RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Aoki Munetaka

Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy to be Screened in Australia and New Zealand

The live-action film adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin manga will premiere in Australia and New Zealand starting this October! The Japanese Film Festival (JFF) will be screening not just Rurouni Kenshin, Kyoto Inferno, and The Legend Ends, but tons of other Japanese movies with English subtitles.

Adelaide (Venue: Mercury Cinema)

October 11 – Rurouni Kenshin

October 12 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

October 18 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Canberra (Venue: Capitol Cinemas Manuka)

October 17- Rurouni Kenshin

October 18 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

October 19 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Brisbane (Venue: Event Cinemas, Brisbane City Myer Centre)

October 24- Rurouni Kenshin

October 25 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

October 26 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Perth & Fremantle (Venue: Perth – Hoyts Carousel, Fremantle – Hoyts Millennium)

October 31 – Rurouni Kenshin

November 01 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

November 02 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Auckland (Venue: Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket)

November 07 – Rurouni Kenshin

November 08 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

November 09 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Sydney & Parramatta (Venue: Event Cinemas, George Street)

November 14 & 22 – Rurouni Kenshin

November 15 & 22 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

November 16 & 22 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

(Venue: Event Cinemas, Parramatta)

November 17 & 21 – Rurouni Kenshin

November 18 & 22 – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

November 19 & 23 – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

For more information, kindly visit their official website @japanesefilmfestival.net

“Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” is a Masterpiece that has no “End”

WARNING: Contains some spoilers.

“Set in the early Meiji period, an assassin from the Bakumatsu war returns not as a hitokiri but as the rurouni Kenshin, with his vow not to kill and instead, protect those in need to atone for the murders he committed in the past. But the peace in the new age is threatened with the appearance of his successor, Shishio Makoto. Will Kenshin be able to fulfill his vow while protecting his friends and loved ones with just a reverse-blade sword? The burden of saving the whole nation weighs him down as he faces a much more powerful enemy apart from Shishio, and that is the ghost of hitokiri battousai that still dwells within him. “

Cr: Warner Bros. Pictures (Philippines)

Cr: Warner Bros. Pictures (Philippines)

The live-action film adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s renowned manga called Rurouni Kenshin has so far caused a stir among the fans all over the globe. The first movie set a strong foundation for the sequels that were (and will be) released this year. The frenzy surrounding the two new installments proved to be fairly justifiable as both movies raked in millions of dollar in gross income in Japan alone. Kyoto Inferno has also become a certified blockbuster hit when it was released in the Philippines last August 20. And it is no surprising if the third movie receives a much warmer response than before especially that thousands of moviegoers have already been flocking the cinemas since it was released this September.

So how did The Legend Ends conclude? That is the main concern of everyone who was left hanging in midair when Kyoto Inferno ended. And what Director Otomo and the rest of the cast gave the audience was something befitting of the story of the legendary battousai—a truly remarkable masterpiece that breathed life to the fictional characters and enabled the viewers to explore the world of Himura Kenshin.

It is true that some parts of the original story were altered, and it was also extremely regrettable that some scenes that I was looking forward to see were not even included in the film. But the climax of the movie was so breathtaking that not a single soul inside the cinema dared to move. Takeru Satoh and the rest of the actors portrayed their roles perfectly and all the stunts were executed flawlessly. The cinematography and choreography of the swordplay were nothing but pure brilliance. Though some bits of the script were changed, the director was still able to convey the whole meaning of the story about Himura Kenshin’s vow to protect the people with his sakabato as well as his significant connection with the rest of the characters. It’s truly unfortunate that most Juppongatana members were not given longer screen time but like I stated before, the main battle between Kenshin and Shishio Makoto fueled the void. And oh, did I forget to mention how Shishio’s sinister laughter and Soujiro’s deranged act sent goosebumps to my body? Those scenes are totally a must-see. The overall gripping and action-packed scenes were blended with just the right amount of comedy and romance, providing the audience with 100% satisfaction.

“I have an enemy I must defeat.” (Taken from the trailer of The Legend Ends)

Words are probably not effective enough to describe the ingenuity of this movie adaptation. Never in the previous years had I imagined that the infamous hitokiri would come to life through the portrayal of Takeru Satoh. Even those who are not originally fans of the manga and anime have shown great interest in the movies, and they have nothing but praise to offer as well. And now, I must say that I am extremely grateful to all the cast, director and production staff behind the creation of this live action film that is, by far, the best movie adaptation I have seen throughout the years. And with all the flashbacks about Himura Kenshin’s scar that were shown in the movie, I am fervently hoping that a prequel will be announced soon.

To read my summary of The Legend Ends, click here.

“Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” – A Summary

***********SPOILERS************

The movie starts with a short backstory from Kenshin’s childhood. Hiko Seijuro found the little boy digging up graves for the corpses lying around him. (Those were the bodies of the slaves that were ambushed by bandits. The bandits were killed as well by Seijuro who saved Kenshin.) Seijuro renamed the boy from Shinta to Kenshin, which, according to him, was more fitting for a swordsman. He took him in and trained him for several years under his guidance and teachings.

The scene is cut and Himura Kenshin abruptly rises from his sleep after dreaming about his past. He goes outside and is surprised to see his former master, and there, the two of them updated each other about their lives after their separation. He pleads his master to teach him the ultimate technique of Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū to be able to defeat Shishio Makoto. After exchanging blows several times, Hiko Seijuro finally teaches Kenshin the succession technique after the latter realizes the significance of his life and his will to live. Right after that, Makimachi Misao arrives and assures Himura that Kaoru is alive while warning him about the government’s scheme. Ito Hirobumi, one of the prominent figures of the Meiji government, is coerced by Shishio to find Battousai and execute him in public. Hence, Himura Kenshin becomes the scapegoat of the government and declares him as a wanted criminal in Japan.

Kenshin goes back to Aoiya Inn with Misao and they find out that Okina is gone. The old member of Oniwaban group tries to stop Aoshi Shinomori for the last time despite the grave wounds on his frail body. Just as he clings on to Aoshi desperately, Kenshin arrives there together with Misao and the other Oniwabanshū member.  Aoshi finally meets him and they immediately start to duel. After the breathtaking fight, Kenshin emerges as the winner while Aoshi is left severely injured. Kenshin doesn’t kill him even though Okina instructed him to do so. Misao takes Aoshi to the inn and tends to his wound after mourning the death of the elder Okina.

Himura Kenshin’s duel with the leader of Oniwabanshu, Aoshi Shinomori.

Kenshin stops by the Kamiya dojo and chances upon Takani Megumi who is currently looking after the residence. However, the police officers arrive and arrest Kenshin who eventually surrenders himself to avoid further dispute. He is then brought before Ito and after he assures him that he can defeat Shishio, they both frame a plan to enable Kenshin to get closer to his enemy. Their idea is to pretend as if he will really be decapitated in public just like what Shishio wants. Kaoru, Yahiko and Sanosuke, who have no idea about the plan, all show up at the execution site. They immediately go there after Kaoru was confined to the hospital where she was brought by the fishermen who saved her. To everyone’s surprise, instead of getting beheaded, the executioner, who turns out to be Saito Hajime, severs the ropes that tie Kenshin. That instance, a battle ensues between the police officers and Shishio’s henchmen, including some members of Juppongatana. (Unfortunately though, the duel between Saito and Usui that we have all been looking forward to is reduced to a brief encounter where Saito easily cuts through Usui.) Sanosuke accompanies Kenshin on his way aboard the Rengoku (Shishio’s ironclad battleship) while Kaoru and Yahiko are left at the site.

(Taken from the official trailer of The Legend Ends)

Several police officers also get on the ship to provide aid and assistance to the other two. Sanosuke, on the other hand, comes across a fallen Buddhist monk named Anji and gets critically injured despite his victory against his enemy. Meanwhile, Seta Sojiro greets Kenshin and the two immediately begin fighting. Sojiro manages to be on par with him at first but is later put at a disadvantage when he gradually starts showing his emotions, enabling Kenshin to defeat him. Sojiro has lived by the rule of Shishio Makoto, where he believed that “the strong live and the weak die”, and after being beaten by the Battousai, he starts to question himself and the decisions he has made. Kenshin tells him to spend his life seeking for the truth to enlighten himself, and the parting words that he gives him cause Sojiro to become deranged and unstable.

Sojiro wails and clutches his hair after getting defeated by Kenshin and being told to seek the truth by himself.

As Kenshin wanders inside the ship, he is welcomed by Hoji and his Gatling gun. However, Hoji is stopped by Shishio Makoto, and the Juppongatana leader finally confronts his predecessor. And at long last, the battle between the two hitokiri commences.

From Warner Bros. PH FB Page

From Warner Bros. PH FB Page

At first, it is clearly apparent that Shishio is stronger than the Battousai, especially after that epic scene where he bites Kenshin on the shoulder and hurls him to the ground. That instance, Saito Hajime appears and Shishio fights him as well. His Gatotsu technique doesn’t seem to affect Makoto at all. In the middle of their duel, Sanosuke Sagara arrives and meddles in their fight but is also easily overpowered by the enemy. When both Saito and Sanosuke are cast aside, Shishio tries to attack Kenshin once again but is abruptly stopped by Aoshi Shinomori, who claims that he will be the one to defeat Kenshin. The four of them attack Shishio simultaneously while the latter flares his Mugenjin (Infinity Blade) which literally enables him to execute fire-oriented techniques. As the battle comes to its peak, only he and Kenshin remain on their feet, both exhausted from the gruelling combat. At one point, Shishio falls on his knees, and as Kenshin readies himself to deliver the final blow, Komagata Yumi, Shishio’s lover, stops Kenshin in his track. She pleads him to cease the fight since Shishio’s body can no longer withstand the abnormal rise of his body temperature. The doctor informed him earlier that he can only fight for a maximum of 15 minutes, since his sweat glands were burned and his body heat is higher than the normal level. And to Kenshin’s surprise, Shishio mercilessly pierces Yumi with his sword, impaling Kenshin in the process. He is utterly startled at how Shishio desires to kill him at any costs, even at the expense of Yumi’s life. However, Shishio refutes that she died happily knowing that she became of great use to his most important battle. He also asks the lifeless body of Yumi to wait for him in hell as he continues to fight Kenshin even if he already spits blood. Kenshin delivers his ultimate technique—the Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki that his master Seijuro taught him. The technique proves to be extremely powerful as it slashes across Shishio’s body, which signals the end of their battle. After carrying Yumi’s body next to him, Shishio Makoto sends his farewell to his predecessor as his whole body combusts. His sinister laughter is heard while his body is surrounded by raging flames. Sanosuke supports Kenshin on their way to escape the collapsing battleship together with Aoshi and Saito.

As their boat reaches the shore, they are welcomed by Kaoru, Yahiko, Misao and Ito’s soldiers. Just as when they thought that Ito will still execute Kenshin even after knowing that he already defeated Shishio, Ito Hirobumi commands his soldiers to salute Himura Kenshin. Kamiya Kaoru then helps him walk and welcomes him home.

From https://www.facebook.com/warnerbrosphils?fref=photo

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Philippines FB Page

Back at the Kamiya dojo, Kenshin is seen viewing the serene surroundings while sipping his tea. Sanosuke is cooking and Yahiko is practicing kenjutsu with the new students. Kaoru sees Kenshin and sits next to him as they chat. Kenshin then stands up and picks a maple leaf and hands it to her. The movie concludes with Kenshin’s roundabout-like-proposal to Kaoru, asking her to continue watching over the new age with him, as he successfully puts an end to Shishio but most importantly, to the legend of Hitokiri Battousai that existed within him. 

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends Distribution Dates

The sequels for the live-action film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin are set to be screened in 53 countries. The schedules were announced during the Asian Premiere held in Manila, Philippines last August 6. *Kindly check this page for updates.*

Kyoto Inferno Screening: 

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Poster (Credit to: 映画『るろうに剣心』Facebook Page)

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Poster (Credit to: 映画『るろうに剣心』Facebook Page)

Montreal, Canada (done last August 3 and August 7)
Philippines (Aug 20- Ongoing),
Singapore (Aug 28-Ongoing)
Taiwan (Sept.26),
Hong Kong (Sept 18),
Indonesia (Sept. 10-Ongoing)
Los Angeles, US (Sept 12-14 via LA EigaFest)
Thailand (Oct 2),
Malaysia (to be announced)

Australia / New Zealand: via Japanese Film Festival [Back to back Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends ]
Adelaide 10 – 12 & 17 – 19 October Mercury Cinema
Canberra 15 – 19 October Capitol Cinema Manuka
Brisbane 22 – 26 October Event Cinemas, Brisbane City Myer Centre
Perth 29 October – 2 November Hoyts Carousel & Hoyts Millennium
Auckland 6 – 12 November Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket
Sydney 13 – 23 November Event Cinemas, George Street & Event Cinemas, Parramatta Art Gallery of New South Wales – Wed, Sat & Sun, 15 – 26 October)
Melbourne 27 November – 7 December Hoyts Melbourne Central & Australian Centre for the Moving Image

[Distribution Update] The Legend Ends Screening

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Poster (Photo Cr: 映画『るろうに剣心』FB)

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Poster (Photo Cr: 映画『るろうに剣心』FB)

Philippines(September 24)
Singapore (October 9 )
Hong Kong (October 16 )
Thailand (November 5)

Source:  Rurouni Kenshin るろうに剣心 Facebook Page

Kyoto Inferno Vs. Kyoto Arc: Which Is More Fiery?

For those hardcore fans of Rurouni Kenshin, the release of a live-action film adaptation was like a dream come true. Many got excited, while others were uncertain if the cast and director of the film would do justice to the original concept of Rurouni Kenshin. (Since we have already seen a lot of movie adaptations that were a big DISAPPOINTMENT.) The first RK movie was released in 2012, and though others were a bit disappointed with the slight changes in the story, the overall reception for the movie was good. Two years after, a two-part sequel is slated to be shown simultaneously in Japan and other countries in August and September.

The second and third films mainly tackle the Kyoto arc in the anime series. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno is now showing in local cinemas in the Philippines, and it already became a box-office hit in the country just like in Japan after grossing P7.3M on its opening day on August 20. And as a big fan of the manga and anime series, I was looking forward to the live adaptation of Kyoto arc. It is, in no doubt, one of the best parts of the series, and I’m sure that many of us fans are curious to know how the actors would breathe life to the characters in the anime. So I decided to compare the movie to its animated counterpart and make a list of comparison in both stories.

(Note: This contains spoilers about the second movie, Kyoto Inferno. In response to the changes made in the movie, Director Keishi Otomo stated some of the reasons why he opted to alter some parts of the story. Read the interview here.)

  • The movie started with Saito Hajime confronting Shishio and some of his subordinates, though the former failed to engage the latter in a combat.

In the anime though, the first meeting of the two was when Saito forayed Shishio’s  mansion in Shingetsu village together with Kenshin.

  • Saito was first shown in the prelude episode of Kyoto arc, where he was instructed by  Ōkubo Toshimichi to test the strength of Himura and check whether he would be capable enough to stop Shishio Makoto.

Yosuke Eguchi, the actor who played the character of Saito Hajime, was initially introduced in the first live-action film Rurouni Kenshin where the story revolved around Kenshin’s battles with Takeda Kanryu and Udō Jin-e.

  • When Kenshin decided to leave the dojo and go to Kyoto to stop Shishio, he appeared before Kaoru that night and bid her farewell. (And that scene really made me cry.)

In the movie, the setting was just slightly changed since the act was done during the day. And unlike the anime, it didn’t have any fireflies around (which for me, gave a more melancholic factor to the ambiance of the scene.) But nonetheless, the actors were able to capture the heartbreaking scene on their own way.

10533165_608160179295407_3696121207308467825_o

cr: Rurouni Kenshin るろうに剣心

  • Shinomori Aoshi’s first appearance in the movie was when he met Sanosuke on the way. They both didn’t know each other but they eventually engaged in a fight when Sano refused to tell him where Kenshin was. (Kenshin already left for Kyoto that time that was why Sano was temperamental. ) Since Aoshi was much stronger than him, he was severely bruised and before Aoshi could give his final blow, he was stopped by Megumi who came looking for Sanosuke. She introduced herself as a mere doctor who didn’t know anything about the rurouni, so Aoshi simply walked away. (Apparently, the Aoshi in this movie didn’t know who Megumi was.)

Aoshi was first introduced in the anime during Takani Megumi’s escape from Takeda Kanryū since he was employed by the latter to serve as his bodyguard together with other Oniwaban members. Therefore, the two of them already knew each other from the very start. Later on, when Aoshi began his quest to find Kenshin, he chanced upon Megumi who was left as the caretaker of the Kamiya residence when the others followed Kenshin to Kyoto. He threatened to kill her if she would not disclose Himura’s whereabouts but she still firmly refused. Saito Hajime arrived and told him the location of the battousai. 

Aoshi threatens Megumi

Aoshi threatens Megumi

  • In the original story, the two Oniwabanshu affiliates (Shinomori Aoshi and Kashiwazaki Nenji) dueled before the said upheaval in Kyoto. It was Nenji (or more commonly referred to as Okina) who challenged Aoshi in a battle to put an end to his wrongdoings especially when he decided to join Shishio’s faction as a means to kill Himura Kenshin.

The fight between Okina and Aoshi took place during the Kyoto commotion in the movie. That time, Aoshi hasn’t met Shishio yet and he was just looking for Kenshin himself. That was when he was confronted by the old man.

10599435_604789249632500_1527463002748341316_n

  • During the match of Kenshin and Cho the Sword Hunter, Misao, Okina, Seiku and his wife were all present. In the film, however, it was only Seiku who witnessed the fight. But before Kenshin gave the final blow to Cho, Yahiko and Kaoru both arrived, and the latter was shocked because she thought Kenshin killed his opponent. They all later realized that Cho didn’t die because the new sword was also a sakabato.

10350514_579549862156439_1271812457080448395_n

  • Shishio’s soldiers failed to burn the city of Kyoto since the Oniwaban members, together with Kaoru and Yahiko, prevented them from carrying out the plan. The other Juppongatana members decided to check what was happening and that was when Usui tried to kill Misao but then he was immediately stopped by Anji. Kenshin, Sanosuke and Saito, on the other hand, were chasing Shishio in the harbor.

In the live-action film, the three aforementioned characters helped the Oniwabanshu and police division extinguish the fire that threatened to burn Kyoto. That was when Sanosuke finally met Kenshin after he wandered to Kyoto on his own. Kenshin and Saito later realized that the plan to burn Kyoto was just a diversion, and as Kenshin began running towards Shishio’s location, he saw a horse carrying Seta Sojiro and Kamiya Kaoru who was knocked unconscious by the former.

During the Kyoto commotion

During the Kyoto commotion

  • The movie continued with Kenshin chasing Sojiro and following him to the ship where Shishio and his Ten Swords were aboard. They all attacked him as Shishio tried to lure Hitokiri Battousai out of Himura Kenshin by taking Kaoru as their hostage. In the end, Hoji kicked her out of the gunship and she fell into the ocean. Kenshin then cleared his way out to jump in the water to rescue Kaoru, but he himself ended up being washed ashore in an island. It’s already revealed that the man who carried him to safety was his master, Hiko Seijūrō. That was when the movie concluded.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Poster (Photo Cr: 映画『るろうに剣心』FB)

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Poster (Photo Cr: 映画『るろうに剣心』FB)

In the anime though, Kaoru wasn’t actually kidnapped by Shishio nor thrown out of his battleship Rengoku. Instead, Shishio’s warship was actually wrecked by the bombs given to Sano by his friend Katsu. Without any other choice, Shishio and his underlings had to evacuate the vessel, leaving the three behind. Shishio and Kenshin both agreed to settle their match at Mount Hiei where their epic battle took place.

======================================================

These were so far, the biggest changes done to the movie compared to the original story that I can remember. (I might as well update this one when I recall the others LOL.) The scenes were also not shot in the proper sequence. (Take for example, the appearance of Kenshin’s master, Hiko Seijuro. He will be introduced in the third installment instead.)  The other Juppongatana members were also just briefly shown, but I’m expecting that they will be given more screen time in The Legend Ends. There are other minor differences in the film but given the limited time (as explained by the director), I must say that he and the whole production did an excellent adaptation to this world-renowned manga. I am a big fan of both the manga and the anime series, and I am now also in love with the live action movie. I instantly fell in love with it when I watched the first RuroKen movie, but after I saw the sequel, my obsession got even higher. 😛 I highly commend all the actors and actresses who perfectly portrayed their roles, especially Takeru Satoh who is like the real-life version of Himura Kenshin. Overall, Kyoto Inferno has a lot to offer to all the fans of Rurouni Kenshin. It’s an action-packed movie overflowing with sword techniques you never expected to see in reality. Its intense scenes would surely drive you to the edge of your seats as you breathlessly wait for the next one. As you glue your eyes to the screen, you would just find yourself laughing, crying, cheering, and sharing the same emotions with the characters (and the rest of the audience in the theater). It also gives us some knowledge about Japan’s history since some of the names are actually based on real Japanese figures. (Go search for them!) Personally, I would give the movie a rating of 8 out of 10. Or 9, perhaps? *big grin*

Bonus: MUST-SEE SCENES:

  • The duel between Kenshin and Sojiro (Like damn! Takeru and Ryunosuke were so nimble and proficient in using their katana that you would actually think they are the real deal. This brief duel would definitely leave a mark in your memories for a long time.)
  • All the parts of Sanosuke Sagara (I don’t understand why, but even though the scene was serious or dramatic, the audience would always laugh at him. He probably just looked funny no matter what. And just like Satoh and Kamiki, I believe that Aoki is Sanosuke’s reincarnation. HAHAHA!)
  • Aoshi Versus Okina. (Thumbs up to Mr. Min Tanaka, the actor who played the role of Okina. His age didn’t hinder him from doing all those stunts during his match with Yusuke Iseya, who was also surprised with the incredible strength he displayed during that shot.)
  • Kenshin Vs. Sawagejō Chō (Ryosuke Miura is an extremely good actor. Nuff said. )
  • Himura Kenshin’s ORO moments (There were just a few, but they would definitely make you go awww when you hear Kenshin’s favorite expression. He too has his own share of brief comedic moments with Misao and the gang. )
  • Himura Bakkyusai (WAIT. WHAT? No, I didn’t misspell it. Bakkyusai was the name of the actor who parodied the infamous hitokiri during a stage play. The real Kenshin was watching and laughing along with his friends because of the actor’s antics. The audience’s laughter reverberated in the halls of the theater when this scene was played. )
  • Sagara Sanosuke’s epic fail. (This might just be included in the second list, but this one in particular cracked everyone up. It was the part where he was supposed to jump to the other side of the canal using a long bamboo stick. But like I said, it was an EPIC FAIL.)

There are a lot more scenes you have to watch out for, especially the ones that involve a sword fight with Himura Kenshin and his opponents (like Shishio’s subordinates in Shingetsu village). I believe that the highly anticipated finale will surpass this one. The hype is getting even higher as the date advances. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends will premiere in Japan on September 13! Watch out for it!

LA Eiga Fest To Screen Rurouni Kenshin and Lupin III This September

To all the fans of Rurouni Kenshin and Lupin III in LA, worry not! LA Eiga Fest will bring you these live-action film adaptations together with other Japanese movies from September 12-14 at the Egyptian Theatre. The festival will kick off with the screening of Lupin III, starring Shun Oguri, on Friday, September 12. The movie, which is directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, premiered in Japan on August 30. Another critically-acclaimed live action film, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, which is directed by Keishi Ōtomo, will have its U.S premiere on September 14. The second installment of the widely-popular film stars Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi, Aoki Munetaka and Tatsuya Fujiwara. 

Other Japanese films will be shown throughout the three-day festival. To know more about the schedule and events, kindly visit their website here.

Rurouni-Kenshin-Kyoto-Fire-poster

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

Lupin III Poster

Lupin III 

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Flares up a Record on its Opening Day

The much-awaited sequel of Rurouni Kenshin has finally come! The opening day started yesterday, August 20 in Philippine cinemas nationwide. The three main actors of the said Japanese film (Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi and Aoki Munetaka) including their director, Keishi Otomo, visited the country for a two-day event last August 6 and 7. Thousands of fans flocked the venue as they tried to catch a glimpse of the stars during the red carpet premiere on Wednesday at SM Megamall. The following day, they were appointed as Cultural Friendship Ambassadors to the Philippines.They also attended a press conference in Glorietta later that day at around 6 pm which also garnered an estimated crowd of about 6,000 people.

Yesterday marked the opening date of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno in local theaters nationwide. The film proved to be a huge success as it earned P7.3M just on its first day of screening. Warner Bros Pictures (Philippines) confirmed this new record on its Facebook account.

Taken from Warner Bros Philippines' Official Facebook Page

Taken from Warner Bros Philippines’ Official Facebook Page

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno is the live-action film adaptation of the manga and animated series entitled Rurouni Kenshin (or Samurai X), which was written by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It is the second movie of the two-part sequel starring Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi and Aoki Munetaka. The first film, which was released in 2012, became a blockbuster hit in Japan and it also had several international screenings. The films are directed by Keishi Otomo, and the third part (Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends) is slated to be shown in Japan on September 13 of this year. The story revolves around Himura Kenshin, who was a former hitokiri (assassin) during the Bakumatsu era. He becomes a wanderer and tries to atone for the murders he committed by protecting people using his sakabato (reverse-blade sword)His vow never to kill again is put on a test when his successor, Shishio Makoto and his Juppongatana faction try to overthrow the Meiji government and threaten the peace in the country.

People lining up At SM Megamall to watch Rurouni Kenshin on its opening day (Photo Credit: JM Cayao of Rurouni Kenshin Pinas)

People line up At SM Megamall to watch Rurouni Kenshin on its opening day (Photo Credit: JM Cayao of Rurouni Kenshin Pinas)

For those of you who haven’t watched this movie yet, go to your nearest movie theaters and enjoy this action-packed sequel of Rurouni Kenshin. Catch the fiery screening of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno in your favorite local cinemas nationwide!

A Dream Come True: My Fateful Encounter with the Cast & Director of Rurouni Kenshin

WARNING: This is a long post. Read at your own risk. 😛

The moment that I had been waiting for has finally come. I got up at 5:30 am and traveled all the way from Las Piñas to Makati City where the presscon will be held. It took me two hours to get to Glorietta and when the mall finally opened at 10, I immediately looked for the Activity Center while my friend waited in line to buy a movie ticket to get a pass for the event. I went to the left side of the venue close to the stage and I just watched the dancers rehearsed for the program. The authentic costumes used in the film were also displayed next to the stage together with some posters and photos taken during the filming. However, a few minutes after that, the guards requested the fans to leave the area since they were still in the process of organizing the place. Therefore, I ended up positioning myself at the center, right in front of the stage though it was a bit farther than my first station. I also managed to be friends with the other fans around me (who, by the way, are also members of Rurouni Kenshin Pinas, an RK group on Facebook).

I ended up in this position.

I ended up here.

The costumes and photos were displayed next to the stage.

The costumes and photos were displayed next to the stage.

Let me just rant a bit. The guards who were dispatched in my area were really upsetting. As early as 1:30 pm, we already asked them if we wouldn’t be driven away later when the program starts. AND THEY TOLD US THAT WE WERE ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN OUR POSTS FOR THE EVENT. And much to our dismay and annoyance, later that day, at around 3 or 4 o’clock, they started shooing us away. To make my rant short, we ended up arguing with the guards and we really fought for our right to remain in our position. LOL. They were so disorganized and unsystematic. Before 6 o’clock struck, some performers signaled the beginning of the event with a dance performance infused with traditional Japanese martial arts/swordsmanship. The same cosplayers who graced the red carpet yesterday at Megamall also went on stage. The host of the show, Ms. Sam Oh, stirred the crowd as the screen showed the arrival of Takeru Satoh, Aoki Munetaka and director Keishi Otomo. An estimate of 6,000 fans roared in excitement as Sam Oh called the guests one by one to come up on stage. And believe me, Takeru Satoh looks much more handsome in person than on TV. I couldn’t actually take a clear shot of them since my friends were so agitated they kept on bumping me. (Hence the blurry pictures). They first greeted the crowd before the press started asking questions about the movie and the stars.

Keishi Otomo, Takeru Satoh and Aoki Munetaka answer the questions from the press

Keishi Otomo, Takeru Satoh and Aoki Munetaka answer the questions from the press

Aoki was just like Sanosuke in real life. He was so exuberant and his antics made him the crowd’s favorite. Both he and Takeru displayed their knowledge of a few Tagalog words such as “Magandang gabi”, “Maraming salamat” and our all-time favorite expression, “Mahal ko kayo”. I also give Aoki-san an A+ for his efforts to answer all the questions in English. He pumped his fists in the air as he encouraged the fans to chant “Sano! Sano!”. Takeru, on the other hand, stood afterwards and sent a flying kiss to the crowd, making us squeal in delight.

When asked whether they sustained some injuries during the filming, Aoki, who played the character of Kenshin’s best friend, Sanosuke, said that he lost a tooth. “But I don’t mind, because I’m Sanosuke!“, he added to reassure the fans. Takeru, however, said that he suffered from several injuries that he cannot point out one in particular. He was also asked if he knows someone who is similar to Himura Kenshin in real life, and he said he doesn’t know one. And Aoki, being the animated guy he was, raised his hand and answered, “I know, I know!” and pointed to Takeru, “…him”. Another person from the press asked the trio about their opinion if the Hollywood decides to do an American remake of Rurouni Kenshin, and obviously, we rebuffed in unison. Takeru exclaimed that his response is probably similar to that of the fans’, while director Otomo dared and challenged the Hollywood to take their chance. Aoki also surprised the fans when he described himself as “ASTIG”, which he learned from his Filipino friend. I would say that Aoki totally hyped and owned the stage that night.

Five lucky fans were also given the chance to be with them on stage as the three presented them the signed RK posters while shaking hands with the winners. Aoki also gave a hug to each of them, which made the other fans (including me) sigh in envy. Aww. :3 Afterwards, they gave their final message and expressed their deep gratitude to the Filipinos for the warm reception. Takeru hopes that “this will pave way for other Japanese films to be shown in the Philippines” and Aoki also asked the fans to watch and enjoy the sequel, because who knows, they might return to the country if Kyoto Inferno will become a box-office hit here. (And I’m really crossing my fingers for that to happen.)

"Thank you very much. It's my first time to come to the Philippines. I'm glad I came. I'm now in love with the Philippines." -Takeru Satoh

“Thank you very much. It’s my first time to come to the Philippines. I’m glad I came. I’m now in love with the Philippines.” -Takeru Satoh

The press conference lasted for about an hour, but the experience I had during this event will last forever. I didn’t expect that this day would happen when I could already see and hear Takeru Satoh LIVE. He is one of my favorite Japanese artists, and Aoki Munetaka has now been included in my bias list. It’s too unfortunate that I couldn’t catch a glimpse of Takei Emi’s beauty, but other fans around me confirmed how simple yet elegant she was during the red carpet event. Until now, I still have some regrets since I couldn’t make it last August 6, especially when many fan accounts testify that the Wednesday event was way better than the presscon (in terms of interaction with the artists). Many people got their autographs and others even shook hands with Emi, Takeru, Aoki and director-san. I thought I wouldn’t be able to see them in Megamall because I didn’t win any tickets/invites from Warner Bros PH and SM Cinema. (I guess I’m not just really lucky when it comes to raffle draw and promos) *weeps miserably* So I ended up filing a leave of absence from my company on Thursday. Turns out that the red carpet premiere was more fun than the presscon. Fans around me even dubbed Glorietta as “Ayala Inferno”, due to the guards’ exaggerated stringency and disorganized system.

Nevertheless, this experience is totally unforgettable. Until now, I’m still reminiscing every detail of the event. I hope that the four of them will return to Manila soon. And can I just ask for more? Can they bring the other artists with them? Like Tatsuya Fujiwara (Makoto Shishio), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Seta Soujiro) and many more? 😀 Rurouni-Kenshin-Kyoto-Fire-poster

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno will be shown in the Philippines on August 20, and the third film will be screened on the 24th of September. Let’s all watch these movies and make them a blockbuster hit! 頑張ってください!

Cast and Director Attend the Asian Premiere of Rurouni Kenshin in the Philippines

Fans of the popular anime/manga of the 90s called Rurouni Kenshin (also known as Samurai X) were delighted upon the news of the sequel of the live-action film adaptation of the said anime. The first movie was released in 2012 and it garnered rave reviews from both critics and fans. Much to the delight of everyone, a two-part sequel was confirmed to take place. The second movie, named “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno” was released in Japan on August 1, 2014, while the third part will be shown on September 13 and is entitled “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends”.

The Asian premiere of Kyoto Inferno was held in the Philippines on August 6, Wednesday at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. The red carpet event began at around 6 pm. The Filipino cosplayers first walked the runway as thousands of fans cheered loudly when the stars of the film showed up at the venue. Takeru Satoh, Aoki Munetaka and Emi Takei who reprised their roles as Himura Kenshin, Sagara Sanosuke and Kamiya Kaoru respectively, walked the red carpet with their director, Keishi Otomo. Unexpectedly, the guests took their time to sign autographs for the fans who gathered to see their favorite stars. They greeted the crowd in Tagalog as they were welcomed with a loud cheer and applause from the audience. They also answered a few questions on stage before the advanced screening started.

From left: Director Keishi Otomo, Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi and Aoki Munetaka at the Red Carpet Premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (Credit to Warner Bros Pictures PH)

The following day, the four of them were also appointed as “Cultural Friendship Ambassadors” to the Philippines wherein they were presented with the jeepney decorated with a Rurouni Kenshin art. Afterwards, they headed to a press conference event held in Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City. Takei Emi, however, couldn’t make it to the event since she had to leave the country in the afternoon due to other schedules.

The stars and director of Rurouni Kenshin posed with the RK-themed jeepney on Thursday, Aug.7 at Makati City. (Credit to Warner Bros Pictures PH)

The stars and director of Rurouni Kenshin posed with the RK-themed jeepney on Thursday, Aug.7 at Makati City. (Credit to Warner Bros Pictures PH)

To read my personal account of the press conference event, click here.