The latest addition to the long running “Rurouni Kenshin” franchise is the 16th film in the series, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. The movie takes place after the events of the end of the previous film, but before the events of the original “Rurouni Kenshin.” Both the main character, Makoto, and the antagonist, Yukishiro Kushinada, are in their mid-twenties. The two are childhood friends who share a close relationship, but in the end, Kushinada causes irreparable damage to Makoto and becomes a major threat to people around him.
The original Rurouni Kenshin TV series aired in the mid-to-late 1990s, and was a significant touchstone for many anime fans. It’s a very distinctive “anime” series in that it’s just exceptionally good at what it does, and is easily the best anime on the subject of warlords. The show itself is a traditional samurai hero narrative, with an emphasis on Kenshin’s character development, which is occasionally interrupted by the development of his companions. The show ended with a cliffhanger in which Kenshin was forced to kill the villainous Kenshin Himura, but the show was cancelled before it could resolve that storyline, which is one of the main reasons this series is on the list. ~~
The sequel to TV-Tokyo’s 2006 anime adaptation of “Rurouni Kenshin”, the franchise that spawned a critically acclaimed live-action movie starring Tom Cruise, came to an end this past weekend. The aptly named “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends”, which itself was written by “Rurouni Kenshin’s” original creator Nobuhiro Watsuki, began airing on Japanese television on Saturday, July 25th, with a preview screening of the first episode airing on July 23rd.
‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends’ takes up where the second film leaves off, making it a direct sequel to ‘Rurouni Kenshin: Tokyo Inferno.’ Keishi Otomo is back to direct the prequel to the live-action series based on the popular Japanese comic. In September 2014, only a month after the second installment, this action film was released in Japanese theaters. In October 2016, a subtitled version was released in the United States, followed by a video on demand version.
Kenshin washes up on the beach comatose after failing to rescue the love of his life, Kaoru Kamiya, after his attempts to bring the book back to his predecessor Makoto Shishio from his Bottasai days. His sword-fighting sensei from back in the day, Saijuro, portrayed by Masaharu Fukuyama, is the one who discovers him and looks after him until he recovers completely.
Shishio, the evil guy, moves to Tokyo while Kenshin regains his power and health, frightening the peasants he encounters along the route. As we saw in the previous two films, Kenshin can no longer tolerate watching defenseless and innocent people being harassed by a gang of sword-wielding bullies. And, as a result of his meeting with Shishio, Kenshin realizes that bringing this terrorist down will need more than his present set of abilities. The opening forty minutes of the film are a little slow for a full-fledged action movie, since the most of it follows Kenshin as he learns the ultimate skill of a unique type of swordsmanship from his teacher.
Kenshin pulls back a lot throughout the new training, still abiding by his pledge against violence, and is terrified of releasing the compacted demons of his past. Saijuro sees how rusty his finest pupil has gotten and encourages him to seek inner calm in order to progress.
Meanwhile, Shishio learns that Kenshin is still alive and well, and demands that the government publicly kill Kenshin for his previous atrocities if peace is to be restored.
Though flashbacks provide insight into why the characters are the way they are in their present circumstances, this film utilizes much too many of them, which may be annoying to someone who has previously watched the flicks. However, it is beneficial to beginners. The use of monologue to express Kenshin’s ideas is one of the film’s most noteworthy features. This allows the viewer to get a better understanding of his thinking.
Character introductions are hardly done, just as they were in the previous Rurouni Kenshin volumes, with the assumption that the viewer has previously seen or read the manga. However, one can’t help but feel that certain established characters have been thrown to the side, such as Emi Takei, who was a key part in the previous films, Megumi Takani appears briefly, a feature that doesn’t add much to the narrative, and Kenshin’s adversary Aoshi Shinomori also seems undercooked. All of this may be the consequence of cramming so much content into such a short amount of screen time.
The Kenshin tension we witnessed in the previous chapter is, of course, missing here, due to the intensive instruction the hero gets from his old sensei, which rips the mask off Kenshin’s persona and reveals a deeper psychological aspect of himself.
One thing is certain about Kenshin: he does not believe he is worthy of life because of his difficult background. Of course, he wouldn’t murder himself, but he has to kill one opponent who is endangering the same peace that he has sworn to help keep, therefore he must remain alive. But, in order to overcome Shishio, he must desire to live, a virtue that allows him to turn over a fresh chapter beyond the horrors of his past. Kenshin has become more strong-willed, and his promise not to shed blood is no longer seen as a means to escape his past, but as a new way of life.
Another plot point that aids Kenshin in his last battle is the revelation that, owing to Shishio’s inability to sweat (as shown in the previous film, he was bandaged up), he can’t fight for more than fifteen minutes, which keeps fans and newcomers alike on the edge of their seats. This is what, spoiler warning, helps Kenshin overcome this cruel tyrant.
The last moment, in which Kenshin sends Shishio to his tomb, is breathtaking. Despite the fact that this film makes greater use of CGI than the others, it is not overdone and flows smoothly, making it interesting to watch. The fast-paced action scenes demonstrate the exceptional camera work, editing, and directing skills on display. The combat tactics are extremely creative, Kenshin’s acrobatics are flawless, and the usage of slow-motion components adds value to the action, allowing the viewer to fully consume the action to their heart’s content.
In fact, although chapter two shines in epic action scenes, chapter three dazzles with choreography, particularly in its last climax of pure action, which spans almost the whole final third of the film.
This series has fantastic costumes and cultural allusions. The ship’s design is very good in this case. The costume designers created beat-up versions of the clothes for a grittier vibe that reflects the trauma the characters are going through, which is incredible.
Like the previous three films, ‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends’ is a fantastic action extravaganza. It may not be as historically significant as its predecessor, but it remains firmly rooted in the early Meiji era. It gives close attention to the story’s finer points, which were established in ‘Kyoto Inferno.’
Since is customary, this story is primarily aimed at manga lovers, and although no prior knowledge of the source material is required, viewers should at least watch chapter two before moving on to the third installment, as the events are intertwined.
SCORE: 7 OUT OF 10
What can be said about “Rurouni Kenshin” that hasn’t already been said? This anime series has been around since 1994, and is one of the most well-known and highly-praised anime of all time. The series follows the story of Sanosuke Sagara. His personality and ways of thinking and acting differ from Kyoshiro, and he and his friends band together to fight for the glory and honor of the samurai.. Read more about rurouni kenshin: kyoto inferno and let us know what you think.
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