It’s fairly rare that I get embarrassed by something I completely didn’t know and I should have. Case in point: Peace Make Kurogane. Being a history major and a Japanophile I totally should have understood what the show was about. But being relatively retarded I found out after I had watched the show that the events of the series were based on actual history. I hit my head pretty hard. Spoiler: Ikedaya Jiken and Bishis (wikipedia it).

Peace Maker Kurogane is the story of a young boy named Ichimura Tetsunosuke who wants to join the Kyoto Shinsengumi police group with his brother who is an accountant in order to become able to avenge his parents’ death. Once proven worthy by the vice-chief of the clan, Tetsu-kun must learn to live with the demands of the chiefs, the captains, and his own fears for him to gain what he most desires.

Ichimura Tesunosuke, Okita Souji, and Hijikata ToshizoThe main plot of the story is actually the biggest spoiler of them all now that I think about it. So in a sense, the funny spoiler in the intro was actually a spoiler. The plot is the story of the Ideka Inn Affair in 1864 when the Shinsengumi foil a plot by Choushu rebels who want to burn down Kyoto in order to over throw the emperor. As well known in Japan as say the Untouchables are in the U.S., the story of the Ikeda Inn and the Shinsengumi are extremely famous and so for the Japanese the plot of the show was really the back burner.

This concept threw me for a loop because for the whole time I was watching it I was wondering where the plot was. Had I known the Japanese knew the story pretty well to begin with I would have focused more on the characters in the story. But what will be will be. The historical accuracy of the show is actually pretty good. All the major players in the affair were present and their fates were shown to full detail. Of course, there were many liberties taken with the personalities of the characters and some plot elements but for the most part, the story and characters are close to history.

As a histories major (lol ¯\(º_o)/¯), I love seeing historical figures brought to life and Kurogane delivered. As the wikipedia articles on all the figures were stuffy and boring, I felt like I got to know Okita Souji and the other famous people pretty well. I know they probably were not like how they were depicted but watching how the Japanese currently view their heros of old made me feel pretty good. They haven’t yet lost the sense of honor that we here in the States have. The swordsmanship shown is also really great. No one has any special sword move that is insanely impossible. In fact, without the nutty lord saga, there is no magic or super power in the show at all. Its all just talent and hard work.

Historial BishisAt any rate, the show itself is very good. The characters all have depth that extends beyond the reach of the show (btw, while bishis without a doubt, they are not gay. Men cried and relied on eachother back then). The plot is interesting. But the best part I think is Tetsu-kun’s personal growth within the Shinsengumi and his learning to face his fears and grow without changing his core values. The group itself changes in face of a great loss in the middle of the show and shows what true loyalty to friends and relatives is all about. Tetsu’s ability to face his fears finally and the group’s maturing as a whole is really the point of the show more than the historical raid on the Inn.

Of course, the show had a few down sides. There were extraneous plot elements that didn’t really add anything to the show and took up time. The magical lord is the main one. There was no real reason for the side story other than to take up time. The second was the dangling plot thread at the end with Suzu. I don’t want to give much away since Suzu is a purely fictional character, but they left his story up in the air.

Overall, Peace Maker Kurogane is a very well made show thats historical and believable. The characters all show their humanity in differing and refreshing ways. Despite the extraneous plot points, this show earns a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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