[Movies] Rurouni Kenshin: The Movies End

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno poster

The first Kenshin movie was always going to be a tough act to beat. It was new, exciting - our nostalgic manga and anime hero brought to life as a flesh and blood human with inhuman swordsmanship abilities. It was epic see Takeru Sato work his way into the role, cementing himself as the real-life rendition of Kenshin forever.

Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends rode on that initial success and came to us quite slow in comparison to other countries, but perhaps they were waiting until the time was right to bring it in with the annual Japan Film Festival of 2014. While the movies certainly didn’t disappoint, there were certain parts of each that one could criticise.

For the first movie as we considered a standalone at the time, it was not so important to expect it to match the storyline of the first few minor arcs within the manga series. How would these fit themselves together into a credible storyline without some assistance from a scriptwriter? Yet because the Kyoto Arc was the first established lengthy arc in Rurouni Kenshin and the first movie did such a good job in keeping with the true spirit of the manga, there were higher expectations of these sequel movies and their accuracy.

In many ways they did not fail to disappoint, but the introduction of Aoshi was muted because of the way he was not present in the first movie as he was present in the first actual arc of the manga. This made Kenshin’s relationship with the Oniwabanshu quite different.

On a more stylistic side, Kenshins’s dramatic poses grew a little old on me a while. At first I was there fangirling with the best of them, as Takeru Satou glared over his shoulder or crouched on the ground with his sword swept dramatically to one side. Perhaps it should be a ‘sometimes’ thing as they say.

While I enjoyed the second movie immensely and was immediately ready to welcome in Movie 3 (which was immediately after, so my wish was automatically granted), the third movie had me protesting internally. It might have been externally if it were not that I was in a movie theatre. I do think it fits the overall spirit of the series, but seeing all the blame and hate heaped on Kenshin, with him captured and (seemingly?) helpless was all too much.

Overall a great movie trilogy with an amazing set of actors bringing the story to life. While I’m not sure what I would think if they were to hazard an attempt at adapting the Jinchuu Arc which no one has ever successfully done well, I would be fairly confident in saying that at some point I will be marathoning these movie again. Preferrably in a dark room with a large screen and a box of popcorn at the ready if possible.