Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno Movie Review


animeph project has invited a colleague and fellow Rurouni Kenshin fan Glen to write a movie review about Keishi Otomo’s latest movie creation, the Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.

Glen is known for his monicker ‘The Flash’ for he is an avid fan the said DC Comics hero. He is a also a member of Justice-league inspired cosplay group JusticePH, and Disney-inspired cosplay group EnchantmentPH

You can check out his spoiler-free movie review of the first sequel, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno after the jump.


Hello dear reader…Flash here on a special guest movie review for AnimePh. So exactly one week ago (August 6), Warner Bros Philippines in coordination with Warner Bros Japan and SM Cinemas hosted a premiere of one of the hottest movies of the year – Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno at the SM Megamall Cinema 9.

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The Philippines will be the 1st country outside of Japan to release the film, starting on August 20 – way ahead of Asian neighbors Singapore (Aug 28), Thailand (Sept 18), Taiwan (Sept.26), Hong Kong (Sept 18), and Indonesia (Sept. 10).

Prior to the advance screening, cast members Takeru Sato (playing the lead role of Kenshin Himura), Emi Takei (love interest and dojo instructor Kaoru Kamiya), Munetaka Aoki (Kenshin’s best friend and fierce streetfighter) along with director Keishi Otomo warmly addressed the packed crowd of lucky ticket holders and proclaimed their hardwork and sacrifices in making this film. After fielding a few short questions from the moviegoers, the lights finally dimmed and the movie was underway.


From the get-go, the film picks up from the gritty yet artistic style from the 1st movie (titled simply – Rurouni Kenshin, released in 2012).  However, if you haven’t watched the 1st movie – it’s perfectly alright as this movie’s story is a different adventure from that of the 1st.

The musical score is able to set the different moods shown on-screen, and the visuals used by Director Otomo throughout the film are simply breath-taking.  Words fail to express how alive and vibrant the half-period film / half-superhero flick appeared – and the anime / manga that has endeared itself to millions of fans worldwide was suddenly rendered near-flawlessly in live-action.


Costumes, set design, choice of locations, as well as the selection of the right set of actors for the characters (lead and supporting) contributed greatly to the impact of this 2nd installment of the RK live-action movie franchise.  For fans of the anime and manga’s seemingly inhuman and physics-defying fighting techniques – such as Kenshin’s Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu and even Soujiro Seta’s Shukuchi – the movie promises to never disappoint.

Truth be told, the action scenes were not only well-choreographed (kudos to the dedication of the actors in the preparation of their fight scenes months in advance, plus the fight choreography team’s innovative executions of RK fighting styles), but it was also shot at the right angles at the precise moment of delivery – giving it a ultra-realistic feel, without the need for (or at least very minimal use of)  CGI.  The speed in which the fights were executed was dizzying and frenetic – and allows the watcher to be truly engaged with the action on-screen.

Since the movie released in the Philippines is dubbed in Japanese with English subtitles (thank God!), Filipinos will have no problems at all in enjoying this film and the next (RK: The Legend Ends).  In fact, I honestly believe it IS the right way of watching it locally – with the passionate Japanese dialogue interspersed with easy-to-read and easy-to-comprehend English subtitles. As previously mentioned, the musical scores are able to help set the mood for every scene change, and guides the watcher through the highs and lows of this exhilarating ride of a film.


On top of it all, fans of the anime and manga will have a field day relating to and identifying the slew of new characters introduced in this installment (previously shown in movie trailers and TV spots) – from the menacing Juppongatana (10 swords) led by Kenshin’s arch-nemesis Shishio Makoto, to the loyal Oniwabanshu bannered by Aoshi, Misao, and Okina and more.

Be prepared however, to shriek in gleeful delight upon seeing key scenes in the movie involving more characters not mentioned above.


To sum it all up in one word, for me – RK: Kyoto Inferno is SPECTACULAR. It easily surpasses Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy as 2014’s frontrunner to the “Geek Movie of the Year.” However, since this is only the 2nd installment of the RK movie franchise, RK: The Legend Ends could very well possibly be the only one that can top Kyoto Inferno.  It is important to note that this film is not a direct adaptation of the manga nor anime version – but incorporates a huge percentage of the Shishio arc in it (I daresay about 80-85%).


Catch Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno in cinemas (SM, Ayala, etc) starting August 20 or if you do get lucky – via premiere screenings starting August 18.  I’m definitely watching this 3-4 more times in theaters, so if you notice a red blur watching beside you – that’s probably me.  J

Flash Flick Rating: 9.0 out of 10 lightnings.


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