Rurouni Kenshin (Meiji kenkaku roman tan) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Action, History, Drama
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Distributor: Splendid Film

Rurouni Kenshin (Meiji kenkaku roman tan) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Great addition to the franchise
Bad: Strays from the original story
User Score
(4 votes)
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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Be it under the name of Rurouni Kenshin or Samurai X, most of the people of my generation will probably have heard either one. The popular manga and anime series that had its peak during the mid nineties finally received its live-action counterpart. Movies like these are not always received well by the fans of the original series but luckily this live-action adaption proves to be a worthy addition to the franchise.


The beginning of the story of Rurouni Kenshin takes us back to 1868 where the last fierce battle for control over Japan is being fought and as a result the Meji Era starts right after. Whilst our protagonist used to be an assassin for the Imperialists, who won the battle, he now decides to go through his life as a wanderer, who’d rather aid people without using deadly force.

As a result, our hero-to-be Kenshin Himura finds himself wandering around Japan for the coming ten years, hoping to leave his past behind as the feared ‘Battousai’. At this point, Kenshin arrives in Tokyo, where a man uses his old title when slaying men. Not only does he use Kenshin’s name in ‘vain’ but he also decides to involve a local dojo, which normally stands for protecting people instead of hurting them. This is where Kaoru, the young dojo’s assistant comes in to play.

Slowly but surely, most of the important characters from the original series will appear in this first movie of the live-action trilogy. This cast will create a story that revolves around the advance of guns in a world that used to be dominated by samurai. Add a drug cartel to this mix and you’ll have a decent plot for a great action movie.

Story wise the movie presents us with a lot of small details and winks to the original anime/manga series but these might be a tad lacking for those who haven’t watched them when they were younger. Nonetheless, Rurouni Kenshin created a great backbone for the two upcoming movies.

For those who have watched the original series, will love seeing the original characters come to life. Each and every one of them has received a worthy real life variant, except for Sanosuke, which looks a tad more silly than his original drawn counterpart.
The rest of the cast portrays their original version really well. Even though most of the cast members will probably not ring a bell in the Western movie world, it’s clear the creators did their best to remain as true as possible to the original characters. It’s easy to say that the main star of the movie, Takeru Satô, is one of quality.


Even though the story is action based with a decent dose of history, there is still some humor added to this already great formulae. Even though the story is quite serious, certain light touches give a more personal touch to the overall story. This will also be a contribution for creating a certain attachment to the movie’s characters, which are sadly sometimes left without a proper introduction. Characters like Sanosuke or Jine(i) are left without having that much of a background, especially for those who are not familiar with the franchise.

The soundtrack of the movie presents us with a decent theme, that could be on par with other box office hits. Whilst most of the time the music is subtle, it will become very appealing at the right times, thus setting the right mood in each situation.
It’s certain that the theme by One Ok Rock will remain in your head for quite some time.

Even though the movie is based on a manga/anime series there aren’t that many items during the course of the movie that will make it ‘unrealistic’. Of course certain things have to be quite excessive otherwise it would lose the original charm of ‘Rurouni Kenshin’. There are a few flaws that look a tad cheaply done, but these were always made up for in tenfold.

The story and action portions of the movie are in balance and even though the movie lasts for two hours and ten minutes, by the end you’ll still be wanting more.


Even though the live-action adaptation of the original series strays from the original storyline at certain times, Rurouni Kenshin is a great addition to the already popular franchise. The movie proves to be a great action movie with a great cast. Those who are not familiar with the original series will also find themselves watching a great Asian action movie. Of course, the movie will truly be appreciated by those who have watched all the anime episodes or read the manga.

Note: Rurouni Kenshin is currently available on DVD/Blu-Ray

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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rurouni Kenshin (Meiji kenkaku roman tan) - Movie Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

1 Comment

  1. […] Keep in mind, as this is a trilogy of movies that are linked to one another we will give you shorter summaries of the movies than usual. If you wish to read a more in depth review of the first part of the trilogy, click here. […]

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