Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (Film Review)

Aug 16, 2014
As the lights dimmed off, and the projector started rolling, everyone from the crowded theater went nuts. And that, I mean really loud uproar. The scar that the anime series and manga strips 'Rurouni Kenshin' leaved during it's early 2000's airing on the local television channel 'Studio 23' is so immense, the fan community has extended on a global scale. It's that big. So, it's no surprise but to never cheer with the crowd as well when Kenshin was fighting through his reverse-blade sword while doing his signature God speed-like running.

My first encounter with the source material was, you'll be surprised, last May. When storm hits when "that Japanese movie is getting a BIG release in the Philippines." as it was announced by Warner Bros. I was shocked to read the overflowing love the anime series has created. And with my curiosity (honestly, trying to squeeze myself with the trend. Haha), I watched every single episode of the series. All three story arcs, in the course of a month. It's a long stretch for a saga that mostly revolves on a single character, and a newborn fan has born since then.

'Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno' pretty much covers the first half of the best story arc of the series: the "Kyoto Arc", (the final half will be covered by the next film "The Legend Ends", which is set to debut this September.) and follows Rurouni Kenshin as he is living in peace in Tokyo at the Kamiya Dojo palace with the promise to never slit with the sword again. Not until he was contacted by Government official Ōkubo Toshimichi to stop the growing threat from Makoto Shishio to Japan: burn it through the ashes, so he can rule it on his own.
I try not to be a nitpicker at times, but a few alterations with the sequel from the original series didn't work as it should've been, and key characters were left out (okay, i'm being too nitpicky..). But it's not a major flaw, as the film works as a very effective and great set-up to the final film. There's too much happening, covering the first half in a very satisfying way as possible.

The set pieces are terrific. The choreography and the fast-pace motion of the battle sequences were so clean, that everything felt so realistic and grounded way as possible. Every punch, kick, and the swing of the sword were delivered perfectly.

Takeru Sato excels as Kenshin Himura from the previous film. Here, we see him on a milder temper, stronger and confused whether he will break his promise to kill --or not. The very adorable Emi Takei also hit the notes as Miss Kaoru. Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke), Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shishio), Yôsuke Eguchi (Saito), and Ryosuke Miura (Cho), however, delivered their respective roles dearly.
Some characters were poorly developed (in the case of Sejiro and Yahiko's characters) in the film, that you instantly felt like they weren't there. But it's too early for me to judge, since they will potentially be fleshed out better in the final film. The movie's theme song by One OK Rock was undeniably catchy.

When it comes to making a grand tease for a big battle, "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno" is a sure-fire winner. While it has it's flaws, the movie picked up by showcasing it's breath-taking action spectacles. Truly a satisfying note to every "Kenshin" fans!

The geek rates it 8/10.

[I can't hardly wait for the next film, as it closes in prepare for a big training for that battle..]
'Rurouni Kenshin' opens this Wednesday, August 20 from Warner Bros. Pictures!

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