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xxKurumi's Rurouni Kenshin Tv Review

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin tv Review

Ten years after the beginning of the Meiji Era, a wandering samurai came to Tokyo. This man, known as Himura Kenshin later on, ends up living in a Kamiya Kasshin dojo and teach kendo for a living.

However, his life is not as simple, as turmoils arise from time to time, unfolding his true nature as the famous Hitokiri Battousai, the greatest killer of the Bakumatsu. However, vowing never to kill again, he tries as hard as he can not to draw his sword until the critical moment comes, and so far, manages to escape his bloody past.

Until the day when an old menace, in the form of Shishio Makoto, the successor to the Hitokiri Battousai, threatens the peace of the new Meiji Era. Shishio and his Juppon Gatana are ready to start a new revolution to correct the evils of Western influence, and forced Himura Kenshin, along with his new friends, once again raise his sword to protect their loved ones.

Credits: niomea

Story & Characters

I have a bone to pick with anime that will rely solely on plot and completely ignore character development. The same can be said of an anime that devotes itself to fleshed outs characters and is all but missing a plot. Rurouni Kenshin, however, is a surprisingly balanced product of thought, character, plot and animation — solid. I am not just saying this because it was my very first anime (not counting count Sailor Moon, I do not; I was five). In all my anime-watching years, I have yet to watch through a series that has touched me in the way Rurouni Kenshin has, so completely. It made me think, feel and, on several occasions, it pulled on my heartstrings. I felt for Kenshin, the wandering protagonist, and his journey for atonement — a life dedicated to repairing sins of the past. I understood Kaoru Kamiya’s fear of loneliness. In every character, something was there, something strong that reached out to grab me. And you can bet it was special.

Rurouni Kenshin follows the physical and emotional struggles of Kenshin Himura, a wanderer in the era of Meiji. During the Bakamatsu war, he was known as the deadly assassin Hitokiri Battousai (manslayer). After events later covered in the manga and not the anime, Kenshin vows to never kill again and lays down his man-slaying sword. To right his wrongs, Kenshin wields the Sakabato (reverse-blade sword) and wanders across Japan offering protection to those in need. While in Tokyo, Kenshin falls under the suspicions of a seventeen-year-old dojo master, Kaoru Kamiya, who believes him to be the legendary Battousai. At the same time, another man is falsely using the name Battousai to discredit Kaoru’s dojo.

After the fake-Battousai incident is remedied by Kenshin's efforts, Kaoru learns of his identity as the true Battousai. Despite this, she offers him room and board at her dojo, understanding him to be a kind person atoning for his wrongs. He accepts, and from there Kenshin, Kaoru and other friends that later include Yahiko, Sanosuke and Megumi, build their lives together as Kenshin faces demons from his past that come to haunt him as Hitokiri Battousai.

Rurouni Kenshin arcs include: Tokyo, Kyoto, Shimbara and Jinchuu (not covered in the anime).

Rating: 9

Art

It is not often that a historically-based anime uses anything and everything, down to the last item of clothing, to depict character. The art may not be on par with newer anime, but it was animated in ‘90s and cannot really be compared to newer animation — in its day, this art was fluid and strong, really shining through in Kenshin's battle scenes. That said, I do enjoy the throwback to a time when animation was less complicated and glossy. In the first arc especially, the animation, color and positions were very simple. In this case, less is definitely more and, however simple, the art was clean and commanding.

The best feature of RK art is character design. Kaoru Kamiya is often dressed in her dojo uniform, a subtle hint to her disposition, history and character as a tomboy. Kenshin’s bright burgundy hakama is one of his four physical trademarks: his red hair, cross-shaped scar, Sakabato and hakama. It draws the eye and sharpens Kenshin out from others in the anime. Other characters have similar identifying styles.

Openings and endings were lovely.

Rating: 9

Sound

Oh dear. Most viewers who are deeply concerned with the quality of anime they watch will almost always turn to the Japanese audio. There are rare treasures out there, satisfying dubs such as FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist and Outlaw Star, but they are few and far in-between, I'm afraid. Some believe they don’t exist and with good reason; I, too, am skeptical of what an anime can become in the hands of western dubbers. This is probably Rurouni Kenshin’s most blaring fault, but has absolutely nothing to do with Nobuhiro Watsuki or the Japanese studio. Media Blasters is to blame.

To save you the time, start with the original audio. If you feel you still want to see the dub, I advise first watching the original so that the horrible English cast does not distract from the other amazing elements of this series. As far the Japanese cast is concerned, they are full of laughs and absolutely believable. The English cast, while not the absolute worst bunch around (but still not great), just falls flat in comparison to the original.

As for the OST, it was everything it should have been and more. The music is always appropriate and beautiful, conveying the emotion of a scene when called upon — commanding and transient. I advise listening to it on your own outside of the series; it really is a treat. I also do not think the sound directors could have chosen any better Opening and Ending themes for Rurouni Kenshin.

They just fit.

Rating: 8

Presentation

Rurouni Kenshin is the entire deal. It is missing a little something, a bit in plot and music and animation, but together is something very and undeniably special. I have to say that this anime drew empathy, sympathy and compassion from me so often that I can't even remember every emotion it pulled from me. I used to dream about this series. I cannot say how profoundly I was touched, but I was touched — a lot of people were and are. And as I said, it is something special.

The best thing I can say about Rurouni Kenshin is that it is so well-rounded. Even if it is missing a little bit here and there, every element (plot, art and sound) was on equal levels, no one taking command over the other, a problem I find so often when watching anime. The teams responsible for this anime, Studios Gallop and Deen, created entertaining equilibrium, a lyrical and beautiful story of atonement and forgiveness.

I just have a note about the OVAs for this series. They were excellent and well animated, but when watching Rurouni Kenshin: Seisohen keep in mind that it was not written by Watsuki and he was very upset by the ending. Kenshin’s creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki, had this to say:

"Kenshin went through so much crap and deserved a happy ending."

So, if you understand anything by the end of this series, it will be that.


Rating: 8

Final Verdict

8.50 (very good)

Reviewed by xxKurumi, May 12, 2009

Comments

  1. Kearin May 14, 2009

    Very nice review, I really agree! :)

  2. hikoseijuro May 16, 2009

    Nice review. As for the rating, it is entirely up to the reviwer to decide. And regarding that I respect your opinion. Good analysis indeed! However I must stress the fact that there are things that old anime such as Kenshin provided that recent animes just fail to do. There are many and I don't feel like writing another review (and that would go against this forum anyway, :D), but for example: if you look at the character interactions, their past, present and future; battle analysis (I am referring to the manga, not anime); and philosophical aspects, this anime got more than enough to make ppl think twice before saying, "Oh, it's just an anime." I personally always gave it at least 9.5 out of 10. :D

  3. angelxxuan May 18, 2009

    very nice review but samurai x was the serious side of kenshin, I recently rewatched kenshin and I found it to be rather good indeed ^_^

  4. bcueflores May 19, 2009

    Nice review. I understood it alot.

  5. shinn23 Jun 01, 2009

    Nice review... Rurouni Kenshin is also my first anime... I really agree to you that there are alot of things that animes today don't have that rurouni kenshin has... again...

    Nice Review!

  6. yuyuppi Jun 07, 2009

    ruroken is sooo admired

  7. pappo1 Jun 09, 2009

    I agree, good review

  8. zweibo2007 Mute Member Jun 20, 2009

    me too ,good

  9. Fanatik007 Jul 02, 2009

    Nice review, thanks

  10. sakura-chan0103 Jul 04, 2009

    very good review...
    that's why i like 2 watch it...

  11. lordryo Jul 21, 2009

    This is a nic review!

  12. yuyuppi Jul 23, 2009

    never die battousai

  13. SchRita Aug 23, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  14. ShadowNeo Aug 24, 2009

    I agree, good review

  15. gwakbob Aug 31, 2009

    watching it!

  16. Rodrigo0010 Sep 03, 2009

    thanks a lot

  17. Bertha0402 Sep 03, 2009

    thanks for the review!

  18. nainoi Sep 11, 2009

    yes, it so fun.

  19. david2331 Sep 20, 2009

    This was an excellent series!

  20. salmaGX Oct 13, 2009

    my best anime

  21. mona12 Oct 17, 2009

    thanx

  22. SchRita Oct 27, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  23. animalandia Nov 13, 2009

    Esta serie me gusto mucho, gracias por el aporte

  24. SchRita Dec 22, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

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