Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin

I learned early last year that a live action version of the famous anime character – the samurai wanderer-slash-hero popularly known as Rurouni Kenshin – was going to be launched to the silver screen some time August of 2012. I waited for it to be shown in our local cinemas on said month but nothing happened. It was only last December when one mall company decided to show it and its airing date lasted only for just one week. It broke my heart that I was not able to watch it in the big screen. December was a busy month for me and because of the film festival, all foreign films were banned during the holiday seasons. Sucks! But don’t fret, with the aid of some online friends, I was able to get a copy and watch the movie in the comfort of my home.

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Rurouni Kenshin. What do I think about it? Of course I had apprehensions when I first heard of the news. Not all live action versions of our favourite animes are that fabulous. Not that there were many animes that has live action versions. But this one in particular is better than I expected. I could hardly believe that I’d see someone do any of Kenshin’s epic samurai moves. So when I saw Takeru did Kenshin’s famous side-run as he slashes his opponents, I clapped my hands and applauded loudly, which actually startled my cousin who was playing an RPG game on his laptop at the other side of the living room and missed to see that epic battle moment.

Aside from the impressive fight scenes, one of the best things about the movie is that it didn’t stray too far from the anime story. It actually used a couple of arcs and an OVA to tell Kenshin’s past – he being the legendary Hitokiri Battōsai – and how he became the kind rurouni samurai who rescues helpless people of the new government aka the Meiji era.

For a fan like me, to see that story unfold in front of my eyes once again was a blast. And to see one of my favourite anime heroes being portrayed in the flesh was an awesome treat. I am so thankful that Sato Takeru didn’t slay my favourite slayer. His portrayal of Himura Kenshin – from his somber look as the hitokiri battōsai to the wide-eye innocent gaze of the rurouni – was so similar. Even Kenshin’s samurai stance was perfectly emulated. If I wasn’t a fan, I would’ve thought Kenshin was modelled after Takeru. But no… as it happened, Takeru became Kenshin.

The movie of course isn’t perfect. I would’ve preferred to see one arc instead of several in one go coz there’s too much detail that was omitted. Plus, there were actors who didn’t actually fit into the characters they were portraying specifically the actress who played Takani Megumi. I don’t know who the actress is and I am not even going to search the internet about her. The actress is not old enough and didn’t look quite seductive to play Megumi.

Then there’s Sagara Sanousuke. I would’ve preferred a better looking actor coz Sano in the anime did look handsome. He was also drawn as a tall, lanky, ill-tempered fighter. But the actor who played him didn’t quite look like him. Yes, he did wear the same clothes and had the same hair style, but he was short, just a little bit taller than Takeru. Whatever he lacked in appearance though, his portrayal of the brusque character sufficed. That plus his fight scenes were commendable enough.

What I am so disappointed about is Takei Emi. I swear the moment I saw her, pretty as she is, I thought she’d be best suited as Kamiya Kaoru. But I thought wrong, terribly wrong. Yes, she was as pretty as Kaoru but she didn’t have the same character. She didn’t even have the sharp Kendo skills that Kaoru had. Of course, Kaoru’s not a master swordsman like Kenshin, but she was a master of the Kamiya Kasshin style and the movie was not able to show that. Even her bossiness to Kenshin was nowhere to be seen. Such a failure.

On the other hand, Eguchi Yosuke is without a doubt the perfect person to play Saito Hajime. Only problem is: we only saw little of him when he was so relevant to Kenshin’s past.  Plus, amongst Kenshin’s opponents, Saito was one of the best but we just had a glimpse of Saito’s famous fight stance in the movie and I was so blown away laughingly of how awkward it was executed.

Overall, the movie is good enough. Though there were actors who didn’t live up to my expectations, those who matter did deliver well. Sato Takeru made me believe that he was Himura Kenshin in the flesh. And though I felt that one arc to one movie is better than two arcs and an OVA, I still think the movie managed to show what a grand story this anime has and how one slayer could turn into an epic hero ♥

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6 thoughts on “Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin

  1. I agree with you about Sato Takeru. He was Kenshin in the flesh, unlike anyone else. And Kaoru was a sore disappointment ! I expected her usual bluster and her bokken to be flashing around, but no. Did you realize that the melding of arcs left out Aoshi from the film ? I wonder if he’ll be introduced in the sequel…
    The actor for Sano played him to perfection but didn’t fit him physically, agreed ! I was frustrated too when I realized that arcs had been smashed together for an amalgamated storyline that gave Kenshin all the importance and no one else. And that Megumi was just annoying, plain annoying.

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