Hakuoki 4 – Kyoto is Burning
April 28, 2010
Hakuouki episode 4 opens up a big box of plot. Armed quarrels amongst those defending the palace, the introduction of a gun-wielding character, and even the destruction of two thirds of the city of Kyoto, are not enough to top the shocking revelation of Chizuru’s secret. I continue to be impressed, as Hakuouki delivers the best episode so far.
Despite a request from the Aizu clan for assistence, the Shinsengumi are disrespectfully shunted from location to location, and are denied an opportunity to participate openly in the defense of the palace. Incredibly, despite the presence of rebelling samurai from the Choshu clan within the city, the Satsuma and Aizu clans nearly come to blows with the Shinsengumi stuck in the middle.
While Saitou confronts the political situation threatening the allied clans, Harada fights the rebels remaining in the city, and Hijikata hunts down a Choshu party escaping towards Mount Tennozan. Each leader confronts a powerful opponent, but, unlike Harada’s opponent the gun-wielding Shiranui Kyou, Saitou and Hijikata face off against samurai working with the Satsuma clan.
During the fight on the bridge Chizuru is revealed to have a secret. Apparently the Satsuma samurai who fought Okita at Ikedaya, and Hijikata in this episode knows something about this secret. I had been assuming that Chizuru’s father was tied up with the Choshu somehow. Does this mean he is working with the Satsuma clan instead?
As the episode ends, the destruction of Kyoto is revealed. According to online resources, this blaze, which left two thirds of Kyoto in ashes, was referred to as the “Dondon-yake”. The historical map below was found at the Samurai Archives project.
This episode was the best yet. The plot is opening up in unexpected ways, and what at first seemed like it might be an unwieldy cast of characters is being put to good use.