Quite a buzz has been stirring in the latest adaptation of the Rurouni Kenshin comics (and anime), a full 2 hour live-action movie produced by Warner Brothers. Not only does it accurately re-tell the entire story of Kenshin, apparently it does it well. A recent article about the movie was recently written by Kotaku, and they rave that it’s a “nearly perfect film adaptation”.
The live-action version of Rurouni Kenshin was released in Japan in August. This familiar tale follows the story of the legendary assassin known as Kenshin Himura, who in this fictional setting, nearly single-handedly won a civil war in Japan and brought about the Meiji Era. After the war is ended, Kenshin vows to never take another human life, and shows this by making a new blade which is turned around, so the blunt end faces outward. Kenshin also stabs his old sword in the ground and goes into hiding. However when Kenshin’s whereabouts are discovered by his previous allies and enemies in the war, his new friends and lifestyle are put in danger.
Not only am I excited about this movie, I want an English release date, like now! I was a fan of Samurai X and the anime that followed those bloody beginnings. I’m usually not gushing over foreign movies, but this is one of my exceptions. Though some of the character’s may come off as cheesy-looking to those not familiar to the comic, the trailers I’ve seen are fucking amazing.
I’m so glad to hear that it’s not like recent anime-to-film adaptations like the abysmal “Dragon Ball: Evolution”, and “The Last Airbender” movies. Perhaps we have the all Japanese cast to thank for that. In March of last year I wrote about anime that I thought were relevant including “Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal”, which can be read here.
Questions remain however, will people be interested enough in this movie to pay money to see an English adaptation of the film? Here are some good reasons why people should see the film. Although the film is based on a fictional character, it is based in an actual historic Era of Japan, during a time when guns started to become the must-have weapon rather then the sword.
We live in a society that sees war on a daily basis, and the soldiers coming back over-seas may appreciate the film and perhaps find a connection with the main character. Kenshin has what you might call modern day Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I feel that this movie may hold special relevance to those people coming back from war with those types of issues and trying to re-enter society.
Another good example of the historical context comes from one of the characters, named Saitō who was an actual man who fought through a bloody war. Saitō Hajime was a samurai of the late Edo period in Japan and was captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi.
In conclusion, this isn’t just another anime movie adaptation, it’s a movie that is relevant to this day and age and perhaps offers a bit of insight to Japan’s past. Not to mention the sword fighting is just badass.