Kaze Hikaru Manga Samples of Saitou-san!

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Kare Hikaru (風光る), by Watanabe Taeko (渡辺多恵子) is currently (as of July 2005) at 17 volumes in Japan and running in the monthly shoujo manga anthology Flowers.  It has recently been licensed by Viz and is running in their monthly anthology Shoujo Beat, with the first collected volume expected to come out in early 2006.

Kamiya Seizaburou (Sei) is 15 when Choshuu samurai kill her father and brother, and vowing revenge, she disguises herself as a man and sets out to join the Mibu-roshi.  Sei is assigned to Okita Souji's care, and he quickly finds out her secret and helps to protect her, both as she learns the way of the samurai and in avoiding all of the lecherous men who have an interest in the cute new boy!  In time Sei begins to develop feels for Okita, but he doesn't really see her and remains rather oblivious to her affections.  Other Shinsengumi members and associated characters are in the story, but the focus is on Sei/Okita with Saitou as the main supporting character.  The art style is very rounded and tends towards "cute" but the as the story follows the historical frame of the story, it does become more dramatic and serious (and also violent). 

Saitou comes in on the 4th chapter, where Sei immediately runs to hug him... because he looks very much like her dead brother!  Saitou was actually a good friend of his and wonders why his old friend has a younger brother when he said that he had a younger sister.  In KH Saitou is portrayed as a quiet man with an impassive face compared to the rest of the Shinsengumi around him, who can be silly at times.  He's a close friend of Okita's, there's a lot of trust and respect between the two, even if neither can seem to get the upper hand on the other when they spar... and a lot of Saitou's sense of humor comes out around Okita.  Saitou has a crush on Sei but doesn't know that she's a girl, but they're also very good friends as Sei runs to Saitou whenever she has a problem with Okita or just needs someone to confide in - again, its his resemblance to her brother that makes him someone that she trusts

Here's a few more pics of Saitou-san in Kaze Hikaru (KH)...



Note: There is a manga scan called the "Love Story of Saitou Hajime" that is circulating the net based on Kaze Hikaru is a "edited graphical story" and not a direct scanslation.

For those interested the "Love story of Saitou Hajime" can be found at Fifay's Corner.

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