Posted on 3 February 2007 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Short Synopsis: Finally, all main actors are in the same area again and the story can go back where it left off.
Good: Finally this anime is heating up again; Soutetsu looked SO evil during the climax.
Bad: The episode took a while to get going
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10

Before I start, two new characters are introduced this episode. they’ve got rather small roles, and I’m not really sure what kind of significant part in this story they’re going to play. They’re called Momata Kai and Souma Kazue. They seem to be working under Hijikata. If I had to guess their roles, they are probably going to play the same ones as the ones who got attacked by Soutetsu in the first episode. They’re going to be insignificant, but present, in order to give the soldiers who’re working under Hijikata a small personality.

I’m glad to see that this story is back to its main tracks now. Soutetsu, Kanna, the four English knights, Enomoto and some others who didn’t appear for the past two episodes finally return, while characters like Katsu and the troupe still remain vanished without a trace. Still, for most part, this episode was more of an introduction. It’s focused at a few major events.

First of all, Hijikata noticing Soutetsu. It seems that the former rather hates the latter, and after finding out that he’s with Enomoto, this feeling has only become worse. Speaking of Soutetsu, he’s been a complete mistery for this episode yet again. We see him at some kind of meeting which was probably meant to celebrate Hijikata’s return, along with the French commander. We later see Hijikata returning to him, and Soutetsu makes some kind of proposition for him. Hijikata must have something that Soutetsu’s after, since I think he’s trying to provoke him. But what?

The second major focus of the episode was the relationship between Akizuki and Kakunojou. Akizuki still remains as thick as ever, and he keeps getting more annoyed at Kakunojou. Probably because Enomoto is close-by. In any case, Kakunojou doesn’t give up so easily, and after being yelled at by Akizuki, she runs to the local inn they’re staying at, grabs her sword and challenges him to a duel. Obviously, she’s disarmed instantly, but I’ll eat my hat if that didn’t make any impact. ;)

Meanwhile, while Kakunojou and Akizuki and Soutetsu and Hijikata are busy with each other, the Englishmen launch an attack at Enomoto’s ship, though they’re forced to retreat when Enomoto appears to be a tad too dangerous when possessed by the lord’s head.

Posted on 26 January 2007 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Short Synopsis: During their travels North, Akizuki and Kakunojou run into a new main character: Hijikata.
Good: Great atmosphere, as usual. Kakunojou can become very interesting in the future.
Bad: Even though Intermezzos contribute greatly to a series, they’ve never been very exiting.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6.5/10

Interesting. We’ve actually been dealing with a 3-episode intermezzo. It basically features the journey from Edo to some other coastal city in Japan, where Enomoto’s ship is waiting. The first episode was meant to bring Akizuki and Kakunojou together, and as a farewell to the rest of the troupe. The second focused on Kakunojou getting her sword and this one, the third, introduces another, and probably the final, character important to the story: Hijikata.

Regarding the troupe, it’s interesting. They really were left behind, and they did not follow Akizuki. I finally realize the importance of the fourteenth episode. Akizuki is chasing after the lord’s head, so he’d obviously be following Enomoto. The troupe, however, managed to carry out its revenge, which means that they’ve got no more purpose to fight. The fourteenth episode indeed showed them going separate ways, and taking a step back from the main storyline. Kakunojou, however, had to make an important decision: Akizuki or Troupe? In the end, it seems she wanted to be with him, and she followed him. I wonder if we’ll see the troupe again, and more importantly: when?

Regarding Kakunojou’s sword, she can become very interesting. This episode showed that it holds some interesting powers. I’m suspecting that the following episodes will focus on her, trying to master this sword. It’ll be interesting when she finally has it under control.

Regarding Hijikata, it seems that he’s an ally of Akizuki. The two of them and Okita were related in the past somehow. We also see him as an army commander at one point, which does suggest that he’s currently in favour of the new government. It’ll be interesting to see what role he has.

The rest of the episode gets filled with a side-story, about a young soldier. I didn’t manage to really follow it, though it seems that he wants to visit his hometown, which happens to be on the way of Akizuki and Kakunojou’s destination. It seems his mother lives there, though apart from that I didn’t pick up much. I did see, however, that the guy learned quite a bit from Hijikata, a person he looks up to. Hijikata starts out with continuously keeping his sword ready, turning the boy a bit paranoid. When he also gets to the town he wants to go to, Akizuki once again shows that he can’t leave children alone (he’s been talking more and more recently, has he? ;))

Posted on 20 January 2007 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Short Synopsis: Now with just the two of them, Akizuki and Kakunojou travel together, when they receive an interesting message, meanwhile, the war between the supporters of the old and the new government keeps escalating.
Good: Very interesting song, Kakunojou can become very interesting in the future-episodes, the results of the war.
Bad: The file I watched had a botched-up sound quality. If you’re planning to watch this episode raw as well, stay away from FeelLicks’ version
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6,5/10

Very interesting. This episode was a bit different from the usual episodes. Usually, a standard Bakumatsu-episode has about 15 things happening at about the same time, but this one was surprisingly focused. Kanna, the troupe, Parkes, and most other characters are just cast aside for a bit, and basically the only two purposes of this episode were for Kakunojou to find her new sword, and to develop the ongoing war between the supporters of the old and the new goverment, and especially the effects this has on the local people.

I wonder whether the three shamisen-players will return again. They’ve got interesting characters, but it seems that their only purpose was to deliver a letter to Akizuki, explaining about the location where a jar which looks an awful lot like the one Soutetsu used to snatch the lord’s head from Juubei. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Soutetsu was the one who sent that letter in the first place). Still, there’s a good chance they’ll appear again, seeing as Bakumatsu has never really had characters who’d only appear for one episode.

You’d also have to wonder about Kakunojou’s new sword. How did that thing end up in that shrine in the first place, along with the jar? Also, is this an area familiar to Akizuki? He seemed to know exactly how to move the statues in order to reveal the shrine. Did Akizuki also react in the same way as Kakunojou when he got his own sword? And where do these swords come from? It’s clear that the two swords are related, but in what way, exactly?

Posted on 13 January 2007 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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And so, the second half of Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto starts. And as usual, I had a great deal of trouble understanding it. As expected, we’ve got another aftermath here, after the huge events of the previous episode. We first see Ebisu’s funeral, while Akizuki starts getting really mad at Soutetsu, seeing as he failed to stop the lord’s head yet again.

For the largest part, this episode focused on Kanna, who’s become the leader of the four Englishmen we saw in the previous episode. This was after a conversation he had with Parkes, which I didn’t understand too well. But it did reveal some interesting things about Kanna’s past. It seems that he spent a part of his childhood in Japan, in which children kept picking on him. I’m suspecting that he originally was English, and he came to Japan as a child, along with his mother. The children didn’t exactly like outsiders, so they picked on him, probably with his mother as his only comfort. Then, at a certain time, some bastard took her away from him, and he ended up with Parkes.

The biggest mystery of this episode, though, was what Enomoto was up to. It seems that he ordered some kind of battle to be executed, but what does France have to do with this? Seeing as they sailed away on French ships at the end of the episode. In any case, it’s something that Soutetsu is after. Also, why did Kanna and his chess pieces raid the French ship, near the end of the episode?

There also were some interesting developments in the troupe. Juubei is dead once again, so they’re posed to the same question as episode 9. This time, however, Kakunojou does something interesting: she leaves the troupe and goes to Akizuki. I’m not sure of the exact reason, but I think she wants to be with him. When she’s left, the rest of the troupe gets an interesting message from Soutetsu. Unfortunately, we have to wait for the contents of that message till next week. ;)

Judging by the rules set by this anime, the next episode should be another great one, after this episode. Sounds interesting. :)

Posted on 31 December 2006 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Boy, that was AWESOME! I didn’t understand 25% of the episode, but who cares! The things that I did understand turned this episode into a great one. This definitely was the best episode of Bakumatsu so far!

So many things happened during this episode, I don’t know where to start. Let’s begin with Kanna, as we finally see some of his history as well. He indeed grew up in England, along with some woman (his mother, nanny?). Then, at one point this woman was taken away from him against her will by some selfish guy. If I understood things correctly, he sees this woman’s reflection in Kakunojou. Parkes also introduces four new characters this episode. Code-named Knight, Queen, Luke and Bishop. If I understood things correctly, they’re some kind of elite of the English forces.

Then the play. If I got things right, then the troupe always uses its last performance of a certain play to add something extra. With the previous one, it was the image of Nakaiya Juubei. This time, it’s a bit more extravagant: a plan to catch Nakaiya Juubei. Of course, all is a clever plan of Soutetsu. This is what I understood. He hid the lord’s head at a place near the newly set-up theatre of the troupe. Under some docks, to be exact. He then lures Juubei to that place, right at the same time of the troupe’s performance, and in the middle of the play, Akizuki suddenly comes, destroys the curtain and reveals the threesome of Kanna, Juubei and Soutetsu, who are talking at that time. That’s where the awesomeness started. I have to say that I was as surprised as the crowd when Akizuki suddenly did his thing.

What I didn’t understand was why Soutetsu just let Juubei escape with the Lord’s Head. It may be because he counted on Akizuki and the others to stop him, of was it because of something he said or thought? Another thing I didn’t understand was Parkes’s role in all this. For some reasons, he ordered his minions to fire a cannon at the docs. Where did he hear that things like these were going to happen? Kanna?

Still, it doesn’t matter if I didn’t understand these things, as the things that followed were brilliant. Nakaiya tries to escape, though the cannons are rather bothersome to him. Akizuki and Kakunojou end up in a boat chasing after him, though they’re almost hit by a cannon, and they fall down. Kanna, who happens to be near and sees this suddenly has a flashback from his past, in which he sees Akizuki as the guy who took away the woman he looked up to. This episode didn’t do anything regarding this, though I suspect that the future episodes will. ^_^

Meanwhile, everyone’s chasing after Juubei and fighting each other. Then, Ebisu actually manages to capture him, and god damn it, the English actually manage to hit both of them, killing both Nakaiya and Ebisu off at the same time! I love it when a character is killed off unexpectedly with an impact, and Ebisu’s death truly was memorable.

Akizuki, meanwhile, attempts to slay the Lord’s Head and fails. This causes the lord’s head to escape and take over Emimoto, the one introduced during the previous episode. And with this, I really mean take over, as in it goes inside of Emimoto’s head. He orders the retreat of the English forces, and Soutetsu smiles very suspiciously. I’m not sure what’s behind that, but we’ll probably find out soon.

Overall, if you were wondering whether Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto would turn out to be worthwile, well, so far it has! With the second half of this anime about to begin, I’m expecting some great things from this one. :)

Posted on 24 December 2006 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Okay, I made some assumptions after the previous episode which weren’t all that correct. Katsu has actually travelled to Edo as well, which would explain Taiyou’s presence. It seems that he’s taken Parkes along with him. The masked ghosts also weren’t the ones who killed Sakamoto Ryouma, though I could’ve sworn that I saw them before in the series.

This episode answered a lot of questions, though at the same time, if introduced twice as much in return. Still, these questions were a lot more interesting than the ones introduced in the previous episode. The most important obviously being, what the heck is Soutetsu up to? Also, whose side is Kanna Saikyou no Suke actually on? We see him take orders from both Parkes and Juubei. Also, will Glover play another role, or did he stay in Yokohama? And why was Kakunojou so terrified of these monsters?

Anyway, this episode was really good. I really liked how Kakunojou passed Oryou’s message to Akizuki. He’s still blaming himself for Sakamoto’s death. He even went to jail for a while. The clash between Soutetsu, Kanna and Akizuki also was great to see.

Posted on with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Here it is, the day before christmas and I’m stuck with a friggin’ cold. In any case, this episode was more of an introduction-episode. The troupe travels to Edo, if I’m not mistaken, where Akizuki has been residing for the past two episodes in which he ran into Okita. It’s basically meant to introduce Soutetsu’s new script, reveal Nakaiya Juubei’s location (which would also explain why Soutetsu sent the troupe to Edo) and show the same guys who killed Sakamoto Ryouma(at least, I think it was them). It seems that the past few episodes were a sortof in-between arc, with the second major arc of Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto beginning right now.

Also, a few new names. Tatsugoro is the guy with the hat we saw during the previous two episodes. It seems that he lives in Edo somewhere, and I’m guessing that he went to visit Yokohama during the previous episodes. Also, Taiyou was the same girl we saw along with Katsu during the first couple of episodes, wasn’t she? What is she doing in Edo? Enomoto Takeasa, meanwhile, seems to be one of Soutetsu’s new allies. He’s also been hiding Nakaiya Juubei. I’m also wondering why Juubei was so friendly to Soutetsu, after he just took the Lord’s Head away from him.

I’m also wondering what Shiranui’s tattoo on his left arm means. There’s got to be some kind of hidden meaning to it. In any case, it indeed seems that Juubei has acquired eternal life of some sort, though I think there’s more to that. I believe that there are ways to really kill him. After all, he has to die at some point of this anime, hasn’t he?

Posted on 9 December 2006 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Oh, the irony. The beautiful irony. The troupe stayed together for all these years because of their desire to take revenge. Now that Nakaiya Juubei has been killed, the troupe has no more reason to be together, so they’re threatened to split apart. Then, it seems that Juubei wasn’t dead at all, and the troupe just happily picks off where it left. This means that as long as Juubei is alive, the troupe will be together. They’re actually dependant on his existence. Brilliant!

Okay, it had it indeed coming that Juubei still lived somewhere. After all, he did it before, why couldn’t he do it again, no? But the way the creators brought this couldn’t have been better. Soutetsu actually sends them a message about this with the help of Oryou in the form of a new script of a play. In there stands that Juubei still is alive, and we actually see the troupe find out, before we see him in person again. It’s the opposite of what most anime attempt.

Akizuki, meanwhile, was oblivious to this, as he had his own problems. The scene when Okita died was a surprisingly touching one. Great scene, especially combined with the mysterious black cat which keeps wandering around. The last quarter of this episode was definitely great to see, but I have to say that the first three quarters were rather confusing to watch, due to the extensive use of dialogue.

Still, I did manage to pick up that the army that’s been mentioned a few times, actually came to Yokohama to defend it against another army of westerners. The first three quarters of the episode showed a considerable amount of battles, tactics and aftermaths regarding the attack and defence of the city, though somehow it felt like scenes had been left out. Either that, or we saw some unintroduced flashbacks.

I’m surprised about the lack of interest about this series. When the subs first started, a few posts did spawn, though I’ve lately not seen any posts about this series except for the one I made myself. It’s strange, as you would expect this series to be rather appreciated.

Posted on 2 December 2006 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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And so starts the second major arc of Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto. I’m still not sure what the troupe is going to do, as so far, it seems to be entirely focusing on Akizuki. This episode especially delivered a great deal of background from his side. The new major antagonist also has yet to be introduced as well, apart from Soutetsu, that is.

As expected, a few new faces and names appear in this episode. First of all, the army which we saw in the past few episodes seemed to be heading for Yokohama. Something tells me that it’s going to play a rather significant role in the next few episodes. How will this involve Akizuki? In any case, the commander of this army is Oomura Mazushirou. At least, I think he is. He’s in any case the strategic planner. An acquaintance of Katsu also came with this army. I think he oversees the delivery of supplies. I don’t think his name was mentioned. Either that, or I couldn’t pick it up.

We also get introduced to Sakamoto Ryouma’s wife, Oryo. Akizuki will probably meet her in the next episode. For now, she’s staying with the troupe. She currently is the only tie to the main story they’ve left. Akizuki, meanwhile, runs into an acquaintance of his own. When he was young, he trained at a dojo. The strongest member of this dojo was Okita. It’s interesting to see that Akizuki already had this huge determination he’s got now. I think Okita will be a temporary character, though. He didn’t look too healthy during this episode, coughing up blood and running off on his own despite this injury and all.

This episode also gave a very clear view of Akizuki’s time with Sakamoto, instead of the flashes we’ve been seeing during the previous episodes. It seems that Sakamoto was killed by an unknown group, different from the Shinsengumi. It’s also interesting to note that right before Akizuki met Sakamoto for the first time, he detected a spirit, or supernatural activity. When he started to go after it, he found Sakamoto instead.

It’s really been a great episode. Despite it mostly spent its time introducing the upcoming arc and its characters and providing background info on Akizuki, all these things succeeded each other in a quick pace, making this episode very enjoyable. So many things happened during this episode, and for once, none really felt out of place, compared to the previous episodes, which were sortof bothered by the brainwashing scenes.

Posted on 24 November 2006 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Ooh, this was a very exiting episode: Akizuki vs Kanna, Nakaiya Juubei shows himself and tries to manipulate Katsu with the lord’s head, Soutetsu attempts to seal the lord’s head at the same time and the troupe infiltrates the same mansion in which all of this happens. Basically, 90% for the episode was one big action scene. But was it a good episode?

I’d say it is. I really enjoyed all parts except when Nakaiya manipulated Katsu and his companion. I’m not sure why, but I never really liked the brainwashing scenes in Bakumatsu. The background music also asks a bit too much from the viewer. Still, the other parts were excellent. It’s clear that Akizuki and Kanna have about the same amount of fighting experience, which really results in a battle of speed, stealth and strategy. Really enjoyable to see. Finally we have a fight with a villain who actually has a personality and a bit of a developed character. :)

It also seems that the troupe knew that Nakaiya Juubei was about to make his move. I’m suspecting Soutetsu told them, in order to turn them into a diversion. Their role isn’t too big. They spend most of the episode searching for Nakaiya’s location. Apparently, he hid himself well in a rather large building. At one point, Kanna also runs into Kakunojou, and he has some kind of strange deja vu. It seems like he recognized her from somewhere. Whether this is good or bad, I’m still not sure off.

The episode also takes a strange turn when suddenly, the main villain gets killed. I didn’t pick up the exact details, though I’m suspecting that Soutetsu now has turned into the main antagonist, unless Juubei has some kind of way to get back from the dead, like he did ten years ago. You’d wonder what those around him will do from now on. Will Glover be out of the picture as well, or will he start making his own moves now? And what will Kanna do afterwards, now that his employer is dead?

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