Rurouni kenshin: the final

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<Ed. note: Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of the original manga the movies discussed here are based on, was fined for possession of child pornography in 2018. He was not involved in the adaptation process or the production of the movies, but it is possible he still receives passive income from them. The following article focuses exclusively on the films và the many talented people who worked on them, and whose labor and careers st& on their own. At the time this article was initially published, we were not aware of these charges, and we apologize for this oversight. We wish to lớn give readers this warning, và understvà some might not feel comfortable discussing the franchise in light of this information.>

The story of Rurouni Kenshin begins in 1860s Japan, where the end of the Japanese civil war is marking the transition from feudalism to modernism. Himura Kenshin, a legendary warrior, renounces his violent ways và wanders the land looking for atonement. But his past catches up to hyên ổn, and he must once again use his gift of swordsmanship to lớn help the innocent.

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Rurouni Kenshin started as a manga series, và became a successful anime series in the mid-1990s. It was only a matter of time before a live-action adaptation of the saga followed. Warner Bros. Japan backed the project, & turned it inlớn one of Japan’s most widely acclaimed recent franchises. The initial trilogy — 2012’s Rurouni Kenshin Part I: Origins & 2014’s Kyolớn Inferno & The Legover Ends — is widely available for digital rental. And Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, the saga’s fourth movie, is now on Netflix, after opening successfully in Japan in April 20đôi mươi. So what makes this franchise so special?

The Kenshin movies stvà out for a number of reasons: Their compelling stories are filled with endearing characters, và they take place in a rich world that draws from real Japanese history. Bringing the story lớn life through superb production design and cinematography, the films find the right balance between visual naturalism and moments of pure mythological wonder. They center on an attention-grabbing protagonist, introduced as an unstoppable force of war who wants lớn stop fighting.

Kenshin’s arc throughout the trilogy initially makes him the embodiment of Japan’s guilt & attempt khổng lồ atone for its sins. Kenshin feels that every time he killed an adversary, he lost part of his soul. So now, the former samurai wields a “reverse-blade sword,” the Sakabatō, where the sharp edge faces inward toward the wielder, instead of outward toward his opponent. The weapon lets hyên ổn use his fighting skills to lớn protect those in need, without ever killing again. The Sakabatō is an essential part of the series’ mythology, working as a metaphor for Kenshin’s core dilemma. The sharp edge constantly reminds hyên what he’s capable of, & it threatens to lớn cut him rather than his enemies. It’s a potent metaphor for what violence does khổng lồ the people who choose to lớn harm others. No wonder that when the blade is broken in Kyoto lớn Inferno, so is Kenshin’s will.


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Photo: Warner Bros. Japan
Kenshin is portrayed by Takeru Satoh of Kamen Rider Den-O fame, who finds in Kenshin his greathử nghiệm role yet. He gives Kenshin an unparalleled fighting agility, but there’s an irresistibly sweet side lớn his demeanor as well. He’s surrounded by a large cast of talented actors, some of whom deliver memorable performances, especially on the villains’ side. Tatsuya Fujiwara, for instance, plays the unsettling Shishio Makolớn, Kenshin’s mirror image, who was broken & betrayed by the Imperiadanh sách forces he helped bring to lớn victory during the civil war. He’s the main antagonist of the second and third films, và he makes for one of the most striking cinematic bad guys of all time. Burned alive, wrapped in bandages, he uses a serrated sword that has accumulated so much human fat through years of cutting open human bodies that it catches fire at the faindemo spark. Just as Kenshin & the Sakabatō are one, Shishio and his blazing weapon similarly represent each other.

There is a lot khổng lồ be said of Kenshin’s journey from guilt-ridden wanderer to lớn the man he becomes by the final act of The Legend Ends. It’s easy khổng lồ see his story as a metaphor for Japan’s struggle to lớn come to lớn terms with its past, particularly its role in World War II. Kenshin chose khổng lồ renounce violence, rather than being defeated lượt thích Japan, but his move to a less warlike way of living sets up a core theme for the series: the transition from a warrior age khổng lồ a civilized one, và the complete societal reinvention that must come with it. All three films in the original trilogy see the old trying khổng lồ catch up to the new, or trying lớn make it old again. Kenshin can only complete his journey when he realizes that the future lies in transforming the elements of the past, rather than eliminating or forgetting them. The live-action movies never fully develop the story’s political dimension, but it’s there by mặc định, in the way the characters are written, và how they behave sầu relative to the government và each other. When they talk about standing by their igiao dịch and enacting change for the better on an individual màn chơi, the personal becomes political.

The series constantly questions whether violence is an inevitable part of societal change, whether the ways of the past can be used lớn protect the future, and how. Those questions resonate through the action kiến thiết, which pushes the boundaries of what Japanese blockbuster can offer. To direct the action, filmmaker Keishi Ōtomo entrusted a talented stunt team lead by Takahito Ouđưa ra, whose body toàn thân of work notably includes the thrilling, high-octane HiGH&LOW franchise, and most importantly by action choreographer Kenji Tanigaki. The latter has been working and learning with legendary Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen since the late 1990s, all the way from Ballistic Kiss lớn Blade II, from the game-changing Flash Point khổng lồ Dragon và the upcoming Raging Fire. His work will also be featured in the American G.I. Joe film Snake Eyes, slated for release this summer.

Tanigaki brings his A-game khổng lồ the Rurouni Kenshin saga, delivering an entirely new breed of cinematic kinetics. While drawing from the century-old tradition of chanbara imagery (a “calligraphic” style of action cinema defined by bravura camera movements & elaborate choreographies, which started all the way baông chồng in the 1920s), Tanigaki pushes the envelope of how dynamic sword fights can look by extending the flow of action lớn every part of the hero’s toàn thân. Kenshin fights not only with his blade, but with his whole being. Speed và the use of the environment also play a major role in the way these films update Japanese action movies, pushing the actors to lớn the limits of what is physically possible. Wires are used lớn amplify movements and let the films subtly step inkhổng lồ superhuman territory, but never so much so that it breaks the suspension of disbelief.

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The camera work is just as commendable, either enhancing the dynamism of the fights, or bringing an extra layer of meaning to lớn the pictures. When Kenshin is first introduced in Origins, Tanigaki và his team match the camera movement to lớn the character’s momentum, & use the editing to lớn translate his power to every part of the film world. They stay the course for most of the original trilogy, which is nearly miraculous. The first Kenshin trilogy remains one of the greakiểm tra action-movie achievements of the decade. The creators clearly had to lớn make difficult choices around condensing the story and streamlining the characters, but the creative team brings this world to lớn the screen with heart và panabịt.

The Final, the series’ fourth installment, is its grvà finale. A fifth movie, The Beginning, is now out in nhật bản, but it’s a prequel, mix before Origins. The Final starts with a bang: In 1879, a group of police officers trachồng down và attempt to arrest a mysterious individual with ties to the Shangnhị mafia. The criminal, Enishi Yukishiro, effortlessly subdues them in a show of force that establishes hyên as the new antagonist. He’s played by Mackenyu Arata, son of the legendary movie ibé Shiniđưa ra “Sonny” Chicha, và he brings tangible charisma khổng lồ his screen persona. His focused and malignant mindmix contrasts with Kenshin’s new personality, more relaxed và trying to live on in a time of peace.

But peace remains a utopian igiảm giá for Japan’s greakiểm tra swordsman. Yukishiro sends his minions after Kenshin, leading khổng lồ a major action scene before the 30-minute mark. As was the case in the original trilogy, cinematographer Takuro Ishizaka & director Keishi Ōtomo create superbly crafted images, while Kenji Tanigaki continues to look for new ways khổng lồ surprise the audience in his choreography. This first fight, set at night, makes optimal use of the destructible sets, and uses lighting lớn focus viewers’ eyes on the unusual weapons và movements of Kenshin’s enemy.

Like the original trilogy, The Final uses Kenshin’s struggle lớn settle inkhổng lồ a peaceful era as a mirror for the Japanese government’s anxiety over the country’s involvement in Taiwan and Korea, and the growing tensions with Đài Loan Trung Quốc. For both the character & the country, the troubled, murky waters of the past rise again, putting the present’s newfound stability in jeopardy.

But in The Final, the stakes are much more personal than before. After 14 years in exile, Yukishiro has returned lớn take revenge on Kenshin, who he saw killing his sister Tomoe — Kenshin’s only love — all those years ago. The Beginning goes back lớn that time, focusing on how the famous warrior got his cross-shaped facial scar, but The Final is anchored in a story of lost loves: the thắm thiết connection between Kenshin and Tomoe, and the brotherly one between Enishi and his sister.

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The Final spends a great giảm giá khuyến mãi of time focusing on his characters và observing their complicated feelings for each other, notably with regard to Kenshin’s close friend Kamiya Kaoru, & her attraction khổng lồ the former assassin. Once again, the actors deliver formidable performances, switching between intimate scenes where they convey their emotions through their eyes, và rip-roaring action setpieces.


Chuyên mục: Tin Tức

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