Hakuouki (episode 2)
April 12, 2010
In episode two of Hakuouki, tensions flare, and a plot to burn Kyoto to the ground and kidnap the daimyo is discovered.
Chizuru finds that getting along with the members of the Shinsengumi isn’t easy. She accidentally offends some of them with innocent courtesies, such as offering to help with the food preparation. By the end of the episode, however, her help is needed, as a major plot to kidnap the daimyo is discovered. The plot is based upon an historical incident, in which the Shinsengumi attacked the conspirators at the Ikedaya Inn. Interestingly, the anime neither gives credence nor denies the darkest theory about this incident (quoting Wikipedia):
With the prisoner unresponsive, Hijikata was said to have suspended the man by his ankles, restraining his wrists, and driven five-inch spikes into the heels of the man’s feet. Placing lit candles upon the holes, hot wax dripped deep into his calves. The prisoner eventually claimed that they planned to set fire in Kyoto and capture Matsudaira Katamori, the daimyo of the Aizu clan whose duties included policing Kyoto at the time.
The anime merely shows Hijikata entering the room alone with the information he has gathered from the prisoner.
The rest of the episode mostly sets us up for what promises to be a nice fight next week, as the Shinsengumi engage the Chushuu forces at the Ikedaya Inn. Unfortunately, the Shinsengumi samurai are split to cover two locations, and Chizuru must race to the second location to alert the reinforcements, led by Hijikata, that the smaller group, led by Isami Kondou, needs their assistance.
One reason to look forward to the fight next week is the tiny preview of swordplay we saw in this episode, for example, in the fight illustrated in the two screen caps below, Susumu Yamazaki (seen on the right in the right-most image) fights some random samurai. In between the two images, the two swords have already struck, and the fighters have rebound from the impact. Look carefully at the image on the right and you can see who will win this fight. Yamazaki’s two-hand grip is still firm, whereas his opponent (on the left) has already lost control of his sword. This is a very elegant way of showing martial domination, especially in a fight that only lasts a few seconds on screen.
This episode already had a lot more action, and it looks like just a taste of what is coming next week!
Other Hakuoki matters (around the ‘Net)
Of course there are a bunch of characters in this show, and I’m bad at names, so I was thinking of putting together a table of characters for the show, but Hashi, of Hashihime blog is putting together an awesome one, that shows pictures of the characters, their names, and pictures, names, and links to further details on the voice actors, so go there and check it out!
The above image, seen in the OP, was pointed out on the AnimeSuki forum as showing Chizuru with horns (visible in the shadow). There is no real way of knowing what to make of this at the moment.