Rurouni Kenshin Movie Trilogy Review! [CAUTION: SPOILERS].

I always gravitated towards samurai movies, anything with a good sword fighting action is my kind of movie. That’s why I decided it is about time to watch the live action Rurouni Kenshin movies. It’s a good thing I did, because I was blown away by the movies! The three Rurouni Kenshin movie are Rurouni Kenshin (2012), Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (2014) and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014).

Rurouni Kenshin, 2012.
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, 2014.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, 2014.

I can’t wait to start talking about these movies, so let’s begin!

RUROUNI KENSHIN (2012)

I’ll begin talking about the first movie from the trilogy! These movies are based on the very popular manga, Rurouni Kenshin. I personally have never watched the anime, but I’ve heard many positive thing about it. I will be sharing an overall opinion about the movies, after I write a brief synopsis for each movie. Before I proceed with this synopsis of this film, let me introduce to you the characters and actors in this movie.

Protagonists

Himura Kenshin played by Takeru Satoh.

Kenshin is the main protagonist of the story, he is a former assassin known as Hitokiri Battōsai. After the 1868 Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Kenshin become a wandering samurai who abandons his assassin life. However, escaping his past is not that easy and he eventually he gets caught up into trouble with new enemies. Even so, he still insists on avoiding any fights and killing opponents like he did in the past.

Kamiya Kaoru played by Emi Takei.

Kaoru is the owner and instructor at a Kendo school that was founded by her deceased father. Kaoru is timid and she is against violence, one day she meets Kenshin who saves her from an impostor who calls himself Battosai. As a thank you, Kaoru invited Kenshin to stay at her dojo and begins to see him as a kind person.

Takani Megumi played by Yu Aoi.

Takani Megumi is a physician who get captured by Takeda Kanryu and tries to get her to help him make opium. After being held captive for a few days, she manages to escape Kanryu’s house, but she is shortly pursued by his servants. Near the end of the movie she gets captures, but Kenshin and Sagara save her. Throughout the movie trilogy, she proves to be loyal and reliable.

Sagara Sanosuke played by Munetaka Aoki.

He has a very impulsive, brash and straightforward personality, Sagara serves the role as the comic relief during some of the battle moments in the movies. Sagara’s first encounter with Kenshin is when they are in jail together, Sagara challenges him to a duel after he learns Kenshin is Hitokiri Battōsai. Sagara loses the battle, but him and Kenshin become friend. Sagara offers his assistance to Kenshin in his fight against Takeda Kanryu and his men, when they go to save Kaoru and Megumi. Even through he can very brash, he really is a great friend!

Myojin Yahiko played by Taketo Tanaka.

Yahiko is a student at Kaoru’s school, he always tries to help Kaoru and Kenshin even though he is not skilled fighter.

Saito Hajime played by Yusuke Eguchi.

Saito Hajime was very skilled and powerful samurai a decade before the Meiji Government was formed, he led his group and fought against Kenshin in the Battle of Toba-Fishimi. After the battle, he becomes a high ranking member of the police department. He is in pursuit of Takeda Kanruy and seeks the help of Kenshin because he knows he is a skilled fighter. Throughout the movie trilogy, he proves to a great fighter and almost equal to Kenshin! He fights for justice and bringing down the antagonists in this story!

Antagonists

Takeda Kanryu played by Teruyuki Kagawa.

Takeda is known for being very materialistic and only caring about money, he is also a opium dealer! At the beginning of the movie he captures Megumi because she knows how to make opium, after Megumi espcapes, he sends his men to find her. He has a very sarcastic, yet wicked personality and strives to get what he wants in a dishonest manner.

Udo Jin-e played by Koji Kikkawa.

Udo Jin-e used to be a hitokiri (sumarai) during the Bakumatsu era, after the war, he took Kenshin’s katana. A decade later, Udo Jin-e called himself Battōsai, impersonating Kenshin and using  Kenshin’s old katana to commit mass murders. He began to work for Kanryu and he was ordered to kidnap Kaoru and Megumi.

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The story follow the journey of Himura Kenshin who is a former legendary assassin who becomes a wanderer after the famous 1868 Battle of Toba-Fushimi. After the battle is over, he makes a vow to himself to abandon his life as an assassin and never kill again. The movie begins with the battle, showing scenes of Keshin fighting his opponents. Back then he was known as Hitokiri Battōsai, after the battle he leaves his katana (sword) as sign of abandoning his assassin life. A decade later, the New Age is celebrated and the Meiji government is created, the New Age and government strictly state that ownership of any weapons is strictly prohibited.  However, trouble comes back after Saito Hajime finds an undercover cop dead, supposedly by Battosai, but he suspects the healthy wealthy business man, Takeda Kanryu. Secretly, Kanryu hires his own army with Udo Jin-e being the main fighter of the group. Following this event, more killings have been reported to the police! As Kenshin continues his journey as a wandered, he stumbles upon a village where he meets Kaoru Kamiya, who thinks Kenshin is Battosai and the one responsible for the killings. However, the misunderstanding is quickly resolved and Kenshin learns Kaoru is the owner of a dojo. Following a number of events, the people from the dojo fall ill from rat poison. Angered by this, Kenshin and Sagara join forces to defeat Kanryu.

RUROUNI KENSHIN: KYOTO INFERNO (2014)

I am going to proceed and list the protagonists/antagonists for the sequel, I will only list characters that were not mentioned above.

Protagonists

Mikamachi Misao played by Tao Tsuchiya.

Makimachi Misao is part of the Kyoto-based Oniwabanshu, they are undercover agents  known as ninjas. She encounters Kenshin while she is on her quest to find Aoshi who took care of Misao. She tries to take Kenshin’s sword, but she fails. Later on in the movie, she and the rest of the Oniwabanshu members join forces to fight against the main villain of this movie.

Kashiwazaki Nenji played by Min Tanaka.

Kashiwazaki Nenji is the leader of the Oniwabanshu, he and his group keep a close eye on any chaos that may occur. He met Kenshin for the first time when he brought Masao back to Kyoto. He is the one who helped Kenshin to find the son of the person who created his first sword. He is kind, yet determined to protect the people close to him with every ounce of strength he has left!

Antagonists

Shishio Makoto played by Tatsuya Fujiwara (the actor who played Shuya in Battle Royale).

Shishio is one of Kenshin’s fiercest appoints in the entire film trilogy, he has a ruthless and coldblooded personality. After the Bonshin war, Shishio was betrayed by his comrades, who tried to burn him and left him to die. However, Shishio survived and now he covers his body because of the severe burns. Shishio wants to take revenge on Kyoto and his establishes an army to burn Kyoto.

Aoshi Shinomori played by Yusuke Iseya.

Aoshi Shinomori used to be a young leader of the Oniwabanshu, after witnessing the murder of his comrades by the guards working with the Shotguntune government, he went missing. Afterwards, he joined Shishio’s group and began searching for Kenshin with the hopes of defeating him.

Sawagejo Cho played by Ryosuke Miura.

Sawagejo is part of Shishio’s army, he is very arrogant and bloodthirsty and his goal is to use every sword in the world. He duels Kenshin and hopes to win so he can get his hands of the final sword that was made by one of the best swordsman, also the one who created Kenshin’s first katana.

Soujiro Seta played by Ryunosuke Kamiki.

Soujiro is the right-handman of Shishio and the most skilled swordsman among his crew, so skilled that he breaks Kenshin’s sword during their first battle. His speed is impeccable and matches Kenshin’s speed, making it difficult for him to fight during their first battle. Soujiro is normally seen smiling and showing no other emotion, however he can have a meltdown if his opponent is stronger than him.

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This movie introduced new protagonists and antagonists, it all begins when Saito Hajime who finds out Shishio is responsible for the new chaos. Alarmed by the news of the recent killings, Kenshin is called in by President Okubo of the Meji Govenment, asking him to assist them and kill Shishio. Kenshin declines, stating that his assassin life is in the past, however shortly after their meeting Okubo is killed by Soujiro Seta. That makes Kenshin realize that the situation is very serious and chooses to leave Tokyo and go to Kyoto. Eventually, he meets Shishio, but he refuses to fight Kenshin because he wants his fighting spirit to be back as it was in the past. Instead, Soujiro fights Kenshin and breaks his sword! After meeting Nenji, he goes to find the son of the swordsmith who made his first sword. Kenshin meets the son, however he declines to give him the sword because he is against violence. Shortly after, Sawagero Cho goes to the swordsmith son’s house, scared for his baby’s life, he gives Kenshin the sword to fight and protect his family from Sawagero. When Kenshin goes back to the Oniwabanshu house, he and the ninjas prepared for the arrival of Shishio’s army. While Kenshin is fighting, he notices that Kaoru is kidnapped, so he follows her. Kenshin tries to desperately save Kaoru, so when she is pushed off the ship, he jumps to find her, but he couldn’t. The movie ends with Kenshin lying unconscious on a beach.

RUROUNI KENSHIN: THE LEGEND ENDS (2014)

Protagonist

Hiko Seijūrō XIII played by Fukuyama Masaharu.

Hiko Seijuro is Kenshin’s master, he is the one who discovers Kenshin unconscious on the beach. Kenshin tells him about Shishio and asks him to teach him the final technique, Seijuro agrees and they begin to train. He tries to give Kenshin confidence and help him figure out how to fight to his true potential. Despite being tough spoken with Kenshin, he does care about him and wants him to be happy.

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The movie starts where the last movie ended, Kenshin meets his master and they begin training together. The good news is that Kaoru is alive, the movie ends with the big and final fight between Shishio and Kenshin. There are many more details to be added, but it’s best to watch the movie and find out everything on your own. It will be more exciting 🙂

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I was blown away by how well this movie was done, the story was told well and at an appropriate pace. The sword fighting choreography was amazing, I couldn’t look away from the screen. The casting is nearly perfect, the acting is well done and I see this movie becoming more popular overseas. My final verdict is to watch the movie, trust me, you’ll thank me for recommending this movie 🙂

Let me know what you think if you watch it or have watched it!

Thank you for stopping by and see you soon.

I

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2 thoughts on “Rurouni Kenshin Movie Trilogy Review! [CAUTION: SPOILERS].

  1. I have to agree with you. These movies are awesome and it’s because the fighting is awesome and we care about the well-drawn loveable characters and hate the villains. There’s a lot of depth in the excellently executed told story behind the pretty visuals and action which makes this fascinating to think about. This is one of the best action movie series I have watched and I had the pleasure of viewing all three in a cinema!

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