The highly anticipated live action Rurouni Kenshin movie opened in Japan on August 25.
Rurouni Kenshin has been a much-loved classic, with a franchise that spanned across different types of media as well as time.
Directed by Keishi Ohtomo and featuring stars Yuu Aoi as Megumi Takani, and Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura, Rurouni Kenshin definitely had an all star cast and production team.
Despite previous flops of anime turned movies (think the Gantz and the Death Note movies), Rurouni Kenshin started out strong with a visually intense and promising trailer.
The actual movie did not disappoint at all and covered the arc that included meeting and rescuing Megumi Takani from Kanryu Takeda.
Most of the popular characters made appearances, including Kaoru, Sannousuke, Saito, Yahiko and Megumi, but there was the notable absence of Aoshi and his Oniwabanshu. The featured villains included Jin-e, Kanryu Takeda, Gein and Inui Banjin.
The movie overall is adapted very well for the silver screen. It does not mirror the manga or anime plot exactly, but given the time restraints, the plot still flowed relatively smoothly while including classic original scenes and lines. After all, Kenshin is not Kenshin without his "de gozaru" and "oro".
Pacing and character development were also fairly well done, although I personally would have liked longer fight scenes that didn't end quite so abruptly.
The fight scenes, though short, were also choreographed very well, allowing the viewer to relive Kenshin's agility or feel the impact of Sannosuke's brute force.
In terms of character development, Saito's importance as Kenshin's eternal rival was reduced to two scenes where he actually drew his sword and fought. Sannosuke's relationship with Kenshin, Kaoru and Yahiko also did not deepen as he seemed to move coincidentally and sporadically in and out of the storyline. On the other hand, Kaoru, Kenshin and Megumi's relationship played out well, culminating in a climax very reminiscent of the original series.
Casting was also done relatively well, although not perfect. Sato was surprisingly adept as Kenshin switching smoothly from the harmless Himura Kenshin to the ruthless Battousai. There were, however, moments when he would look rather vacuous instead of kind and harmless, but over all, a very believable Kenshin.
Aoki Munetaka also fit the role as Sanosuke perfectly, playing delinquent-type character while also providing comic relief through the movie.
However, despite my personal liking for Yuu Aoi as an actress, her physical appearance did not quite have the "vixen" feel that Megumi Takani was so famous for. Despite her ability to sound and move like a vixen, in terms of appearance, she was simply too cute for the role, even with all the makeup that had been applied.
Even with some minor kinks with casting, the movie still came together very well. The cinematography effectively enhanced the atmosphere of the movie, and I certainly left the theater with a much better feeling than other anime adaptions I had seen before. If there were sequels to follow, I certainly wouldn't complain.
All in all, Rurouni Kenshin, although not the perfect movie, is certainly worth seeing on the silver screen. It is currently being screened only in Japan, but keep an eye out for news that it may go overseas!
Leave us a comment with where you want to see Kenshin and what you think about or anticipate from the movie!
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