Thank you to the fantastic torrent uploader- whom I forgot and can't seem to find now- who had put this up for download. And also to Ume Murasaki from Karyuudo Fansubs for the excellent English subtitle. I've waited long enough for this. Sadly, I haven't found the dvd at KK yet. They didn't even screen this on our cinema. Still, the quality of audio and video here is very good so I'm not going to complain. I watched this on a lazy Saturday morning, using my sister's laptop since mine doesn't have the HDMI port. I've read some review on this before and most gave it a glowing review. So you must understand the anticipation I had when the movie started playing on our television.
The plot is a modification of two story archs from the manga and anime, and they had Kenshin and the gang dealing with a vile opium dealer, Kanryuu Takeda. It is a well-paced plot of action and drama that took into consideration to introduce and develop all the major/supporting characters of RK as well as Hajime Saitou the anti-hero and Jinei, one of Kenshin's memorable nemesis. Takeru Sato's portrayal of Kenshin with his usual "Oro" and polite demeanor was done pretty well, despite them focusing more on Kenshin's coldness rather than on his humorous side. Emi Takei showed Kaoru's resilient spirit and tomboyish nature as a kendo master while Yuu Aoi managed to capture Megumi's unassuming coyness and practicality as a doctor. Yahiko was the same endearing teasing runt and Sanosuke the forever headstrong and reckless trouble-maker.
|Sanosuke, everyone's favorite bad mannered fighter~|
And it was great how they also developed Jinei's character in a way that you can compare Kenshin's dark past to him, and also to show how far he had lost his humanity. Jinei made for a fantastic villain in some way; a man hopelessly driven by principle and principle alone, it was this belief that had made him strong and it was also the one that had destroyed him. Kenshin's struggle against this very same belief made the whole thing interesting to watch. The director and actors had managed to capture that emotion and complicated moral beliefs from the manga. Kanryuu Takeda the opium smuggler was, like everyone said, was over-the-top and ridiculous. But in a good way. He was fun to watch, even though a character like him didn't worth a second of Kenshin's damn time.
|Jinei, a formidable foe~|
I also liked the cinematography work; the vivid colours and beautiful presentation of Japan in the Meiji era were pleasant to watch. They made good use of the environment to present tension and feelings like the part where Kenshin watched as Tomoe (that would be the woman in white kimono from Kenshin's flashback, if you don't know) fell in tears over the body of her dead fiance as rain was falling and everything moved slowly (literally). The scores were well done too. They didn't take those fantastic soundtracks from the anime, but I'm glad for it since this gives room for something new in RK. I personally liked the soundtrack from Kenshin's flashback, that was a very sad one.
I don't know if there is going to be a sequel, but if there is one, I would surely be welcoming it. What can I say, I'm a diehard fan of the manga.