The preliminary Rurouni Kenshin TV collection was largely a blast, with its humorous, action-packed relation of the adventures of Kenshin Himura, a former grasp murderer sworn to atone for his crimes and to by no means kill once more – solely after the grand, sprawling “Kyoto Arc” did the story begin to falter.
The TV collection was adopted up by each a film, that includes Kenshin combating to guard his pals towards a revenge-driven insurgent, and a two-part OVA, a luxurious, rigorously rendered outing about Kenshin’s origins as one in every of Tokugawa period (1800s) Japan’s most vicious and feared assassins. What, then, is left to inform?
Lots, particularly when you’re a fan fiction creator. Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Seisou-hen) fills in a couple of misplaced particulars of the general Rurouni Kenshin story arc, but it surely additionally provides a couple of new thrilling battles and a tragic, noble ending for the contrite, good-hearted swordsman and his woman, Kaoru. It is all accomplished in precisely the identical type as the primary collection of OVAs, which implies that many of the characters look extra detailed than their TV renditions and fewer cheerful.
Associated: Rurouni Kenshin: The Actual Life Historic Figures The Characters Have been Based mostly On
The primary OVA Kenshin character design was attention-grabbing as a result of it depicted his vivid pumpkin orange hair as being deep crimson, the identical shade because the blood he spills. In Reflection, the story flashes again to occasions of the TV collection a number of occasions, giving the orange-haired “hero” Kenshin a really unique, life like look.
On this therapy, Kenshin’s enemies, just like the hypnotism-using Jin-e, appear much less threatening however extra human. It is fairly an enticement, when you’re a Rurouni Kenshin fan, to see a couple of of the present’s key moments recreated on this attractive, vivid artwork type.
Then there’s the a part of the OVA’s story that covers the “Revenge” arc of the manga. See, within the unique OVA collection, Kenshin was finally compelled to strike down his personal spouse, an act that left him consumed with grief and self-doubt for years afterwards.
However his personal emotional misery is not the one fallout of the homicide; his lifeless spouse Tomoe had a bit brother, a boy named Enishi. Blinded by his sorrow at dropping his sister and his rage at Kenshin, Enishi trains for years to arrange himself to show apart Kenshin’s formidable Hiten Mitsurugi sword method, and performs his ace by kidnapping Kaoru, the particular person Kenshin most likely cares essentially the most about.
The issue is, Kaoru sympathizes with Enishi, which places him off guard – when Kenshin finally arrives by boat at Enishi’s gigantic, western-style home, his entrance evokes the scene from Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai III movie the place Musashi Miyamoto arrives on Ganryu Island to problem Kojiro Sasaki. Enishi appears very formidable, with rippling muscle tissue and a nifty pair of darkish glasses, however Kenshin is on the very prime of his sport.
The majority of Reflection’s story, nevertheless, takes place effectively after Kenshin’s days as a reformed hitman are over. He is been enlisted again into the military and gone to the continent to work in a help function within the Sino-Japanese warfare; somewhat than killing individuals, he’ll work solely to avoid wasting them.
In the meantime, again in Tokyo, Kaoru faithfully waits for him to return, as he all the time has. The issue is, Kenshin’s weariness is de facto beginning to catch as much as him, and each he and his spouse are affected by an affliction that can inevitably destroy them. Will Kenshin and Kaoru meet once more, below the cherry blossoms? Actually, it is nearly a foregone conclusion.
The animation and design of Reflection are as luxurious and exquisite as in its predecessor OVAs. The character designs, whereas tailored from creator Nobuhiro Watsuki’s tough, interesting work, are life like in a fashion that is somewhat unsettling when the you begin to discover simply how a lot – and the way badly Kenshin has aged since we final noticed him.
Taku Iwasaki‘s bittersweet, lilting string numbers are the right selection for a narrative like this; the music actually units the temper for the story. The battle scenes are additionally good, and longtime followers ought to be delighted to see Enishi rendered with such vividness. Some may grouse in regards to the absence of fan-favorite adversaries like Makoto Shishio and Hajime Saito, however the battle from the TV collection that’s introduced Kenshin versus Jin-e – continues to be thrilling and hanging.
Reflection is imperfect in a couple of different regards, as effectively. Probably the most speedy drawback is with the voice solid. Particularly, Mayo Suzukaze, the voice of Kenshin, is not a convincing middle-aged man. She’s an oddly applicable selection because the youthful, cheerful Kenshin, however she actually sounds misplaced portraying him in his older years.
Her efficiency is not dangerous by any means, it simply sounds actually bizarre to me. As a lot because the idea of recasting the character appears by some means incorrect, I want they’d tried it with the older Kenshin. It isn’t all dangerous, although– as Enishi, Nozomu Sasaki snarls and smolders his approach by means of an excellent efficiency.
Some followers of Rurouni Kenshin will certainly love this OVA as a result of it offers an actual sense of closure the place so many anime collection don’t. However, it additionally does an excellent job of dashing and glossing over Enishi’s story, a pivotal a part of Watsuki’s manga storyline. Total, I feel Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection is a worthwhile factor to see even for informal Rurouni Kenshin watchers, however I’ve to marvel if it could not have been a bit higher.