(To celebrate the release of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno here in the Philippines tomorrow, I am sharing my personal excitement with you over this highly-anticipated Japanese movie of this year. We all love Kenshin, don’t we? :3 )
“Kill before you are killed.”
So was the belief of Shishio Makoto, the successor of the infamous Battousai, who has now become a mere wanderer who goes by the name of Himura Kenshin. He is widely acknowledged as one of the strongest enemies of the main antagonist Rurouni Kenshin which was first popularized by Nobuhiro Watsuki in his manga of the same title. It was then later adopted as an anime in the mid-90s, and its soaring popularity reached outside the boundaries of Japan, where it became more well-known as Samurai X.
Shishio Makoto and his Juppongatana
My Love for Kenshin: When and How It All Started
Back in the 90s, I could justify how famous it was in my country that time. The memories were faint, but I was quite certain that it was as popular as Dragon Ball was during that period. I was still five or six years old that time. I could even barely read or write but I have been totally infatuated with anime ever since I was a kid. I grew up with my uncles who are big fanatics of Japanese animations, and they have greatly influenced me in that aspect.
Back then, Samurai X was aired on our local TV channel and was also dubbed in Filipino. I can remember tiny bits of the show but after I started schooling, I couldn’t constantly keep up with the episodes. And dang, I was still a child then, and with all the homework and stress I had with my studies, I couldn’t totally focus and remember all the arcs and even the characters’ names in the story. All I could remember was the big tarpaulin of Kenshin and the Samurai X card collection we once owned which was sold in Comic Alley. I swear I don’t even know how we managed to procure those items. It’s probably one of my uncles who bought them.
More than a decade after, however, we lost all of them, including the big tarpaulin. *weeps* We had to constantly move in and out of apartments ever since we sold our house which was why we lost track of our other belongings, including the cards. By then, I thought Samurai X has long been “outdated” since tons of newer anime were released one after another. (But I was damn wrong!) I never had the slightest dream that it would be recreated, and in 2012, its first live-action movie adaptation entitled Rurouni Kenshin was released in cinemas. Just imagine how excited I was upon hearing the news. It brought back so many memories of my childhood. I must say that though the story line of the movie didn’t completely follow the original manga/anime, the cast and staff still did a wonderful job giving life to one of my favorite anime. That nostalgic effect made me rewatch all 95 episodes of Samurai X. I was able to recall and enjoy the scenes in the show. One of my favorite (and probably the best) seasons was the Kyoto Arc. Shishio Makoto was the only villain in the story that left an unforgettable impression in my memory.
He is the only antagonist that I can remember out of all the other enemies when I was still a child. Aside from his weird and creepy bandaged appearance, his ruthless character carved a big spot on my mind, leaving a lasting memory of that merciless hitokiri who never had second thoughts in killing everyone who got on his way. The fight between him and Kenshin proved to be one of the most thrilling and suspense scenes in the episode that left me at the edge of my seat. Watching it again after more than ten years makes it even more hair-raising for me since I can already vividly capture every detail and fight scenes in the show, especially now that I can fully comprehend the story compared to when I was a kid.
Kyoto Arc: A Film Adaptation?
Many RK (an acronym for Rurouni Kenshin) fans should know by now that the anime’s Kyoto arc will be the main theme of the two-part sequel of the show’s live action film adaptation. The second movie, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno was first screened in Japan on August 1, 2014, while the the third part is slated to be released on September 13 of this year. (There will also be international screening in various parts of the world so you better check your cinemas and scheduled dates in advance!) Now the big question is: Will the actors be able to perfectly portray the characters in the anime? Will the producer, director and other staff of the film manage to capture the effects and intense battle scenes in this arc? Well, we have to see it for ourselves.
I, myself have a lot of expectations for these two movies. After seeing the first RK film, I’m expecting them to be on par with the first one, or if not, even far superior to it. I have already seen the trailer and photos of the second film and the additional actors are nothing but exceptional. Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi and Aoki Munetaka will be reprising their roles as Himura Kenshin, Kamiya Kaoru and Sagara Sanosuke. For the new characters in the sequels, Tatsuya Fujiwara will be playing the role of Kenshin’s archenemy, Shishio Makoto, while Ryunosuke Kamiki will be his right-hand man, Seta Soujiro. A lot more well-known names in the movie industry are included in the list, so you guys better watch the movies to find out who they are!
The Philippines had the exclusive opportunity to be the host of the Asian Premiere of Rurouni Kenshin. The red carpet premiere and press conference both fell on weekdays, but that didn’t stop thousands of fans to travel all the way to SM Megamall and Glorietta just to catch a glimpse of the movie stars and director (Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi, Aoki Munetaka and Keishi Otomo) who were surprised and thankful for the warm reception they received from their Filipino fans. The hype didn’t stop after they left the country. In contrary, the excitement over the latest #RuroKen film gets even more intense as the day of the showing advances.
I’m not sure if they are going to follow the original story line in the anime, but one thing’s for sure. Shishio Makoto is surely one hell of a villain as what I’ve seen on the trailers. His faction, the Juppongatana is also complete to add more torment to Kenshin and his comrades. Aoshi Shinomori is also confirmed to be in the cast together with Kenshin’s master, Hiko Seijuro. Just imagining the battle scenes in the anime makes me look forward on how the cast will interpret and execute the infamous fight between Shishio and Kenshin. The actors said they suffered from several injuries while shooting the movie, so it only goes to show how hard they worked to make the scenes seem realistic just like its animated counterpart.
I hope to see the part where Shishio bites Kenshin during their fight, and the scene where he apathetically strikes Yumi with his sword, impaling Kenshin as well in the process. Heck, that scene had me overwhelmed with emotions. I also heard that Soujiro has the spotlight in the second movie, so I’m sensing that there will be more fight scenes of him and Kenshin than with Shishio, which possibly explains the reason behind the third film, The Legend Ends.
Well, the only way to find out the answers to these questions and assumptions is to watch the sequels! Let’s support the movies and show our love to our legendary wanderer, Rurouni Kenshin!
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Poster (Credit to: 映画『るろうに剣心』Facebook Page)
(For more updates, check the official website of Warner Bros Japan. Click here.)