|Why I Love Them||Other Thoughts||Favorite Stories By Others|
|Stories By Me||Favorite Visual Art||Visual Art By Me|
|Songs That Remind Me Of Them||Other Random Crap/Comment|
Though there are other, perhaps more meaningful or important artistic pursuits in my life, I have and will probably always have a great love for works (my own and others’) featuring the romance of Watsuki Nobuhiro’s Saitou Hajime and Sagara Sanosuke. And since I am, if not the only remaining fan, then at least, most likely, the main remaining fan of this pairing, I thought I would set up this little page about them for the benefit of anyone else with a passing interest. Remember when there used to be a lot of “shrine” websites to specific characters and pairings? Think of this as something like that. I’ll probably add more to it when I think of more to add.
I love Saitou and Sano together because…
They’re good for each other. Sano helps Saitou enjoy life, lay off the srs bsns every once in a while and detox, and feel more human interest and sympathy for the people around him. Saitou helps Sano recognize the value of (and perhaps learn some) maturity, dedication, prioritizing, and planning. Each can learn a lot from the other in fields spanning almost the entirety of life experience; they become stronger and better people together.
They can function as emotional yin and yang when it comes to restraint and total lack thereof, as well as jaded experience and sometimes-almost-naive enthusiasm. As such, they can provide each other moral and emotional support where each most needs it.
In canon (and even often beyond it), they share certain basic beliefs — specifically about corruption in the government and the need to prevent tragedy to the innocent of Japan — that gives them an excellent level to connect on. The different methods by which they act on these beliefs may raise points of contention, but also highlight that common ground and, in any story where they do work together, provide opportunities for them to learn to cooperate and compromise for their mutual goals.
Even in canon, each develops a grudging respect for the other (though I admit that any show of respect by Saitou toward Sano tends to be of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it variety), and exploring the nuances of a relationship that begins with mutual disdain and disliking and grows into respect seemingly against the will of the participants is deliciously fascinating.
Also on a mostly canon basis, certain aspects of the lifestyle of each make them uniquely suited at the very least to interact somewhat regularly: Sano can contribute in numerous ways to Saitou’s investigations, and Saitou is the good fight Sano (whether or not he’s technically abandoned fighting for pay) is always craving.
Lastly, it just so happens that I adore couples that are constantly at each other’s throats, couples that have continual snarky banter but adore each other underneath; and I happen to find this couple very visually satisfying in their canonical outfits and colors. These points are little more than window-dressing to the more interesting ones mentioned above, but, damn, do they ever complete the hell out of an amazing package!
I love it so much when Sano manages to avoid getting himself shot by Shishio’s Gatling gun and Saitou actually smiles at seeing him safe.
I don’t usually like pairing titles with the character’s names smashed together, but I tend to accept “SaiSa” or “saisa” or “s a i s a” or however you want to stylize it, because it’s not too obnoxious and can be kinda cute. In fact I’ve thought seriously about getting a custom license plate that says “SAISA” …just not until I’m no longer sharing my car with people that aren’t as enlightened about the true love of Saitou and Sano as I am.
I love it so much how Sano, though he only stares in horror when Shishio defeats Kenshin, absolutely loses his shit when he sees Saitou taken down.
I love seeing Tokio portrayed as just as much a fan of Saitou and Sano together as the reader. I hate seeing Tokio portrayed as injured by Saitou and Sano together.
Isn’t it just miserably sad how there’s essentially no Saitou/Sano interaction in the live-action movies? Of course, Sano’s a complete idiot and has no real purpose in those movies, so perhaps interaction with Saitou is nothing to be missed much there.
In The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan, it’s stated at one point, “You don’t call somebody an idiot that many times unless you’re really into them.” Just one more reason for me to love that author.
Back in the day (and by that I mean at the turn of the century), lots of people were writing lots of fanfiction about Saitou and Sano. Of course Sturgeon’s Law always applied, but when gross production was so high, one could stumble over a really great story in any direction on any given day. Nowadays… well, Sturgeon’s Law still applies. But here are some of my favorite fics about my favorite couple, nearly all of them from the early 2000’s:
A Certain Clarity by Franzeska is a novel-length fic with an incredibly engaging and emotional story that is super romantic and at times very funny.
West of the Sun, East of the Moon by FarStrider is a beautiful fantastic tragedy that borrowed an excellent plot from a far inferior movie.
the poetic sequel to cohabitation (is only natural) by liveonanon is a (shockingly!) recent entry on this list — written in 2014 (for me *^__^*), it is all glorious wordporn and heartbreaking interpretation of Saitou.
Besides all of these, you can, of course, find more Saitou & Sano fics at fanfiction.net (this link leads to a search for stories merely including both characters, as that turns up far more results than checking the “pairing” box; it also means, sadly, that some off-pairing fic featuring both Saitou and Sano is listed) and Archive Of Our Own.
Did I mention that Saitou and Sano together are one of my favorite things in the world? Though I may have slowed down a bit, I still adore them, and am always working on any number of stories about them.
Right now there are 79 stories on this archive (excluding a few that don’t quite count because they’re pre-relationship fics or whatever) in which Saitou and Sano are a couple, the most recently completed being Silly and Pointlessly Difficult. I’ve always wondered what I would do to celebrate once I reached 100 Saitou/Sano fics on the archive, but it seems like for every story I put up, another, older one gets taken down because I realize it sucks XD
Anyway, if you are interested in reading any of these stories and don’t necessarily feel like picking through the lists here on the archive, you may find the ebook Index or the Audio Recording Index useful. Alternately, my favorites from among my own Saitou/Sano fics are as follows:
Death Wish is, I think, concisely emotional and interesting. Plus it has what is maybe the most awesome illustration I’ve ever commissioned.
He Can Be Taught may quite possibly be my #1 favorite ever since I rewrote it. Proof that I really can work in the canon setting, sometimes, and make myself just as happy as with an AU, heh. I really like the way their relationship develops in that one.
Seeing Red…. aaaaand then I’m right back to the AU’s. Ah, well. I think this story is totally badass.
漸進的 な 会得 – Gradual Understanding is kinda weird, and has a conceit that some people can’t stand… but I happen to like it quite a bit. It’s not exactly a new take on anything, but I think I did it pretty well.
It’s very difficult to populate this section as I would like, since I don’t have credits for a lot of older fanart of this pairing. Still, enjoy what’s here!
The picture at the top of the page is called Red, White, and Blue – My True Patriotism. It’s one of the most accurate picture titles I’ve ever come up with :D
I don’t draw very well most of the time, but it is nevertheless a hobby I enjoy, and of course that means I have drawn Saitou and Sano kindof a lot. Here are many of my better pictures of them:
In addition to all of that, you can see all my Rurouni Kenshin art (of which Saitou & Sano stuff makes up the majority), if you’re willing to look at all the crappier stuff as well as to dig through stories and chapters to look at illustrations.
Songs that are reminiscent of a romantic pairing are as subjective in their relevance as the interpretations of that pairing must be, and what is a charming reminder for one person may fall completely flat — and, indeed, be rather annoying — to another. So proceed with a grain of salt to hand (and possibly even some caution).
Sadly, due to the pugnacious nature of this particular couple, I don’t really have any happy songs that make me think of them. And this list could probably be more extensive, too, if I’d bothered to write stuff down over the years instead of losing track of it. But here they are in order of most to least reminiscent. (YouTube videos shrunken to save space.)
I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace
While I think there are, in fact, quite a few things Saitou and Sano do love about each other, still the general feeling of this song is so overwhelmingly them that I can’t nitpick the mostly meaningless lyrics. It hit me so hard the first time I heard it that I immediately figured out how to make music videos (very poor ones, at the time) so I could display my appreciation appropriately.
One More Night by Maroon 5
I really like for the Saitou/Sano relationship to develop into something healthy, but it’s very easy for it to be anything but, and here’s a song that I think exemplifies some of the saddest they can be. Still pretty damn sexy, though, and a fantastic song.
Always by Saliva
And this one is probably the worst they can be. I’ve only written two songfics in my life, and the first was a heartrending abuse/breakup story set to this song. I didn’t like it much (possibly because it was so sad, possibly because I didn’t like how I’d written it), so it eventually went the way of all the internet… but my associations regarding the song remain.
Must Be Crazy For Me by Melissa Etheridge
Probably the least sad and unhealthy entry on this list. I’m particularly struck by the line, …when I kissed you last night in my own back yard, you ran so fast and you fought so hard… and the general (unhealthy and completely inappropriate!) no-means-yes feeling of the song.
(Melissa Etheridge also gets bonus points in my book for one line from another song I Really Like You: I’ll gladly make you my first tattoo; you and me forever in red and black and blue. This is mostly just because my first tattoo was “Aku Soku Zan” kanji and she happened to name all but white of the Saitou/Sano colors.)
Knock Yourself Out by Toby Keith
Any lyrics that compare love to a fist fight (even if in this case it seems more like a formal boxing match than a dirty back-alley encounter) are of course going to remind me of Saitou and Sano. So sad, though!
Ain’t That A Bitch by Aerosmith
OK, so this one’s only on here because of the first line — Up in smoke you lost another lover, as you take a hit off your last cigarette — coupled with the fact that I wrote a story about Saitou and Sano called As the Years Go Up In Smoke.
As I mentioned above, I have made one music video about Saitou and Sano and their love. It’s not very good, but it is about Saitou and Sano and their love. I’m going to remake it better one of these days, but I don’t know when.
Check out my custom phone cases:
I do almost nothing on livejournal anymore, so I almost never have the opportunity to use any of the icons I spent so long making over the lj years. So I might as well display them all here:
If you’re interested in discussing this completely awesome pairing, sounding off as a fellow fan, or sharing some link or suggestion for my little shrine here, feel free to comment below. I’ll get an email and become extremely happy, because I love not only to be reminded of Saitou and Sano, but to be notified that other fans still exist.