Thoughts on RuroKen Kyoto Inferno and the Legend Ends

If you haven’t watched the two recently shown Rurouni Kenshin movies, Kyoto Inferno (second movie) and The Legend Ends (third movie), go watch ’em now (If you’re from the Philippines, tough, since Kyoto Inferno is no longer showing in theaters) then come back after. Otherwise better skedaddle now if spoilers makes you want to take up arms.

Sister and I went to watch The Legend Ends at the local cinema last weekend. In the ticket line, this mother who claimed that she’s my sister’s batch mate, wanted us to buy her and her kid tickets for Maria Leonora Theresa, a local horror film about demonic dolls, since the ticket vendor had already seen her and would not sell her tickets ‘coz her kid did not meet the age requirement. We told her that last time, I had to drag my sister right up to the ticket booth since the vendor wanted to make sure that we were both old enough to watch Kyoto Inferno. Actually we were bothered that this mother would subject her little kid to blood and gore just because she wanted to watch the movie and she had no one to leave her child with. Sister later told me that she did not know the woman.

Anyhoo, we bumped into a friend who is also an anime fan (since college? high school?), who was also in the theater with us when we watched Kyoto Inferno.  Heh.

In Kyoto Inferno, one scene stood out for me. It was when Kenshin cut down the parents of Eiji Mishima from where they hang. With one hand catching the rope, he was able to stop each of their descent to the ground. Those doubting how Kenshin is able to take down people using a reverse-edged sword should now have an idea just how powerful his blows are.

We enjoyed the fight scenes in all three Ruroken films and marveled at how Takeru Satoh managed to get anime Kenshin’s moves and mannerisms down pat. I had my doubts when pics of the first movie came out. Thought Satoh was too bishounen for the role and the scar was too kawaii. Sister and friend still think Satoh is pretty and now they also notice his moles aside from the scar.

Well, based on the anime, almost all the characters have been well executed by the actors. Kudos too to the costume designers and screenplay writers. Some changes were acceptable. Though, Aoshi seems not to be well fleshed out. His characterization obviously suffered when they left him out of the first movie. Sister thought he resembles a zombie, especially since he kept reiterating in every scene he has in Kyoto Inferno that he wants (revenge on) Kenshin.  Even the writers seem to be aware of this that Okina just had to exclaim “That again!” to Aoshi during their fight.

While I like that they had made Kaoru less of a crybaby (no moping when Kenshin left), it seems that they have toned down the emotional aspects of the films a bit too much, doing away with some scenes which I felt should have been there. They could have made time by shortening Kenshin’s training with Hiko and that part where Kaoru, Saito and Yahiko were at the beach.

I wish they had shown Sojiro’s childhood as this is a good counterpoint to Kenshin’s. Get a blood-thirsty sociopath for a role model and you’d end up as one messed up kid. I wish they had shown Sanosuke’s training with the Buddhist monk, Anji, as well. Removing it made Anji appear nothing more than a thug.

They could have filmed the farewell scene at night and and have floating lanterns as a nod to what is otherwise known by fans as the fireflies scene (different from the fireflies episode in season 3) in the anime. You know, kinda like what they did to this deleted scene of Kenshin and Kaoru from the first movie which has floating lanterns.  Thank you Alyssa for sharing the link.

I haven’t heard that there will be anymore Ruroken live action films anytime soon. I am still wondering why local channels have not tried to cash in on the hype by airing the anime series again and getting tons of sponsors. I do hope they release dvd/blu-ray copies of the three films locally. A Ruroken movie marathon is something to look forward to.

Thank you for reading. Your questions, reactions, thoughts are most appreciated.

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