Did Hijikata Die in “Hakuouki”?

Fans of the historical reverse harem anime series Hakuouki (薄桜鬼) have debated this question over and over again:  Did Hijikata Toshizou die?

hakuouki season 2

Why the question?  It’s because Season 2 Hakuouki: Hekketsuroku (薄桜鬼 〜碧血録〜) ended rather ambiguously with many fans torn about whether or not Hijikata died at the end.  Hijikata fans want him to live—myself included, of course—but others are less optimistic and say that he definitely died.  Unfortunately, even if I want Hijikata to live, I highly doubt it.  That’s why I think that. . .

YES, Hijikata died.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m already emotionally-attached to his character because. . .(looks around & whispers:  He looks like Sebastian Michaelis of Kuroshitsuji, doesn’t he?)

hijikata of hakuouki vs sebastian of kuroshitsuji

Ahem.  Please excuse me for posting the above image. I know that it doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but I just can’t help myself.  (sigh)

Anyway. . .I don’t want Hijikata to die either, but if you view the anime series in its entirety, you can’t deny that it has been building momentum towards this tragic end.  So here’s my theory and what I think are circumstantial evidence of his death.

1. Hakuouki is based on the real historical Shinsengumi, and Hijikata is based on the historical vice-commander of the group Hijikata Toshizou.
l know that it’s not the most accurate reference to the real historical Shinsengumi and its key figures, plus it added a fantasy element with the Oni and Rasetsu; but nevertheless it got many facts correctly.  So if this is any indication, we can assume that Hijikata died in the end because the real historical Hijikata Toshizou died, just like his real historical comrades whose counterparts in Hakuouki died also.

2.  The series maintain its tragic atmosphere for its entire duration.
I’ll be honest:  this is one of the most depressing series I have ever watched.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it.  On the contrary, I enjoyed immensely, thank you very much.  So many characters that I was emotionally-invested in died.  So many battles that I wanted won were lost.  All of these losses and deaths are a recipe for a tragic ending.  Watching the series feels like walking along a doomed road, so I think that it’s not surprising that Hijikata died in the end.

3.  Hijikata himself admitted that his body already reached its limit.
Hijikata took a big gamble when he drank the Ochimizu to combat the enemy Rasetsu and the Oni who kept on trying to kidnap Chizuru; thus becoming a Rasetsu himself.  As he uses his enhanced strength as a Rasetsu, he burns through his life force faster, shortening his lifespan.  In addition to this, he sustains many injuries during battles, especially during his final fight with Chikage, the strongest Oni.  Even with Chizuru’s blood, it’s obvious that Hijikata has used up most of his life force, so it’s only expected that he’ll die tragically.

hijikata as rasetsu - hakuouki

4.  At the ending, Hijikata’s image joins the image of his dead comrades.
This is the part where many fans disagree with each other and debate whether or not Hijikata really died.  Granted, we have no concrete evidence to show that he really died.  No corpse, no burial.  But we also have no concrete evidence that he lived.  No epilogue where he and Chizuru lived happily.  None.  Just this very ambiguous dream-like image sequence of Hijikata joining his comrades.

For me, it’s clear that Hijikata died, especially when I take all of these points I included in this theory into account.  I know that there are many fans who disagree with me, wanting to believe that Hijikata lives on. . .If that’s the case, great.  I’ll  be more than happy to admit that my theory is wrong but unless I’m proven otherwise, I remain steadfast in my belief that Hijikata died in Hakuouki.

How about you?  If you watched Hakuouki, do you think that Hijikata died in the end?

Hakuouki Official Anime Website (Japanese)

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43 thoughts on “Did Hijikata Die in “Hakuouki”?”

  1. Very late to the comment party here, but awesome article so I just wanted to give my two cents!
    I personally believe the end of the anime doesn’t conclusively say whether he lived or died, or even choose a camp.

    1) The anime is faithful to historical facts, including the death and survival of the Shinsengumi warriors. The only exception is when the characters who are supposed to have died become furies – at least in the case of Hannan and Heisuke. There are two things to be drawn from that.
    a) In the final Shinsengumi shot, at least two of them are alive and will be for many years (Saito and Nagakura both lived past 70, which also means that imo, Saito was captured rather than dying in battle, yay!) So for me it doesn’t at all represent individual death, rather the end of the Shinsengumi ideal: Hijikata took the bullet during the last battle of the war, so while he lies under the cherry tree, the Imperial Army is making his troups surrender to them.
    b) Historically Hijikata is supposed to have died from the gunshot on horseback. He is indeed wounded, but because he is a fury, he makes it (for a time anyway), thus repeating the pattern of “being a fury overrides the historical accuracy of time of death.”

    2) At the end of the episode, Hijikata’s apparition looks dreamlike. It’s problematic that he was shown lying in her lap, then standing up in the next sequence: she should have felt him move, shouldn’t she? So you are justified in believing she is hallucinating.
    However, his hand on her face feels very, very real, not at all like a hallucination, as does the surprise and relief in her eyes. Also, right before that sequence, there is a change of angle on her eyes, almost as if some time had passed between the vision of the Shinsengumi and Hijikata’s apparition. As if she had fallen asleep and was waken up by his hand, but has trouble believing her own eyes.
    Frankly, I think this particular vision is more confusing than interesting, because the clues are contradictory rather than ambiguous. Not showing Hijikata at all and just seeing his hand, then fade to white & his voice, would have made for better ambiguity. But that’s the ending we got, so moving on.

    3) As a fury, and unless pierced through the heart (which he wasn’t), Hijikata, when dying, should have turned to dust. All the spent-up furies do: Hannan, Heisuke, very probably Souji, as attested by the lone sword. It is very possible this happened afterwards, but the fact that it doesn’t happen on screen shows that Hijikata is not yet dead when she cradles him in her lap.

    So for me there are no decisive clues either way. Imo, there are two endings to this movie depending on your tastes and your mood. Both endings would be in keeping with historical verisimilitude and narrative consistency.

    1) Hijikata dying in the arms of the woman who stood by his side through all of it, and whom he learned to appreciate too late, after killing the last demon warrior truly like him and paying his personal debts, while the remains of the world he fought for are being implacably destroyed a few miles away.
    That would fit the tragic atmosphere, and is a solid dramatic and poetic ending.

    2) A wounded Hijikata and Chizuru crawling back to their forces, and learning on the way there are no forces left because they all surrendered. With Kondou’s example in mind, I very much doubt Hijikata would have risked capture, so they hole up somewhere under a false indentity, probably pretending to be husband and wife (which no one here minds, let’s not kid ourselves!) and end up living together for two years or eight (yep, not too long, he’s still ephemeral), before he dies of an advance case of furyness.
    That would be in keeping with the many, many hints made at “Hijikata needs to stretch out his life for as much as he can” and him mostly agreeing by the end: the last part of his character arc is, after all, about redemption and learning to live for something else than the war. It also provides a less dramatic but more pleasing, and (considering the rest of the plot :p) fairly realistic outcome, and is the one chosen by both the game and the movies.

    I personally believe both of these endings are equally valid, equally supported by the anime, and I tend to switch from one to the other when I think back on it, depending on how sappy I am feeling 🙂


  2. I feel a bit weird commenting 2 years after the fact but I just watched this series and loved it. Helluva better way to go out than a gunshot to the lower back really, and similarly with the other characters’ endings. I’m pretty sure a bunch of the shinsengumi guys in the final image didn’t actually die (by 1869) though, so it’s probably not an indicator of who’s dead and who’s not.
    Am tempted to play the game just to see the happier ending but… tens of hours of my life that I cannot spare right now :(.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah he might have lived in the anime but remember this is a true story anime so he had to die in the anime also chizaru is practically not real it’s the narrator that y only he had feelings for her and she wasn’t so close to them


    1. Yes, the endings are different. The anime was tragic but in the anime, Hijikata lives. It’s quite sweet, actually. Just treat these two differently. The other is tragedy while the other is a happy ending. Thanks for dropping by!


  4. I know that my theory is very juvenile, but I believe that Toshizo Hijikata is alive because I think that the whole point of this anime and life as well is that there is always hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As much as I would like to believe that as a fan, I just can’t because the entire atmosphere of the series starting from s1 has been dark and tragic. But hey, if they make a continuation of the anime and we find out Hijikata is alive, I’m all in. I’ll be cheering. Thank you very much for dropping by and sharing your theory? Keleste.


  5. I haved watch hakuouki and I think that I have to agree with you but even though he might of died or not I wished he spent more time with chizuru and lived happily ever after then died .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here. I also wish that I’m wrong and he’s alive and living happily with Chizuru. But the anime is just too tragic all throughout that it’s hard to be optimistic that he’s alive and well. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Cheers!


  6. I don’t think Hijikata died. Remember when Kodo (Chizuru’s Father) said to Sannan that even a human who drank the blood of a pure demon which is Chizuru will also become demon, when Kazama and Hijikata fight, Hijikata’s eyes are not red, it’s yellow. See the difference.


    1. Yes, I noticed that too, but I figured that perhaps it’s the difference of drinking Chizuru’s blood, as no explanations are given in the anime. If he’s alive and well, I would be more than happy to accept that. In fact, I would be delighted. However, events leading to an alive Hijikata would be sort of anti-climactic and will sort of become a deux ex machina ending where he turns up the be alive because he’s the main male protagonist. I would love for him to be alive, but watching the series just doesn’t promote that conclusion. But hey, if he is, excellent.


  7. Actually, I personally think the author didn’t really especified this so viewers can come to their own conclusions and decide if Hijikata died or lived. Thats why we don’t see an epilogue, so that the end is leaved to our own imagination instead of being break apart because of his death and letting us decide whether if Hijikata death makes or don’t makes sense to its conclusion. Well at least this is what I most likely think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, it’s not actually specified that Hijikata died that’s why I stated that my theory that he’s alive is based on the “circumstantial” evidence throughout the series. As a fan, I want to remain optimistic but this anime is just too dark and tragic. Anyway, thank you very much for dropping by and commenting. I appreciate it.


  8. Yeah he definitely died in the end.His image joined the vision Chizuru had. But damn, I got to say,I almost jumped up and his wiped her tears while she was looking up at the sky.I was like “OMG MAYBE…MAAAAYYYYBE it’s not as tragic after all! PLEASE! Don’t make it hard on me anymore!” and it showed him being dreamylike and I almost had a breakdown T_T. But I got most hit when Harada died,He was my favorite character.Hijikata was cool and awesome,but Harada is like everything I want in a guy.Nice,considerate,caring,loving.He was the nicest character in the entire anime.I really hoped he would live.More like,I didn’t even expect that he would kind of be the first one from the group to die. But I got to say,this is one of the most depressing and yet enjoyable anime I have ever watched.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? I want to believe that Hijikata lived on, but the clues are against this. I know, so many of the characters died. Harada is awesome too, but my favourite will always be Chikage. He’s the antagonist of the series, but I just like him. I don’t think one can hate him all the way. He’s just too charismatic. I actually prefer Chikage over Hijikata. But I agree that Harada is perhaps the nicest character in the anime. He’s a good boy. Indeed, this anime is so depressing that there are a lot of times that it’s so difficult to watch. But I think it’s worth it. The story is good, and the art is really awesome. Plus the guys are hot. Anyway, thanks a lot for dropping by and commenting. I appreciate it. Cheers!


  9. I just finished season 2 and my heart aches after all these deaths. Especially Hijikata death. I’m so connected to these characters that its gives me this pain that I cannot bare. It’s so strange as they are not real but to me it feels like they are

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? This anime is so depressing with all the deaths, but it’s still beautiful & enjoyable to watch. There’s a chibi version of this anime, more light-hearted if you’re interested in that. And Hijikata is well and alive there. Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it. Keep on watching anime. Cheers!


  10. In the original game, Hijikata doesn’t die. In fact, a year later, he and Chizuru have settled in Hakodate in Ezo, and they’re living incognito. In fact, Otori writes to him and tells him to “stay dead.” But I agree with you that for dramatic effect, they killed him off in the anime. Even in the game, Chizuru states in her final monologue that she doesn’t know how long they have together, but she hopes it’s a long time.

    They share a lovely scene where she says he’s always reminded her of cherry blossoms he likens her to the spring moon and invites her to stay and watch the blossoms until the moon rises because the moon and blossoms look good together. ❤ Chizuru muses that even when they two are gone, the cherry blossoms will still be there with the spring moon, and she hopes lovers in the future will still admire the two together.

    So in my mind, the game is the canon Hijikata ending and the anime is the dramatic “demon of the fleeting blossom” ending. I like them both.

    And then they both reincarnate into the Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) TV drama!! hahahahahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome. I don’t play otome games, although there are so many evil temptresses that urge me to join the dark side and play them. I also wish that Hijikata doesn’t die, but with how ambiguous the anime ended, I believe that Hijikata indeed died in the anime. I won’t take offense if I’m proven wrong, though. In fact, I’ll be delighted if I’m wrong. If they end up making another season that continues the anime’s storyline and Hijikata is alive, that would be awesome.


    1. Ahaha. It doesn’t sound right. I should find a situation where I can use that. . .”Team Died”. Nice one. Thanks!

      It’s so hard to control my passion for anime & manga. It’s a constant struggle. If I add otome games to the mix, I just know that I’d totally tip over to the “dark side”. Just like I said in a previous comment here: Gotta know our limit, play within it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I definitely think he died at the end for the same reasons as you mentioned. Actually, it’s the first time I hear that there have been debates over it since for me, at the time, was very obvious that he did die.(I was not really an active part of the anime community at the time and didn’t go back to research on it lol). Even if sad, I was generally happy that they decided to stay loyal to the original game ending too, despite Chizuru ending up with Hijitaka in the end. (In the game, conveniently enough, the man that Chizuru chooses to stay with survives every time.)

    However, if there are still some people that are sad about Hijitaka’s death in the anime series, Studio Deen has released 2 Hakuouki movies: Hakuouki Movie 1: Kyoto Ranbu and Hakuouki Movie 2: Shikon Soukyuu. They are NOT recaps, but complete remasters of the story. Kazama gets most of his route animated, we see more of sickly Okita Souji (as if that wasn’t enough in the series already lol), more bromance and in the end Kazama lives to name Hijitaka “the demon of the fleeting blossom”. Hijitaka also survives.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, there’s a quite the mixed opinions regarding the ending among people who watched the series. I understand the sentiments of those who want Hijikata to die, but I really think that he did just like you.

      So you played the game? How was it? Did you enjoy it?

      Oh my gosh. I didn’t know about THAT. Are they available right now? Those movies. So are they like original stories outside of the main series? Oh wow. Thanks for the info.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I played the game. It’s way better than the anime series, of course, in my opinion. The routes seem to be coherent between them, I affirmed my absolute love and devotion towards Okita Souji ( never cried that much at a game in my life; both bad and good end), the only thing that ticked me off was how Kazama would change personality based on what guy Chizuru chose to get together with: for some reason he dislikes Hijitaka and Saito to the bone (okay, because pride definitely), but he didn’t care about the other guys as much, in Heisuke’s route he is easily teasable too, while in his own route he puts all pride to a side and prefers to act as an observant like the movies decided to do. Overall, though, Hakouki is one of my favorite otome games!

        Yes, they’re available. The first movie came out in 2013 and the second one in 2014. They’re not THAT “original”; it’s the same story of the anime series, but portrayed from other points of views, with better animation, other scenes from the game were animated instead of those initially chosen for the series, some of them were animated slightly different (I can mention the moment when Kazama figures out Chizuru is a demon. In the movies he seems to be able to resonate with her more and bring out her demon self, while in the anime he never did) and only changed some details to make it all more consistent and coherent (especially the deaths coughs)(but whether you like the modifications or not it’s subjective). The anime series, OVAs and movies definitely didn’t manage to grasp the whole epicness that the otome game actually is and it’s understandable; they could never have unless they animated every route and divided the story into “world arcs” like Amnesia (even that was too short and cut down to manage to grasp the epicness that Amnesia game actually is XD).

        haha You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s so interesting. Now I’m itching to play that game, as well. But I must resist. My self-restraint can only hold so much. I just know that if I play the game, I’ll be addicted. In the anime, I actually like Kazama a lot. I wish he had a greater role than shown.

        I’ll hunt for the movies. Thanks again for sharing them. Now I’m very curious. I wonder if I’ll like them better than the regular anime. Can’t wait.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awww. I understand. Getting into too many things can be hard to deal with. Have fun! I also adore Kazama! 8D He definitely has a bigger role on Chizuru’s development in the movies! I hope you will enjoy them, so please do let me know about it when you watch them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. 100% agree. I think #3 especially does it for me as an in-universe justification. I can see why people might argue otherwise, taken point by point, but that’s not how it works. No cherry picking just for the sake of wishful thinking. It’s probably a stronger story for daring to go there.

    I’m curious, did you play the games at all, or just watch the anime? I didn’t see the second season so I don’t know what all ended up in the “canon”. But in Hijikata’s route in the game, Kazama actually gives him the name Hakuōki (“demon of the fleeting blossom”)—an obvious reference to wabisabi, which is largely about things being beautiful because they are imperfect or short-lived. You could read it as “that’s just Kazama’s interpretation of the situation”, but there are human writers behind this who have a story objective. They probably wouldn’t put in such deep consideration of aesthetic ideals, just to wipe away their work by attributing it to a character whose opinions ultimately don’t matter.


    1. You said it right, Kristin. No cherry picking just for the sake of wishful thinking. It would be awesome if they make another season of this anime and show that Hijikata lived on with Chizuru, but I highly doubt it. And you’re exactly right that Hijikata admitting that he’s already reached his limit is a strong evidence that he’ll die tragically in the end.

      No, I didn’t play the games. I just watched the anime. I don’t play much games, as I’m afraid that I’ll get too addicted to them. Gotta know our limits and play within it. Indeed, I heard about that too. Some of the bloggers here play a lot of otome games and they said that yes, it was Chikage who gave Hijikata the name “Hakuouki”. How about you? Have you played the games?


      1. I most certainly played it. More than I should have. (I could learn something from your . . . restraint.) I just didn’t know if that bit made it into the anime or not—it’s a great feeling in the game, this massive bittersweet relief in addition to the “aha” moment of where the title comes from.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahaha. I just copied the motto of the lotto agency here. 😉

        I vaguely remember that scene. I think it made the anime, but it was very short. I think. Not sure anymore.


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