am 15. März 2010
Here is a short summary of the content to give a general impression about what this manga is about:
This story is set during the Bakumatsu, the End of the Edo-Period, in Japan and focuses on the side of the Shinsengumi, Samurai warriors fighting for the Shogunate.
The female heroine is Tominaga Sei, who had witnessed the murder of her father and older brother by members of Choshu (opposite faction to Shinsengumi, don't know how to explain it better without going into much detail...^^).
After being rescued by Okita Soji, one of the best sword fighters in the troop of the Shinsengumi, she decides to abandon her life as a girl and pose as a boy to join the Shinsengumi.
Her inital motive is to seek revenge, but after a while she falls in love with Soji and stays to be by his side.
"Kaze Hikaru" is truly a wonderful manga and not the typical Shojo manga one would expect just after reading the summary.
Of course the love story between Okita Soji and Tominaga Sei aka Kamiya Seizaburo is the main focus, but it goes deeper than that. What is expected of a true Bushi (Samurai)? What is right, what is wrong and how do the people of the Edo period deal with these issues?
Besides, the historical events are a very important and interesting part of the manga. It's so fascinating to look at all those little, historical details like the way they did their hair, their clothes etc. the mangaka managed to include in so little space. Actually, if you're not interested in japanese history I wouldn't recommend this manga.
And it's no shallow, lovey-dovey manga either, the couple doesn't really get together in the 15 Volumes I have read so far, but don't despair, they do make progress, slowly but steadily. It's very sweet to see their interaction and small gestures.
Although Soji and Sei are the main protagonists there are many other loveable characters, who have their own story and it all interwines into one great picture.
What makes this manga so very special is the humour. Sometimes it's so funny you want to laugh out loud and roll on the floor. Yes, it is that good.
But, to be warned, if you don't like allusions to homosexuality I would definitely not pick up this manga. There are many jokes and references to gay couples, which shouldn't be surprising, since Sei seems to be a boy and only Soji knows her real gender. Many of the Shinsengumi fall in love with Kamiya, because of his feminine looks (well, Kamiya is a girl after all).
Another thing is, Sei has shaved her hair and it's not just your imagination, half of her head really is bald. She did that to appear "manly", since she couldn't risk a detection and I think this is one aspect that makes this manga so special. It's very authentic and convincing.
At first it bothered me a little, but after the first Volume it isn't as noticeable and now I like it, because it makes Sei different from all the other Shojo heroines.
By the way, the art improves a lot during the time of each volume. And though I really like the pictures, they're not "totally amazing" or "absolutely beautiful". It's the plot and the characters that capture your heart, the drawing is good, don't get me wrong, but the story is why I would buy it.
"Kaze Hikaru" can be translated into "Shining Wind", which is an allusion to Okita Soji. Just wanted to mention that.
All in all, it is a very fascinating, wonderful manga, which manages to evoke many different emotions in the reader. Well, it's one of my favourite mangas and I don't have anything to complain about. I think it's great.
This is definitely a recommendation to any would-be-buyer.
Just give it a try, although it starts out pretty slow it gets better and better with every chapter.