Friday, August 6, 2021

Rurouni Kenshin The Final Review: A Fitting End To The Kenshin Series

Takeru Satoh	Takeru Satoh	...	Kenshin Himura Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Shin'nosuke Abe	Shin'nosuke Abe	...	Kujiranami Hyogo Yû Aoi	Yû Aoi	...	Megumi Takani Munetaka Aoki	Munetaka Aoki	...	Sanosuke Sagara Kasumi Arimura	Kasumi Arimura	...	Tomoe Yukishiro Beau Billingslea	Beau Billingslea	...	Miyauchi Maekawa (voice) Justin Briner	Justin Briner	...	Sojiro Seta (voice) Brook Chalmers	Brook Chalmers	...	Woo Heixing (voice) John DeMita	John DeMita	...	Chief Uramura (voice) Yôsuke Eguchi	Yôsuke Eguchi	...	Hajime Saito Stephen Fu	Stephen Fu	...	Hyouko Otawa (voice) Morgan Garrett	Morgan Garrett	...	Tae Sekihara (voice) Kellen Goff	Kellen Goff	...	Hyogo Kujiranami (voice) Xanthe Huynh	Xanthe Huynh	...	Tsubame Sanjo (voice) Yûsuke Iseya	Yûsuke Iseya	...	Aoshi Shinomori Joey Iwanaga	Joey Iwanaga	...	Inui Banjin Ryûnosuke Kamiki	Ryûnosuke Kamiki	...	Seta Sojiro

Release date: June 29, 2021
Running time: 137 minutes
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Writer: Nobuhiro Watsuki (manga)
Starring: Takeru Satoh, Masanobu Andô, Towa Araki, Kasumi Arimura, Yôsuke Eguchi, Nijirô Murakami

Kenshin Himura goes up against a mysterious weapons dealer named Enishi Yukishiro. He controls the underworld of China. Kenshin's past catches up to him causing the destruction of Akabeko Restaurant, which was Kenshin's favorite place to eat. There, he finds a note with the word "Junchu" on it.

Brittney Karbowski	Brittney Karbowski	...	Misao Makimachi (voice) Masami Kosaka	Masami Kosaka	...	Officer Masataka Kubota	Masataka Kubota	...	Akira Kiyosato Aleks Le	Aleks Le	...	Enishi Yukishiro (voice) Alan Lee	Alan Lee	...	Aoshi Shinomori (voice) Mackenyu	Mackenyu	...	Enishi Yukishiro David Matranga	David Matranga	...	Seiku Arai (voice) Robert McCollum	Robert McCollum	...	Hajime Saito (voice) Daman Mills	Daman Mills	...	Chou Sawagejo (voice) Yutaka Mishima	Yutaka Mishima	...	Beggar Old Man Ryosuke Miura	Ryosuke Miura	...	Sawagejo Cho Xander Mobus	Xander Mobus	...	Tenmon Inui (voice) Casey Mongillo	Casey Mongillo	...	Yahiko Myojin (voice) Takeo Nakahara	Takeo Nakahara	...	Maekawa Miyauchi Eiki Narita	Eiki Narita	...	Yatsume Mumyoi Trina Nishimura	Trina Nishimura	...	Megumi Takani (voice) Riku Ohnishi	Riku Ohnishi	...	Yahiko Myojin Takuma Otoo	Takuma Otoo	...	Woo Heishin
Rurouni Kenshin The Final is the first of a two movie event.  Confusingly, the ending is the first movie and the beginning of Kenshin's story is saved for the second movie, The Beginning.  The Final seems to be drawn more from the Manga series as Enishi (the main antagonist) does not make much of an appearance in the Kenshin anime.  But the Final comes full circle, forcing Kenshin to confront some of the sins of the past.  And as with The Beginning, the film does a great job of recreating the classic anime with all the bombastic style of the fights and the flamboyant nature of the characters.  I love Enishi's bright orange jumpsuit and seeing so many of the classic Kenshin characters lovingly recreated for a film.  The film has many of the favorites that fans will want to see, with cameos from more than the main core Kenshin characters.  

And the movie also has the fast fights that the Kenshin series is known for. As with The Beginning, The Final uses really good cinematic tricks to make the fights seem fast and brutal without looking unnatural.  The characters just seem to move faster than everyone else, but it doesn't just look like the film is playing on fast forward.  And these fights are brutal and intense, with plenty of blood spray and death accompanying the action.

This Kenshin film also covers a few topics that are resident throughout the Kenshin series, including how to deal with and protect a modernizing Japan.  But the Final film also touches on Japan / China relations, though not much.  It is more of a hint than a full on plot thread.  And as with the Beginning, the Final has beautiful music that just doesn't hit the same heights as the original Trust & Betrayal OVAs.  But it still is well done and helps to evoke some of the serious and dramatic tones.  The Final also has really great production values all around.  1800s Japan is lovingly recreated with some spectacular buildings and sets, and then destroyed with some big explosions and fire.  The film feels like a big budget movie; a loving recreation of a beloved franchise.

If there is a negative, it is that the last arc tends to drag and the final fight feels a little drawn out.  I won't complain that much as it was an exciting and elaborate one, but it did seem to go on a little too long. Overall, The Final is not as good as the Beginning, but it is still a fantastic end to the Kenshin saga.  

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is a fitting end to the Kenshin saga; a live action remake with all the fast action, brutal fights, and core characters that will please new and old fans of the Kenshin series.

Watch it.

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Rurouni Kenshin The Final is available on Netflix on June 29, 2021.

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