Movie Plot – Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning: Kenshin Himura takes on a mysterious arms dealer named Enishi Yukishiro. He controls the underworld of China. The secret of Kenshin Himura’s “Jujishou” is also revealed.
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Writer: Nobuhiro Watsuki
Cast: Masanobu Andô, Towa Araki, Kasumi Arimura, Yôsuke Eguchi
There was already a film over Kenshin’s origin story named “Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal.” It’s basically the same film but in live-action. However, it still amazes me as this is very different from what we know of him. It tells the tale of his life as the Battousai where everything is dark and grim. You will see him murder people and he won’t be that goofy vagabond of the animated show.
Everything that was told of his previous life was true. Forget the famous Rurouni Kenshin TV series. This has nothing to do with it. Well, yes, it is supposed to be a prequel, but its tone, mood and depth make it a completely different story. It is a lyrical and very mature story of love, death, politics and betrayal that deserved massive attention.
The action is top-notch and exciting to see especially because he isn’t holding back. It can be so absurd sometimes, however somehow it all stays believable. You can definitely tell why Rurouni Kenshin is so skilled with a sword as he’s faster than his shadow.
A love story
As expected, “The Beginning” delves more into the tragic love story of Tomoe (Kasumi) and Kenshin (Takeru), hence it is a bit more gripping and slower-paced and contains significantly less action compared to its predecessors. But the character of the series and the samurai magnificence that fans love so much remains, and you get to see more of Kenshin’s ruthless Battosai phase!
The way I see it, “The Beginning” is more of a thank you letter to the fans who have supported the series over the past decade. If you’re not aware of Kenshin’s past at all, then you might be surprised by this unique story. It’s different from your typical Hollywood romance movies.
Still, many people will probably be disappointed by the lack of action scenes in The Beginning. However, mark my words and try to stick to the end because it’s worth it.
From manga to live-action
First, much of what makes Rurouni Kenshin great is still there. The actors are all phenomenal, including the new cast in this installment, the set design is authentic as ever, the costumes are all great, Naoki Sato’s score returning from the previous films is still superb, Takuro Ishizaka’s cinematography is still as stunning as ever, the story is still very engaging, even if a bit predictable.
Usually, when I see a movie adaptation coming from a manga I think on my own that it’s going to be a disaster. This is not the case with Rurouni Kenshin and it surprises me every time. Don’t expect a Hollywood kind of movie though as it’s still a Japanese installment that feels different in a good way.
Overall, Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning is a great film and a unique installment in the franchise. It is a lot more grounded and gritty while focusing more on the drama and relationship of the characters.