After Rurouni Kenshin: Can a star-studded Lupin III premiere be far behind?

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno stars Takeru Satoh (Kenshin), Emi Takei (Kaoru) and Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke).
Photo by Alejandro Edoria.

In 2012, one of the most read reviews in a news site was about Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) I wrote on a whim. HeroTV invited me to watch the premiere of the first movie and I then pitched a movie review to the editor, when it seemed none of the news sites was writing about it at that time.

Fast forward to 2014, I found myself covering for a daily broadsheet the Asian red carpet premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno in SM Megamall. The movie’s distributor Warner Brothers estimated that 5,000 fans trooped to see Japanese director Keishi Otomo and actors Takeru Satoh (Kenshin), Emi Takei (Kaoru) and Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke). Unlike other Asian stars who have visited the Philippines, all were game in signing autographs. Takei, despite being surrounded by security aides, took time to approach and say hello to her Filipino fans. Aoki seemed to be the perfect actor cast as Sanosuke, jumping around on the stage as the crowd cheered “Sano!”

Took a selfie while Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke) goofed around during the event in SM Megamall.

Emi Takei

Munetaka Aoki

Takeru Satoh

Then came the screening. The sequel had the old charm of the Samurai X anime we all grew up watching. It was an excellent sword-fighting flick running on the theme of self-redemption. I cannot wait to watch it again when it officially opens on August 20.

Day Two of the Rurouni Kenshin craze was nerve-wracking for me.  I thought I would be the second person to be called during the Q & A but was called first instead. I asked about Kamen Rider Den-O, Satoh’s other popular persona, and what life lessons the director and the actors learned from Kenshin, the assassin-turned-pacifist who wants to redeem himself from his past mistakes. What were their answers? Guess you need to grab a copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and flip to the entertainment section this month.

Too bad no one brought up that Yumi, Shishio’s lover, was played by Filipino-Japanese actress Maryjun Takahashi. I digress.

It was amazing to be part of the Rurouni Kenshin public press conference in Glorietta. Photo by Regine Viñas.

Warner Brothers reported that about 6,000 fans were in attendance during the press conference in Glorietta, with fans travelling all the way from Davao City.

Now, it is clear as day that there is a market for Japanese movies. Even the Rurouni Kenshin actors said they hope this event would pave the way for more Japanese movies to be screened in the Philippines. This is an exciting time to be an otaku—enthusiasts of manga, anime and tokusatsu shows—because red carpet premieres of Japanese films where the actual cast members attend are no longer just a concept. 

This thrills the fans about the possibility of the premiere of the live-action adaptation of another well-loved anime—Lupin III, which shot some scenes in the Philippines.  SM Cinemas has already confirmed the release of the movie here. But the appearance by any of its actors Shun Oguri (Arsène Lupin III), Tetsuji Tamayama (Daisuke Jigen) or Meisa Kuroki (Fujiko Mine) is still up in the air.

Shun Oguri as Lupin III

Meisa Kuroki as Fujiko

RuroKen’s distributor, Warner Brothers, all took us by surprise a few weeks before the red carpet premiere so let’s all cross our fingers. Perhaps Lupin III’s distributor could also fly from Taiwan F4’s Jerry Yan, who’s playing the supporting character Michael Lee?

Aside from Lupin III, there will also be a Shaider reboot film this year, where original Annie actress Naomi Morinaga reprises her role.  No cinema or distributor has claimed its local screening yet but the otakus are waiting.