Hakuouki Reimeiroku Ep. 1
Summer 2012 (12 episodes) (more info)
My first reaction went like this—finally, an average, normal samurai anime. But then I found out that Hakuouki is bigger than I knew and I’m jumping into something that I’m not even sure if I want to find out more about. Characterizing an anime like this right off the bat may not sound like the praise I intend it to be, but considering that last samurai series that didn’t involve some strong supernatural elements that I can easily recall was probably Samurai Champloo, it’s no wonder I’m pleased to see a return to the basics in this age-old genre.
In what appears to be a developing theme this season, what exactly this series is going to become remains to be seen. However, a down on his luck ronin samurai who hasn’t lost his moral compass and who’s been taken in by a shady new master sounds as good a start to a rough-and-tumble samurai story as I’ve ever heard.
The character designs aren’t anything to write home about, with most of the large number of men in this cast looking a tad effeminate with their soft faces and long, wild ponytails. There’s no signs of any bromance, though—so I’m not worried this is some weird yaoi trap. In fact, with most of the characters hating each other’s guts, I’m predicting something suitably masculine and gritty—even if this series has yet to reveal how it intends to handle the action that I’m expecting will be coming very soon.
So while this anime is keeping its cards close to its chest, I can clearly see that it’s fairly different from anything else in recent years and that’s encouraging. Whether or not I explore anything more that the Hakuouki franchise has to offer remains to be seen at this point, but being that this is a prequel, I guess it’s not the worst place to start.