Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy (Blu-ray) – Movie(s) Review
Follow Genre: Action, History, Drama
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Distributor: Splendid Film
Duration: 407 minutes

Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy (Blu-ray) – Movie(s) Review

Site Score
Good: Great storyline(s), Quality performances, Great transition from anime to live action
Bad: Some characters are underwhelming and could have been explored more
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

It has been quite some time since we last heard about Rurouni Kenshin, one of the most popular anime heroes ever, otherwise known as Samurai X. Truth be told, we were hoping to see a DVD/Blu-ray release of the trilogy of the live action movies a lot sooner, to share our findings with you Rurouni Kenshin fans. As the first live action movie was well received by us, we were eager to see if the rest of the trilogy proved to be as qualitative. For the most part this trilogy is a great live action version of a legendary anime series.

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.


To start off with some basic information about the three movies, especially to the fans of the original anime series, you’ll be treated to a new rendition of the first two big arcs of the series, which lead up to the end of the Shishio Makoto storyline. This means the live action movies had to process a lot of information to make the original story more or less complete, albeit with certain characters having altered storylines and the underdevelopment of some other characters. That being said, the transition from a drawn series to these live action flicks has been handled in an outstanding fashion.

The first movie (Meji kenkaku roman tan) will handle how Kenshin Himura (Takeru Satô) might stop becoming a drifter, after his vow to never kill again. Even ten years after the new government overthrew the old one, Kenshin is still known as the legendary manslayer ‘Battousai’, one of the legendary fighters who made sure the new leaders gained their power. This meant the lives of many other warriors were lost by the hands of Kenshin, and all of the bloodshed has made this grim patriot weary. In turn he started dedicating his life to protecting people, with a reversed blade (the blade is on the wrong side, making it nearly impossible to slay someone). When arriving in Tokyo, a murderer calls himself the legendary Battousai and in the process claims to be part of a local dojo, which is under heavy fire due to the suggested association. As Kenshin ignores the ‘no-swords-law’, he is spotted by Kaoru (Emi Takei), who is in charge of the shamed dojo, and hereby challenged by her wooden shinai. Soon after it’s clear that Himura is not the alleged murderer and it seems both will soon become tangled up in other shady business, that might have to do with the killer as well.


You’ll notice that the first movie will revolve around Jinei, the introduction of Sanosuke (Munetake Aoki) and the mafia boss Kanryuu Takeda (Teruyuki Kagawa) who supported Aoshi in the anime albeit without Aoshi. Last but not least the police officer Saito Hajime (Yôsuke Eguchi), who used to be part of the Shinsengumi, joins the fray. As some actions are still like the anime series, you’ll notice many differences. Where most can be forgiven, as some are even very well thought out but others might cause a little disappointing sigh once in awhile. Nonetheless, the first introductory movie of the trilogy is amazing, has the right flow and shows that, even with certain changes in place, there was a lot of effort put into bringing many of the characters to life.

The second (Kyôto taika-hen) and third movie (Densetsu no saigo-hen) , handle the Shishio storyline, in a fairly short fashion. Shishio Makoto (Tatsuya Fujiwara), the self declared successor of Battousai, who was once employed by the government, was left for dead by his own employers, stabbed and horribly burned. As the ‘new’ government wanted to wipe their slates of all warriors that could give them a bad image, this seemed like the ‘best’ thing to do, but they never expected this brutal manslayer to survive this atrocious ordeal. Since Shishio now believes in the law of the fittest, he is keen on throwing society in a whirlpool of chaos, to punish the new government and just for the sheer fun of it. Due to the wickedness of Shishio’s plans, Kenshin gets called into play in order to try and stop the madman.


Again you’ll notice a lot of familiar faces from the anime, such as Shishio’s henchmen, his picturesque girlfriend Yumi Komagata (Maryjun Takahashi), his right hand Seta Sojiro (Ryûnosuke Kamiki), his lieutenant Sadojima Hoji (Ken’ichi Takitô) and the rogue Aoshi Shinomori (Yûsuke Iseya). Of course other characters from Shishio’s army were implemented in the movies, but their character(s) development (if any) has been neglected, to make use of the limited time available. Whilst nearly all characters look great throughout the three movies, except for the fairly weird Sanosuke and his nemesis Anji (Tomomi Maruyama), the lack of time is noticeable. This is mostly so with the last two characters mentioned, as during the last movie they hardly explore the great storyline from the anime that would have made an even better whole out of the movies.

Acting performances in all of the movies are rock solid. All actors studied their roles to the letter and they did an amazing job to present us with a realistic version of characters that were only known in a drawn way before.

Amazing and realistic combat scenes make this trilogy even better. Even though the anime has a lot of unrealistic moves, it’s an outstanding feat that they not only chose a more realistic appearance but that they also succeeded flawlessly.



Overall, for fans of the original anime series this trilogy is a must-see, even if some of the changes will not immediately be for the best. Newcomers will have no issue to pick up everything that is happening, as there is a decent amount of flashbacks to explain certain key points. Great acting, awesome characters and an enticing plot filled with great combat scenes will certainly make your spider sense tingle.


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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy (Blu-ray) - Movie(s) Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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