For this entry, I decided to write my most favorite character in Hakuoki: Okita! I originally planned to write about him for the last, but I didn’t have the patience, so I decided to go with him now! I love him so much! Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms, and Tsukikage no Shou added more depth into his character!
Like before, there will be HEAVY SPOILERS! Read at your own risk, don’t say I haven’t warned you!
When Okita made his debut, my first impression of him was that he is an annoying character that I have difficulty liking, especially since he seemed eager to kill Chizuru. There were moments where I felt like strangling him for quick to spout death threats, show his lack of care, and tease when it’s completely inappropriate. However, as the story progressed, I found myself drawn to him the same way Chizuru did. And by the time Okita became a Fury, I already fell in love with him very very much.
Okita is a much more complex character than I initially thought. I thought he was just one of those cheerful battle maniacs with a heart of gold character, but I’m glad that he is more than that. Okita would never hesitate to cut down anyone he deemed as a threat to the Shinsengumi, even if it’s a woman. He is able to kill someone with a smile, giving people the impression that he enjoys the act. That is not the case. He is not the type who would kill for pleasure, he only kills those who are a threat to the Shinsengumi.
Okita had a rough childhood that made him the way he is now. When he was a child, his sister left him in care of Kondou and began living in Shiei Hall. From what Kondou said about Okita’s sister when he spoke to Chizuru, Okita’s sister loved him, but her situation didn’t allow her to keep caring for him. Unfortunately for Okita’s sister, he didn’t see it that way. He believed that he had been abandoned by his sister because he was useless, causing him to feel unwanted. As a result, he became quiet and withdrawn because he didn’t have any sense of self-worth. Seeing the flashback of small Okita made me want to hug him! (TT_TT)
Okita’s problem didn’t end with just that. Living in Shiei Hall at first was anything but easy. He was treated poorly by other older students of Kondou’s dojo like a servant. Those students used Okita as a punching bag under the pretext of training. When Kondou found out, he tried to help by telling the students to stop, but this only doubled the abuse as they thought Okita rattled on them. Okita knew that this would happen if he told Kondou, so he always kept this quiet from Kondou and was determined to settle this himself to prove that he doesn’t need them.
Okita then began to train hard and was finally able to defeat one of them during a practice match. I absolutely loved this part when Reimeiroku was adapted into anime. It’s very satisfying to see Okita knock out the older student who bullied him. Way to go, Okita! You did great! That older student deserved it! Proud of you my boy!
Still, even though ever since then Okita was never bullied again and soon became known as a prodigy, he had already built a wall inside his heart, detaching himself from most people with Kondou being the sole exception. His childhood was still anything but normal. He didn’t have any friends his age at that time. This might explain why a fully grown up Okita liked to play with children a lot. Even though Okita would no doubt deny this, he often played with children because he wanted to make up for all the memories he didn’t have when he was their age.
While he may have friends now in the Shinsengumi and gets along well with them, from what I see, Okita didn’t have a deep attachment to them as much as he did for Kondou. If there’s one person that Okita considers BFF, that would be Saito, based on Drama CDs and other extras, but I won’t write about it here.
Okita’s relationship with Kondou was one of the most important aspects that built his character and the charm of his route. To Okita, Kondou was like his whole world. He would do anything for Kondou’s sake and would follow anything he says without question. Unlike other people during their early days in Shiei Hall, Kondou genuinely cares for Okita and never once thought of him as pitiful, being the only person who supported him in Shiei Hall. Kondou gave Okita a new purpose in life. For the first time, he felt that he’s worthy of someone. Since then he dedicated himself for Kondou’s sake, striving to prove himself to Kondou and be used to him, even if it means dirtying his hands countless times.
As long as it’s for Kondou’s sake, Okita would be willing to throw away any moral compass out of the window, which led him to accept Kaoru’s provocation and drink Water of Life to become a Fury so he could fight again. Okita loved Kondou very much like a brother figure, so Okita was understandably shaken when he learned of his death.
While his loyalty for Kondou was admirable, this could be poisonous for Okita himself. Okita’s loyalty for Kondou also led him to believe himself to be nothing more than a weapon. He is worthless if he can’t live as a weapon for Kondou. For his whole life, Okita only knew his swordsmanship was the only thing that could help Kondou and killing was the only thing he’s good at. Without it, Okita deemed himself useless and has no worth living. When he was struck by tuberculosis, Okita’s insecurity grew to the point he became afraid that he’ll be abandoned by Kondou if he could do nothing for him. I have no doubt that this stems from the trauma he suffered when his sister left him. Even Kondou himself couldn’t completely understand this side of Okita, so he couldn’t do much for him. He continued to treat Okita like a child.
Chizuru’s arrival was the beginning of change for Okita’s whole life. At first, Okita only protected her out of a sense of duty as a Shinsengumi captain following Kondou’s order. He couldn’t care less if she dies. He preferred that she be killed immediately for the sake of keeping their secret. After teasing her for several times, Okita found her reactions amusing, and so he began to tease her on a regular basis like he did with Hijikata. He’s like a child finding a new toy to play with. Slowly but surely though, Okita started to care for Chizuru, at least as a comrade, once she proved herself trustworthy. This was evident after Chizuru questioned Kaoru about the incident at Sanjo Ohashi Bridge, when Okita told her not to hesitate in relying on them.
Things began to truly change between them after Chizuru found out about his tuberculosis. In Stories of Shinsengumi: Memories of Love, Okita revealed to Chizuru in his letter that he started developing feelings for her some time after she kept her promise not to tell anything about his tuberculosis. Okita actually doubted that Chizuru would keep her promise, but to his surprise, she kept a tight lip about it.
Okita and Chizuru’s romance is the best for me than all other routes, even to this day. The additional contents added in Edo Blossoms and further exploration of their intimate moments in Tsukikage no Shou made it even better than the original. Other than Kondou and Hijikata, Chizuru was another person who cared so much for Okita despite all of the mean things he said and did to her. Unlike the others, Chizuru was stubborn, patient, and persistent in taking care of Okita. Even though Okita tried to push her away, Chizuru refused and kept insisting on staying by his side. Whenever Okita seemingly lost himself to madness, Chizuru would be there to stop him, even if it meant being killed by his hand for trying.
Okita was understandably shocked that Chizuru was willing to go so far for his sake. For the first time, the wall in Okita’s heart started to crumble. Before long, Okita felt comfortable around her enough to show his vulnerable side, sharing his inner thoughts with her. Unlike most people, Chizuru knows what needs to be said to Okita to prevent him from falling into despair or madness.
The most defining moment was when Okita tried to seek revenge for Kondou after the latter was shot. Okita was so mad that he went on a killing spree for people presumed to be the culprit. Chizuru was there to stop him by telling him to do the right thing. Okita himself knew that what he did was wrong and the opposite of what Kondou would have wanted and yet he couldn’t stop himself from thinking of wanting revenge out of frustration that he couldn’t be there for Kondou. This was why bringing up Kondou at that moment would be equal to pouring salt into his wound. Chizuru knew that the only way to stop him was not by reminding him of what Kondou hates or denying his role as a weapon, but by accepting him. She disagreed with his claim that he is nothing more than a weapon, but she decided to accept him as such because denying that would only worsen how he views himself. By accepting Okita for who he chooses to be, Chizuru completely enters his heart.
Okita’s feelings for Chizuru grew when they moved to Osaka together. During their stay, Okita didn’t say it, but he knew that his days were numbered, either due to his tuberculosis or gunshot wounds. Even so, Chizuru’s devotion in taking care of him gave him comfort and it’s obvious that he wanted her to be by his side. Heck, he even asked her to stay with him until he falls asleep because he’s lonely (he even blushed when saying it, CUTE)! (^////^)
Before, Okita never cared if people hated him, so he never thought twice about cutting down his enemies. Even with Kondou, Okita was still willing to do whatever he thought would be the best for Kondou even if the person himself wouldn’t like it. As long as it’ll benefit Kondou, he’ll do anything. However, with Chizuru, once he realized his love for her, he couldn’t do that. He didn’t want her to hate him, so he at first hesitated to kill Kaoru in front of her since he’s Chizuru’s brother.
I like Chizuru in this route because she was bolder and more active in taking action. I don’t think any normal person would be brave enough to stand in Okita’s way while he’s in the middle of killing. Yes, it’s reckless, but I admired Chizuru’s action in this case. If she didn’t do anything and just waited for the other captains to arrive, Okita might as well already be at the point of no return.
Not only that, one change in Edo Blossoms made me like her more. When Okita fought Kazama for the second time, Chizuru only stepped in to shield Okita in the original game, but in Edo Blossoms, Chizuru actually turned into her demon-Fury form and BLOCKED Kazama’s attack with her kodachi (Okita and Kazama’s reactions were priceless)! It’s too bad that this part was not made into a CG! I would love to see Chizuru stopping Kazama’s attack to protect Okita in a form of CG instead of just a description from the text!
Speaking about Kazama, while I like the change in the way Chizuru protected Okita from Kazama, I don’t like that they omitted Chizuru explaining about Kaoru and how she became a Fury to Kazama and Amagiri. Had they kept that part, the reason Kazama and Amagiri spared Chizuru and Okita would’ve been more believable.
Chizuru never ran away from Okita even if she’s afraid of him. When Okita became sick, she never looked down on him. When people see someone sick and bedridden, it’s normal to feel sorry or pitying the said person. Chizuru didn’t do that. Like Kondou did when Okita first came to Shiei Hall, Chizuru never thought of Okita as pitiful. She took care of Okita not out of pity or feeling responsible because she’s a daughter of a doctor, but because she genuinely wished for Okita to be healthy again (and love). Chizuru has seen Okita at the moment of vulnerability, which also helped her see his softer side. By knowing his weak side, she realized what his problem was and was able to help him realize that he was worth more than he ever thought he were, and Kondou and everyone close to him would always need him regardless of his condition. She saw him as Souji Okita, not the swordsman of Shinsengumi, not a Fury, not a weapon, just Okita.
Other than her concern for Okita, I also like how Chizuru struggled regarding her relationship with Kaoru. She had forgotten about Kaoru for most of her life due to the trauma of her whole clan being massacred. When she learned about their blood relation, Chizuru was crushed to know that her twin brother hated her and blamed her for his suffering. All this time, she only knew her father, and yet her stay with the Shinsengumi taught him the other side of her father that she didn’t know. In short, her family was a mess.
Seeing how much Okita and Kondou were so close and cared for each other made Chizuru jealous. They don’t have any blood relation and yet they manage to form a strong bond like a real family. She, on the other hand, has an older brother who held a grudge against her. Okita gave Chizuru a way of thinking that eases her worry: Family is just a bunch of strangers that happen to be related to you by blood. They weren’t people that you chose. They just happened to be there when you were born.
Maybe it’s unusual, but Okita wasn’t exactly wrong. No one could choose the people they are related to by blood. When they were first born, they didn’t know each other, or strangers as Okita put it. Having the same blood doesn’t necessarily make you a family, considering there are plenty of people in this world who are related by blood yet hardly get along like a family should be. Family is not built solely by blood relation, but by how you form connections with people around you, the same way Okita and Kondou did. Thanks to this, Chizuru is no longer confused or hurt as much by the fact that her older brother hated her.
However, when Chizuru regained her memories when her clan was massacred, Chizuru found herself empathizing with her brother’s hatred for the humans and almost let the hatred buried in her heart overwhelm her. Again, Okita is there to make sure she won’t lose her way. Okita’s presence reminds Chizuru that hatred only begets more hatred. She was angry at the humans who killed her whole clan, but never came to the point of hating all humanity. She knew that there are good humans, something that she learned from her times with the Shinsengumi. It is precisely because she knew the pain, she doesn’t wish for other people to experience the same thing.
The turning point of their relationship is after Chizuru became a Fury. The change in Okita became glaringly obvious from this moment. He became kinder and more caring to Chizuru. Yet, he never treats her as a burden or a weakling. When they faced the Imperial Armies, Okita didn’t refuse Chizuru’s help (Chizuru actually killed someone here! Wow, didn’t expect that to really happen considering Otome game heroines in general). He would protect her from the burden of taking one’s life without refusing to let her fight. Okita treated her with the same respect she did to him. And before, Chizuru would have followed Okita’s advice and hid while Okita was fighting, but not this time, Chizuru decided to fight as well. This showed how much Okita and Chizuru have grown and leaned on each other. Okita trusted her enough to share his past with her, which helped Chizuru understand what made Okita the way he is and she came to trust him more.
Being a Fury, Chizuru was troubled by bouts of bloodlust. The difference is Chizuru has a strong pure demonic blood that can fight the effect of the Water of Life. This means that unlike Okita and other Furies, while there were times she wanted blood, she didn’t necessarily need it to survive. She would never forgive herself if she harms Okita, hence why she refused to drink his blood. Okita needs her blood to keep himself sane, while Chizuru is the opposite: she must never drink blood to keep herself sane. She focused on Okita’s kind words to calm her down.
During Chizuru’s bloodlust and her mind shaken by her forgotten childhood memories, Okita became her guidepost to lead Chizuru to the right path. After all those playful threats about killing Chizuru, this time, Okita telling her that he will kill her if she loses her way has no ill intention behind it. This promise of killing her was said to encourage her not to fall into darkness, to show that she’s still worth saving. Chizuru could feel Okita’s sincerity, and after so much internal struggle, she’s finally able to express her love to Okita.
Once they confessed their love for each other, the moments between them became even sweeter and touching. One of such moments is after they shared their first kiss. Just because he loved Chizuru, it doesn’t mean he stopped teasing her. lol
Not long after their first kiss, he actually asked for another kiss. And Chizuru, being a shy girl, was flustered by his request, reasoning that they just kissed earlier and it’s not an appropriate time. Okita’s response? Pretty much who cares about appropriate time. Just because they just kissed that means they can’t do it again? And so, whether Chizuru gave her consent or not, Okita made the first move and kissed her anyway. KYAAAAAAA (>//////<)
Okay, if you think I’m finished with this, you’re wrong. There are still more that I wish to cover from Okita’s route. Other than Okita and Chizuru, there are two more things that became plus points for this route: Kaoru and Hijikata.
Kaoru Nagumo is Chizuru’s older twin brother who hated his own sister for having a peaceful, happy life. At first, it seems to be a stupid jealousy, but it’s more complicated than that. Kaoru is a tragic antagonist. Out of all demons, it’s fitting for Kaoru to be chosen as Okita’s nemesis instead of Kazama whom Okita fought (and lost to) at Ikeda Inn. Why? Because both Kaoru and Okita are two sides of the same coin.
Like Okita, Kaoru had a rough childhood. He was adopted by the Nagumo Clan after his clan was massacred and separated from Chizuru. Kaoru suffered abuse under the upper heads of the Nagumo Clan simply due to the fact that he is a male who can’t give birth to more demon children for their clan. Losing his entire clan, being separated from his sister, and soon after being treated as worthless by his fellow demons, no one can blame Kaoru for becoming a broken mess. As a child who was left alone in a life of abuse for years, Kaoru lost sight of his self-worth while developing a jaded view about the world.
Stories of Shinsengumi DLC: Madness, that was told from his perspective, explored more about his mental condition (I know that this should cover the Shinkai game, but it’s necessary to mention the previous instalment to understand about Kaoru).
Before the Yukimura Clan was massacred, Kaoru loved Chizuru. Deep down, however, he always wondered why Chizuru was always being protected by everyone around them. When the village was attacked, even though Kaoru was glad Chizuru escaped, a part of him also questioned if his parents loved him the same way they loved her and wondered did they even try to save him or had he always come second after Chizuru. The abuse further warped this part of his thoughts to the point he doubted his parents ever loved him.
When he finally met Chizuru years later, he was angry to know that she didn’t even remember him let alone having a brother at all. This was like a slap to his face. Not only his one and only sister lived a happy life by herself, she even forgot about him. Rationally, he understood why Chizuru forgot about him, but it still didn’t assuage his anger. Kaoru’s jealousy then turned into resentment. When he was led to believe that Chizuru was having an unpleasant life under Shinsengumi’s confinement, instead of showing concern, he thought she deserved it with a reason that being used and thrown away is the fate of a woman from a valuable demonic bloodline. He took comfort from this because this means that he’s not the only one suffering. That is fair, his sister also experienced pain like he did since they’re twins.
At the same time, a part of him still loved Chizuru. Unfortunately, his love was twisted. He believed that only by making her suffer the same way he did would make her understand his pain and she’ll eventually love him back. By depriving her of everything else she loves, he would be the only one by her side to protect her like an older brother should.
That’s why he hated Okita. When Kaoru was still in his disguise, Okita himself was also suspicious of him and knew he couldn’t be trusted, so Okita misled Kaoru into thinking that Chizuru was being abused by the Shinsengumi. Upon knowing that Okita lied to him, Kaoru was beyond furious. Okita’s existence in Chizuru’s heart was the biggest obstacle to sway Chizuru to his side. He had expected that Okita would throw Chizuru away as soon as their relationship caused him trouble. Contrary to his expectation, instead of driving him away, Okita cared even more for Chizuru. The sight of Chizuru together with Okita sickened him. The fact that Okita stayed by her side served as another reminder for him of how Chizuru always has someone to protect her while he didn’t, and the worst part was Okita stole the only person he believed could ever love him.
Let me get this straight, I never liked Kaoru. His twisted obsession with Chizuru in all routes annoyed me to no end (I would be more than willing to stab him myself if possible). Objectively speaking, however, he is a compelling villain. I couldn’t accept his actions, but I understand that his hatred (except the one for Chizuru) was justified.
As I said before, Okita and Kaoru are two sides of the same coin. They were abused during their childhood and tried hard to survive as they refused to succumb to being subject to worthlessness. The difference was, Okita has Kondou, and later the Shinsengumi and Chizuru that saved him from falling into a dark path. Kaoru, on the other hand, has no one. He had no one to protect and no one wanted to protect him. He was all alone.
Chizuru’s rejection and her declaration of love for Okita was the last straw for Kaoru. His hatred was the only thing he had left. The abuse he suffered had led him to believe that only those who step on the good graces of others and manipulate who crosses their paths would have the last laugh. For Kaoru, the world is a cruel place where the weak always suffer. The saddest part was that Kaoru had long given up on having any salvation. What mattered to him was his revenge. Kaoru couldn’t let go of his hatred. He refused to. To him, forgetting about all the pain he went through means losing his fight and would make those who hurted him happy. Even at the end of his life, Kaoru still refused to let go. Just as Okita said, Kaoru was beyond saving.
Okita acknowledged that he used to live like Kaoru. He understood Kaoru’s pain more than anyone as he saw himself in him. Fighting Kaoru equals fighting against his old self. And that’s precisely why he also hated Kaoru as much. No matter how much Okita relates to Kaoru, he could never forgive him for hurting the people he loved, effectively making Kaoru the person Okita hated the most (his words, not mine).
Kaoru is the perfect foil for Okita than any other antagonists in the game and I wouldn’t ask anyone else to replace his role in Okita’s route. It has to be Kaoru and no one else.
Lastly but not the least, is Okita’s relationship with Hijikata. Okita liked to pull pranks or make sarcastic remarks on Hijikata. It’s a daily routine for Okita to give Hijikata headaches by stealing his Haiku collections, setting up a childish trap, etc (I enjoy these moments in Drama CDs). Most of the Shinsengumi members feared Hijikata as a Demon Commander, but Okita never feared him. Whenever he was scolded by Hijikata, Okita remained calm and in fact used that moment to add oil into fire. More or less, Okita accepts what other people say, but can’t agree with anything from Hijikata. For Okita, not talking back to Hijikata is like asking a fish not to swim. From what it seems, it’s normal to conclude that Okita hates Hijikata. It seemed to be more obvious whenever Okita blamed Hijikata in particular for Kondou’s missteps and misfortunes.
The truth is different from what it seems, however. Okita never hated Hijikata. Dislike maybe, but never hate. He was just jealous of him. Okita dedicated everything for Kondou’s sake and had been with him longer than Hijikata did, yet Hijikata became the person that Kondou trusted the most. Hijikata and Kondou shared a dream to become a samurai, allowing Hijikata to understand Kondou better. Following this, Hijikata was also the first to realize Kondou’s habits, which took Okita more time until he finally noticed. It frustrated Okita that he couldn’t understand and become close with Kondou the way Hijikata could, so he vented his frustration by making fun of Hijikata on a daily basis. It was like how someone treats an annoying, unwanted relative.
Yet, for all his remarks, Okita couldn’t bring himself to hate Hijikata. As much as it pains him to admit it, Okita knew that Hijikata was the one who worked the hardest to help Kondou achieve his dream of becoming a true samurai. When Kondou was captured and eventually executed, Okita accused Hijikata of abandoning Kondou for his own self-interest. In reality, this was all just talk. Okita never really meant what he said and was just throwing a tantrum. Okita couldn’t forgive Hijikata for leaving Kondou regardless of the reason, still Okita understood that there’s no way Hijikata would ever misinterpreted Kondou’s intention because Hijikata was the one who cared for Kondou the most and the one most feeling guilty for letting him die, more than Okita did. This is something that Okita could never admit in front of Hijikata though.
Hijikata was still an important part of Okita’s life. Though not on the same level as Kondou, Okita respected him.
Hijikata, for his part, cared for Okita. Out of all Shinsengumi members, Hijikata perhaps understood Okita the best. He knew how Okita viewed him and nevertheless accepted it no matter how much headaches he had to endure from all of Okita’s pranks and sarcasm. Whenever Okita blamed him for whatever happened to Kondou, Hijikata always took everything that Okita was saying without trying to deny or making excuses. Hijikata understood how much Kondou meant to Okita and Hijikata cared for Okita enough to let himself become a scapegoat for Okita to blame as long as it’ll motivate him to continue living.
Hijikata and Okita are not the best, but they are still brothers. They shared the sentiments of having independent reverence for Kondou. They can recognize the other’s abilities and skills, where they exceed and where they falter. Although both eventually went separate ways, the bond between them is still there.
Overall, Okita’s route is one of my favorites. It has the best romance and best bachelor. This is most likely just wishful thinking and can never come true, but I hope Okita and Chizuru get a happy ending if Otomate one day decides to make a sequel or the sort.
By the way, did I overdid it with this post? Since it’s about my most favorite character, my hands won’t stop until I feel it’s enough. Once I finished, my hands were all sore.