Kaze Hikaru

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Kaze Hikaru
KazeHikaru vol20.jpg
Cover of the twentieth Japanese volume of Kaze Hikaru, published by Shogakukan on June 26, 2006
風光る
GenreAction, Historical
Manga
Written byTaeko Watanabe
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
DemographicJosei
MagazineFlowers
English magazine
Original run1997 – ongoing
Volumes34
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Kaze Hikaru
KazeHikaru vol20.jpg
Cover of the twentieth Japanese volume of Kaze Hikaru, published by Shogakukan on June 26, 2006
風光る
GenreAction, Historical
Manga
Written byTaeko Watanabe
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
DemographicJosei
MagazineFlowers
English magazine
Original run1997 – ongoing
Volumes34
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Kaze Hikaru (Japanese: 風光る?, lit. "Shining Wind") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Taeko Watanabe. Set in the bakumatsu period, it follows Tominaga Sei who decides to pose as a boy named Kamiya Seizaburo so she can join the Mibu-Roshi (a group that will become the Shinsengumi) to train enough to avenge her father and older brother's murderer. Trained by Okita Sōji, she soon finds herself falling in love with him.

The series has been published in Japan by Shogakukan since 1997. In the North America, the manga is published by Viz Media, and ran in its Shojo Beat magazine from July 2005 to September 2006. The series received the Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōjo demographic in 2003. It has been well received by manga critics, which praised its historical background, art and characters, and by the readers, with 5 million copies sold and the series placing among the best-selling manga of the week several times.

Plot[edit]

Kaze Hikaru take places in the 1860s—in the Japanese historical period known as bakumatsu—, and revolves around a girl named Tominaga Sei who, after having her father and older brother murdered, enter in the Mibu-Roshi (later known as the Shinsengumi). She disguises herself as boy by shaving her hair, and join the gorup under the name of Kamiya Seizaburo (神谷清三郎 Kamiya Seizaburō?). Her primary goal is to seek avenge against the Chōshū clan, the responsible for her father and older brother's deaths. However, she became infatuated by her mentor, Okita Sōji.

Characters[edit]

Tominaga Sei (富永セイ?)

She poses as a boy named Kamiya Seizaburo and joins the Mibu-Roshi (later renamed Shinsengumi) in order to avenge the death of her father and older brother by the Chōshū clan. Her gender is discovered by Okita, who promises to keep it a secret, and she eventually develops feelings for him. While she intended on leaving the Shinsengumi after fulfilling her revenge, she soon decides to stay with the group once she realizes for herself what exactly it means to be a follower of the Bushidō code, in other words, having something to stand by and protect at all costs. She cites the main reason of staying with the Shinsengumi and remaining on the path of a samurai is that she would rather fight by Okita's side, rather than stay at home praying for his safety as most women did for their husbands who had to go off to battle. Sei's motivation to protect Okita proves to be a powerful force during the Ikedaya Affair, when she turns into a formidable warrior after Okita is downed in battle.

Okita Sōji (沖田総司?)

The genius swordsman and officer of the Shinsengumi. He has strong bonds with Kondō, who essentially raised Okita from the age of nine after Okita's mother and siblings could no longer afford to care for him, and Hijikata, whom he loves and respects like a brother. He is the first person to discover Sei's true gender and he is her main confidant on any matters relating to the fact. He had wanted her to go back to a normal girl's life after she had gotten her revenge due to the brutality of the life of a samurai. After the Ikedaya Affair, he admits he has come to care for Sei as if she were his own kin (like he does Hijikata). Over a year following those events that he realizes he is actually in love with her. When he was 17, a woman he had turned down attempted suicide in front of him, then Okita came to the conclusion that falling in love was not worth such pain, and consequently he kept his distance from women ever since. Another hindrance to any potential romance he may have is that he has dedicated his life to the path of the samurai, and has long since vowed to himself that he had never marry. The character is based on the historical figure of Okita Sōji.

Hijikata Toshizō (土方歳三?)

The Shinsengumi's vice-commander. He is known to many as cruel and strict taskmaster with a high standard of morals. Though that is simply facade because he simply had to learn to be the devil's advocate due to his best friend Kondō Isami's inability to put people in their place. Therefore, Hijikata plays the "bad guy" to maintain order. Hijikata's softer side is his love of poetry, evident in a book filled with his haiku. He is incredibly self-conscious about his haiku hobby, and initially tried to hide it from everyone. Despite what his harsh personality may lead others to believe, he is actually a bit shy, and cares deeply for the people around him. Hijikata often argues with Sei, and Okita has commented that Hijikata and Sei have similar personalities when they are angry, something that neither of them are willing to acknowledge. The character is based on the historical figure of Hijikata Toshizō.

Kondō Isami (近藤勇?)

The leader of all the Shinsengumi. He is a kind gentle man who cares about every single member of the Shinsengumi. He is a natural leader and really devoted to his cause. However, because of his kindheartedness, he is not particularly suited to discipline, which Hijitaka often does in his place. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his father and brothers. Kondō was adopted into another family at the age of 16. Kondō met Okita when Okita was sent to live with his household at the age of 9 when his family could no longer care for him. Kondō recognized and understood the young boy's discomfort and insecurity with living with a new family and welcomed him warmly. He served as Okita's mentor, older brother, and at times, even father, while Okita was growing up. Okita is grateful to him and extremely loyal to the point of vowing that he had commit seppuku should Kondō die. Kondō is fond of Sei and recognizes her as having great ability as a member of the Shinsengumi. The character is based on the historical figure of Kondō Isami.

Saitō Hajime (斎藤一?)

Saitō is level headed and mature with combat skills rival that of Okita. He sometimes serves as a spy or scout for gathering information for the Shinsengumi. Since he has an uncanny resemblance to Sei's deceased brother, she sometimes address him as "aniue" (a respectful term for older brother). Coincidentally, he also trained alongside and was a friend of her brother during their apprenticeship days. He quickly grows fond of Sei and becomes something of a silent protector to her; willing to listen to her worries or console her should something be upsetting her, and often keeps an eye out her in case she runs into trouble. Saito's personality comes off to others as laconic, bland and very serious, but he does have a dry sense of humor that tends to come out around Okita, and also a more hysterical side that later starts to make its presence show when regarding his relationship with Sei. Although he is unsure of whether or not Sei is actually a girl, he eventually realizes he is in love with her, something which greatly confuses him. The character is based on the historical figure of Saitō Hajime.

Release[edit]

Kaze Hikaru, written and illustrated by Taeko Watanabe, had it first chapter published in Flowers in 1997, and has been serialized since then. The first tankōbon (collected volume) was released by Shogakukan on October 25, 1997, and the latest volume, the 34th, was published on August 26, 2013.[1][2] The series started to be published on bunkoban format by Shogakukan on November 15, 2007, and it lasted twelve volumes, the last of which was published on September 15, 2011.[3][4]

Viz Media acquired the series rights and publicated the manga on its women-targeted magazine, Shojo Beat, from the first issue on July 2005 to the September 2006 issue.[5] Later, it was published under the tankōbon format; the first one, was released on January 3, 2006, and the latest, the 21st, was released on August 6, 2013.[6][7] A digital version of the manga was also available by Viz Media, starting from June 18, 2003.[6] On November 5, 2013, the 17th volume was released.[8]

In addition to the manga series, Shogakukan also published a guidebook and an artbook. Titled Kaze Hikaru: Kyōto (風光る京都?), the guidebook was released on December 12, 2001.[9] The artbook published under the title Kaze Hikaru Gashū: Hanagatari (風光る画集 花がたり?) was released on March 26, 2008 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the series.[10]

Reception[edit]

In 2003, it won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōjo manga title of the year.[11] Individual volumes of Kaze Hikaru have been ranked in listings of best-selling manga of the week in Japan;[12][13][14] the entire series has sold over 5 million copies in Japan after the release of the 29th volume on November 26, 2010.[15]

Writing for Manga Life, Ryan Lewis described it as "a unique title", praising its "engaging" story, plot and characters.[16] Comics Village's Lori Henderson described Kaze Hikaru as "an enjoyable read", and noted it is interesting since it shows the history and culture during the Shogunate.[17] It was elected one of the "Most Underrated" manga along with Maoh: Juvenile Remix and Saturn Apartments, and Eva Volin stated despite the fact of being necessary to know something about the topic, the readers will "fall in love" with the character "as they deal with the fall of the samurai way and the rise of modern warfare".[18] Pop Culture Shock's reviewer Katherine Dacey described it as "an action-filled drama in the vein of The Rose of Versailles or They Were Eleven", and she praised the political nature of the series since Watanabe discuss the gender constraints in Japan.[19] Reviewing the ninth volume, Isaac Hale also from Pop Culture Shock commended the series for keeping the same humor that it had on its start. Hale qualified the art as a "high point", describingin the character designs as "attractive and unique" but he criticized the main character's gender indecision.[20] Matthew Alexander from Mania.com appreciated the historical setting and the theme of "a woman in a man's world."[21]

One of the strengths of the manga according to Anime News Network's Rebecca Silverman is veracity to the real history. Silverman praised Kaze no Hikaru for having several details "but never overwhelming", as well as to go "just a bit beyond the norm".[22] Holly Ellingwood from Active Anime compared it to Rurouni Kenshin and Peacemaker Kurogane, and lauded the fact that the manga show to the reader the reality of that historical period.[23] "James Clavell meets Colleen McCullough" is how Leroy Douresseaux from Comic Book Bin described it. Douresseaux also have praised the "Oscar-worthy costume design" as well as the "beautiful art" and noted the "such expressive characters [...] have a hypnotic effect on the reader", saying it is impossible to not love them.[24][25] Sequential Tart called it a "fantastic read for any genre", praising its protagonist, romance, art and comedy.[26] Later, it compared Kaze Hikaru with a novel, and praised the fact that each character has an important role in the series.[27] By the volume 12, however, the series was criticized for being "soap opera-ish", and two volumes later for the fact that most men are looking like women, and for its unevenly distributed dialog balloons.[28][29] The story started to "be far richer in plot and appeal" by volume 15, and Wolfen Moondaughter said when reading the 18th volume she felt she was reading three tankōbon as it was "a lot packed".[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "風光る 1" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ "風光る 34" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ "風光る〔小学館文庫〕 / 1" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ "風光る〔小学館文庫〕 / 12" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Kaze Hikaru out of Shojo Beat". Anime News Network. September 24, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Kaze Hikaru, Volume 1". Viz Media. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kaze Hikaru, Volume 21". Viz Media. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 17 (Kindle Edition)". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ "風光る京都" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "風光る画集 花がたり" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  11. ^ "小学館漫画賞:歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, June 26–July 16". Anime News Network. July 18, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, May 25-31 (Updated)". Anime News Network. June 3, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, December 26-January 1". Anime News Network. January 5, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ "風光る 29" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ Lewis, Ryan. "Kaze Hikaru v7". Manga Life. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ Henderson, Lori. "Kaze Hikaru Volume 8". Comics Village. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ Aoki, Deb. "2011 Comic-Con Best and Worst Manga Panel". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ Dacey, Katherine (May 17, 2007). "On the Shojo Beat: Kaze Hikaru and Yurara: Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 5". Pop Culture Shock. Archived from the original on September 1, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ Hale, Isaac (May 31, 2008). "Manga Minis, May 2008: Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 9". Pop Culture Shock. Archived from the original on September 3, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  21. ^ Alexander, Matthew (April 22, 2006). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. #01". Mania.com. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ Silverman, Rebecca (November 10, 2012). "Kaze Hikaru GN 20". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  23. ^ Ellingwood, Holly (March 17, 2007). "Kaze Hikaru (Vol. 14)". ActiveAnime. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ Douresseaux, Leroy (May 8, 2011). "Kaze Hikaru: Volume 9". Comic Book Bin. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ Douresseaux, Leroy (August 11, 2012). "Kaze Hikaru: Volume 20 manga review". Comic Book Bin. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ McNeil, Sheena (March 1, 2006). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 1". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  27. ^ Maeda, Karen (September 1, 2008). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 9". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  28. ^ Martinson, Patti (February 2, 2009). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 12". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  29. ^ von Winckel, Holly (July 20, 2009). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 14". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  30. ^ Sammy, Marissa (November 9, 2009). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 15". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  31. ^ Moondaughter, Wolfen (July 26, 2010). "Kaze Hikaru Vol. 18". Sequential Tart. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]