Ask any female anime/manga or game enthusiasts anywhere, and we are pretty sure most of them have a one… (or a few) fictional 2D love interests amongst their favourite anime, manga or game series.
This is probably more so for fans of “Otome games” (dating SIM games where there’s normally one female lead character – the player usually assumes this role – and the many handsome male characters in-game vying for her attention in a ‘reversed harem’ situation).
It is therefore also not surprising to have the player proclaim her ‘love’ for these characters, her fictional 2D ‘husbandos’ (i.e. husbands) and naturally some might even imagine going on real-life dates situations with them.
One of the most popular otome game series ever released has got to be the “Hakuouki” series – a game set in Kyoto, during the Bakumatsu years (mid-1860s) before the Ishin revolutionary civil wars that ended over 300 years of shogunate rule.
In a clever mix of fantasy with actual historical personages, the game allows the player – in the role of the main female character Chizuru Yukimura – interactive game-play routes with six main characters: five of them members of the Shinsengumi force – one of the ‘policing factions’ of Kyoto during that tumultuous era – based on actual historical characters; and one – a fictional character created for the game – the member of the rivalling faction of the Shinsengumi.
Launched in 2008 and into its 10th year currently, the Hakuouki game series makers Otomate have naturally lined up a series of commemorative activities and tie-ups/collaborations to mark and celebrate its 10th anniversary.
One such tie-in is jointly done with the city of Kyoto and major publishing company Kadokawa. A special spin-off of Kadokawa’s popular ‘Walker’ series magazine – an publication packed with tantalising photographs and informative write-ups and highlights of a locale’s attractions, shops and dining/chill-out spots – female fans will be thrilled to be presented with “Hakuouki Walker ～if～” :
The magazine allows fans/readers to submerge herself into a simulative make-believe situation of going on a “dream-date” in modern-days Kyoto with six of the most popular Hakuouki characters: Souji Okita, Toshizou Hijikata, Hajime Saitou, Heisuke Toudou and Sanosuke Harada of the Shinsengumi; and Chikage Kazama of the rival faction (The characters were chosen earlier in an online poll conducted by the game maker, with the cover-‘husbando’ being Shinsengumi’s Souji Okita since he too was ranked ‘most desirable date partner’ in said poll).
Based on each character’s individuality and personalities, the magazine editors worked with various tourist organisations and shopping/dining associations and co-operatives in Kyoto to simulate the “ideal date spots” where they might bring the reader to for the “dream-date” situation, for example:
When one mentions “Hakuouki”, images of the sakura trees in bloom indefinitely comes to mind. The magazine introduces the best locations in Kyoto for the happy couple to view the beauty of the sakura trees in full bloom…
Or if historical locales related to the Shinsengumi is more to the reader’s taste, she might fancy a dinner date at a restaurant in Kyoto’s fancy Sanjo/Shijo district with a view of the of the setting sun across the Kamo River, spanned by the famous Sanjo Bridge to complete the picture of her ‘perfect date’.
“Hakuouki Walker ～if～” went on sale nationwide in Japan on 8 June 2018 and retails at JPY1,600 a copy; fans who are interested may order the magazine from Amazon Japan.