8 June 2019 | Lexika
Beautiful; possibly confusing for viewers new to the franchise
For those familiar with the games or anime, the Hakuouki movies are terrific additions. The first movie, Kyoto Ranbu (Wild Dance of Kyoto), follows the storyline of the anime Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan. The creators couldn't fit all the content of the twelve episodes into the movie's 90-minute running time, but I believe they did a decent job given their task. For those unfamiliar with Hakuouki, the storyline may come across as complicated and possibly confusing as there is quite an amount of information squeezed in. Nevertheless, it is still a fine introduction to the Hakuouki franchise.
Compared to anime and standing on it's own, the movie has beautiful animation and a gorgeous soundtrack that can give you the chills. The dialogue may not be as smooth as that in the anime, but the story moves forward. There are a few slow talking scenes but these are interspersed with the action scenes. Many of the events that occur are historically based, taking place in 19th century Japan. Most of the characters are likewise based on historical figures. The furies (raesetsu) and devils (oni) are obviously fiction, as is the character Chizuru Yukimura. Compared to the games, the movie mostly follows the route of Hijikata-hen, but each of the other characters gets a chance in the spotlight. Although the movie does not give much time to expand on each of them, this is nice to see.
Overall, this is a beautiful, unique anime; but I caution viewers who have not first seen the anime or played the games.