Smoking on the Job

Smoking on the Job
The man behind the uprising is Baron Tamono. ~Saitou Hajime

Sequence Number: A1 Tome
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I've always wanted a Saitou cel from the movie. After waiting for two years, I finally have one and what a beauty it is! He's an oversized cel from a good part of the movie and this very cel was used in the cardass master 2 series. ^__^ A little insight as to why I was dying to get a movie Saitou... Well aside from my usual chant, "I want a Saitou cel". Saitou from the movie is very special to me as a person who tried to piece together various pieces that is known about him both in RK and outside of RK. Without going to too much detail, let me just say that Saitou in the movie is as close and at the same time as far as what is known about the real guy. The historical Saitou Hajime was known to have adopted a very loyal following to Aizu after the war and probably was already connected to the han even before his Shinsengumi days even acting so far as to spy on the Shinsengumi for Matsudaira Katamori, the daimyo of Aizu. After the war he was known to "lament" the war when imbibed with sake and profess that he wanted to be buried with his Aizu comrades. He was very close to the Aizu clan which is why eventually he became an Aizu feudal retainer. There are really tons of example but lets just stop there. So why am I mentioning so much about Aizu? Well the RK movie is about Aizu and the descendants/survivors of the Shogitai who lost the Boshin wars which included Yahiko's father. In fact the young men who Shigure was leading to topple the current Meiji government were most probably based on the Byakkotai (white tigers - young men (boys really) who committed suicide after mistakenly thinking that the Aizu castle was captured and burned), thus the reason their uniforms were white and why they were so young. So you see this is the "closeness" I was talking about. However in the RK movie, RK Saitou was also "far" from his historical counterpart in the way that he acted which was very RK-like (minus the taunting). In the movie RK Saitou did not act in a manner that showed -any- leaning towards the Aizu clan which I really liked because to me, RK Saitou is more concerned about order and justice not just for clan loyalty but his loyalty to his country which allows him to co-exist with the Meiji government. I liked how the writers of the movie, did not insist on an accurate portrayal of history because doing so would violate Saitou as an RK character... I was a little afraid that they would make him into this person who would sacrifice most of his core ideals due to the subjective actions/views of the historical person. Instead they used him sparingly in the movie, only as a character that provided support to Kenshin and the government. This particular cel is from when Saitou reveals to Kawaji that Tamano, a high ranking soldier was a traitor to the government by making a soldier in-charge of artillery confess (with the added bonus of torture). By doing this, Saitou not only saves Kenshin and Sanosuke from being executed by Tamano, but also gives segway for the "revolutionist" to be pardoned (although this was not shown) by the Meiji. The writers could've easily taken their historical resource and ruined Saitou's character but as you can see that never happened. It's as exactly as what Watsuki said in an interview when asked about Saitou... Not only did he adapt Saitou heavily, Saitou as a character grew to his "own". He might've been based on a historical figure but after that, as RK grew it's own world, so did Saitou grew separate from history. This is the reason why I say RK Saitou to me is special, he is different in many ways. I guess that's what we call literary freedom, unfortunately for Watsuki according to one of the interviews he was constantly criticized by Shinsengumi fans due to his liberal use of Saitou (aside from drawing Saitou face as a villain). I applaud Watsuki for having the courage to let characters be themselves, and to writing what he thought the story needed, after all this is fictional work and not a documentary. Watsuki isn't alone in this, other notable writers of Shinsengumi fiction like Jiro Asada had the same thinking when it came to the Shinsengumi particularly Saitou Hajime. ANYWAY... I GOT A SAITOU CEL. WHEE!!!!!!!! I thought I'd never get a movie one because I only know of two others and they're pretty much in permanent collections. Now I have one to call my own. And yes unless I'm dying, this one will never leave me. ^__^
Added: 8/29/12 From: RS Collector - Celremedy