Monday, December 3, 2012

X marks the Spot: A Rurouni Kenshin Live-Action Film Review

Never underestimate the power of the fans. The anime/manga community was so passionate regarding the live-action to be shown here in the Philippines that the bigwigs took notice. Rurouni Kenshin (live-action) will be officially shown to all SM Cinemas on December 5, Wednesday. The movie is in English subtitle.
But before its official showing, my friends and I were lucky to have an opportunity to watch it in advance.

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Rurouni Kenshi is also known as Samurai X especially to those who have watched the English dub in Studio 23 (a local channel here in the Philippines).

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! Before I ramble more about the said movie, I'd like to remind everyone that it's inevitable that I'll be telling you some spoilers. But I'll try my best not to give it all. note: I WILL TRY. :) 
In terms of how avid I am for this series, I can say I'm an average/casual fan. I've watched the series and was VERY familiar with the opening and ending themes. *wink, L'Arc En Ciel* But I only manage to retain a few bits of this series in my anime memory bank. So if you find anything to correct, please do. ^_^

    Himura Kenshin - Takeru Satō
    Kamiya Kaoru - Emi Takei
    Sagara Sanosuke - Munetaka Aoki
    Myōjin Yahiko - Taketo Tanaka
    Takani Megumi - Yuu Aoi
    Saitō Hajime - Yosuke Eguchi
It tells a story of a wandering swordsman (rurouni) named Kenshin Himura. Set in the Meiji Era, Kenshin was infamous as Hitokiri Battousai. When the war ended, many claimed that they are Battousai and ignited fear among the townsfolk. Saito Hajime who's now working as a police officer believes that the recent battousai-related attacks are not done by the 'real' Battousai.
Kaoru Kamiya, assistant instructor of the Kamiya dojo, later learns that the harmless-looking, wandering samurai she just met is the real Battousai. Just like in the series, the two quickly became friends since Kenshin defended the dojo from a group of bastards. Kenshin did some jail time (since he claimed responsibility for the rumble in Kaoru's dojo) and you'll see Sanosuke in the prison too (but they are not on the same cell).

Before Kenshin was released, Saito made sure that he was able to send his message loud and clear to Kenshin that it's impossible to turn his back from his past. That they will all die by the sword. However, Kenshin still believes he can protect his loved ones without having to kill. His (Kenshin) belief will soon be tested as there are circumstances that put his friends in danger.

The movie made an effort to keep the elements that we knew and loved about RK. I remember hearing Kenshin saying "Oro?", Sano doing his mad street-fighter skills (his term, not mine) and cheeky Yahiko teasing Kaoru. It was really enjoyable to see it on-screen. I'm sure avid fans will be able to spot those other elements I've not mention here. You have to see those exciting scenes for yourself. :)

For a Japanese movie, I think the actors did good and the cast was well-chosen. At least for me. :) 
Takeru Sato satisfied my expectation to see Kenshin as the comical rounin to the serious battousai. Guess being a Kamen Rider might have helped. Yuu Aoi was the perfect Megumi. She looked fox-like to me. And I like her eyebrows. It captured her mysteriousness. Yosuke Eguchi as Saito, man... I'm really excited whenever he shows up. There's always something unexpected when he's around. I don't know if it's just the script or Saito is really a man full of surprises (the Buddha scene in the anime cracked me up). Lastly...the fighting scenes, I've to say the choreo met what I wanted to see. So it's not surprising that people were cheering while the fight unfolds. ^_^
This movie runs for 2 hours. So I suggest avoid drinking too much water/liquid intake especially if your bladder's weak. I think if we'll be able to prove to the bigwigs that there's really a market for Japanese films, they might consider importing more. Watching it in cinemas is just one of the many ways to support the creators legally. 

For a casual fan like me, I really enjoyed it and would recommend you to watch it. I didn't feel that I'm just looking at beautiful actors. This movie was well-planned and the actors did their part to make their characters alive.
*insert your favorite ending RK theme song here*

Images by Freepik