Kyoto - In the Spring of 1865. At the temple Nishi-Honganji, the Shinsengumi militia is choosing new recruits to become samurai warriors. Commander Isami Kondo (Yoichi Sai) and lieutenant Toshizo Hijikata (Beat Takeshi) are supervising the recruiting process. Those hoping to be chosen must face off the best man in the militia, Soji Okita (Shinji Takeda). Out of all the men present, only two are chosen: Hyozo Tashiro (Tadanobu Asano), a low-level samurai from the Kurume clan and Sozaburo Kano (Ryuhei Matsuda), a handsome young man whose good looks are bewitching. Tashiro is immediately attracted to Kano. Rigid rules and regulations keep order among this group of men and are the unifying force in the face of adversity... But suddenly the militia finds themselves prey to rumors and jealousies... the fascination that the young samurai Kano holds for the others creates confusion all around.