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Hajime and Tokio by Angrybee (R)

Title: Hajime and Tokio
Author: Angrybee
Fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
Pairing: Saitou/Tokio
Categories: Romance, Drama
Length: epic
Warnings: scene changes inconsistently indicated
Author on LJ: angrybee
Author Website: Angrybee's Anime Arboretum

Author's Summary: The story of the life, and love, which grew between an unlikely couple. Follows Saitou and Tokio from the Genji era through and past the Rurouni Kenshin tale.

Review:
There’s something extra delightful about loving a story that's usually completely out of the norm of what one likes to read. I can’t quite remember how I came across this story or why I gave it a chance when normally I wouldn’t, but it utterly sucked me in and unexpectedly kept me up all night.

The story focuses on one of the series’ side characters (Saitou Hajime, whom I’ve never actually cared for) and his wife Tokio (who is essentially an OC for despite mentions, she never actually appears in the series). In fact, a great majority of the series focuses on various OCs and minor characters. Angrybee’s ability to create fascinating, likeable characters is truly mind-blowing. Saitou is still every bit the bad-tempered… ahem, jerk of the series and yet, I found myself caring about him. Tokio is a particular marvel – no Mary Sue here, she is fully realized and very complex. Though prone to depression and morbid thoughts, her emotional struggles never degenerate to melodrama and she is nevertheless strong in her own way – and grows stronger with the story.

Saitou and Tokio’s relationship is just as unique and complex as the characters. Considering how they met (Saitou accidentally running her through) and wed (as an agreement to help Saitou’s spying), it is little wonder that they develop what appears to be an inexplicable relationship. However, it feels all the more realistic for it – they come to love each other deeply, and what they build together works for them, romantic clichés be damned.

A truly epic, decade-spanning love story.

Hajime and Tokio

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
jane_elliot
Aug. 25th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
Now see, this is totally a fic I wouldn't have read if you hadn't recced it, but now that you have, it's immediately going into my 'to read' folder:) Thanks for a fabulous review!
caduceus03
Aug. 28th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
*grins* Glad I could perk your interest.

I wanted to reply because, well, I was over at epic_rants (I enjoy being validated about not being the only one to dislike certain well-recced stories ^_~) and thought that perhaps I should add a few words of warning, just in case.

Namely: Tokio could qualify as clinically depressed at times - there is at least one suicide attempt that I recall. Also, there is an episode of violence between Saitou and Tokio that initially turned me off. However, these issues were handled very well. Tokio's depression is, as mentioned, not overdone, rather realistic medically, and thankfully not a constant depressing bludgeon for the reader. The violence was also handled well - it's not too gratuitous and Saitou does essentially runs off to dry himself out so that it'll never occur again. It feels like something that could be worked through by a couple rather than just just a band-aid "forgive and forget."

Also: character death. Normally, I hate it, but the story does span their entire lives together so when they die as elderly people after a long, full life, I'm okay with that. It's also Seisouhen compliant but the Kenshingumi are more side characters than main here so it's not quite so bad (and technically it is anime canon).

Wow, that's almost as long as my review... that's what I get for reading so many rants in a row.
jane_elliot
Aug. 28th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Those rants are kind of addictive, aren't they? Sometimes it's just nice to read something that isn't very...nice:)

Thanks for the warnings! I might skip the last chapter of the fic due to the character death (seriously, in my world all characters live forever:), but I don't know that the depression will be too much of an issue as long as there are some happy moments too (heck, I even had a whole attempted suicide theme week a few months back:)

Thanks again for the rec!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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