With the first live action Rurouni Kenshin being a resounding success, Warner Brothers just had to follow it up, and they did just that with not just one, but two movies.
Coming into summer, the first sequel, titled Rurouni Kenshin: The Great Kyoto Inferno, had a lot of hype, with fans all over the world very excited to see Takeru Satoh reprise his role as Kenshin “Battousai” Himura. The marketing and the build up for the movie has been astounding with the actors and the movie’s director visiting other countries just to promote the movie. They have recently experienced a very warm welcome in the Philippines where Satoh himself was designated as Japan’s cultural ambassador to the country. But is this sequel worth all that hype?
The answer is one resounding YES. The movie had plenty of action, just like the original, and provided the same Rurouni Kenshin feel as if you were a kid watching the anime back in the 1990’s. The movie just reminds you why you loved the series in the first place.
Takeru Satoh provided a great Kenshin and really made the audience feel that Kenshin really does have that inner struggle between who he is now and the killer he was back in the war. That inner struggle within Kenshin was one of the movie’s focal points and added a lot of depth to the movie. Who is Kenshin Himura really? The Peaceful Wanderer or the legendary samurai killer? Takeru Satoh really made us wonder what the answer is to that very question.
Emi Takei, who plays Kaoru Kamiya, meanwhile plays the anchor to Kenshin’s conscience and constantly reminds him not to kill anymore. She provided a great mix of “The Strong Female Character” and “The Damsel in Distress” for the movie as she showed that she can kick some butt too.
But for me, the one who stole the show was Munetaka Aoki who played Sanosuke Sagara. The hot-headed street brawler showed plenty of action as well as tickled a lot of funny bones with his antics. He was certainly the movie’s most entertaining character, unfortunately, they did not spend too much time developing him throughout the movie. Hopefully, we can see him shine in the third one.
Now let’s talk about the main antagonist, Makoto Shishio. Played by Tatsuya Fujiwara, the movie certainly showed that Shishio is as ruthless and as dangerous as they come. The movie’s opening sequence showed that killing other people just comes naturally to him, and showed that he will kill anyone who gets in his way. Fujiwara was great as Shishio, and certainly makes us cringe with how violent he is.
Ryunosuke Kamiki also plays a good villain as Soujirou Seta. He really gets Soujiro’s playfulness and shows that he is skilled enough to be more than a match for Kenshin in battle. His ruthlessness, coupled with his constant smile and playful nature really makes you wonder if he really does enjoy killing people.
Ryosuke Miura meanwhile turned up the ham by a lot to play Cho the sword hunter. His haminess was spot on, though a bit over the top. He and Satoh had one of the best fight scenes of the entire movie.
Yuusuke Iseya meanwhile made a better villain than most of the other antagonists in the movie as he plays Aoshi Shinomori. His betrayal and lust for revenge will really really make you hate him, and feel bad for Misao. Plus his fight scene with Okina (played by Min tanaka) was just top notch and can compete with Kenshin Vs. Cho for best fight of the movie.
Speaking of Misao, I was a bit frustrated with the movie because I felt that they did not explore her character that much. That and the fact that I felt that she did not have enough screen time. With that aside, actress Tao Tsuchiya captured plenty of her character quirks beautifully and showed that this female ninja can really kick some butt. Let’s just hope she gets the attention she deserves in the next movie.
I also felt that Shishio’s Juppongatana members besides Cho and Soujiro were not given the justice they deserve. Sure, there is still the sequel, but can you guys at least introduce them one by one? Sure, many of us know who they are already, but what about those people who are not familiar with the anime or the manga? These guys were marketed to be 10 of the deadliest killers in Japan, yet we did not see much of their individual skills at all, making you question if these guys are really hardened killers or just nameless thugs hired by Shishio.
Over all, the movie is one exciting roller coaster ride which will ultimately leave you hanging just to make sure you stick around for the third movie which is titled “The Legend Ends”. And yes, when the movie ended, it really made me want to see the third movie which will make its Japanese premiere on September 13, 2014 before heading over to the Philippines on September 24, 2014.
The movie made its Japanese premiere last August 1, 2014 before making its Philippine premiere last August 20. The movie will be making landfall in Singapore on October 9, 2014. It will be shown in a total of 64 countries around the world.
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