So while I was on my flight to China, I got the chance to watch the live-action adaptation for Rurouni Kenshin. I’m not sure of how I was thinking in my sleep-addled state, but I enjoyed the movie quite a lot. I’m not sure how it is for those who are not familiar with the series, but as a fan of the manga and anime, I’d say it was pretty good. For anyone familiar with the series, the movie is sort of a combination of the Jin-e arc and the Megumi/Kanryu arc. If you wanna compare to the New Kyoto OVA that I reviewed before, it’s a lot better in my opinion.
For those unfamiliar with the show, the story takes place in the Meiji era in Japan. It follows the swordsman Kenshin Himura, who fought in the Bakumatsu war as the legendary Hitokiri Battosai. Following the war, he vowed never to kill again and wanders the world as a rurouni (hence the name of the series). Looking at the movie as a whole, it seems very serious in comparison with the anime, but this is likely a result of time constraints. Many small things are altered in the story, but they don’t seem to detract too much from it. For example, the fake Battosai is Jin-e…stuff like that.
While I was watching the show, I felt like they were trying to do way too much stuff in one movie…what with the opium stuff, the battle against Jin-e, Kenshin joining the dojo, the fight with Sanosuke, introducing Yahiko…this constitutes quite a few episodes in the anime. However, I thought the fusion into a “single story” worked out pretty well. They were able to put in so many characters: Saitou, Yahiko, Sanosuke, and Megumi manage to show up. Very cool that they were able to integrate everyone.
I suppose I have a few problems with the show, but they may just be me. For one, they drop the whole “attacks with names” thing, only having Kenshin use SoRyuSen at the very end. Gatotsu is also used, but without the name given. I guess it’s to make the movie more “mature”, but it makes it lose some flair for someone like me. Still, I will say that it makes the fights seem a lot more fluid with the lack of pausing for a special move. Those fights just looked great. There’s also the thing with Kaoru’s appearance being off for the type of character she’s supposed to be. Also, I hated the character Gein (masked guy). I felt like he was supposed to be Aoshi, but failed.
Honestly, I’d say that this movie was definitely a lot better than I was expecting. I’m glad I had the chance to see it because I probably wouldn’t have thought to look for it otherwise. For people new to the series, it’s a nice combination of action (it’s got swords!), idealism, and a bit of romance. For people familiar with the series, there’s some new stuff there for you. Add in a nice soundtrack (I really liked the battle music for the fight in front of Kanryuu’s mansion) with ONE OK ROCK for an ending song. Works for me.