Archive for Samurai X

Rorouni Kenshin Live-Action Film: When the Icon/Legend becomes a Phenomenon

Posted in Anime, Movies with tags , , , on January 7, 2013 by otakujade

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I guess SM never expected this movie to have such a huge following, and I’m betting they were quite surprised with the turn out and the hype that this film made once it was announced that it will be shown in the country. You can almost feel their apprehension when SM decided to show the film via a limited play date; the longest of which extending only 5 days in selected SM Cinemas here in Metro Manila and concentrated mostly in the Quezon City area. However, after the first week the showing, the movie was extended for a few more days…which stretched in to another week and eventually…3 weeks! Whatever doubts SM may have had at the beginning, those were all erased as they raked in the cash and the movie became an unprecedented success.

PLOT:

The film was based on the season 1 and 2 of the anime series, with some inputs coming from both the manga and the OVAs.  It wasn’t an exact adaptation of the series however it was close enough to be thoroughly satisfying. Something that even the uninitiated would understand and the fangirl (like me) and fanboys would appreciate. Some hardcore fans would probably comment on the sequence of events or that the movie did not actually follow the plot of either the manga or the anime. However, this should be expected. It is simply impossible to religiously follow the plot of the anime or the manga through the movie considering the time frame.  This is nothing new and considering the number of books and comic book stories turned films, this should be expected. But I would venture to say that compared to those this movie adaptation was wayyyy, wayyy better. Watching the film you get the impression of how much the director and the people behind the film respected the storyline and consequently the fans. As I earlier commented, leave it to the Japanese to make a film adaptation of their animes and stories – they understand it better thus they will treat it with a lot of respect.

So, as for me, in terms of the plot…this active adaptation is a complete success.

CHARACTERIZATION:

Character development wasn’t given much time in the film, may be it was due to time constraints or because they focused more on the series of events in the film however, it was good enough that even those who know little or none at all about the series would get it that Kenshin Himura was supposedly a legendary battousai (assassin/man slayer) who have decided to live that life behind and turn a new leaf living a peaceful and low profile life. Besides, I do think that the director and writers of the film probably surmised that majority of those who will sought to watch this movie would at least have a little knowledge of the anime series.  Rorouni Kenshin was and still is an iconic manga and anime series in Japan and Asia and in some western countries where anime is being appreciated.

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With regards to the choice of the actors who played the characters, Takeru Sato was simply perfect. I mean, he was a complete surprise to me personally. In terms of looks they couldn’t have chosen a better Kenshin, who would have thought that the pretty boy from Kamen Rider Den-O would be so perfect as the most feared, ruthless battosai. I totally admire Sato on this, because not only was he able to really internalize the role of Kenshin but he really studied the role and the character such that fans get to see Kenshin’s mannerisms and movements in Sato – the way that Kenshin end nearly his every fighting move kneeling on the ground with his head bowed, the way Kenshin likes to stand up after a fight and seem to fix the sheathed sword on this waist, his agility, his funny “Oro” expressions and the way Kenshin deliver those funny, clueless comedic lines that render the humor in the series. It was just…I repeat…PERFECT!

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Munetaka Aoki was also spot-on as Sagara Sanosuke, except for the fact that  he is a bit short compared to the Sanosuke of the anime series. But looks-wise he was flawless, and his acting was wonderful as well.

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In terms of the actors in this film, I guess the only ones I have a slight comment would be the women. Emi Takei was a wonderful Kamiya Kaoru, her simplicity and almost plain looks was exactly how Kaoru was in both the anime and the manga. However, it wouldn’t hurt if she was a bit more tomboyish as Kaoru was actually quite the tomboy.

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Yuu Aoi as Takani Megumi did her best to give justice to her role…and in reality she was very good at it. My only negative comment about this is that Megumi from the original story is supposedly sultry, sexy, mysterious and all together gorgeous. Though Aoi is beautiful in her own right, she was just a tad too old for Megumi plus when placed beside Takei she looks much, much simplier. I mean, Megumi from the anime and manga would make Kaoru look like her servant, whereas in the movie Takei outstaged Aoi in beauty.

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Taketo Tanaka as Myojin Yahiko was so cute but he’s way to young for the role. In the original story Yahiko was already in his teens.

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Yusuke Eguchi was actually a huge improvement for Saito Hajime, I mean I have no complaints Eguchi was a real eye candy but, well,  I like Saito but he wasn’t really in THAT handsome. Again, I’ve got no complaints …just saying.

FINALLY….

All in all the film was a raging success. There were a couple of minor deviations from the original storyline and one or two major infractions but all in all it was a very, very good adaptation of the series. It was the sort of adaptation film that Hollywood directors, writers and producers should try to emulate. I loved the film…saw it twice actually and am looking forward to the DVD’s release so I can watch it every time I want to. Oh, we’re (Kenshin fangirls and fanboys everywhere) are already looking forward to the sequel. Can’t barely wait!

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Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Movie: The Journey and the Amazing Experience

Posted in Anime, Movies with tags , , on December 10, 2012 by otakujade

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Worth watching three times over!!!

When Warner Bros announced that it was planning to make a live action adaptation of the iconic samurai anime series Rurouni Kenshin (sometimes known as Samurai X) we were actually skeptical. And with good reason considering how the other game and anime live-adaptations by Hollywood turned out.  Then later on we found out that though the movie will be produced under the flagship of Warner Bros. it will be handled by its Japanese arm to be directed and casted with Japanese actors. Wow! That was a great relief! And so the anticipation started to build up.

Then early this year, it was announced that the film will be released in Japan on August 25…we were anxiously waiting for the announcement of when it will be released outside the country but no such announcements were made. August 25 came and went and the movie received great reviews from people who were lucky enough to watch the film in Japan but there was no news of it ever going to be released internationally. That’s when the fans started the petition for this great movie to be shown in their respective countries as well.

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Here in the Philippines, news spread that the movie was going to be released in the country through SM Cinemas, the countries largest chain of cinema outlets. The news spread like wild fire on Facebook, however, SM was quick to deny the rumors and said that they do not have the rights to release the film in the country just yet. So a petition was started…people started requesting the SM people to please work out the details so that the film will be released here as well. Movie Punch took up the petition and with SM Cinemas they were able to work out the release of the film in the Philippines. The film producers agreed to release the film internationally but only in selected countries, fortunately the Philippines was one of the lucky ones chosen.

Last October SM finally announced that the Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Film will be released in the country starting December 5, 2012. The film will be released in selected SM Cinemas and on specific dates only. I’m not sure why it was being done, but we assumed that that was the license given to SM by the producers of the film….and as they say the rest is history.

As soon as SM announced that ticket sales are up people started buying them more than a month before the stated release of the movie. I don’t think SM was prepared on how well this movie will do here in the country as this will be the first anime adaptation film with English subtitle that will be released in the country. Most subtitle films do not work out well because most people are not used to reading while watching the movie. BUT then again, they were dealing with anime fans here…most prefer subtitled versions to English dubbed ones so in reality SM was giving us exactly what we wanted.

Personally, I was worried at the start, because we bought our tickets way in advance, we saw a lot of unreserved seats for the time slot we got. Of course I was really hoping that we were too early and all that…we were looking for active advertisements for the film but none came up except the ones on Facebook. I guess, SM didn’t think the film was worth the investment in ads. But no matter what people thronged to the theaters on December 5. All show time slots were full-packed and this happened every single day that the film  was shown.  The weekend came along and the excitement just got even bigger.

Hubby and I got our tickets for 4:30pm on December 8 (Saturday). By then the internet was awash with news of how good the film was. A lot of people were even planning on seeing the film the 2nd and even the 3rd time over (including me!) I heard from a friend that there was a huge queu outside the theaters more than 30 minutes before the start of the next show time, so I told him we should go to the theater early. He said we already got tickets anyway, so there was no need to rush. I insisted and so we ended up arriving there around 45 minutes before our scheduled show time. AND no surprise there was already a very long line in front of the cinema showing the movie. We were inside the mall so there was a lot of people going around and I couldn’t help but smile I hear those passing by asking what movie was being shown in that particular cinema. I actually enjoyed the puzzled look on some people’s faces which became even more puzzled when their curiosity got the better of them they asked the people in line what movie they were lining up for and got “Rurouni Kenshin or Samurai X” in answer to their question.

But one thing I can say, Kenshin fans proved to SM Cinema that they made the right choice when they decided to give in to the clamor of the Kenshin fans to work out the release of the movie here.

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The theater was full packed. I mean, I have never seen a movie wherein every single seat inside the theater was occupied, not even with Harry Potter. This every fangirl and fanboy came out to watch. Just seeing all these people who have the same love and dedication to RK was enough to give up a certain kind of satisfaction.

Highlights:

As a fangirl I have been to some movies like Harry Potter where certain scenes evokes a reaction from the audience but this was totally a new and exciting experience for me. As the movie began, a reverent silence fell over the crowd, then as Kenshin appeared an excited murmur rang out from the audience but no big reaction yet. Surprisingly, the big reactions actually came from scenes that an uninitiated wouldn’t understand…that’s being otaku for you.

There was an excitement chatter amongst the fangirls in the theater when Kenshin finally met Kauro, but that was to be expected, right?

The uninitiated however would be lost in transmission, as the crowd of fangirls and fanboys gave off excited ohhs and ahh and some even clapped as Kenshin donned on the clothes given by Kauro and we finally see Kenshin in his iconic red and white samurai gi.

On the fight scenes? Unexpectedly, people were actually very quiet and it was like everyone was holding their breath as they watch Sato Takeru show off Kenshin’s signature moves and execute them with flawless ease…it was mesmerizing. damn! I’m still giddy just remembering those moments.

Then the fight with the opium dealers came on where Kenshin and Sanosuke attacked the syndicate’s headquarters to rescue the kidnapped Kauro. The fight that really got the audience going…clapping and hooting, was the one between Sanosuke and Inui Benjin. That was really a good yet comedic fight between those two.

And finally, the ending scene where Kauro met Kenshin at the door of the dojo and smiled saying “Tadaima, Kenshin” to which he replied with a smile “Okaeri” before the screen went black. Mixed emotions can seen and heard from the audience…some sighed and clapped, others got goosebumps and still others like the fangirl beside me…became teary-eyed.

There was silence in the theater as the lights came on and the people started to get up and slowly move towards the exits.It was no one wanted to leave yet, everyone wanted to see it again if they can…then the anime theme for the series came on, the audience cheered and clapped…it was the perfect ending to one of the best movie experience I have ever had.

Thank you SM Cinema for this wonderful experience. And I think I speak for all Kenshin fans out there in asking that you please, please help us once more in having the sequel to this movie be also released in our country.

Okay, that about sums things us for my experience in the theater…tomorrow, I’ll give an actual review of the movie itself. for now, ciao!