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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) Episode 5

I can't believe it's only 6 episodes!  One showcase for each romantic route I guess.  Aw man, I'm going to miss all this eye candy running around in kimono and hakama and modern wear.  How cute would this be as a 20 episode slice of life drama??  Then if it follows the path of the SSL game (Hijikata route) we could have Chizuru becoming a teacher at Hakuo Academy in the end!  Oh wells....

But at last we have a movie coming out....

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) Episode 5, [For the Sake of A Comrade] Runtime: 25 minutes

Kyoto, 1864

We left off in this timeline at the point where Chizuru gets stabbed.  (TN: Yikes!)  She gasps in pain as the members of the Shinsengumi are at a standstill.  Hijikata watches in horror.

What if we lived in a different time from this one... would our fate be different?

(TN: could have totally done without the ENTIRE recap this time around, but meh...I'm sure they wanted to parallel the past with the present and rub it into the audience's eyes for good measure in a not so subtle way....)

This time the scene of them approaching the inn is in black and white.

"This is the place," says Hijikata as he stops the other Shinsengumi members in the wet street.  "This is where they're hiding."
"We have to hurry inside, Hijikata-san," says Heisuke.
"Keep calm, Heisuke," he warns.
"But--"  He pulls out the glass vial of red liquid.
"Hey now," warns Harada.
"You cannot use that," orders Hijikata.
"But if I do, we can have the power of a demon on our side."
"Yet you won't be a real demon," warns Okita.  "And the exchange is your life force."
"Even as it drains your life force it will drain your humanity until you can no longer be considered human," says Hijikata.  "Are you fine with that?"

Heisuke puts it back into his lape.  "Fine, I get it."

"I'll take the lead," says Saito quietly.
"Understood," responds Hijikata.
"I'll back up Hajime-kun," volunteers Heisuke.
"Counting on you, Heisuke," says Harada.  "I'll guard your backs, as usual."
"Thanks, Harada," nods Hijikata.
"Then I guess I'm with Hijikata-san," says Okita calmly.
"Soji," he warns.  "Don't be too hot-blooded in there."
"I'm not the only hot blooded one among us," he smirks.

They storm the entrance and the door guards are immediately taken down.
"Hijikata Toshizo and the Shinsengumi have arrived!" the commander announces.  The first two fly in and take down the door guards.
"Now's the time," says Saito crossing swords with a ronin.
"Go!" shouts Heisuke holding the front for Hijikata and Soji to head upstairs.
"You better be prepared...assholes!" says Harada, coming in with his spear slung over one shoulder.

"Damned Shinsengumi! Come at me!" shouts a ronin as Hijikata and Soji approach the stairs.
"Outta the way!" roars Hijikata.
"Let me handle this," says Souji calmly before walking slowly up the steps and lashing out at his opponent with lightning speed.

Hijikata makes it to where Chizuru is being held.
"Yukimura!" he calls out before running to her side and taking off her gag.
"Are you alright?" he asks.  She nods but shouts for him to look out when a shadow approaches on the other side of the room.
"Behind you!"
"Bastard!" shouts the ronin bearing down on Hijikata.
"Hijikata-san!" she shouts.
"You actually came all the way here to rescue this girl!" the ronin scoffs.  Hijikata cuts him down expertly and turns to her.

"Let us depart," he says calmly.  He kneels and offers his hand, which she takes.

Downstairs while fighting the horde, Heisuke asks, "Do you think Hijikata has rescued Chizuru?"
"I have faith in Hijikata-san," says Saito absolutely.
"Soji is also there," adds Harada, running someone through.  "Don't you worry."

Heisuke spots her on the stairs and calls up to her.  "Chizuru!  Chizuru come down!"  He takes down another ronin.  "Chizuru!  Hurry!"

She seems frozen on the spot.  Okita pushes back his opponent and kicks him down.  "Go on ahead," he smiles at her.  She nods and races down to Heisuke.  Another ronin comes at him.  This time both Okita and Hijikata are preoccupied with their own attackers.  Okita sees that Hijikata has been brought low and kicks the enemy down.
"Thanks," says Hijikata.
"No need.  Even though I hate you, if the commander fell here, Chief Kondo would be sad.  That would be unacceptable."  With a nod of mutual understanding they continue to fight.  Soji notices Chizuru scared and huddled in a corner behind Heisuke.

"Chizuru-chan.  Let me be the one to protect you," Okita says gently.  He dispatches his opponent and calls to Heisuke, "Take Chizuru-chan out of here first!"
"Got it!" says Heisuke, but he's being held back by a burly guy.  "Go!" he shouts to her over his shoulder.   She partially complies but is distracted.
"Look out!" shouts Harada.  This is where she gets stabbed.... (TN: Ugh...really?  I do lament that Chizuru is rather a useless heroine in the game as well....)

Aaaannnddd...we are back where we began.  OMG they wasted 5 minutes on recap??

Harada takes down her attacker and Chizuru falls to the ground, still gasping.  Saito is suddenly in front to guard her.
"Yukimura," he says calmly.  "Are you alright?"  (TN: aside from being stabbed?  Yes, she's peachy)
She gasps a response.  "I'm...f-fine..."  (TN: In the game, Chizuru is from a powerful demon lineage and has extreme healing capabilities.  Unless you stab her in the heart or slice off her head, she probably would survive....)  "I'm just feeling a little weak."

Saito holds back another attacker as Chizuru watches helplessly.
"I do not wish for you to die," he says calmly.  He dispatches his opponent swiftly and looks down at her.  They share a nod.
"Just hang in there a little longer," he says gently.  She gives him a weak smile.  He takes down another opponent.

Once I love a woman, I will not let her die.

Modern Day, 2015

OMG more recap....

Ibuki lies unconscious in an alley.  Kosuzu is with him, trying to get him back to his senses.
"Ibuki-kun!  Ibuki-kun!"  Ibuki opens his eyes.
"Are you alright?'
"I---" he says quietly and then curses.
"What's wrong, Ibuki?" asks Saito who happens by.

Harada and Sen are making their way back to the scene.  He calls Hijikata first.
"C'mon, pick up!" he mutters.
Hijikata is just walking out of the administrative office when his phone rings.
"What's up, Harada?" he asks
"Yukimura's gotten tangled up with a group of unsavory people.  You said it before, right, those kinds of bastards that can't be forgiven."  Hijikata hangs up and races out of the building.

"Are you Ok now?" asks Kosuzu, cleaning up Ryunosuke's face.
"Ryunosuke!" says Harada.
"Harada-sense!" says his student, bowing slightly.  "I'm so sorry."
"Where did those thugs take Yukimura?" demands Harada.
"Saito-senpai is chasing after them."

Meanwhile, said thugs are dragging Chizuru along the backways of town.
"It hurts!" she shouts but it falls on deaf ears.  "Let go!  Let go of me!!  I said LET GO!!"
"SHUT UP!" shouts the leader.  Chizuru freezes.  "If you're not quieter...heh, you get it, right?" her captor purs.  All his minions chuckle.

"Stop," says a voice behind them.  They turn and see Saito, having caught up with them.
"Saito-senpai!" Chizuru calls out.
"Let the girl go," he says calmly.
"Hah?" says a minion.  "What'd ya say, pretty boy?"
"Ya wanna fight?" asks another.
"Quit it," commands the leader.  He measures up Saito with a glance.  "You won't be able to beat him."
"Let me take care of this guy," says the leader.  "Until I return you guys are not to lay a finger on the girl.  UNDERSTAND?!"
"Yes!" they answer in unison.
"Let's go!" they shout and depart.
"Come on, girl!" says a thug as he pulls Chizuru along.
"Saito-senpai!" she shouts at the top of her lungs.

The gang leader and Saito get down to business in the tunnel.  The mohawk gets into position as a feint, and Saito quickly reacts in turn.
"Calm down," he leers at Saito.  "Let's make the first shot count."  (TN: one strike to determine the winner).

Saito unties his shinai from its cover and positions himself.  The match is quickly determined with Saito pointing the tip of his shinai at his opponent's throat.
"Where did they take the girl?" he asks with deadly calm.

"Saito!" shouts Harada, catching up with him.

Back at school, Okita is smiling at the picture of Chizuru he took on his phone.
"You were here," asks Heisuke, approaching.
"You haven't gone home yet?" asks Okita.
"I'm still exhausted from practice.  Hajime-kun was especially overpowering today.  Hajime-kun is really merciless."
"Huh, Heisuke, you somehow seem to be in a really good mood," comments Okita.
"It's a huge turnaround from earlier."
"When all's said and done, I am me.  I can't change that," he responds simply.
"I've decided!" he announces, standing up.  "If I like a person or hate a person, it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how that person sees me either.  After I set my mind on it, I can only firmly be myself."  Okita stands with him and grins.

Suddenly his phone rings.
"Huh.  It's Hajime-kun.  That's odd."  He picks up the call.

Meanwhile in the Student Council room, yet again....
"My bride," he says to the portrait on the wall.  "What are you thinking right now?  For you, what is it that I can do?"
"Kazama!"  Shiranui rushes into the room.
"What's wrong with you? Coming in so disheveled?"
"I just heard some news from Amagiri."

Cutscene to Saito and Harada who have located Chizuru at the gang hideout.
"Harada!" says Hijikata, catching up with them.  "And Saito, you as well."
"I just followed my instinct and found myself here."
"So is Ibuki alright?" asks Hijikata.
"Yeah," says Harada.  "I left him with Yukimura's friends."
"Where is Yukimura?" Hijikata asks.
"She's over there," answers Saito.  As they head towards their destination, a voice calls out.

"Hold up!" says Heisuke.  Both he and Okita have brought their shinai.
"You two as well," comments Hijikata.
"They too have followed their instincts," explains Saito.
"We made inquiries and it seems there are quite a few thugs inside," comments Harada.
"This is an emergency," states Saito.  "We must respond as quickly as possible.  Since there are so many of them inside we should have a set number of people for the job."
"So be it," says Hijikata.

"Hey," says Heisuke.  "Where's Shinpachi-san?  Wouldn't it be better if he were here?"
"I've already called him," says Harada.
"Ah, that's good," says Heisuke, relieved.
"And yet he's still not here," comments Hijikata in agitation.
"I think he went to watch the races," sighs Harada.  "So his phone was shut off."  Heisuke groans.

"We can't wait," says Saito.
"Ah," agrees Hijikata.  "Let's go!"
(TN: getting a little nostalgic for the Shinsengumi in the game, who, for the most part died off one at a time as you continued any particular route.  It's kind of touching to see them in action again in modern times)

They race into another alley in between warehouses.  He stops in front of the building, their formation exactly the same as the scene in 1864.

"This is the place," says Hijikata in a glance.  "This is where they've taken Yukimura."
"We should hurry inside, Hijikata-sense," says Heisuke urgently.  "Otherwise..."
"Calm down, Heisuke," Hijikata orders.
"But..."  Heisuke pulls a red vial from his pocket.  (TN: wtf was he carrying that for...?)
"You--" starts Harada.
"This is something Sannan-sensei gave me before we left.  Even though I've said I didn't want it before..." replies Heisuke.
"It looks like something that would shorten your life after drinking..." comments Okita.
"Even though I don't fully understand it, it does seem a little frightening, doesn't it?"
"When faced with a decision that could alter your lifespan, follow your instincts if it tells you it's a bad idea," warns Hijikata.
"Got it," answers Heisuke, pocketing the elixir once again.

"Hijikata-sensei," says Saito calmly.  "Let me lead the attack."
"Ah, as you wish," Hijikata allows.
"I'll go with Hajime-kun," volunteers Heisuke.
"Then as usual, let me cover the exit," says Harada.
"I'm counting on you, Harada," agrees Hijikata.

"Well then, that leaves me following Hijikata-san, then," smirks Soji.
"Don't be overly impulsive, Soji," Hijikata warns.
"But are you sure it's ok for you to go in like this, Hijikata-san?  I suppose there was a reason Saito made me bring this," Soji pulls a second shinai from his bundle.  Hijikata looks uncertain.

"This is not violence," suggest Saito. "Because we are doing this to protect Yukimura."  Harada and Hijikata are both given a weapon.
"What, you couldn't bring a staff?" mumbles Harada.
"Huh?" asks Heisuke.  "Why would you ask that?"
"Heh, funny I'm not sure.  It just felt like I should ask," says Harada.  (TN: his past life is calling to him....)
"But, it does feel a bit nostalgic, doesn't it?" says Heisuke, pulling out his shinai.  "To see Hijikata-sensei and Sano-san take up swords like this.  It really makes you think of the past."

"Let us hurry then," says Saito.
"That's right," says Heisuke.  "We can't continue dawdling like this."
"Let's go!" Hijikata orders.

The doors to the warehouse slide open and they rush in.
"What the he--" but before the thug can finish, Saito takes him out and Heisuke is not far behind.  The shinai make a distinctive "crack" sound as they whack their targets.
"The f**k!" shouts a gang member.

Hijikata and the others saunter inside.  Ah, the badassery. (TN: fangirl squeal)

"Who the hell are you?!" a guy demands.
"We're members of Shiei Hall!" Hijikata announces.  (TN: Shiei Hall was Kondo Isami's poor country dojo where most of the main members of the Shinsengumi met, befriended each other and trained before they became the "Wolves of Mibu" for the Shogun and then officially recognized as the Shinsengumi.)  Saito and Heisuke immediately attack.
"Now is the time," says Saito to the others.
"Go!" shouts Heisuke.

"You'd better be prepared, you bastards!" says Harada covering the exit with his shinai slung over one shoulder.
"What the hell is going on he--! says another thug coming up from the back but Heisuke smacks him over the head while Saito finishes him off.  Harada just pushes the falling thug aside.

The rest of the thugs pull out weapons and attack in earnest and it becomes an all out melee of fists against shinai.  Hijikata and Soji make their way towards the stairs when a thug in sunglasses at the top shouts, "Hold it right there!  I don't care if you're from Shiei Hall or whatever the hell hall.  If you got balls then come up and fight me!"
"Move!" shouts Hijikata but Soji stops him.  "Let me handle things here," he says calmly.  He makes his way up the steps calmly and then suddenly lunges at the big guy who blocks with a big wooden plank.
"What are ya gonna do, bastard!" the thug threatens.

Hijikata runs across the empty second floor and frantically shouts for Chizuru.
"Yukimura!  Hey!!"  He looks around and sees some wooden platforms leaning against the far wall.  He pulls them away and finds her tied up and gagged on the ground.
"Yukimura!" he calls out and helps her sit up.  He unties the gag.  "Are you alright?" he asks.  She gives him a nod.  Hijikata proceeds to help untie her rope when she cries out, "Behind you!"  Hijikata blocks an attack from a metal rod just barely.
"Hijikata-sensei!" she calls out.
"Stay there!" he shouts.

"Just for this woman you came here and made such a ruckus," he sneers.  Hijikata pulls out a piece of wood from the ground and whacks the guy's knee.  His assailant falls back and stumbles, giving Hijikata the opportunity to knock him down for the count.  He turns to Chizuru.
"Let's go."   Still scared, Chizuru firms her resolve and gives a nod, getting back onto her feet.  She takes the hand he offers and follows him out.

Downstairs, Heisuke and Saito are up on higher ground, still holding firm against multiple opponents.
"Do you think Hijikata has rescued Chizuru?" asks Heisuke.
"I have complete faith in Hijikata-sensei," Saito responds calmly.
"Soji's also there.  Relax," says Harada as he takes a thug into a chokehold.

Heisuke spots Chizuru at the top of the stairs and calls out to her.
"Chizuru!"  She hesitates as she stands behind Hijikata, who is taking on another thug up top.
"Chizuru!  This way!" Heisuke calls out again.  Okita dispatches his opponent and looks over to her.
"Go on," he smiles.  She gives a hesitant nod and hurries down.  Just as she makes it to him Heisuke is attacked again and she cowers behind him.

Okita takes out the large guy in sunglasses and notices Hijikata has been knocked into a crouch on the floor.  He is about to be struck by a thug but Soji quickly takes him out.

"Thanks," says Hijikata, catching his breath.
"No need," says Soji.  "I really hate you.  But Kondo relies on you the most.  So if that's the case, I can only approve."  He and Soji share a glance before confronting other thugs.  Soji notices Heisuke down below and Chizuru watching him anxiously.
"Heisuke, you're monopolizing Chizuru," he complains.
"Talking here won't do any good," grumbles Hijikata, locked in battle with his opponent. "Be careful not to get hit!"
"Please.  How on earth could I possibly get hit?" Soji asks nonchalantly.  He takes out his attacker in a series of blunt force trauma.
"Chizuru, I'll be the one to protect you," he smiles at the downed man. He calls out to Heisuke.  "Hey, hurry up and take Chizuru out of here."  He and Hijikata are again attacked.
"I got it," Heisuke responds, still struggling against his opponent.  Heisuke holds back his opponent and calls back towards her.  "Go!"

Chizuru makes her way to the door and pauses to look back, but someone rises from the ground and attacks her with a switchblade.
"Look out!" yells Harada from further away.  Heisuke turns to see it coming.  Chizuru is frozen in place and panics.  They all stop and watch it happen in slow motion.
"Yukimura!" Saito calls out to her.

Total cliffhanger.  Fade to credits.

~End Episode 5 ~

I actually like the end theme [Refrain] sung by Blu Billion.  

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