Like completely and utterly different. 😀
So today, I found the live action movie “Rurouni Kenshin”. And let me tell you, I was squealing with joy even before the movie started. Because this was my middle-school memories. Nostalgia is an interesting thing: a very powerful one too.
“Kenshin” is based on the popular Japanese manga (“graphic novel”) and anime (“cartoon”) that was released in the 1990s and early 2000s. I didn’t get into it, however, since I was too young, till I got into my Japanese-phase in middle school. Let me tell you, this manga was like all of my dreams put together: I just can’t get enough of it because it holds a special place in my heart.
The basic summary is this: Hitokiri (“Man-Slayer” literal translation) Battousai was a feared assassin during the wars before the Meiji Restoration in Japan. He killed ruthlessly, and bears a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek as a reminder for all of the men he killed and lives he destroyed. However, after the war ended and Japan entered the Restoration period, he disappeared. The Battousai vowed to never kill again and threw away his sword — something unheard of for samurais — and lived as a rurouni (“wanderer”) named Himura Kenshin. He carries a reversed blade katana called the “sakabatou” in order to protect the ones he loves and cares about without killing. (The sakabatou has the sharp edge along the inner curve of the katana and the blunt one along the outer curve, thus rendering the katana unable to kill — unless you reverse the way you hold it.) Now, 10 years later, the manga, anime and now live action follow his adventures to put his past memories to rest while living a normal life in the present.
Basically this movie was everything I wanted. It had the right characters for the roles. Kenshin was as cute when saying “oro” — the famous line he said when confused — in the live action as he was in the anime and manga. Kaoru, the young girl in whose dojo Kenshin now resides, is as hot-headed yet soft as us fans have grown to love. Yahiko, a young kid who is saved by both Kaoru and Kenshin and now is Kaoru’s student at her dojo, isn’t as sassy as he was in the anime and manga, but there wasn’t much time to elaborate the normal life in the live action as the anime and manga were able to do. (I mean, with 95ish episodes for the anime and 257 chapters for the manga, you’d have plenty of time for character development.) Sanosuke, a brunt that joins forces with Kenshin and Kaoru, is as rough and stubborn as he was as a 2D character. And although, Megumi, a young female doctor whom Sanosuke and Kenshin save from making a horrible kind of opium, isn’t as flirtatious with Kenshin in the anime/manga, there are still hints of it.
There are parts, however, that changed completely for the sake of the movie. The gaitling gun scene: the opium seller orders a gaitling gun and uses it against Sano and Kenshin when they were trying to save Megumi. I’m happy that no one offered to act as shields, unlike the manga/anime. I cried so much while reading and watching that. It’s hard to explain to those who haven’t read the manga or watched the anime and have grown up with the characters. And there were two important events that were covered in this movie: the busting of a opium ring and the reconciliation with one of Kenshin’s old enemies. I didn’t like how the two events were combined together, as they were consecutive in the manga. Because it seemed like Kenshin had way too much on his hands during the movie, unlike the manga/anime.
My complaints are minor, petty details, from an avid fan that knows way too much about “Kenshin” and loves it a little too obsessively. However, I am glad that the live action lived up to my expectations. I had high hopes when I heard that they were filming this two years ago. And a year ago, when they released some official photos, my anticipation rose. And when the trailer finally came out, I couldn’t wait any longer. Now, I’m content.
So for those of you who have never heard of “Kenshin” until now, I’m sorry for your loss. But hopefully you can understand some of my passion and undying obsession for this manga/anime/movie, if you start from the very beginning.
Read the manga: http://manga.animea.net/rurouni-kenshin.html
Watch the anime: http://www.animecrazy.net/rurouni-kenshin-episode-1/
And finally, watch the live action with the English subtitles: — find it on Google. Unfortunately, I can’t provide the link since it’s not exactly very…. yeah….. I hope I’m getting my point across for this one….. (
Because this is worth the watch and the read. I promise you that.