When it comes to making movies based on manga or to make it live-action from anime, is something that few directors can pull off. Worse when the movie is based on a fan favorite and has been considered part and parcel of anyone who read manga or watches anime. Be it that they are from Japan or from other nations. One does not simply turn a classic like Rurouni Kenshin into a live action movie.
Yet Keishi Otomo the director and Osamu Kubota, the producer had to do it. Did they bring justice to a manga written by Nobuhiro Watsuki ? Amazingly as we watch this adaptation for the second time, Lyle will admit that they did bring some form of justice to Nobuhiro’s Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (this is the full title of the manga).
As always, there will be some spoilers so if you’re not the type who wants to be spoiled. Get lost now.
Rurouni Kenshin the movie is based on the first season of the anime version minus a few plot elements and mixing some plot with others. If you have watched the anime, you can tell the differences that they made. What Lyle found really sad was that there was no Aoshi Shinomori in this film adaptation.
The story begins with Hitokiri Batt?sai fighting at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi . A decade after, Hitokiri Batt?sai now called Himura Kenshin, wanders Edo living his life and being a rurouni (wanderer). And just like the anime version, Kamiya Kaoru attacks Himura thinking that he is the Hitokiri Batt?sai that is currently killing people in the streets while using the name Kamiya Sword Style.
This is where everything from the anime changes in the movement of the story. So after convincing her that he is not, Himura continues to wander. We are then introduce to two characters, Kanryu Takeda and Takani Megumi, where the former is a ruthless man who forces Takani Megumi to make opium and sells it.
She escapes but is hunted by Hitokiri Batt?sai which was sent by Takeda. While walking back, Kaoru engages with this Hitokiri Batt?sai and was later rescued by Himura Kenshin. Now the fake Hitokiri Batt?sai here is Udo Jin-e, the name might sound familiar as this was the same guy who kidnapped Kaoru in the anime version and tried to force Kenshin back into a slasher.
< Yes sir, this movie adaptation makes Jin-e the fake Batt?sai who is the last enemy of Kenshin in this movie. Somewhere down the line after saving Kaoru, she learns the truth about Kenshin and he for the time being had stopped wandering and began to stay at Kaoru's dojo temporary. Meanwhile, Takeda gets his men to poison the well to draw out Megumi from hiding. Racing against time, Megumi manages to neutralize most of the poison from the villagers who fell victim to this. Not wanting anymore casualty, she left and return to Takeda with a plot to kill him but that failed. (anime version of this plot was that Yahiko was the one who got poison not the villagers) Ever the savior, Kenshin with Sagara Sanosuke storms Takeda's mansion. Amazingly Sanosuke in this film was portrayed very well by actor Munetaka Aoki. Like any Japanese action film, the action comes only at the last part and this was it. In the anime version, Kenshin fought a member of the Oniwabansh? who wore long-sleeve with stripes.
Though in this, the enemy which Kenshin fights in the mansion uses a gun. Nevertheless, the real action of the mansion belong to Sanosuke. Now this particular fight occurs in the kitchen and somewhere in the middle of the fight, Sanosuke ask for a timeout to have a meal before continuing. Lyle laughed during this part as it when something like this
Sanosuke *offers roast chicken* “Want some ?”
Enemy *takes it and places it on the cabinet* “I’m vegetarian” *says a short prayer”
Sanosuke “want a drink ?” *drinks a bottle before offering*
Enemy “Gimme” *takes bottle and drinks it*
The kicker of this particular fight was when Sanosuke delivered a thunderous german suplex. Lyle is certain that Chris Benoit will be friggin proud to see that. Well for the rest of the story, go watch it and learn that in the particular adaptation; Himura Kenshin does only one Hiten Mitsurugi-ry? move.
Overall, we are giving this movie 7 out of 10 stars. It was great that the director and producer did not emphasize much on Kenshin’s infamous Hiten Mitsurugi-ry?. Takeru Satoh who played Kenshin in this movie look as good as his manga counterpart and he portrayed Kenshin too damn good. While Lyle was watching this, he wandered why the name Takeru Satoh sounded familiar.
Then he realize that this was the same guy who acted in Kamen Rider Den-O as the titular hero. Well that’s enough talk for tonight. Oh the ending song in the film is called The Beginning and it is performed by One OK Rock.