Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Reaction: Rurouni Kenshin live action movie

There's no anime I watched and re-watched more than Samurai X. I watched it in Tagalog, in English, in original subtitled, over and over again in grade school that I almost memorized everything that happened in the story. My fondest memories of the summer just after Grade 6, before high school, was watching the marathon run of around 10 episodes a day during afternoons in Studio 23 (along with Final Fantasy, Rave!, and Angelic Layer. Loved all of them). I imagined that if I could relive a past life, it will be in 1890s Japan (2nd to medieval Europe). Never again will I be so absorbed in a story that way! Knowing there's a live action film, more than a decade after the anime's airing, of course I could not miss it.

The movie is set in the Meiji Restoration, ending a violent era with Japan adopting new systems from the Western World. The Samurai class is no longer influential. "Its the wives and daughters of samurai who now run the brothels, former samurai are now gangs of petty thieves," says the businessman who celebrates the 'New Age' with drug and firearm trade.

The former notorious killer Battosai Himura decides to live a new life as a wanderer, and now carries a reverse-bladed sword as a vow not to kill again. But can he run away from the past, or his past can't help but stay? As Saito (a former samurai, now a cop) says, "Wandering is the easy way out. We live by the sword and die by the sword." To those familiar with the story, we know Kenshin will still fight many enemies along the way, old and new, challenging his beliefs. As the antagonist in the movie says: once a killer, always a killer.
blood, rain, kenshin himura, samurai x movie, rorouni kenshin, live action, battosai himura, eyes closed
A still-scarless Battosai (now Kenshin with the scar).
In the movie, they encounter two villains: the greedy businessman Kanryu Takeda and the psychotic killer Udo Jine. Megumi, who came from a doctor's family, makes opium for Takeda. Udo Jine is a former Samurai who works for Takeda, but still blood-thirsty, kills many using the name of Battosai. He mocks Kenshin's new ways. Jine would be very satisfied to see Kenshin as the merciless killer again, and provokes him. Will Kenshin yield?
Clockwise from left: Kaoru, Sanosuke, Saito, and Megumi
Their cast is perfect for their roles. My favorites were Saito and Sanosuke. Sano: who else would pause in the middle of a fight to eat lechon manok and even offer some to his opponent? They even drink together. Then back to the action. Saito blurs the line of morality, and mocks Kenshin too. As a former Samurai, he easily blended in the new age as a police officer. I like the way he smirks.

Overall, a fun and action-filled movie. Let's end this post with Takeda and his fruity assistants. The masked guy could be an endorser for Pantene. 

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