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Bakumatsu Jinchuu Houkoku Resshiden Miburo


Clephas

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This is the third game in the series that began with Chuusingura (please don't judge that particular work by the utterly shitty translation).  I do highly recommend that you play both Chuusingura and Bushi no Kodou before you play this game, because it is necessary to fully understand some of the events that occur (particularly in the true Hijikata ending).

First, a bit of background about the Bakumatsu period.  Essentially, after Admiral Perry forced open Japan with the threat of his cannons, the Bakufu (also known as the Tokugawa Shogunate), was forced to sign the usual set of unequal treaties Western nations forced on Eastern ones with less advanced tech during that period of history.  Japan's peculiar double-headed political structure at the time, with the Emperor 'lending' his authority to the Shogun of the time in order to rule Japan and the then-emperor's stated wish for the exclusion of foreigners lent anti-Tokugawa factions and ambitious feudal lords the justification they needed (mostly to convince their followers) to start moving against the Bakufu.

This was made worse when one of these factions succeeded in assassinating Chancellor Ii, who directed the political purges and authoritarian political moves of the Bakufu immediately following Perry's actions.  This gave others the idea to do similar things to anyone they saw as supporting the Bakufu, and Kyouto became the center of a bloody series of assassinations of officials and merchants who sided with the existing authority or benefited from foreign contacts. 

The Aizu Clan, which was given the authority and rather nasty job of bringing peace to Kyouto, recruited ronin (masterless samurai) in order to form a police force that would capture or execute the other ronin making trouble in the city.  This resulted in the formation of the Roushigumi, which later became the Shinsengumi seen in Hakuoki, Peacemaker Kurogane, and the Rurounin Kenshin OVAs (Saitou Hajime in the main series was also a member). 

Historically, the Shinsengumi, despite having suffered a number of internal disputes and factional splits in the years leading up to the fall of the Bakufu, were amongst the few who fought to the end against the new government, and Hijikata Toshizou's final death and his death poem are one of the most incredibly romanticized objects amongst samurai-loving weaboos of the classic stripe.  Some left-leaning history buffs in Japan blame the romanticization of the Shinsengumi and the characters from Chuusingura for the intense rise in nationalism and insane glorification of samurai culture that occurred leading up to WWII. 

Now down to business... it should be stated that this game is about fifteen times more violent than Chuusingura was.  The protagonist and other members of the Shinsengumi killed people on a daily basis with swords in broad daylight, and they don't really hold back when it comes to portraying that. 

This game is also just as long as Chusingura (maybe slightly longer) was, despite being essentially one long path for most of its length (with about a third of it devoted to individual paths).  This is because the story covers about six years worth of chaotic events, both political and personal.  Going into this game with a full knowledge of the fates of the Shinsengumi members, I couldn't help but wish some of their fates would be changed (hint: of the original membership, only Saitou Hajime and Shinpachi live to see old age), and there are a lot of characters I honestly wept for... no matter what game I see him/her in, Sakamoto Ryouma is always an admirable character and seeing the pointless deaths of a number of clear-eyed individuals with an eye toward the future is just as bad.  However, this game follows history to the end in the Hijikata path and for most of the game otherwise... and while the Shinsengumi might be cultural icons now, their lives were colored with blood and tragedy.

There are four main paths, three side-paths (paths for heroines that die or are otherwise separated from the main cast for some reason), and one true path (Hijikata Ending 2).  The main paths include Okita Souji, Kondou Isami, Hajime Saitou, and Hijikata Toshizou.  Okita's path... well, if you've seen any of the many anime (except Gintama) where he pops up, you'll know what I mean when I say it ends on a sad and somewhat empty note.  Kondou Isami's path is marginally better (if you know about Kondou's historic fate, it is nice to see it changed).  Saitou's path is significantly better and more detailed, as are the three side-paths (which is somewhat ironic).  Hijikata's paths are, of course, the most complete-feeling and satisfying, though the first one left me in tears for a solid ten minutes.

This game does have some major flaws... there was an obvious history buff's obsession with detail when it came to portraying a lot of the historical events involved, and that aspect could start to feel interminable in the space between the story's main turning point and the heroine paths.  However, I found myself willing to forgive that flaw in the end.

Overall, this was an excellent story, and it takes relatively few liberties with history (beyond feminization of historical figures), which is unusual in Shinsengumi portrayals.  The most unusual aspect of the game (the protagonist's ability) was mostly a dormant issue for the greater part of the game, so it often left me with a nice illusion that I was seeing through the eyes of a real Shinsengumi member. 

I was surprised at one revelation in the true ending, though...

 

HUGE SPOILERS

Spoiler

The protagonist turning out to be a young Kodama Gentaro was a bit of an eyebrow raiser, since he was perhaps the least controversial Imperial Japanese general in world history... (since most of them were responsible for or overlooked atrocities)

 

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To be honest, I really can't stand the boatload of history stuff in this story. So most of the time I just skip it
 

But for me, the one thing I REALLY have an issue with is the Protagonist. Though maybe that's because a heavy bias on my part and I compare him too much with Suguha while Ken is only a regular human (bar the power) that didn't know the future.

Hijikata 2 Ending Spoiler

Spoiler

This is made even more obvious in the ending, where Ken role is stated to basically correct the distorted History so his entire purpose is not to save everyone like what Suguha did. He is entirely faultless, but I expect too much out of him and that's what makes me kinda hate him lol

 
 

I do have to say though, after all the stuff that's going on in the VN, The Hijikata Ending 2 is realllly satisfying

And Spoiler again for Hiji Ending 2

Spoiler

I expect the FD of the lovely time between Ken and Hijikata reunion after that ending :meguface:

 

Edited by Jade
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5 hours ago, Jade said:

To be honest, I really can't stand the boatload of history stuff in this story. So most of the time I just skip it
 

But for me, the one thing I REALLY have an issue with is the Protagonist. Though maybe that's because a heavy bias on my part and I compare him too much with Suguha while Ken is only a regular human (bar the power) that didn't know the future.

Hijikata 2 Ending Spoiler

  Reveal hidden contents

This is made even more obvious in the ending, where Ken role is stated to basically correct the distorted History so his entire purpose is not to save everyone like what Suguha did. He is entirely faultless, but I expect too much out of him and that's what makes me kinda hate him lol

 
 

I do have to say though, after all the stuff that's going on in the VN, The Hijikata Ending 2 is realllly satisfying

And Spoiler again for Hiji Ending 2

  Reveal hidden contents

I expect the FD of the lovely time between Ken and Hijikata reunion after that ending :meguface:

 

I'll be honest, I am also not at peace with the way they didn't change most of the characters' historical fates, especially since some of those fates are truly nasty/tragic.  The excessive historical detail of the events after Ikeda-ya and the Kinmon no Hen were more than a little bit of a headache, since it felt like they were trying to shove too many details into the story.  Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun handled things in a way that I found more interesting, though it was radically tilted toward the fantasy steampunk stuff.

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Ugh, the title was just released three days ago and you're already finished with it - in about 2 days?! I'm still not sure if I should envy you for that insane reading speed or pity you that you just got 2 days of fun out of a title that should usually last for weeks. :shrug:

Anyway, simple question about the individual routes of both this and Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier: Can you save at least the heroines in their respective individual routes or are they doomed whatever you do? And what about the protagonists? I'm pretty fine with bad endings, as long there's a possibility to trick fate as well.

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Spoiler

In the individual routes of Miburo's heroines who normally die, you can save all of them except Hijikata Toshizou and Okita Souji. The exception is HUGE SPOILER FOR TRUE ENDING

Spoiler

Hijikata survives in the second ending, though she and the protagonist end up parting.

In Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier, the protagonist dies in Hijikata, the page girl's, and Kondou's endings, but he survives in the others.  This is because he is Okita Souji, and Souji's death of illness is inevitable in those three paths.  In the others, he survives... but I won't tell you why.  It makes sense but it is still a bit too much of a spoiler.  Both Hijikata and Kondou survive in their own endings, though Kondou dies in Hijikata's ending.  The page girl's ending is the 'true history' ending, whereas Hijikata's and Kondou's endings are close but different from history (basically, the Ezo Republic doesn't fall to the new government).  The cause of Souji's illness is also different between the two games... in the former, it is tuberculosis and in Last Cavalier it is because of the demon sword he is using.

Edit: I should note that Last Cavalier is more attractive mainly because it has some really interesting variations on history's flow based on who you save.  In particular, I recommend checking out Sakuma's path and Sakamoto's path, because those two dramatically alter history's flow.  Sakuma was a scientist in the truest sense, and a lot of history speculators think that if he hadn't died so early on, Japan's modernization would have been hurried by at least a decade.  Ryouma, on the other hand, was something of a genius at getting people to agree with one another, and his assassination is said to have been the death of all possibility of a peaceful solution to the problems between the Tokugawa supporters and anti-Shogunate powers.

Edited by Clephas
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9 hours ago, Clephas said:

I'll be honest, I am also not at peace with the way they didn't change most of the characters' historical fates, especially since some of those fates are truly nasty/tragic.  The excessive historical detail of the events after Ikeda-ya and the Kinmon no Hen were more than a little bit of a headache, since it felt like they were trying to shove too many details into the story.  Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun handled things in a way that I found more interesting, though it was radically tilted toward the fantasy steampunk stuff.

proooobably gonna check Kikan Bakumatsu then. Thanks Clephas~

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Guest Trung-t-rung

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2 hours ago, Jade said:

proooobably gonna check Kikan Bakumatsu then. Thanks Clephas~

Do it, Last Cavalier is one hell of a great game if you can handle a boatload of historical infodumping and the main heroines stealing the spotlight from the protagonist near the end of their routes.

Still crossing finger for an FD where Soushi can survive and still end up with Kondo and Hijikata. Seriously, his fate is pretty tragic those 3 routes.

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