Friday, October 31, 2014

Kunoichi Bakumatsu Kitan

Kunoichi Bakumatsu Kitan (The Bakumatsu Ninja Mystery, but known in North America as The Last Kunoichi) is a 2003-2004 hentai anime. It was licensed by Adult Source Media, but only the first episode (of two) was released. The second episode has never been subtitled in English, until now.

Kunoichi Bakumatsu Kitan takes places during the late Bakumatsu, after the opening of Japan in the 1850s. The forces of the Tokugawa shogunate and its military bureaucracy, the bakafu, are struggling against a rising tide of revolt, triggered by the shogunate’s weak response to foreign intervention. To quell rebellion, they have formed an elite samurai police force, known as the Shinsengumi. On the other side are an assortment of rebels, including Imperial nationalists who want to expel the foreigners (known as the Ishin Shinshi), idealists, republicans, and others. It was a period of intrigue, bloodshed, assassinations, and the occasional pitched battle. It culminated in the defeat of the Shogunate and the restoration of Imperial power (the Meiji restoration).

The first volume of Kunoichi deals with events leading up to the Ikedeya incident, at which units of the Shinsengumi broke up a meeting of nationalists, killing several of them and driving others to suicide. The second volume deals with the assassination of Sakamoto Ryouma, which was never solved. Into these real events Kunoichi inserts a fictional female ninja team made up of Ayame, Kikyou, and Kaede. The series was meant to continue, but it breaks off abruptly at the end of the second volume.

Historical characters 

Masuya Yuasa Kiemon (aka Furutaka Shuntaro) was a samurai from Oumi. He was captured and brutally tortured by the Shinsengumi and revealed the location of the Ishin Shinshi meeting at Ikedaya.

Hijikata Toshizou was the Vice-Commander of the Shinsengumi.

Okita Souji was Captain of the First Unit of the Shinsengumi.

Yoshida Toshimaro of Choushu – Ayame’s lover in the anime – committed suicide in the aftermath of the Ikedaya incident.

Okada Izou was an assassin.

Shimado Sakon, regent in the Koujo clan, was killed during the Bakumatsu.

Sakamoto Ryouma – Kikyou’s lover in the anime – was a nationalist and an idealist. He hoped for a Japan without feudal distinctions. He was assassinated by unknown assailants.

Miyabe Tezou, a nationalist and an alleged ringleader of a plot to burn Kyoto, was killed in the Ikedaya incident.

Mochizuki Kameyata, a nationalist, committed suicide in the aftermath of the Ikedaya incident.

Yamanauchi Youda was daimyo of Tosa.

Goto Shoujirou was a nationalist in Tosa. He survived the Bakumatsu to become a prominent politician in post-restoration Japan.

Kondo Isami was the other Vice-Commander of the Shingengumi and the leader of the raid on Ikedaya.

Ito Kashitaro was a staff officer in the Shinsengumi.

Harada Sanosuke was Captain of the Tenth Unit of the Shinsengumi.

Yamazaki Susumu was an officer and spy in the Shinsengumi. 

Fictional characters 

Ayame, Kaede, Kikyou – female ninjas

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