Failure to differentiate.
Admittedly, I haven’t watched a lot of the new shows this season yet, although I beg chaotic schedule as my defense for having not. I have watched the first episodes of Angel Beats and Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan, though. But I’m not going to comment on either of them, really, until I’ve seen another episode or two of both… or, at the very least, before I’ve watched the first episodes of Working!!, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Senkou no Night Right, Boku wa Uragiri blah blah blah, etc.
In other words, I’ve got a lot of viewing time to put in.
However, I am going to comment on something tangential to Hakuouki – specifically, the fact that I have such a difficult time ignoring historical fact whenever I watch or read anything involving the Shinsengumi.
As an aside, I find it interesting that we are seeing a Shinsengumi piece in a season flooded with Three Kingdoms adaptations.
Anyway, when I was watching Hakuouki, I kept feeling this strange sort of pang as characters were introduced. And I recognized it – its the same feeling I got when watching Peacemaker Kurogane, and when reading its manga equivalent. Its the same feeling I got when I read Kaze Hikaru. And its actually the same feeling I get when I read the memoir of Myrlie Evers-Williams leading up to the murder of her husband, the Civil Rights’ worker Medgar Evers. Its an overwhelming sense of impending doom.
Quite simply, I cannot remove myself from the knowledge of the historical realities of the various prominent members of the Shinsengumi. I know that Okita dies of tuberculosis when he is still quite young. I know Yamanami commits seppuku. I know that Kondou is decapitated. And I know that history was ultimately not on their side.
I find it nearly impossible to forget all of this when I watch shows like Hakuouki. I realize that I am indulging in a work of fiction, and, as such, there is the possibility of outcomes that are favorable instead of accurate. But even knowing that, I can’t manage to ignore the reality of what happened to these men. Because they were real people before they were fictionalized.
Of course, it remains to be seen how much Hakuouki adheres to historical reality. Peacemaker Kurogane was a show that didn’t really indulge fiction too heavily, ultimately (fact: Ichimura Tetsunosuke was a real person, as was his elder brother) – Okita is depicted coughing up blood, and Yamanami is forced to commit seppuku in it. Kaze Hikaru has been for the most part more concerned with romance (both of the falling-in-love kind and of the more classical kind). Based on its roots, Hakuouki looks to deliver quite a bit of romance and blood.
But its hard to truly enjoy these shows/manga. Because I know that almost all of the characters are doomed.