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Friday, January 15, 2016

Hakuoki SSL (Sweet School Life) Episode 1 TV Drama Translation

Don't judge...

Teepo is Teepo.
If anyone was wondering, I spent my holiday watching all the DVDs/Blue Ray movies I received and enjoying my my new stuff, including my new Tales of Xillia Teepo doll.  Don't judge.  

Aside from JRPG's I'm a big otome games enthusiast (even though technically my OL status really should exclude me from that genre).  They're just lovely and it's like reading a romantic visual novel/manga, but interactive.  After spending my Christmas gift card on the PS3 game Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi, I nearly busted a gut watching the unlocked bonus content.  It envisions (reincarnates?) the members of that ill-fated Shinsengumi group in happier, modern times, at Hakuo High School.  For fans of Hakuoki (anime seasons 1 and 2) we should all be aware that there is a TV drama in 2015 (6 episodes) and one PS Vita game, as well as a movie in 2016 (based on the drama) based simply on this bonus material from the Hakuoki game.  This fandom is going strong...
I have to hand it to the them.  Leave it to the Japanese to glorify a bunch of blood-soaked samurai who died for their outdated ideals.  Still, they really know how to cater to fangirls. But unfortunately, not all fangirls speak Japanese or are remotely fluent.  (Years of watching anime does not necessarily make you a language expert. ) Couldn't find any English translations anywhere.  What the heck?

Good thing has it subtitled in Chinese.  I think this series deserves a translation. (TN: And I need the practice so I am translating it as I watch anyway to make sure I understand what's happening)  As a fan of romance, samurai and everything the cherry blossom represents, that's not surprising for me.  Not sure how many fangirls/fanboys there are out there, and I'm not even sure how much these J-dramas even make, but they're so adorable.  These actors are also pretty easy on the eyes.  Enough said.

Hakuouki SSL TV series - Episode One (run time 25 min.)

Kyoto 1864

On a dark night in Kyoto after the rain, Edo Period 1864, (TN: 3 years before the fall of the Shogunate) members of the Shinengumi in their characteristic blue coats rush down the street.  Their leader, Hijikata Toshizo, captain commander of the Shinsengumi, draws them to a sudden halt in front of an inn.
"This is the place," he says.  "This is where that band of reckless villains is hiding."
"Let's hurry up and go in then, Hijikata-san," says Heisuke, their youngest captain who leads the 8th Division, "otherwise...!"
"Calm down, Heisuke!"
"But, Sir--!"  Heisuke pulls out a glass vial of red liquid from his kimono.  
"Hey now, man," cautions Okita Souji, 1st Division captain.
"You cannot use that elixir," orders Hijikata.
"But if I just use it, we could have the power of a demon on our side," Heisuke protests. (TN: the main theme of the Hakuoki game revolves around this elixir)
"Though, you won't become a true demon, and it will ultimately consume your life," offers Okita.
"And before dying you will completely lose sight of who you are," concludes Hijikata, "without any hope of restoring your human identity.  Can you accept that?"
Heisuke hesitates and puts the vial back in his kimono.  "Fine, I understand."

"I will lead the charge," offers Saito Hajime quietly, 4th Division captain.
Hijikata gives a brisk nod. "Understood."
"I'll go with him," volunteers Heisuke.
"Then I'm in your capable hands, Chief-sensei," says Okita casually towards Hijikata.
"I'll take the rear as I always do," says Harada Sanosuke, 10th Division captain.
"I'll leave it to you then, Harada," says Hijikata.
"So I will be with Hijikata-san then," smiles Okita playfully.
"Souji, don't be too hot-blooded," cautions the commander.
"I'm not the only hot-blooded one among us," he grins.  Heisuke and the others turn to sneer at him.

(TN: all the swear words from here onward are translated from the Chinese subtitles, so I'm not sure what the Japanese equivalent of those swear words would be...but I'm sure you'll get the gist.)The front door to the inn slides open quickly and Saito and Heisuke make short work of the two ronin guarding the entrance.  The other ronin are alerted to their presence and cry out, "You bastards!" and "Damn it!"
"These assholes!"

The commander steps forward and announces with swagger, "Hijikata Toshizo and the Shinsengumi have arrived!"  (TN: Swoons...)

The sword battle starts immediately with Saito and Heisuke leading.
"Take this opportunity," says Saito, holding an enemy back with his katana.
"And go!" shouts Heisuke as he pushes back his opponent.  Hijikata and Okita go around them.
"You bastards pay attention," says Harada, strutting into the doorway with his spear slung casually over a shoulder.
"You --!" says a ronin, charging towards him, only to be beaten by the business end of the staff.

Hijikata and Okita are confronted by a rogue samurai at the top of the stairs.
"Come at me, Shinsengumi!" he challenges.
"Out of the way!" Hijikata yells in response, ready to draw his sword, but Okita holds him back.
"Leave this to me," Souji says casually and calmly strolls up the stairs.  Before his foot touches the top his swords flies out with lightning speed at his opponent once his blade is in reach and the samurai dodges in surprise.  As Okita crosses swords with him, Hijikata continues to the room on the second level.

He slides open the door and sees an inert form in the corner, hands tied in back.
"Yukimura!" he calls out.  (TN: Yukimura Chizuru is the heroine of Hakuoki who is 'you' in the game)  He sets his katana aside and helps her up while un-gagging her.
"Are you alright?" he asks.  She gasps and gives an affirmative nod.

A shadow creeps against the adjacent door and Chizuru calls out, "Behind you!"
"You little shit!" calls out his attacker.  Hijikata reacts just fast enough to block the attack with his scabbard while on his knees.
"Hijikata-san!" Chizuru cries.
"So you really did come here to rescue this slip of a girl," his assailant chides.  Hijikata pushes him back and draws his blade to slash open the attacker's mid section.  The ronin makes a gurgling noise as he falls dead onto the tatami mats.

Chizuru stares at the commander, wide-eyed.

What if...

"Then," Hijikata says calmly offering his hand to help her up.  "Let us depart."

We lived in a different time from this one....

Chizuru gives a nod and takes his hand.

Would our fate be any different?

Present day 2015

Beneath the clear blue morning sky, amid the sounds of birds, children and traffic, a high school girl, with a uniform in a familiar shade of blue, hurries down the steps of her neighborhood.

Hijikata's voice over: The private Hakuo Academy.   From a tiny little dojo, it evolved into this school; yet it is still a newly built, modern academy.

Principal Kondo quietly gazes at the school's motto, in framed calligraphy hanging on the wall of the teacher's lounge.  [It reads: Become a proud warrior]  (TN: and the Shinsengumi died for that ideal, pretty much to the last man.... -_-;)

This is the motto of our school.

Students line up and practice kendo warm ups in the dojo, counting their swings and steps in unison.  Heisuke and Souji are among them.

Those warriors of the past learned the way of the sword, and valued courtesy and faith wholeheartedly, through physical and mental exercise.  Together with their comrades, they learned and refined themselves.

Saito and Nagumo Kaoru (TN: in the game, Kaoru is Chizuru's estranged, evil older twin brother with a sister complex) act as disciplinary committee members at the front gate.
"Hey you!  Adjust your necktie!" shouts Kaoru as he detains a student to fix his appearance.  "Tie it correctly," he mumbles.  "And button your shirt properly."
"Demerit, one point," checks Saito off his clipboard.
Kaoru still fusses over the student. "Seriously, button it correctly."  

Chizuru makes it to the front gate, making a full bow in greeting to Saito before dashing into the school.
"Hey! No running!" calls out Kaoru.  "Geez, if you're gonna do that I'm going to lose face as your older brother!"  She stops and freezes at his voice, but bows in greeting to Kaoru.  She pretends to walk before she dashes off again.  Saito just watches her leave with an amused expression with no intention of penalizing her.
"Hey! Didn't I just tell you not to run?!" Kaoru says in exasperation.

Kazama, Amagiri, and Shiranui (TN: the baddie demon gang in the game) saunter down the hall in their pristine, custom school uniforms.

Our goal is to transfer the ancient Japanese samurai's ideals to these modern day high school youth...

Kazama watches Chizuru rush into the school compound from a lofty balcony from above. (TN: he was a total stalker in the game too) that they become pioneering leaders in society.

Chizuru heads past the dojo.

Though originally an all boys academy, this is the first year that female students have been granted admittance, and it has become a co-ed school.

She waves enthusiastically to both Heisuke and Souji before dashing inside the building.  Chizuru races up a long flight of stairs with gusto, right past Hijikata.

But since this school was an all boys school just last year, the female student applicants were very few.

She steps into Class 1-1.

Finally, one female student was granted admittance; one Yukimura Chizuru.  Her alone.

"Good morning!" her male classmates shout out enthusiastically.
"Good morning!" Chizuru grins.

Right behind her, their homeroom teacher Harada Sannosuke, enters.  "All righty! Everyone take your seats!"

This is the tale of  Hakuo Academy's sole female student, and that of the students watching her, as well as our band of teachers....

Chizuru opens her day planner and see's the 8th and 9th of the month marked for the routine test.  She blinks wordlessly.

"It's test time!" her classmate laments.  "You confident?"
"Nope," another answers. "But I don't want to be punished."

Chizuru sighs in defeat.  "Might as well do practice questions today."

"Yo, I'm leaving first," says her classmate Ibuki Ryonosuke, patting her shoulder. (TN: Ryonosuke makes an appearance in the game Hakuoki Reimeiroku.  He is the son of a samurai who harbors a deep hatred for them)

"Are you just leaving like that?" she asks.
"Is that okay? We have a test tomorrow.  Have you already prepared?"

He looks at her and pretends to double over as his stomach growls.

"Are you...hungry...?"
"I'm poor.  I can't waste my energy on learning."  He turns and walks right into his homeroom teacher.
"H-Hey, Harada-sensei."
"Ryonosuke.  Are you gonna repeat what you did on the last test?  Even if I were the head teacher I wouldn't be able to save you."
"I know that!"
"Otherwise you should wait for your just punishment.  Do you understand?" he looms threateningly over him and points his clipboard at his throat.
"Yes, I understand!" Ryonosuke says, bending backward as Harada inches closer, and then finally squirming away and escaping.
"Be careful on your way home!" Harada calls out affectionately after him.  He turns to Chizuru.

"How's the studying coming along, Yukimura?"
"L-Let's just say I'm giving it my best!" she stands up nervously and smiles.
"Last time it was really scary.  This time there's at least a make-up exam."
"It won't come to that.... I'm going to the library again today to study."
"Our school's punishment is quite harsh.  But if it's you, it won't be a problem."
"Thank you, sir!" she beams.

When Chizuru heads down from her class she notices her friend Heisuke, passed out on the step and rushes to him.
"Heisuke-kun?!  Are you alright??"  He groans.
"Are you ok??" she shakes him.
"Chizuru? Oh man...What the heck am I doing on the stairs?"
"I think it's better if you just went home," she suggests.
"If I go home, all I'll want to do is sleep.  Maybe I should just return to the classroom and study there."  He starts to stumble away but she holds on to him.
"Heisuke-kun! I really think you should take a nap."
"But if I sleep now," he yawns, "I'm not going to wake up until tomorrow.  I am absolutely not going to be punished."  He falls over, taking Chizuru with him. (TN: in Hakuoki, Hijikata's punishments were severe, sometimes commanding seppuku for gross offenses of conduct against the Shinsengumi code.)

She manages to take him to the infirmary, where Sannan (TN: the evil scientist member of the Shinsengumi in the game who was always hawking the elixir on people) the school nurse, is at his desk.
"Hey, Yukimura-kun and Toudou-kun.  What's going on?"
"Sannan-sensei, can he borrow one of the beds for a bit?" she asks.
"Of course," he responds.
Chizuru guides her friend to a bed.  "This way, this way."
"I don't want to be punished," Heisuke mumbles.

"You seem really tired," comments Sannan.
"I studied so hard I'm gonna die."
"So that's it.  Then please just take this."  Sannan takes a glass vial of red liquid.  (TN: Dun dun duuunnnn....)  "It will make you feel much better."

Chizuru eyes the vial suspiciously.  Heisuke freaks out at the sight and dives under the covers.  "I don't need that!"
"Is that right?  This is very effective though," says Sannan.
" that?" asks Chizuru.
"It's a secret."

Chizuru gives him a "wut?" expression.
"I have to take care of something.  Please be at ease," he says, before exiting.

"Is he gone?" asks Heisuke peeking out from under the blankets.
"Aaah, he scared me so much I can't get to sleep now."
"If you're really tired you shouldn't push yourself and just get some shut eye."
"'re right."  He looks at her nervously.  "You know..."
"Can I ask a favor of you, Chizuru?"  He whispers into her ear and she looks at him in shock.

Next thing we know he has his head in her lap.
"Wake me up in an hour.  Then I'll go home and study."
"Okay then."
"When I was young I also used to use your leg as a pillow.  I feel really nostalgic right now."
"That's right," she smiles.
"Are you having fun at this school?"  Flashback to Heisuke bringing her an application from his house next door and dropping it on her desk amid other school applications.  "This is the school I attend so obviously it's top notch.  Let's attend together, Chizuru."
She nods.  "Of course.  Thanks to you giving me an application to enroll in this school I've been having fun every day.  Thank you for always thinking of me, Heisuke-kun."  Heisuke is fast asleep.  "In the future, please continue to look after me."

Cut scene: inside the student council room, the walls are covered with framed pictures of Chizuru and Kazama gazes at them fondly.

"I've been encountering that young lady for half a year now. Yukimura Chizuru.... I really want to marry you soon and make you my wife.  (TN: creep factor strong with this one...)  Even though she's fallen madly in love with me she hasn't showed me any favor.  With your naturally cute demeanor, you are the only woman who has ever given me this kind of feeling.  I still remember our meeting a few weeks back.  Even now my heart can't stop pounding.  That really was a wonderful moment."

"Kazama," sighs Shiranui Kyo (TN: his henchman).  "Didn't you just sit in the cafeteria and eat in front of her?"

Flashback:  Chizuru sitting alone and happily eating her bento box.  Amagiri comes forward and lays out an elaborate place setting, chinaware and a seasoned steak.  Kazama sits down and asks, "Have you been well?"
"Y-Yes..., I have," Chizuru responds.  End flashback.

"And the moment our eyes met," continues Kazama, "her body curled like a small animal with a shyness that was really her true nature."
"That wasn't shyness," remarked Amagiri stoically.  "She was actually terrified."

Flashback: Kazama having a one-sided conversation with Chizuru. (-_-);
"I'm a man worth my weight in gold," says Kazama calmly.  "Yukimura Chizuru.  No matter what happens, I, Kazama Chikage, will protect you."  Chizuru blinks at him and smiles nervously. End flashback.

"Amagiri, Shranui," goads Kazama, "You guys just don't understand a young girl's heart.  Right now, presumably that young lady's heart is filled with deep feelings for me.  AHAHAHAHAHAHA...!"

TN: Okaaaay....  Moving on....

Meanwhile Chizuru is in the library clutching her head.  "This is so difficult!" she cries out in frustration.  On the table is her textbook on classical Japanese prose.  All the students in the library turn to glare and shush her and she jumps back in her seat in surprise.  "I'm sorry," she whispers.

Chizuru makes it up to the second level and looks for a study guide by an author named Inoue.  (TN: Genzaburo Inoue is a NPC mentor type samurai from the game and befriends the protagonist in almost every storyline, treating her like the daughter he never had, and gives her helpful advice.)
"That's funny.  I could have sworn it was right here," she puzzles.  She notices that the entire shelf is empty with a sign posted. [Consolidation]

She spots the book she needs at the top of a pile on the top of a shelf but cannot reach it, even with the impossibly low foot stool.... -_-;

Suddenly someone reaches up and grabs it for her.
"You want this one?"
Chizuru turns in shock to see her savior, the classics teacher, Hijikata Toshizo. (TN: Swoon)
"You remembered this was the reference book I recommended."
She just stares at him starry eyed as he continues, "This author's book is the best, especially for taking exams.  But since I was the one who thoughtfully recommended it, no one's even looked at it."

At that moment Chizuru has a real shoujo manga moment and loses her balance from atop the footstool.
"Look out!" Apparently the god-like speed that served him in the 1800's hasn't left him and he catches her in his arms.  (TN: nosebleed...)

And, in a typical shoujo manga reaction, Chizuru screams and pushes him away with superhuman strength until he hits the opposite shelf because she's so embarrassed.  Down below the students shush her again and she peers over the railing and bows several times in apology.
"I'm so sorry!  Sorry!"

"Ugh, what the hell?" Hijikata asks in irritation from the floor.  She turns in shock at what she's done.
"Are you alright?" she asks frantically.  "Are you OK?  I'm really sorry."  Hijikata gets up in frustration, but seems to forgive her.  He hands her the book.
"This is for you."
"Thank you very much."
"Your test will go well," he says in an effort to be kind.
"Ah, yes!  In order to avoid punishment I will do my best."
"Yukimura, I made it clear that even if you are the school's sole female student, I will not give you special treatment."
"I'll be fine," she responds cheerfully.  "If you made the test easy on me because I was a girl, it wouldn't be fair to my classmates."
"When I first enacted the penalty system I didn't have female students in mind.  It will be quite severe."  Hijikata spares her a sympathetic look.  "In short, give it your all."
"Yes!" she replies cheerfully.
"Be sure to go home before it gets dark," he instructs.  Chizuru looks surprised that he's actually kind.

After hours in the teacher's lounge, Hijikata is still hard at work.  (TN: he was a workaholic in the game as well who kept the Shinsengumi glued together)  He types and shuffles a small stack of paper.  "Just these documents left."
Principal Kondo puts a coffee mug beside him.  "Working hard, I see."
"Kondo-san," says Hijikata in surprise.  "Sorry for the trouble."
"Being passionate about your work is a good thing," comments Kondo, "but you must also give yourself time to rest."
"The tests are tomorrow.  When would I have time to rest?" he retorts.
"Recently you've even been coming in on the weekends," Kondo sighs.
"I don't need your concern," Hijikata says testily.
"I don't care how you put it, but don't push yourself.  If the Dean collapsed I'd be at a loss at what to do."
Hijikata lets out a little sarcastic laugh.  "Sure."

As he walks away, Kondo asks, "How is Yukimura-kun doing?"
"What do you mean, 'how'?"
"Do you regret admitting her into the school?  She is after all the only girl.  It must be very troublesome to deal with all of that."

Suddenly a voice wails from the hall.  "OH MAH GAWD! IT'S A DISASTER!"  Nagakura Shinpachi rushes into the room and sits at his desk, curling a horse racing betting sheet in his hands.
"I don't think I can live past this month!"  (TN: He's wearing a tracksuit...but he was the 2nd Division captain in the game.  In RL he and Saito were two of the only original Shinsengumi members who lived through the chaos to a ripe old age, and coincidentally died on the same day) 

"What do you mean you won't be able to live past this month, Nagakura-sensei?" asks Kondo, looming over him.  Shinpachi crumples the paper and looks up nervously.
"Kondo-san," he says haltingly.  "Well...the thing is...that...."
"You were gambling again," admonishes Hijikata.  "There is a rule on campus that prohibits gambling on school grounds."    Nagakura immediately hides the papers behind his back.
"It seems it's been awhile since I've given you any 'guidance,'" says Kondo menacingly.  He cracks his knuckles.

Nagakura shoots up from his seats and backs away from both of them.  "Oh this? There's no need to take out the (lining?) or the bamboo shinai. Right?"  He gets up nervously with a text book.  "Well then, I'd better prepare tomorrow's lesson," he stammers before running away.  Kondo happily follows after him while Hijikata gets up and takes a breather by the window.  He notices Chizuru leaving school grounds and takes his things to hurry after her.

"Imperfective form...imperfective...." she reads and walks at the same time.  "Ru, waru, su, samu, simu...  Wow this book is pretty useful.  It simplifies everything in a way I can understand."  She looks up at the starry night, "Inoue-san, you're so awesome!"
"What did I say about going home before it gets dark?" Hijikata says sternly beside her.  She jumps at his presence.
"Hijikata sensei!"

"Isn't your house just across the way?"
"I'll escort you there," he says conclusively.
"Eh?" she asks in wide-eyed confusion.
"Let's go," he says, without waiting for her to respond and walks off.
"O-Okay!" she hurries after him.

As they walk back, Hijikata strikes up conversation.
"When does your father plan on returning?"  (TN: in the game, Chizuru's father is a doctor who disappears in Kyoto, and this causes her to travel on foot from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto in search of him)
"In about half a year," she responds.  "He traveled to an island where they have no doctors.  His patients there trust him very much."
"That sounds difficult," he offers.
"It is," she responds, probably referring to herself who has to be alone.

After some silence, she speaks again.
"Um...."  She hesitates.  "You were the one one who developed the punishment system for the monthly tests, weren't you, Hijikata-sensei?"
"Why are you asking this?"
"Well, the way you were speaking earlier it seemed like it was you."
"The penalties may be a little strict," he allows, "but I must be responsible for keeping your grades up.  So I will go to any lengths to accomplish this.  That is all."
"It seems this also gives you some hardship," she observes.

They stop in front of her house.  "That's why I will trust you, and study hard," she says cheerfully.
"Ah," he shifts uncomfortably.
"Just here is fine.  Thank you for walking me home."  She bows politely and he looks even more uncomfortable.
"Hurry up and go inside," he insists.
"OK!"  She bows again and goes inside.  From his window Heisuke observes them silently.

As she makes it inside, her cell phone rings.  It's her father.
"Hey, Dad!" she answers happily.  "Yes I just got home.  Heh, heh, don't worry so much!  It's not a problem at all.  I'm doing my very best!"

As Hijikata walks back he recalls Kondo's words.

"How's Yukimura-kun doing?  Do you regret admitting her into the school?"

"I don't regret granting her admission at all..." he says aloud into the night.  "It's just that..."  His walking slows to a stop as his hand reaches up towards his heart and the unfamiliar (familiar?) feeling there, before storming off again.

~End Episode~

Comments: My theory is that either Chizuru is having an odd dream and will wake up back in 1864, or, they have all reincarnated to be together again.  But since this is only 6 episodes, I don't know if the heroine will maintain the main plot with Hijikata, or if it's simply an expose of all the characters people have grown to love from the Hakuouki franchise.  Stay tuned!!! -KERO


  1. Hahaha, how did I know you were an otome game fan.... This was really interesting. I'm tempted watch it now even though I don't know anything about the game itself.

    1. ^_^; is that judgment I sense through my keyboard, Cindy?

    2. Nope. No judgement here... ^_-

  2. Is it weird that I see the Hijikata/Chizuru relationship as Poem 50 of the Hyakunin Isshu ~especially towards at the end of the game?

    *by Fujiwara no Yoshitaka*

    [Kimi ga tame
    Oshi karazarishi
    Inochi sae

    Nagaku mo gana to
    Omoi keru kana ]

    For your precious sake,
    Once my eager life itself
    Was not dear to me.

    But now it is my heart's desire
    It may long, long years endure.

    1. Cross-over!!!
      You know I never though of it, but yeah, good description. The romanticism behind the samurai in Hakuoki deeply resembles the romanticism in Chihayafuru of ancient waka poetry. They have similar themes of truth, beauty, life, death, honor and living according to nature.

      As a side note, I was surprised to know that Hijikata Toshizo had written haiku poetry, and he studied classical literature despite being the son of a farmer. But warriors and poetry really go hand in hand in Japanese culture. Even Fujiwara no Yoshitaka was a mid-level Captain of the Right Guard in the Imperial palace. (circ. 970's) Sadly he died of smallpox, age 20.

      Let's face it, as much as modern people like to romanticize about the past, we would never have survived there (lot's o' violence, no vaccines, no flushing toilets...)

    2. Crossover fiction: Chihaya dreams of members of the Shinsengumi drinking sake and reciting poems from the Hyakunin Isshu....

  3. Hello dear Kero...I'm one of the fangirl (squeal)..thank u for subbing these drama..though I only recently found out about this..(a recent fangirl also..haha)..trying to find the link to the movie tough..haha..anyway,thank you again :)