Hello everyone! It’s Megan Highwind here with another article for your enjoyment! If you are anything like me you spent many nights watching shows on Toonami and Adult Swim before Toonami died and Adult Swim more or less got rid of their anime type shows. Even though I do not really watch any anime anymore, the best ones that I have ever seen including Cowboy Bebop, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and today’s article’s related anime Rurouni Kenshin all made appearances on this channel. Not too terribly long ago, Rurouni Kenshin was turned into a live action movie directed by Keishi Ohtomo and I was finally able to sit down and watch it and here are my thoughts!
I loved this movie. There were things that I took issue with that I will cover a little later on in the article, but overall I think it was well done. I would like to start off by saying that even if you were not a fan of the anime series or even more so the manga since it follows that more closely, but are a fan of samurais and the like that this movie is still worth seeing. The fight scenes are amazingly well choreographed and the storyline is good as well even without knowing the backstory from the anime itself. While I did enjoy the storyline, it is also where my main issues with the movie come into play. Basically, the movie is trying to the whole first volume of the manga into two hours. This is no small feat and things had to be changed or switched around in order to fit everything that the director felt was important and because of things some things had to be missed. The biggest thing I wished had made it into the film was the ending scene of the Oniwaban getting killed by Kanryuu and Aoshi’s reaction to these deaths. I have always felt like this is an important to the main storyline since it plays into Aoshi’s actions in the future and the eventual meeting of the rest of the Oniwaban group in Kyoto during the Shishio arc.Other things that were changed were the introduction of Sano, the connection between Karou and Jin-e, and the lack of focus on Aoshi. I am curious to see how the director decides to incoporate Aoshi considering that his main reason for fighting is not really a focus at all. However, all of this being said, I think that the main points of the manga concerning the rest of the cast were done in a manner that sets up nicely for the next film.
In addition to the good storyline, the casting is spot on. Takeru Sato plays Kenshin and does a fantastic job of capturing his quirks and everything that viewers have come to love about the character. Likewise, the rest of the cast portray their characters as I would have imagined them be. I especially got a kick out of Teruyuki Kagawa’s creepily evil performance as Kanryuu Takeda. The only issue that I have heard that people have with the casting is that Emi Takei is almost too cute as Karou when she is supposed to be more of a tomboy and have a brash look to her. However, she never appeared that way in the anime or the manga, to me, so I think that Emi is well cast and definitely captures Karou’s moments of strength without being too much on the cutesy side.
I do think that they could have incorporated more of the original music in different arrangements in the movie so that there was some nod to the original anime since the music is well known to fans. The music that was chosen is sufficient to what is trying to be achieved, but I doubt will be anything memorable like some of the theme songs from the original anime were. The settings that were used, on the other hand, were fantastic. The war torn backdrops, the mansion of Kanryuu, Karou’s dojo, among others, all fit well into the movie and are beautifully created to to make the film come together and feel like all of these set pieces belong in the same world. Overall, this is definitely one of the best live action movies I have seen in a while, especially from a manga adaptation. It was an awesome experience to see characters that I grew up loving come to life in this kind of setting. I am extremely excited for the next installment and am especially curious to see the Shishio arc played out when they eventually come to it. Trust me when I say that you should definitely check out this Rurouni Kenshin live action film, you will definitely not regret it.
-As always, please read, review, and share! Thanks!
-Megan Highwind has left the party.