Kaze Hikaru Volume 25 by Takeo Watanabe
Every August I’m always happy because another volume of Kaze Hikaru comes out, but I’m also a little bit sad because I wish it came out more frequently! But I’ll be happy with what I can get. As always, whenever I pick up a volume I am amazed at how well Watanabe combines romance, action, and intricate historical detail.
The first part of this volume continues with the flashback that was introduced in the previous volume, as the reader is treated to seeing the Shinsengumi leadership when they were young and struggling in a different way, not yet in the leadership positions they would later attain. Most of the volume is centered on a financial forensics detective story, as Sei is assigned to help out with the accounting division.
She discovers that 50 Ryo is missing, and the chief accountant Kisaburo begs her not to report the problem until he can send for more money from his parents. He notes that times are tough for the men in the Shinsengumi and they’ve tapped into the saved funds before. Sei isn’t happy about this, but wants to help out and tries to discover who the culprit is. As the slowly building romance between Sei and Soji continues, it is fun to see them growing more and more conscious of each other. Soji is worried because he thinks Sei is hiding a crush on Kisaburo, while Sei is being her usual intrepid self and trying to resolve the problem on her own.
As the secret gets out, the vice captain uses his trademark harsh methods for dealing with the theft, and Sei doesn’t understand his judgement and reasoning. As with most issues with the Shinsengumi, the resolution very much depends on the Bushido code, and consequences coming to people who aren’t acting in accordance with it. Kaze Hikaru is such a pleasure to read, I always enjoy the clarity of Watanabe’s art and how well she is able to handle such an extended cast of characters and the relationships between them. I wish it came out more often than once a year!