It was only recently when i went to Japan I understood how popular the series Hakuoki was and that Europe was lucky to get two titles released here and the anime series. Hakuōki Demon of the Fleeting Blossom looks like a harem or Bishounen anime to the naked eye.
Actually, the anime series is a well grounded anime with lots of interesting characters and plot based on history and with real character name , locations and contex The story revolves around the female lead Yukimura Chizuru who has gone in search for her father. But runs int Ronin who fall to prey to the Shinsengumi or so she thinks, theses were much worse - the 'furies', a strong superhuman race with defining features of white hair and red eyes. Luckily before Chizuru comes to any harm, the real Shinsengumi come to her rescue.
Once Chizuru is in their custody it's either die by their hand or be a prisoner to their dastardly needs (if only). A greater purpose for her encounter with the Shinsengumi soon begins to unfold as the story develops. Both parties have the same mission in that they're both looking for Chizuru's father. To this end, Chizuru inadvertently joins the Shinsengumi (more a prisoner than comrade).
During the course of the series, she forms bonds between her and some of Shinsengumi, but to be honest there are more battles with the furies and other armies than there is romance in this series. The battles come frequently on a large scale and the Shinsengumi prove themselves to be more than just good looks and charm. In fact I feel Chizuru is redundant apart from being the cook and nagging.
The plot I think is highly engaging, I wasn't gripped by the first episode and the shiny animation was a bit off putting, but once the character started to introduce themselves I really got into the series. Politics, strategy and action are the main themes of the anime, with occasional outbursts of slapstick comedy. It's really well balanced for something so serious.</p>
The furies are a topic of taboo to begin with and slowly learning about them changed the whole series for me. Who would have known there would be supernatural themes to take over in this historical setting? Throughout the series the Shinsengumi face many furies and you begin to learn some are 'real demons' and the man made ones have a 'sell by date', so to speak. Later on, you also begin to learn more behind the mystery surrounding Chizuru's father and his intentions. Being a series based on history and conflict, you'll find that some characters actually die, sometimes in nasty, artistic and realistic ways. Aside from the battles putting the series in historical context, it was eye opening to see disease as a way of slow death. Characters you may have favoured at the start also begin to change their ways and ideals throughout the series as a consequence of power, money, leadership and pride.
Definately an anime to invest in and season 2 and the OVA is already out and I hear there is a third season *fan girl screams* FOr more info on MVM UK titles go here: http://www.mvm-films.com/AnimeTitle?ID=3112