Japan enters a new era in the 1860s, and it is a time of violent social upheaval. Samurai from all walks of life travel to Kyoto in hopes of joining the Shinsengumi, a band of warriors dedicated to the Shogunate bakufu system. In order to avenge her father and brother, Tominaga Sei disguises herself as a boy, takes the name “Kamiya Seizaburo,” and joins the Shinsengumi. Aspiring to be a true bushi (samurai or warrior), Kamiya trains under Okita Soji, the young man she loves and the only person in the Shinsengumi who knows Kamiya’s true identity.
As Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 26 opens, Shinsengumi vice-captain, Hijikata Toshizo, is ready to kill a woman. Why, and who is she? To help his unhappy captain, Kondo Isami, Hijikata redeems a “yujo” (prostitute) named Miyuki-Dayu. The plan is for Miyuki to live with Kondo alongside the Shinsengumi, but after a initial happy start, things have turned strange. Hijikata promised to kill Miyuki if she did not work out. Now, Kamiya has taken it upon herself to discover Miyuki's true motives, especially after her sister, Oko, also a yujo, comes to live with them.
[This volume also contains “Kaze Hikaru Diary R” Part 17]
THE LOWDOWN: Once a year, the Kaze Hikaru manga returns in a new graphic novel collection from VIZ Media. I believe that this series is always worth the wait.
Kaze Hikaru Graphic Novel Volume 26 focuses mostly on the situation involving Kondo, Miyuki-Dayu, and Oko-chan. Creator Taeko Watanabe turns this story of a bitter family past and of a truly good man (Kondo) into a page-turning read that is as hot as a summer potboiler novel. Of course, much of Kaze Hikaru's strength is in the subplots, and there are a few involving Kamiya, both directly and indirectly, one involving a tale of “blood revenge.” You know you want to read this!
I READS YOU REVIEW: Fans of historical romance and of Japanese historical fiction will like the Shojo Beat title, Kaze Hikaru.