Rurouni Kenshin: Live action movie release

Nobuhiro Watsuki had a beautiful way of writing and illustrating his historical fiction story. Released in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazines in 1994, the story of Himura Kenshin; the wandering samurai who attempts to atone for his murderous past, stands as one of the best Manga and Anime shows during the turn of the millennium. So to think that even now there are new ways in which we can see Kenshin and co is a testament to the great success of Watsuki’s work, though this time it is in the form of a live action movie. So yet again we have the opportunity to watch the tale of Kenshin as he fights foes from the civil war, remnants of the life he left behind when taking up the Sakabato, reverse bladed sword, in atonement for his sins. Wandering all of Japan using his skills now to protect instead of destroy.

Bear in mind that there is still not only a devout fan base but also widespread appreciation for the Manga, the OVA short movies and the Anime TV series, Rurouni Kenshin as a live action adaptation had a lot to live up to. Even I know I will cast a critical eye, as Rurouni Kenshin was the first Manga I ever read! The film was produced by Warner Bros and the production was left to the capable hands of Studio Swan. August 25th this year saw the release of the movie in Japanese cinemas and even though a large sum of various media publications had their doubts, Rurouni Kenshin has lived up to all the expectations.

Just so you can get an idea of what we mean, at the Japanese box office The Avengers is currently in its second week in Japan and was knocked down to #2 with a weekend take of 314 million yen (about £2,500,000). Rurouni Kenshin reached #1 in its first week even though the film was booked into roughly half as many screens; it still came out on top with a weekend gross of just over 400 million yen (£3,200,000). If that doesn’t make Mr Stark feel a little less of a playboy, I don’t know what will.

Anyway enough of the math! I’ll let you feast your eyes for a little:

As you can see from the trailer there is very little use of CG, wirework makes for practical fight scenes, and due to the extensive and fantastic choreography we can see the wirework being used to speed up the fights at Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū levels. So no Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon superman styled flying ninjas. From who you can see it looks like casting is spot on. I personally don’t have any issues with all who appear in the movie and from who we can identify in the trailer, those familiar with the series can identify how much of the story the film covers.

While a lot of the straight up comedy has been lost from what was depicted in the Anime TV show, Kenshin still keeps his classic “Oro” and bemused attitude, though skepticism of the darker more realistic approach should be met with the same confidence that the Samurai X achieved when it was released. This saw no humor at all, yet still to this day is praised as one of the best OVA series’ in Japan.

I can’t wait for the announcement of the DVD release, and only one thing could sedate my hunger, that being the prospect of a theatrical release in western cinemas. Talks are indeed underway though sadly nothing is definite. One final cherry blossom about the great success of the live action movie so far, is that providing Rurouni Kenshin continues to receive such a warm response, a possible follow up of a live action series could soon be underway.

So keep your fingers crossed and remember what the movie poster splash says “The calm ones are the ones to fear most!” Well my friends are safe, because I’m bouncing with un-bridled excitement!

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2 Comments

  1. Vikki says:

    Your friends are safe? I definitely disagree, I don’t doubt I’ll see you bouncing off the walls about this until we get to see it in full!
    Also “If that doesn’t make Mr Stark feel a little less of a playboy, I don’t know what will.” may have just made my day.

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