves the Shinsengumi for Itou's Guardians of the Imperial Tomb... on Hijikata's orders, so that the Shinsengumi can keep apprised as to what the Guardians are really up to.
    • Sanan, in some routes, "joins forces" with Kodo in order to be able to turn on him at the most opportune moment, so that he, Hijikata, and Heisuke can team up to dispose of Kodo and all of his fury troops.
  • Important Haircut: Most of the main characters get one in the second half of Shinsengumi Kitan, as they are forced to move with the times.
  • Japanese Spirit: Referenced by name when Shiranui quotes Shinsaku Takasugi, and of great importance to the Shinsengumi, Hijikata especially... albeit cast in a more bittersweet light than usual. Resolve and persistence are presented as great virtues of the Shinsengumi, but at the same time it's clear that "fighting spirit" is not enough to make up for the disadvantages they face in the Boshin War.
  • Jerkass: Hijikata deliberately cultivates his demonic image in order to play the Bad Cop to Kondou's Good Cop.
  • Jidaigeki: The Bakumatsu period, the end of the Edo era.
  • Kansai Regional Dialect: Kimigiku speaks Kyoto-ben in her role as a Shimabara geisha, customary due to Kyoto-ben being thought of as a softer and more feminine manner of speech. Not speaking Kyoto-ben gets Chizuru in some trouble trying to pass as a geisha in Zuisoroku (although Kazama had already recognized her anyway, so he was mostly just messing with her).
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The main characters get incredibly fancy Western costumes in the second season and conveniently kick more ass in them.
  • Kill 'Em All: The game's Normal Ending and the anime's second season.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": In the beginning everyone thinks the world of Kondou, who himself admires the generals in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Shinpachi and Sanosuke, in contrast to Kondou and the other captains, leave the Shinsengumi when they see the writing on the wall after Koufu. This, combined with not becoming a Fury, is the reason Sanosuke has one of the happiest endings in the game.
  • The Load: Chizuru, a fact that she's well aware of and frets about often in the game's narration.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Kodo certainly qualifies as a Mad Scientist, and Chizuru, despite crossdressing as a boy, is admittedly beautiful.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Sanan requests one from either Okita or Chizuru (depending on your choice) after his modified water of life fails to work the way he'd hoped, although he ends up surviving.
    • In bad endings in Saito and Hijikata's routes, Amagiri chooses to kill Chizuru specifically because he feels it would be more merciful than allowing her to suffer at Kazama's hands.
  • Merging the Branches: The anime adaptation, of necessity, follows the storyline of Hijikata's route in the visual novel, but it incorporates significant scenes from the other routes as well.
  • Mini Game Game: Yuugiroku and Yuugiroku 2.
  • Mood Whiplash: Now and then. A particular example occurs upon completing the gut-wrenchingly depressing Normal Ending in the PS3 port Stories of the Shinsengumi:
    Achievement Acquired: That Got Dark Fast, Huh
  • More Expendable Than You:
    • Hijikata tries to pull this on Kondou, but Kondou isn't having any of it.
    • In the anime, Kondou's choice to surrender and entrust the Shinsengumi to Hijikata prompts Okita to perform a Last Stand protecting Hijikata.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Humorously performed via third party in the visual novel, during the scene in which Sen and Kimigiku arrive to ask Chizuru to leave with them. When Nagakura fails to recognize Kimigiku as the same woman who waited on them in Shimabara, Harada helpfully advises him to look at her face instead of her chest.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Played for drama in many horrible ways. Notably, one of Okita's bad endings in the remaster has him kill Chizuru after losing his mind to bloodlust, only to get it back in time to see he's stabbed Chizuru straight through the chest. This prompts Okita to ask himself something like this.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Pretty much every single member of the Shinsengumi in Hakuoki has said this with no exceptions...Which makes sense. They're Samurai. They're half the reason this is a thing.
  • No Body Left Behind: Furies crumble into dust when their lifeforce is used up. This happens to Heisuke and Sanan and is heavily implied to have happened to Okita.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Lots and lots of them.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In his route in Zuisoroku and his OVA, Hijikata runs into a snag when he tries to extricate Chizuru from her brief stint spying at Sumiya - the barker at the gate takes her for the geisha she's dressed as and assumes he's trying to elope with her without clearing her debt. Trying to explain that she's not actually a geisha fails to convince anyone, and it apparently takes Hijikata a while afterwards to live down the rumors.
  • Original Video Animation: Hakuouki Sekkaroku.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Furies are turned by drinking the water of life, a red liquid originally made from demonic blood. Like vampires, they are nocturnal creatures that subsist on blood. This is brought up sometimes, but only in some routes, such as the end of Sanan's: It's mentioned that "western demons" are known as "Vampires" in the west.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending:
    • In the normal ending of the game Shinsengumi Kitan, Chizuru finds herself gazing up at the sky where she sees the backs of her friends in their pale blue haori, the bright summer day a stark contrast to their fate.
    • Hekketsuroku's ending is heavily based on the normal ending. Chizuru sees a vision of the Shinsengumi's banner, "Makoto" (sincerity), fluttering overhead and then, one by one, the men who fought under it.
    • Ibuki's portion of of Hijikata's route in Reimeiroku ends with Ibuki staring at the horizon over the Tama River. The final scene features a cloudy sunset.
    • Reimeiroku, the anime, ends with a view of the sky.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hijikata, Saito, and Okita recognize Chizuru as a girl the moment she speaks, and Harada and Sanan at least suspect. Only Kondou, Heisuke and Nagakura are actually surprised to learn of her sex, and even Heisuke notes that he thought Chizuru was kind of girly looking.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: The anime ends with Hijikata finally defeating Kazama and then collapsing into Chizuru's arms.
  • The Power of Friendship: Ultimately, Chizuru becomes one of the strongest things holding the Shinsengumi captains together. Pretty much everyone who leaves or dies has to part with her in particular.
  • Prequel: Hakuouki Reimeiroku depicts the events surrounding the formation of the Shinsengumi, already an established group by the time Chizuru arrives in Kyoto in Shinsengumi Kitan. Toki no Kizuna is a more distant prequel set during the Warring States Period and primarily focused on demon history and politics which were briefly referenced during the first game.
  • Psycho Serum: The water of life has:
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: The Shinsengumi captains. Kondou and Hijikata are the sons of farmers who wouldn't even be allowed to carry swords if the Shinsengumi had not received special permission to do so; Saito is a left-handed swordsman and an exile from his home domain; Heisuke is the bastard son of the Lord of Tsu; Okita is an orphan. By Shinsengumi Kitan the group has achieved some legitimacy, but Reimeiroku shows more clearly how unlikely a bunch they are.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The furies, who are most certainly psychotic, and Kazama, who is even more incredibly dangerous.
  • Red Light District: Shimabara in Kyoto, Yoshiwara in Edo.
  • Red String of Fate: Referenced in the title and lyrics of Kyoto Ranbu's ending theme, "Kurenai no Ito" ("Thread of Crimson").
    The string of life, the red thread of fate
    Will defeat time
  • Relationship Values: The player's primary objective in Shinsengumi Kitan and Reimeiroku is to forge a bond between the protagonist and one of the main characters. Failing to do so often leads to tragic consequences, ranging from death to survivor guilt.
  • Romance Game: Hakuouki ~Shinsengumi Kitan~ and its fan-disc, Hakuouki Zuisouroku.
  • Rōnin: Everyone in the Shinsengumi, as warriors not in the direct service of a lord. Some few, like Nagakura, are ronin by choice, but most - if they were even born to samurai families to begin with - are not.
  • Running Gag: Hijikata's godawful haiku.
  • Samurai: Everywhere. What it means to be a samurai, and who can or can't be one, is a subject discussed at considerable length throughout the various storylines.
  • Samurai Ponytail: Pretty much everyone before the switch to Western uniforms.
  • Schrödinger's Gun:
    • Kaoru is only relevant to the plot in four routes: Okita's, Kazama's, Sakamoto's, and Sanan's, disappearing completely from all others. Also, his love for his sister is the most twisted by his desire for revenge on Okita's and Sanan's routes, and the least on Kazama's and Sakamoto's.
    • Kodo's and Sanan's characterizations vary depending on what route you're on. Namely, Kodo's motivations are wildly different, and he can be anything from an Abusive Parent to a loving father who sacrifices himself for Chizuru. Similarly, Sanan either falls from grace completely or stays with the Shinsengumi.
    • Objects and characters can disappear or appear depending on your choices. For example, in Okita's battle with Kazama, if you choose to look around the room, you warn Okita of a samurai attempting to stab him In the Back. If you choose to distract Kazama, no such samurai appears.
  • Seppuku: Well, this thing is about samurai. Harada bears a scar from an unsuccessful past attempt, and throughout the story there are repeated references to men hoping to commit seppuku rather than be executed as criminals, being forced to do so as punishment for breaking the Shinsengumi code of conduct, or declaring their willingness to do so in order to make a point.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Sen just generally wants Chizuru to be happy, but in Hijikata's route of the game she's actively encouraging of Chizuru's feelings for him, even before Chizuru is sure of her feelings herself.
    • Shimada's quick to pick up on Yamazaki and Chizuru's blossoming feelings in Yamazaki's route, and gives a small background smile in support of it.
    • The surviving Shinsengumi ship Souma and Chizuru on Souma's route, to outright hilarious proportions.
    • Motomaya constantly pushes Iba and Chizuru together on Iba's route.
  • Shirtless Scene: A gratituitous Shinsengumi health inspection that even involved a flex-off! Parodied in Sweet School Life.
  • Silver Bullet: Silver counteracts the fury Healing Factor, something that the Shinsengumi learn unpleasantly when their enemies start using silver bullets. In Okita's route, taking several of these puts him out of commission until after the Koufu debacle.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Hijikata versus Kazama at the end of Hijikata's route of the game. In his good ending, Hijikata avoids Kazama's blade; in the bad ending it's a Mutual Kill.
  • Snow Means Love: Chizuru watches the snow fall with Saito in his good ending, and Sanan and Chizuru are walking in the snow together at the end of his.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Hijikata in spades.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening sequence of the first season shows Hijikata's transformation into a fury, which only occurs in the last episode of the season. The end sequence of the same season more or less spoils Kaoru's status as a villain.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Played With for Demon culture. Due to their slow decline, the rarity of female demons, and a biological imbalance (females lack the enhanced stamina and strength of males), women are encouraged to stay away from danger and men are encouraged to protect them. That's all it is, though: encouraged, not enforced. Both Kimigiku and Yukina are able to train and act as bodyguards, and women can travel across Japan if they want (with a bodyguard if they're noncombatants or politically important). Both genders also hold political power equally: Sen and Yasehime are well-respected princesses and leaders of the race, and Chizuru can declare herself head of the Yukimura clan with no qualms from others (in fact, doing so earns her respect from Kazama).
  • The Stoic: Saito and, to a lesser extent, Hijikata. Also Kyuuju Amagiri, who always fights rather grudgingly, and has several extremely polite and understated confrontations with Saito.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Chizuru isn't voiced in any of the games that feature her as the protagonist, but she is in Reimeiroku and Bakumatsu Musouroku.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: When a demon activates their full power, their eyes turn bright gold. The trope is subverted, on the other hand, by Sanosuke, who has golden eyes but is completely human and is the only human love interest in the game who never drinks the Water of Life in any route.
  • Super Mode:
    • Demons become more powerful when they shift into their demonic forms, characterized by their white hair, gold eyes, and horns.
    • The Shinsengumi furies who manage to control their transformations use it like this. They keep the bulk of their powers suppressed most of the time, going into white-haired, red-eyed fury mode when they need to use the full extent of their abilities.
  • Super Soldier: The Fury Corps was initially meant to be a squad of super soldiers. However, their many weaknesses tend to make deploying them a very bad idea.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Chizuru dresses as a boy when she travels alone to Kyoto because openly traveling alone as a woman would be much more difficult and more dangerous. When she enters the protection of the Shinsengumi, she keeps up the facade at Hijikata's insistence to avoid causing problems with the group's rank-and-file soldiers.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The OVA Sekkaroku with a different episode focusing on one character and their POV for the same story:
    • Okita is the one to suggest Chizuru to be an undercover geisha for the Shinsengumi. But since he is ordered to stay at headquarters due to his coughing, Okita misses a lot of what happened that night and only hears and sees snippets of the story, like seeing Hijikata returning to headquarters with the dressed up Chizuru in the middle of the night.
    • Saito and Yamazaki offer themselves as bodyguards for Chizuru and are involved in a lot of the fighting at the geisha house, starting with two lecherous men flirting with Chizuru.
    • Heisuke is worried about Chizuru's safety during the whole time, returns to base to urge Kondou and Hijikata to take Chizuru off the mission. Kondou agrees and Heisuke rushes back to the house, wonders where Chizuru has disappeared to and then joins the fighting with Yamazaki.
    • Hijikata, ordered by Kondou to check up on Chizuru, arrives at the geisha house in the middle of the fighting. Saito tells Hijikata to take Chizuru to safety. Unfortunately for him, bystanders mistakes him for eloping with a cute geisha girl.
    • Kazama arrives after Heisuke left the room, attempting to kiss Chizuru. Osen then arrives to rescue Chizuru and allows her to escape and rejoin with Saito and later Hijikata.
  • Sword Fight: The bread and butter of the series.
  • Taking the Bullet: Okita for Chizuru in his route, just as intended by Kaoru. Chizuru for Sanosuke in his route. Examples which involve swords instead of actual bullets include Yamazaki for Hijikata, Kodo for Chizuru in several routes, Okita for Chizuru again in one of his bad endings, and Chizuru for Hijikata in one of his bad endings.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Almost everyone gets one last speech, be they a speech before a Heroic Sacrifice in the middle of battle with explosions all around stopping for the speech, or the Final Speech after being mortally wounded.
  • Theme Naming: Demon names tend to have the character "千" ("a thousand") incorporated into them, either directly or as a component of another kanji. Characters whose names sport this character include Chizuru, Sen, Kazama (in his given name of Chikage), and Kaoru, as well as Chitose Kazama, Kazuya Yukimura, Kazutake Amagiri, and Shin Shiranui in Hakuoki's distant prequel game Toki no Kizuna. In Kyoto Ranbu, Kazama specifically takes note of Chizuru's given name (meaning "a thousand cranes") as part of the proof that she is a demon.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: There are a number of examples in the game, the most emphatic being Chizuru and then Hijikata's furious declarations to Kazama after the latter kills Inoue in Hijikata's route, and the Shinsengumi's reactions to Kondou's beheading.
  • Title Drop: "Hakuoki" is dropped in the final episode; it means, roughly, "pale cherry-blossom demon," as per the game's localized title. It's a name given to Hijikata by Kazama as acknowledgement that he is worthy of being called a demon.
  • Title Theme Drop/Last Episode Theme Reprise: The title music starts playing for the first time during the game just as Hijikata and Kazama are about to have their climactic final duel.
  • Traumatic Haircut: In Reimeiroku, Serizawa gets angry at a pair of geisha who refuse to dance naked for him, and demands their hair be cut off - a very big deal, since they won't be able to keep working as geisha with short hair. Hijikata ends up unwillingly performing the actual cutting to prevent the situation from escalating further.
  • Villainous Rescue: Several times, across routes.
    • In Kazama's route, this is what leads to him and Chizuru travelling together after the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. She's separated from the Shinsengumi, surrounded by Imperial soldiers, and fresh with grief over Inoue's death. Kazama arrives in the nick of time to save her.
    • In the Good End of Harada's route, Harada's starting to be overwhelmed by Kodo's Furies, while Chizuru is being kidnapped by her father. Cue Shiranui getting Chizuru away from Kodo, then leaping in to help Harada.
    • In Heisuke's route, Kazama's investigating the activities of the Furies, which leads to him intervening when he finds several giving Heisuke trouble.
  • Visual Novel: Shinsengumi Kitan, Zuisouroku, and Reimeiroku.
  • War Is Hell: Especially when seen from Chizuru's angle in the Normal route.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": In one of the drama CDs, Okita takes in a stray cat and names it "Toshizo." Hijikata is not amused when he finds out.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Okita wants nothing but to be helpful to Kondou and earn his approval. This mostly leads to heartache, because he quickly becomes convinced (with some help from Serizawa's manipulation) that the only thing he can do for Kondou is use his exceptional skill with a sword to kill Kondou's enemies, while Kondou would just as soon Okita not get his hands dirty. This is also the source of Okita's jealousy and resentment toward Hijikata, the person on whom Kondou relies the most.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Chizuru is rarely given the chance to dress as a woman.
  • Worth Living For: In each of their respective routes, Hijikata, Okita, and Heisuke all end up finding a new reason to live in Chizuru after everything else they've valued has been destroyed or lost all meaning.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Confrontations between Saito and Amagiri are almost always extremely polite and respectful, especially on Amagiri's side. By the end of Saito's path in the visual novel, Amagiri's respect for Saito prompts him to turn against Kazama in disgust.
    • Kazama and Hijikata, meanwhile, spend most of the story trading vitriol, but Hijikata's unwavering determination and valor gradually earn Kazama's respect, to the point that Kazama ultimately acknowledges Hijikata as a true demon.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Inoue in Hijikata's route, Kazama's route, and in the anime, although it doesn't accomplish much. Saito in episode 19 of the anime as well. None of them ever worknote .

Alternative Title(s): Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan, Hakuouki Hekketsuroku


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