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The Asian ApertureRurouni Kenshin (2012, Live Action)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, August 11, 2013    Share

Himura Kenshin wanders Japan shortly after the Bakumatsu war as a new era, the Meiji period begins. Kenshin is a samurai who used to be an assassin under the name Hitokiri Battousai. The Meiji period is a difficult transitional time as Japan heads towards modernization. One tough blow was that the samurai were banned from carrying swords in 1876. Also, the Meiji Restoration was the beginning of Japan’s Westernization. Not the ideal time for the young Kenshin who is a sword expert.

Rurouni Kenshin the live action movie is based on a manga under the same name the first appeared in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in 1994 and ran to 1999. I first moved to Osaka, Japan in 1999 to attend Kansai Gaidai University to study Japanese and Rurouni Kenshin was one of the first manga I bought to supplement my Japanese reading.

The anime series ran from 1996 to 1998 with 95 episodes with additional movies and OVAs (Original Video Animation,) and in 2012 a live action movie.

The first thing that caught my attention was how well the cast looked like the characters from the manga and anime. Satoh Takeru was dead on for Kenshin and also Munetaka Aoki as Sagara Sanosuke as everyone’s favorite street brawler who carries a gigantic sword.
As Kenshin is wandering around Tokyo he meets up with the cute and determined Kamiya Kaoru who is managing her late father’s Kendo dojo.

The plot thickens as a ruthless samurai is killing people and leaving nasty letters with a bloody hand print on the victim’s bodies. He is called Jin-e and is a serial killer who uses the style of sword fighting from Kaoru’s dojo. The local police are trying to figure out who is the murderer. Resultantly, Kenshin is forced by the police to help out. The main target for the police is to rid the city of Takeda Kanryuu a malicious opium dealer.

The sword fights are amazing with touches of Hong Kong action movies as characters perform back flips and soar through the air. However, there are plenty of hand-to-hand combat scenes to please martial movie fans. Blood splashes as swords sever limbs and lop off heads.

Rurouni Kenshin has a quick pace to it despite a 135-minute running time. You get so caught up in the characters, the drama, and the breathtaking fight sequences that you just don’t want the action to stop.

Rurouni Kenshin did very well in Japan grossing 36 million and 60 million worldwide. It even had a limited run in the US premiering at 2012 Los Angeles Eiga Fest. A two part sequel is planned for Summer 2014.

I encourage all fans of manga, anime, chanbara, Hong Kong action cinema, samurai movies, and action fans in general to check out Rurouni Kenshin and you won’t be disappointed.

Highly Recommended

5 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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