Mibugishiden Saitou - "When the Last Sword is Drawn"
was first released in 2003 and is around 137 minutes long. The story takes
place at the end of the Bakumatsu 1868. It is important to note that the
timeline in the movie itself is already way into the Shinsengumi's
maturity. You will not see the Ikeda-ya raid, nor will you see Serizawa
Kamo. After the Ikeda-ya raid we do know that the Shinsengumi garnered the
approval of the Bakufu and they were given the name "Shinsengumi" and a
good stipend. This made the group a place where men, samurai and the like
wanted to join for many reasons i.e. money, power, etc.
This is important since the main character Yoshimura Kanichiro is a
samurai from Nanbu who had financial troubles, enough so that his family
was starting to starve to death. This lead him to leave his "han" to go to
Kyoto and join the Shinsengumi. Just so you know leaving your clan was
considered a treacherous act and is punishable by death. But that's not
the point of this page. The point is of course... You guessed it!
Kanichiro meets with Saitou Hajime and the latter has his misgivings on
the man from Nanbu. Saitou is a rather reserved man whom doesn't really
speak his thoughts casually and lets his blade do the talking! In this
movie, I see him amused, easily pissed off (but he just shows it with a
grin or smirk) and most of the time cutting and rude. He is a hardened man
who believes he is only alive since no one will kill him... Perhaps no one
can? With Kanichiro being a nice man, who loves his homeland and family...
but is also a money grubber... Well what do you expect but sparks to fly
between the two? Eventually Saitou recognizes or understands (some of it
at least) the whys of Kanichiro-kun and respects who he is. To sum it up,
this Saitou loathed the main character at first because he saw Kanichiro
as a low life who had no sense of honor and just did everything for
money... It's only at the battle at Toba-Fushimi did he realize the
strength and honor of Kanichiro when he continued to fight a losing
cause... Of course saving the wolf's ass, was a big part of it too. ^__^
I'll be honest although Koichi Sato is one hot guy... Hot I tell you... He
also played Serizawa Kamo in NHK Shinsengumi but that's another section.
Let's see how well he actually does fit ne? It really depends what type of
Saitou you are looking for, if you were looking for someone warm, quiet,
exuding that warm and fussy kawaii feeling typically found on Kaze Hikaru
Saitou version... I'm sorry to say he's not there! If you're looking for
the esoteric, weirdly endearing PMK Saitou, again you'll be disappointed.
If you were looking to be historically accurate, by terms of age casting
Koichi Sato as Saitou is a bit pushing it. Remember historical Saitou
during 1868 was only around 24 years old. However if you are like me who
just worships the ground RK Saitou walks on, well this is about as close
as you'll get. Indeed I had the best time mixing Mibugishiden Saitou
personality to RK Saitou in fanfics. I'm no purist after all. I find this
Saitou -very- realistic. He's not bad looking! He has personality! He can
get pissed.. He can get passionate... He can make mistakes... He can love
(yes he has a love interest in this one! *squeals in delight*)! And most
of all this one is teachable! If you want to see Saitou and still be able
to reconcile him with RK or just want a fantastic mix do not pass this