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A fanart of Saito Hajime I painted few months ago. I thought it was lost when my external hard disk was destroyed, but not
Saitō Hajime is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Rurouni Kenshin created by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
Saitō Hajime (1844-1915) was an actual historic figure of the Meiji era. Watsuki altered the character to a higher degree than the other historic figures who appear in Rurouni Kenshin since the character Saitō has a greater role in the story than the other characters. In the development of Rurouni Kenshin Watsuki planned for Saitō to be a "dirty" hero who maintains his "Swift Death to Evil" policy and does not become "a nice guy" and "palsy-walsy" with Kenshin's group. Hajime has no specific model for his design. Since Watsuki intended for the character Saitō to be a villain, he made the character's face "villain-ish."
A former captain in the loyalist Shinsengumi, Saitō has had a long time rivalry with Himura Kenshin, a former manslayer of the Imperialist cause. As a result of his involvement in the Ikedaya Affair, he and his Shinsengumi comrades successfully prevented the burning of Kyoto by an extremist faction of the Ishin Shishi. Nevertheless, the pro-shogunate forces were ultimately defeated and he was forced to go into hiding.
Saitō, known as the "Lone Wolf of Mibu," has no compassion or mercy for his enemies. He lives by the Shinsengumi code "Swift Death to Evil" (Aku Soku Zan, also translated loosely as "Evil Unto Evil," where evil is killing), though he never shows much regard for human life, at some points even letting on that he likes to kill. He is rather morbid and arrogant. Nevertheless, none of these character flaws prevent him from being a superb investigator and fighter. He believes in peace and order, even in the society created by his former enemies. Anyone he considers to be corrupt or despotic, he targets for elimination.
Saitō is an able observer and a quick analyst (working as a spy for the Meiji government). He is married to a woman named Tokio, who does not appear in the story. He remarks at one point that he has a fondness for soba, a simple noodle dish. Saitō makes a point about his preference for the dish, known for its simplicity and connotations of humbleness. He is also a smoker.
(from Wikipedia : [link])
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This is such an incredible piece, from the simple background, the pose, the katana and the movement.
Firstly, the colours within this image are simply exquisite - in particular the contrast between the white and dusky blue of the man's robes really works, but doesn't detract from the image. Also, the transition between the earthen tones of the background, which then fade up to blue/green/white, is an effective frame. It draws the eye to it, but it doesn't outdo the movement of the sword and the detail of the man's face.
Stunning job all around, this is a really amazing piece of work.