I sadly found out the last episode is now out, and I stupidly watched it on a work night--also too soon, I wanted to spread this tragic story, but I went and watched it -_-.
Even Facebook apparently knows how depressed I was after.....:
"In a string of intense emotional dramas, the last thing you need is one more, Scorpio. Unfortunately, it looks like you're going to get just that. Once again, an incredible romantic scenario is coming to a head, and your emotions are in turmoil. Hold still, wait for the hit, and then proceed. If you have the feeling that you're going to blow up at someone, simply walk away from the situation."
I will just tell you now-This was one of the MOST depressing anime endings I have EVER seen.
Why? well, besides the fondness I have for Shinsengumi and it's members, you really got to know them. Hijikata was so amazing: he was very strict when we met him, seemingly cold but he has a soft spot for his comrades. In reality, he is very purpose-driven and cares deeply for his friends (especially Kondou, as they formed the Shinsengumi together). As characters die, he starts to question what and why, and how they keep making him live instead of joining---because he is a symbol of his men's morale, and is feared by the enemy as well as some of their own allies.
Basically for Hakuouki--Hijikata becomes much softer as tragic events pile up, he becomes more fond of his allies considering the hardships--basically the bonds of the men and Chizuru become far stronger, and there is no question of loyalty between them (except for Sannan-san). As people fall at his sides and they lose battles, Hijikata questions the idea of fighting for their gov't and their lord, and instead puts his spirit of his Shinsengumi as his prime motivation--to not move forward as soldiers or warriors, but as Shinsengumi-with traditional samurai spirit in a dying age.
Also because this is based on romance, Chizuru is also quite important here.
As things progress, Hijikata frequently persists that she leave and live a new life, for her own good, as he didn't want her to follow them to their deaths. Knowing the battles were going getting harder and less likely to succeed, this did seem logical. I complete understand his concern for her safety,and he would generally not have to worry about her (Except Kazama is always on the loose >_>...she's better off with them).
I can understand his concern indeed regarding seeing her die (by their hands technically-self-blame would be at large), as well as her witnessing the guys die before her. Instead of causing her to break apart, it seems best to shoo her away with some food money, and let her gradually forget them (After all they went through?!...like hell), or if anything, not be troubled--they were going to war out of their own will as warriors, so she shouldn't have to be the one alone, taking in the grief and pain caused by their deaths--she should be happy, and not keep track of their status.
Not to say she knew they'd die...she has hopes, and I believe it's plausible to hope they'd survive just like before.
However, she is now no longer able to start a new life. Even if she did actually stay behind when they(Hijikata and his allies) set sail to Sendai, her living family has now been killed off---who would she turn to?
Also, Kazama manages to find her again...although doing nothing, but still.
Back to Hijikata: He shows great emotion behind his serious demeanor, and Chizuru is a witness to his every break down. I especially loved after he broke down when Kondou gave up his life. He moved me, and he truly gave the feeling that he was lost inside, and angry, he needed someone to help him remember why things turned out this way-and how he was supposed to guide his men alone. Chizuru comforted him quietly with her presence close behind him.
Hijikata also does smile a lot considering the image he gives, and truly does take value of his close comrades. HE also smiles quite faintly yet fondly at Chizuru, if anyone were to harrass him, he would say "shut up".....but we all know he likes her despite how mean he was in the beginning (I think the other boys know as well in the second season).
I really love Hijikata's affection towards Chizuru Only really showed in the last few episodes, it is just so cut and touching...it was only a matter of time, and there was just something about it whenever he did anything--Chizuru was often caught off guard, because he usually would try to be casual about things and just go back to business on matters...until what she says at times hits him, and he decided to hold her xp.
Hijikata was a very devoted character. He held his flag with all of this living and dead comrades inside him, even as one man standing in battle, he WAS shinsengumi. He would always protect his comrades and Chizuru.
What I love on Chizuru's part was her loyal determination to Hijikata. No matter in what name or form he ordered her to stay out, she would always come back, or say "I cannot do that", and continue to support him in her own way. Hijikata really needed a shoulder during the main ending events, Chizuru was there for him, no matter what, or where. She was willing to go to battle at his side, even if she herself did not fight or had skill--as long as she was beside him, she felt she was where she was supposed to be--even if it means seeing his death.
question is....after his death (rasetsu form obviously shortens his life, so even if he did survive his wounds, it would have took him eventually )......what will Chizuru do?
she has no parents, no friends (the 2 other girls being forgotten and all, I don't know if they count), Chizuru did walk the life she set for herself by being loyal and stubborn to the end (Because she loved them all in her own way, and Hijikata deepest), she now has to deal with the sorrow at losing the life she saved, and saw it being taken away moments later----how can she go on? she is a positive girl, but....such things are so traumatic . She would probably eventually find another guy as she is very young still, but I can see Hijikata's face appearing, no matter what she does, or where she goes.
Bittersweet is what this anime is----very, very bitter and cold, yet, you want to see it, even if it breaks your heart ....yet, you don't want to.
I hate how the last episode seemed so full of spirited energy between the characters and their morale was high (Hijikata was experiencing his earlier years of the dojos and shinsengumi---it raised his spirits quite a lot)---even after some romantic scenes ( I highly enjoy seeing 2-3 in an episode....but the rush was also a foretelling that worse things were coming, and they had to seal the emotional bond that was about to break )
If you watch the first 2 minutes vs the last 2, there's so much difference that it makes me depressed----how can something so happy, so well-earned from pain, turn into something so dark, cold and tragic--in all a mere day of their life.
Maybe I over thought about it....but you know, this anime really moved me at the end--for worst as well, because I honest to God was so depressed it showed up the following day (today), I felt cold at the last scenes, like I witnessed it too personally.
I enjoy living in the characters, but sometimes it has it's drawbacks...and those are what hit me hard. I mean, we are there for the story of their lives, and they are made to be believed for a reason, characters who are believable are the best ever---is it so wrong or embarrassing to say depression hits? Especially when you realize, most of these people died in real life in similar ways, whether it be tragic and short-lived, or long-lived yet unfulfilling, they were real once...and this is how their age ended, and how they didn't win the last battle.
If westerners didn't come to Japan with guns and tradition-killers, they probably would have lived longer, and died more valiant deaths-by the sword. Tragic death is being a icon of samurai spirit and determination--only to die by a bullet.
I realize everything ends......but I wish he didn't have to die this way.
Chizuru and Hijikata have a uniquely strong bond. Her strongest asset was her undying loyalty, and her different opinions that held the men together and made them rethink about going off to die--lives are more valuable than pawns, and Hijikata understood this the more his friends fell. If it wasn't for Chizuru, Hijikata would have been severely depressed, and his morale would have been so low that the battles he did still win would have resulted in disaster--he didn't need her to defend herself, he needed someone there for him- and to remind him why he still fights.
You know what made me sad though too?
We were shown a reference to the happy ending for Hijikata--with sakura trees, and Chizuru saying the same words she doe in the game from what I read-----but it was short-lived, and Kazama had to make our tragic hero who finally got the girl and a possibly-well earned happy ending.........but in this battle, Hijikata took the last of his life to fight, and in the end now, Chizuru is alone, and the only witness to his quiet end.
I cried .
I got a fair message out of it:
No matter who you are, what you become or what you do.....you can't cheat death, because it will come for you sooner or later--especially if you did something taboo that challenges death--it will come to claim what it did the day you gave up your normal life--when he drank the rasetsu potion.
I wish she at least met up with Saito after, because he's still supposed to be alive-we didn't actually see him die, and history tells us he lived past the war--it would be far less depressing, and than they would still have each other's support--it's best to be alone together than face the world feeling like a homeless spirit-where would her heart lie?
I can see Chizuru joining a new area and trying to establish herself in a new life, but always remembering the ones who died, and probably talking to Hijikata every day, even if he isn't there(although the anime shows us his spirit was still with her)-at least if anything, she'd feel less alone and would recuperate more stable.
Sad truth, but true it is
That is my discussion/view after watching this. I really hope there is another adaption to this game/anime series ...with happy endings.
I read another girl was also miserably depressed, so it makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one--Hijikata's voice actor was so good, I felt like he really died and left someone alone.