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The Legend Ends, Reaction to

(This was actually written Sept. 29. But I avoid my blogs these days, especially this one. Writing this now, I have to constantly remind myself to resist reading any manga. Even if Naruto ends.)
Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Well, one word:

AWESOME.

The movie was awe awesome and epic. If I am to compare this with the two preceding movies, I was a bit alienated with this one. I didn't know what's going to happen, what to expect even, because it deviated much from the anime and the manga. But it was NOT annoying and you could see why they did it. OR, as I said in my previous Kenshin movie post, your love for Kenshin (and Satoh) will make you understand.

I actually don't have much free time to compose a proper and fitting review. So I'll just rave away.

In the movie, the Purgatory was not blown up before it could sail away. Well, the production did spend money to produce the ship and it looked impressive on the big screen. The Purgatory therefore was able to 'cause' chaos in the public of Tokyo, which Shishio articulated. In the anime, it was Kenshin and Saito who articulated it (but the carriage to the port, As If to Fly episode, was skipped in the movies). I liked it that the point of the black ship Purgatory was stressed in the movie, through Shishio. One of the greatest merit of Rurouni Kenshin (manga and anime) was it's historical element, a look on the Japanese psyche torn between their ego-centrism and self-sufficiency, and the new ideas of the West.

On Hiko and Kenshin's final tutorial. That part went very different from the anime and manga. But the movie gave the gist, so all good. They showed Kenshin getting his ass kicked by his master. They showed Kenshin as Shinta. They showed that moment that Kenshin realized what he lacked - respect for his own life, or in the words of the movie, 'the will to live'. I liked Hiko's articulation on how Kenshin, due to his years being the Battousai, no longer places worth on his life. That's one of my favorite lines in the movie. And the bamboo scene was refreshing. I liked that set. I guess the waterfalls version of the anime was too dangerous for the real-life actors.

Fights. Hmmm. Saito finishing off the Blind Eye something (I forgot what he was actually called) was hilarious. It was so short! (There was quite a number of 'Eh?' sounding around the movie house. I had that reaction too when the first time I watched the movie). Kenshin vs Sojiro was amazing. Battle of the Tenken(s). Hmmm, Kenshin vs Aoshi was good too. Oh! That moment when Saito said 'let's go' to Kenshin! Lovely moment there. Sano vs Anji was laughtrip.

Well, it is easy to pick the most awesome scene in the movie (in the Ruroken movie trilogy even, as it was in the anime series). The Shishio vs Kenshin, Sano, Saito and Aoshi. I wondered if anyone in the movie theatre even breathed until that was over. That was just awesome, epic, amazing, breath-taking, superb, magnificent. I even like it more than how it happened in the anime. Kenshin, Sano, Saito and Aoshi circling Shishio and attacking all at the same time? Well, find something that tops that. Even for action movies, I don't suppose there's many who can top the ferocity AND grace of that series of scenes. Without massive, exaggerated explosions (though there were explosions but none of the clouds of fire), it was a very good action sequence.  The danger was there, the adrenaline, the rush, then there was the class, the refined movements, the elegance of clashing katana. I don't have the capacity to find proper words to describe it. It was just so stunningly beautiful.
Ryunosuke (Sojiro's actor) was very good. The movie did not have the luxury of time to show how much emotion was involved in the second fight of Kenshin and Sojiro, but it still managed to show it, at least some. Not many words. Just the shift in Ryonosuke's expression. Just his eyes. And it's there. I always found that a scary moment, in the anime and in the manga, when Sojiro snapped. And it was scary in the movie too. Watching people snap is always scary anyway. Though when Kenshin snaps, fans get excited, because he's just so much awe-inspiring when he snaps to Battousai mode.

Sano was, as always, the comic relief. Even when he's spurting out blood. But it was also funny when the Tokyo police went to 'arrest' Battousai. Kenshin made a move to draw his katana and they all drew back. One of the few moments that people in the cinema reacted loudly. We burst out laughing. Loud. (I watched the movie thrice now, as I'm writing this. I'm sure several of the people I was with in the cinema had also watched in the first week of its showing. And yet, it induces the same reaction, every time). I don't know what that says about Kenshin fans.

I also liked that moment when supposedly, Kenshin was to be executed. Though I wanted to throw something on the screen when  people were cursing Kenshin. That man, you pathetic brainless fools, is the man that sacrificed his peace of mind to help create the peace you are enjoying. Don't just read newspapers baka, think for yourself. Anyway, it was obvious that was Saito, the executioner. But it was so sad at the end. There was no one for Saito! Kenshin had Kaoru to support him, Aoshi had Misao, Sano had Yahiko (though Megumi would have been good too. SanoMegumi!!!) but Saito had no one, just his cigarette. That was sad. The lone wolf.

I liked the 'salute the samurai' moment. I liked the play of emotion on their faces - Kenshin, the hitokiri who threw his youth for the revolution; Saito, the Shinsengumi captain whose duty to his country did not end with the defeat of the Shogun; Aoshi, the commander of Oniwabansyu that the Imperialist had thrown away despite their contribution to the peace of the new age; and Sano, the child who saw the injustice of the Imperialist government on the very people that helped them to victory. No words. Just their expressions. Even Saito reacted! But. No words. And. It meant so much more. Not one of them said anything. Just their eyes. Just their face. It was golden!

My best experience was still that of the first movie. It was just so fun, so exhilarating, to see fellow fans flocking the cinema, smiling at you for no reason at all other than they're just so happy as you are, and just as thrilled as you are. I felt like a kid all over again. I think most fans did. It was like your childhood being brought to life. (Though, I think I was high school when Kenshin came about?) And you're seeing people whose childhoods were also peopled by Battousai and the Wolf of Mibu. Somehow, that common thing made you 'comrades', at least for awhile.

I think Shishio was Kenshin's greatest opponent, in the anime and in the manga. None of his later nemesis had the same strength and depth of Shishio. Kenshin's battle with Shishio had the greatest drama, had the greatest emotional tug, had the greatest fights. It was also a figurative fight on so many ways. It symbolized Kenshin's own revolution. It showed the depth of Kenshin's commitment to his country. That moment in the anime, when Kenshin almost surrendered to death and his last thoughts were that he had done his duty to Nihon, protected Kyoto, that just broke my heart. Saito would be his other great opponent but they eventually fought together, for the peace of the country they both fought for. I just, well, that line works very, very well on me. It really tugs at my heart. It reaches to the patriot in me. Anyway. I think this should do.

Favorite sequence ever is in the third movie.

Favorite movie is the second.

Favorite OST is that of the first movie.

The Legend Ends.

It's sad. It feels as if Rurouni Kenshin ended all over again. But it's also nice. To be able to see the characters in the big screen, years after the manga and the anime ended. I'm thankful, for everything and everyone that brought this about.

Just one more thing.

There was no Kenji. *sad face*

(And I'm heading back to my, hmmm, to what I'm supposed to be doing)

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