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Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 1 [Kindle Edition]

Taeko Watanabe
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the 1860s in Japan, a new era is dawning. During this time fraught with violent social upheaval, samurai of all walks of life flock to Kyoto in the hope of joining a band of warriors united around their undying loyalty to the Shogunate system. This group became one of the greatest (and most infamous) movements in Japanese history...the Shinsengumi!

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Taeko Watanabe debuted as a manga artist in 1979 with her story Waka-chan no Netsuai Jidai (Love Struck Days of Waka). Kaze Hikaru is her longest-running series, but she has created a number of other popular series. Watanabe is a two-time winner of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in the girls category--her manga Hajime-chan go Ichiban! (Hajime-chan is Number One!) claimed the award in 1991 and Kaze Hikaru took it in 2003. Watanabe read hundreds of historical sources to create Kaze Hikaru. She is from Tokyo.

Product Details

  • File Size: 125731 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media: Shojo Beat; 1st Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F3HGP1S
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,816 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(4)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 an enjoyable read with great promise May 4, 2009
Format:Paperback
Coming-of-age manga, manga about the Shinsengumi, and manga about girls disguised as boys are all plentiful, but manga that combines the three is a bit more unique. For one thing, while the main character develops a crush on one of her comrades and it's obvious that love will play an important role in future volumes, romance itself isn't the point of the story. Getting a boyfriend isn't even a blip on Seizaburo's radar, and it's nice to see a manga that recognizes the fact that women are capable of thinking about other things. The fact that Sei is a girl isn't really the point, either. The author has currently placed her path to becoming a bushi as the plot's most important element.

The characters in Kaze Hikaru aren't particularly complex but their actions are interesting and make the story worth following anyway. Seizaburo, for example, is earnest, strong-willed, loyal, slightly gullible, easily likeable, and less complex than background characters like Hijikata and Serizawa (the waters here aren't running particularly deep) -but is immediately disillusioned by the crude Mibu-Roshi and attempts to leave the group. This is partly a coming-of-age manga, though, which means she'll learn many lessons, and all of them will be learned the hard way.

Plot development is just as important as character development in Kaze Hikaru, and the author has attempted to be historically accurate. The simple but pleasing character designs do not include pink, blue, or green hair, eyes are mostly proportional to face sizes, and readers are given information about the Shinsengumi's history. There might actually be more historical accuracy than some die-hard shoujo fans might wish, but most people should find it interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series is one of the best I've ever read. May 17, 2009
By Ilen
Format:Paperback
'Kaze Hikaru' really surprised me. I generally dislike shoujo due to the amount of fluff and melodrama that tends to be present in such stories, but 'Kaze Hikaru' is nothing like that.

This mangaka does her historical homework, and also does an admirable job of fleshing out the characters and retaining the reader's interest. Plotting, pacing, and conflicts are all very well-rendered and believable. I just finished the 13th volume and can't wait for the next one.

Pick this series up. You won't be sorry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross-dressing and samurai - What else do you need? April 25, 2009
Format:Paperback
Sei is a young woman in Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. Her family is killed in this tumultuous time and Sei is frustrated that she can do nothing to avenge her family's death. She does the only thing she can do - she cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and signs up with a group of samurai to search for her family's killer.

I know very little about this time period in Japanese history - called the bakumatstu - and in some ways that's good and in some ways it is not. I do learn some about the history from the series but more often I get confused by the very specific information that is referenced. The notes in the back clear things up a little, but I for one could use about two times the notes than they provide. You can enjoy the series if you can just get over the specifics, which I do, or you could be very frustrated. Or you can pick up some non-fiction about the samurai of the bakumatsu and it wouldn't be an issue either way.

The romance trumps the violence in this series, making it more appropriate for teen or older readers and girls more than boys.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommend February 7, 2007
Format:Paperback
Kaze Hikaru does have a lot in common with Rurouni Kenshin, which it's usually compared to. They are set in the same time period and the characters are samurai. But Kaze Hikaru stands on its own. I like the art style better. The girl-dressed-as-a-boy plot is such a cliche, but Watanabe makes it interesting again with characterization and humor. The series is young but its a good one. I highly recommend.
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