Hakuoki: Demon of the fleeting blossom


So, I just finished a visual novel that I played on a PSP emulator to my my Galaxy SII.
I finished it in around 23 hours but I’ll replay it again as the characters are all so interesting. It’s called Hakuoki: Demon of the fleeting blossom, and is a sort of romantic historical visual novel with wars, samurai, blood and demons. It’s one of the only games in its kind to be directed to females, as the romantic story is from a female perspective.

Japan’s Edo Period was drawing to a close. The shogunate, who’d held power in the country for more than 200 years, found itself challenged by the imperial court, and by several domains who had chaffed under shogunal rule. In this midst of this political unrest, an organization rose to prominence: The Shinsengumi. Originally formed to protect the streets of Kyoto from masterless samurai, they came to represent the last, tragic bastion of the honor-bound samurai culture that had defined much of Japan’s history.” – quote from the game site

The story is about a young girl that comes to Kyoto, dressed like a boy to protect herself better or so she think, to search for her father that has gone missing. She’ll realize that the Shinsengumi is looking for her father as well, and she’ll be put as a sort of hostage in their care until they find him with her help. But what she also encounters that first night when she get there is beyond what she ever imagined she’d see in her life.

You’ll start by naming your female character, but her last name is set already. As it is a visual novel, the game is built up by pictures and text. The story however is really nice and well written, the art is so beautiful but sadly the game has some stereotypes. The damsel part of the protagonist, the need to rescue and care for her by the boys and such.

The game gives you choices throughout  and certain options gives plus with the men, other do not. There are five men to choose from and if you haven’t flirted with them at all, another candidate will show that might not be expected.
I couldn’t help to get special feelings for Hajime Saito and Souji Okita, but the other people in the game are just as sweet and awesome. I would have wished though that Chikage Kazama and his fellow men would have a bit more story and interaction.

The romance story in the game however pulled in my heartstrings and I couldn’t help but to smile when such moments came, even though I picked the silent, brooding man as my first, the only truly romantic thing that happened, was towards the end. But I must say that after my second playthrough with Toshizo Hijikata, I actually started crying at some points, the writing is actually so good, so romantic.

The game changes paths depending on what you choose, but it still keeps to the same events just from different angles. It’s a game well worth playing, and I don’t know what else to say really to not spoil the entire game so go play it, now!

– The game site http://www.hakuoki.com/demon/

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9 responses to “Hakuoki: Demon of the fleeting blossom

  1. How much did the art enhance the feelings in this game? Did it support the writing and enhanced the feelings of romance and heartstrings being pulled?

    You’re pointing out that you feel she was a damsel that needed to be protected. During the Edo era women’s role were to submit to the male heads of their household, so this game can perhaps play on that?

    it is also something that I’ve seen more of in the Japanese culture, both in manga and in live action dramas. Perhaps not to the extreme as I get the feeling you are seeing in this game?

    In all I felt you gave a good picture of this game, might even try it out myself at some point, do you enjoy playing graphic novels like these? Will you be playing more of them in the future?

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    • Yes, I would believe so. The pictures showed off emotion and feelings really well imo.

      Maybe so, but it is still a huge stereotype in Japanese games. The girls being weaker, stupider and such than the men.
      Many women are depicted like that in manga/anime and such that I’ve seen, sadly. But this game isn’t extreme, it just revolves around it.

      I haven’t really played a visual novel properly before but I love it. I will absolutely play more if there ever are some. As I mentioned in the post, this is one of the only that are directed to girls.

      I would say that you should try one of the other visual novels that are for men in that case if you want to play them, there are more of them and they are equally as good I hope.

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      • Yes, as I mentioned I’ve seen that before myself, it is a part of the Japanese culture still I dare say, some mention that Japan sometimes are a bit like how Europe and USA were in the 50s

        Good to hear that you will consider playing more of these types, but I must’ve missed that part about it being aimed to girls before I wrote my comment, silly of me, yes I probably should try and look for one for men.

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  2. First thing, I’ll have to get this PSP Emulator on my Galaxy S4! There are some PSP games I’ve seen/played that would be nice on my phone, I.E. Monster Hunter series and such.

    Now, to the game/visual novel! I haven’t played many of these style of games myself, but I can understand why they’re so juicy on story! (Really can’t fault the Japanese for their Romance and Storylines). Nice to see it’s one directed to females, though I think in Manga/Anime also recently, female characters are getting a more important role! I for one like it. Especially seeing a female character playing the role that is usually reserved for males, for example: A Knight.

    – Counting back to your Bound by Flame post, with the female main character there, also your Mass Effect post, do you feel the women in video games are made too masculine to try and fit in or do you feel they’re properly done?

    Taking a look at the site, and the synopsis of the game you have given, a Samurai/Demon style game sounds quite interesting. I for one am a big fan of melee weaponry/hand-to-hand combat (Martial Arts). My very first MMO character was a hand-to-hand style character, and I enjoyed him immensely, and if a game gives me the option to use hand-to-hand I usually go for it.

    Reading on I see you mention the form of ‘stereotypes’. Sadly I think we’ll always see this in any game at some point, especially with women. Sometimes I don’t see it so much in Japanese Manga/Anime, more they like to cater for the over-sexualisation of women.

    – These ‘boys’, when they play their role in the story, do they each have their own ‘connection’ to the main character? And if so, does each have a Romance option along with just being able to achieve the ‘best friend’ status?
    – Or am I reading the blog wrong, and each male does in fact have a chance, but the options you take decide which becomes closer and romanceable?

    Special feelings? It seems these characters are very visual and believeable. Artwork if you can get that close to a character and they express such personality. Visiting the site and looking at the Character tab, there isn’t much information given, but I’m guessing the novel itself more then makes up for that in detailing the characters. Also I had a quick peek at the features, and I like how the Romance is done by the example picture. Just body language detailed in words, and pictures. I like, I like!

    – A slightly offset question, would you have felt this game would have worked if it was the opposite? Say a male character was being protected/adorned over by several female characters? I have seen similar in anime, albeit sometimes it can get rather weird because of the ‘over-sexualisation’ done in anime/manga. (And by opposite I also mean a new/seperate story to fit for the male character)

    Nice to see the Romance can tug at the heart so fiercely! (Crying is allowed and I feel encouraged!). Much better then your Bound by Flame romance I imagine, and this is done in a visual novel, not a fully animated third-person RPG. A shame they cannot gain this kind of romance in more games… But yes, I imagine I also would feel quite heartened by this story, as it is always nice to see such a romance unfold. Though I will have to see if I get the time for this game… I have quite a few to play at the moment that have their own Romance stories, but if this visual novel is short enough, I’ll give it a look see (And as it can be played on an emulator on my phone, it can be played in my spare time or when I am out.)

    – One final question: Romance is something of a difficult situation for most Game Developers, as it’s a struggle to get perfect:
    IN your own thoughts, where do you think Romance should play a part in the story of a game? And by that I mean: Should it an integral part of your characters progression through the game (Say if they do not kiss this man/woman, later on in the game the person dies but because you never gained that connection, the story continues. But if you -did- kiss them, the story takes a different turn.).
    OR do you feel Romance is something more of a side-quest type of thing that people should if they feel like it, not be thrown the decision whether or not to take that kiss or not?

    Nice to see another review so quick after the last one! Should try and find more of these smaller games to make quick reviews on to keep us hungry Blogger’s sated until one of your List games are completed! Looking forward to the next one! 🙂

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    • I haven’t felt that women in games have been so masculine, though the female in Bound by Flame is a bit more masculine in some ways.

      All the boys tie into the story and have their chances with the main character, it depends on what choices you make how the story will unfold and with whom.

      No, I don’t think it’d work in the same way, but that is just bad of me I suppose. Hard to imagine this game with all females instead of males… There are many games however, where there are the male/many females but where he is always shown as the “protecting hero”.

      That is actually be a cool idea that the romance, like in this game, changes the course of the story. But it works well both ways, just if its done good.
      But yeah, for people in general, the optional romance is the best choice sadly.

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      • Yeah I have Bound by Flame at the moment. The woman is rather masculine, but it fits the age its set in I guess.

        Ahh okay. Sound fair, and good! Does each male have a different ending too if you go with them, or is the ending only different by other choices you make?

        Yeah I guess I can see that happening too. The male being the ‘protector’, never the ‘weaker’ person in the story. (Though I have seen some anime with that style, the male usually ends up coming out on top).

        Mhm, sadly people don’t take Romance too seriously in games. If looked at properly, you can see how much work is put into Romance! Which is why Mass Effect got slightly annoying. They did it really well, then it just seemed to become a lesser part of the game in the next two, or you were given so much choice and not much story behind it, felt kinda pointless.

        – If you were lead Designer/Writer on a game, what kind of things would you want people to do for the Romances? Like, special scenes, extra storylines, ‘loyalty’ type missions like in Mass Effect? Also would you follow feedback from players for a next game on their views for Romance being ‘not that important’ ?

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        • Each man has a completely different story after a certain chapter, and endings are unique for them.

          I dunno tbh, hard to say just like this. But I’d try to push as much romance as I could into a game, with different details and such, without it being too much. However the loyalty missions in Mass Effect, I felt was somehow a bit unemotional.
          I would follow their feedback if it was something I felt was a good idea to add but I wouldn’t care about those who didn’t want it, why are they playing that game then?

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          • Ahh that is nice, I imagine each has cute ending too?

            Yeah, it’s hard to get the balance of good Romance, and not pushing it. Mass Effect 1 did it well, ME2 was okay, but ME3 was just for sex it felt, no Romance.

            Yeah, if a game has Romance, it’s because the Developers want to portray more of their characters story. No one person isn’t going to have a Romance. It’s not needed per say, but it’s a nice thing to have and when done, always respect it and the effort put into it. Don’t complain. People can be right gits when it comes to feedback too :-/ Nice to know someone who feels the same way about Romance in games, and isn’t afraid to show how many feels they get playing these games. 🙂 Hope to see more of this!

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