HAKUOKI EDO BLOSSOMS
Release Date: March 13, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Design Factory
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International
Platforms: PS VITA, Steam (PC)
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)
Read the game’s prologue here.
- Toshizo Hijikata
- Souji Okita
- Hajime Saito
- Heisuke Toudou
- Sanosuke Harada
- Shinpachi Nagakura
- Keisuke Sanan
- Susumu Yamazaki
- Hachiro Iba
- Kazue Souma
- Ryouma Sakamoto
- Chikage Kazama
ART AND MUSIC
As previously stated in my Kyoto Winds review, there were three artists involved in Hakuoki’s artwork. Kazuki Yone, Miko, and Shiki Sakigumi. Most of the CGs are the same ones you get in the PS3 version of the game (Demon of the Fleeting Blossoms). The OP and ending themes for Edo Blossom were also done by the same composer and performed by the same artist of the game’s prequel. Listen to Edo Blossoms’ beautiful OP “Kaze no Nakade Saku Hana” on the track below:
CHARACTERS AND ROUTES (Spoiler Free)
I played the routes in the order that was suggested in the game (started with Hijikata and did Kazama last). Because it’s a sequel, there’s no specific route order you need to follow as you are guaranteed to enjoy the stories regardless of which route you start or finish. My suggestion is to play a favorite guy first and finish with another favorite last just so you’ll have that lasting “uwu” impression. (laughs) (*/ω＼)
CV: Shinichirou Miki – Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)
Hijikata’s story was the longest in Edo Blossoms (five chapters), it’s also the only route with most endings (seven endings).
Just like Kyoto Winds, Hijikata’s route was mainly the story of the Shinsengumi itself. It follows through the Shinsengumi’s activities the day they arrived in Edo and ended with their defeat in the Boshin war. One of the highlights of this route was Hijikata’s strong determination to fight for what he truly believes in despite fighting on the losing end. Seeing his strong resolution and willpower, scene after scene was rather awe-inspiring (it honestly made me tear). I also enjoyed how his romantic relationship with Chizuru developed in the long run. Their romance didn’t feel forced nor rushed. If anything, I thought it was very realistic.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Shotaro Morikubo – Impey Barbicane (Code Realize), Jocus (Period Cube), Toa (7’scarlet)
Unlike Hijikata’s route, Okita’s story was more detached to the Shinsengumi’s activities as it picked up from where it left off in Kyoto Winds (Chizuru stays with Okita at Dr. Matsumoto’s place in Edo, to help him recover from his illness). I enjoyed how stubborn Okita’s character can be but then goes meek every time Chizuru calls him out. It was nice to see how their relationship dynamics worked out for the best as the story progressed. I also felt real chemistry between him and Chizuru. Okita’s route is probably one of the better ones when it comes to romance in Edo Blossoms. One highlighting factor I wanted to point out from this route was Morikubo’s portrayal of Souji’s character. Again, he’s done this character justice – I have no words! Recalling the scene of Okita’s breakdown shook my emotions to the core! (applause)
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Kousuke Toriumi – Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)
To those who are Saito biased, you will definitely enjoy his route. For the most part, Saito continues his adorable kuudere nature as he juggles overworking himself to experiencing fatigue while keeping a watchful eye on Chizuru’s well being. His route had a couple of surprises that got me all ‘woah‘ (Hint: Ear fetishes lol). My only gripe was that their romance didn’t surface until his last chapters and it is only because of Chizuru’s forwardness that this man was finally able to admit his feelings for her.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki – Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga), Heishi (Norn9)
Heisuke was such a great character in Edo Blossoms. I liked him as an NPC in almost all the routes in the game. His own story, however, wasn’t too satisfying – if you ask me. Because he’s one of the first Shinsengumi rasetsu (fury), he spends a lot of time wallowing in grief and deep regrets (thinking about his life choices), questioning the “what ifs” and a whole lot of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. This went on probably for a mere half of his route where Chizuru tries her hardest to lift Mr. Down-in-the-dumps’ spirits up. It was sad and annoying at the same time but I’m glad it didn’t last. There’s still good chemistry between him and Chizuru so, this is one saving grace that didn’t get me all disinterested with his story.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Koji Yusa – Itsuki (Norn9), Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)
Oh boy! Get your fans ready, turn the AC on blast as it’s about to get hot in here! (//ω//)
As I’ve said in my Kyoto Winds review, If you want romance, Harada is definitely one for the taking! I’m sure there was some good plot going on in Harada’s route but I honestly couldn’t remember nor care for his story because I was so distracted with Sano’s teasing! (⁀ᗢ⁀) aha It was funny how Chizuru secretly hides her crush with yo boi’, saying things like “this man is so handsome and caring, I will never be worthy of him and his glory” lmao! Tbh, their relationship was too adorable! Sano’s route is def one of the best routes to look forward to in Edo Blossoms and his ‘good end’ was one of the most satisfying endings in the game. Make no mistake about that.
Kissing CG: OH YES!!!
CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro – Toshi Maeda (Sengoku Basara), Rikimaru (Tenchu 2), Taliesin (Tears to Tiara)
While Shinpachi Nagakura remains one of the most likable characters in the series. Just like Heisuke, his route falls rather short in terms of both story and romance. Mostly, Shinpachi spends a lot of time loathing on the fact that he’s become a fury (Recalling, the incident in Kyoto Winds, where he was forced to drink the water of life due to unavoidable circumstances). With this, Chizuru guiltily blames herself for Shinpachi’s suffering and wants to support him in any way she can. In return, Shinpachi still pushes her away and goes into a complete depressive mode to a point that he becomes a hermit for weeks (ಠ_ಠ) – lol I’m not even kidding! Because of this, he becomes too distant towards Chizuru, that I literally can’t feel any intimate connection between the two of them. It took him four whole chapters to suddenly admit his feelings for Chizuru which for some reason felt rushed (to me anyway). ┐(‘～` )┌
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Nobuo Tobita – Straizo (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Kan Soo-Jin (Akatsuki no Yona), Capt. Gordon (Disgea)
Sanan’s character in Edo Blossoms can either become your ally or your enemy causing all the mayhem in the story, depending on whose route you’re playing. I remember Sanan giving me the creeps when I played his route in Kyoto Winds. Luckily, he redeemed himself in this sequel and I’m so glad how his story turned out. His route was one emotional ride. Sanan was such a complex character where at one point you literally can’t stand him and on another, you just can’t help but fall for him (°ロ°) – It’s madness, I tell ya! After playing his route in EB, I now, clearly understand why Sanan’s character has a solid unwavering fan base. *Tips hat*
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Takayuki Suzuki – Daedalus Munto (Demonion Series), Oota Hiroo (Koiken Otome)
Warning: Kyoto Winds Spoiler below!
I was so ecstatic to play Yamazaki’s route because unlike the other romanceable characters in Kyoto Winds, Yamazaki was the only one who didn’t make it to Edo. (╥﹏╥) (Hint: He died on the battlefield). Yamazaki (in Kyoto Winds) only survived in two routes: his and Okita’s. That said, Playing Yamazaki’s route was such a treat in Edo Blossoms, because… you know, he’s alive and breathing for a change! (cackles). His route was rather short though. I remember finishing it way too quickly, compared to others. Needless to say, I love Yamazaki’s character to bits. I still hold my ground when I say he’s such a good match for Chizuru and both of them complement each other well. His ‘good ending’ was a little predictable but gosh, it was too perfect that I wouldn’t have it in any other way!
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Mamoru Miyano – Akito (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tokiya (Utapri), Okabe Rintarou (Steins Gate)
I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reviews regarding Iba’s route in Edo Blossoms. What’s with all the hate with this route anyway? Is it because of his obsessive crush on Chizuru, or is it because of his
rapey demon hand? lol As an Iba apologist,(˙꒳˙) I don’t really find his character, in any way shape, or form, offensive nor creepy, towards Chizuru. The reason for his “odd” behavior was thoroughly explained in his story and was even foreshadowed a few times during his first chapters. Yes, his route may seem a little dark, however, his character depth was strikingly beautiful. I love how Iba struggles with his own demons but at the same time continues to fight for his beliefs echoing Hijikata & the Shinsengumi’s dedication and willpower. He has the nicest bittersweet ending and (i think) it could’ve been better if they’ve extended his epilogue.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Yuki Kaji – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kakeru (Norn9), Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)
I like describing Souma’s route as the amazing race to get to Hijikata (cackles). Because this was literally what went down for the first three chapters of his story (considering, an entire route in EB only consist 4 of chapters total). I felt that Souma’s story got a bit mundane in the middle but then picked up really quick in the fourth chapter. As I’ve griped before in Kyoto Winds, I still couldn’t feel any chemistry between him and Chizuru (ﾉД`). Although I loved that there was some comic relief in the last chapters of his story. – the whole gang playfully teasing the lovers and Iba getting extremely jealous – oh boy! that was one good laugh. His ending was really sweet too (their reuniting scene was so precious). It’s one of my least favorite routes in EB but it wasn’t bad altogether. Also, kudos to Yuki Kaji for breathing life into this character. His voice acting was indeed one of the highlights in this route.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Daisuke Ono – Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv), Azuma Natsuhiko (Norn9)
Sakamoto’s story in Kyoto Winds was interesting enough to get me all hyped-up with his route in EB. Sadly, to my disappointment, the intriguing factor of Ryouma’s character died down as his whole route was wasted chasing after his buddy Nakaoka and his band of evil furies from Tosa. There was nothing new of the sort that’ll get you compelled in his story. I honestly could not wait for it to end. I wanted to point out, however, that it was his ‘good ending’ that uniquely redeemed his route from dullness. I believe others may still probably enjoy Sakamoto’s route. This one just didn’t stick out to me in the game.
Kissing CG: YES
CV: Kenjiro Tsuda – Hattori Hanzo (Nightshade), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)
I am literally a Kazama bias, that’s why I picked his route to play last. He is arrogant, selfish, and judgmental towards humans. Ah yes, the perfect husbando! (laughs). Again, just like his role in Kyoto Winds, Kazama can either be your enemy or your ally in the game depending on whose route you’re playing. In Edo Blossoms, he becomes Chizuru’s bodyguard as she journeys following the tracks of the Shinsengumi. He may not be upfront with his feelings towards the heroine, but you can clearly tell that his actions are genuinely all for her well being. It was such a treat seeing Kazama’s changed nature towards Chizuru. Like how he’s always asking her first what she wants, and what she plans to do. I also enjoyed their couple banters with each other like how Chizuru calls him out when he’s had too much sake to drink. (´▽ `) It was cute to witness their relationship blossoming as they spend more time together. Plus, this is the only route where you can see Amagiri giving love advises, and epic wingman talks to the heroine. lol
Kissing CG: YES
Will I enjoy Edo Blossoms, even if I haven’t played Kyoto Winds?
Maybe if you’re only in for the romance, then perhaps you might? Though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of playing the sequel without delving into the main story first. Edo Blossoms is part two and the continuation of Kyoto Winds, so I’d always advise against playing it first if you haven’t touched Kyoto Winds at all. Perhaps if you’ve played the older Hakuoki games then you’ll probably get the gist of the story. Otherwise, you will be missing out on a whole lot of stuff.
TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE
Edo Blossom’s transition from Kyoto Winds was pretty smooth as it immediately picked up the previous game’s premise right off the bat. While Kyoto Winds was responsible for building Hakuoki’s overarching plot, Edo Blossoms ties the rest of the prequel’s cliffhangers into one solid conclusion. I would also like to point out that unlike its prequel, Edo Blossoms does not contain a long repetitive common story. So you can rest easy on this fact, especially if you were bogged down from completing the last game because of this factor.
I may have gushed about it in my Kyoto Winds review, but the writing for this remake was truly outstanding. The writers did a wonderful job conveying Hakuoki’s gripping story while building each characters’ individuality, given their significant relationship with the heroine. It was also pretty rewarding to finally connect, sympathize, and know the characters we’ve learned to love more.
Out of the twelve main casts, the characters that left an impression on me the most were Hijikata, Harada, Iba, and Kazama. Without a doubt, each character has their own personalities that stood out individually from the other. Heck, even the side characters stood out in this sequel too. One of my favs would be Kyo Shiranui (he was awesome in Harada’s route) and of course our beloved chief Isami Kondou, who’s probably brought us the most tears in this sequel.
Do I recommend this game? YES
To me, Edo Blossoms was a great read per se. I would definitely recommend this game to those who’ve played Kyoto Winds and the older Hakuoki games. However, I wanna stress out the fact that this sequel’s angst was a bit overwhelming and while it worked for me (I love torturing myself with tragedy), it may not work for some, esp. if you’re more inclined to enjoy light-hearted fluffy novels.
Overall, I would still give Hakuoki Edo Blossoms an A rating for its compelling story, brilliant characters that shone individually, an artwork to die for, and for being one of the best visual novels that realistically tells the story of the last samurais in Japan: The Shinsengumi. Get yourself a copy of this beautiful game now!