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