Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends nails everything from start to finish

Five-way battle against Shishio. Photo from Warner Bros. Pictures.

As if its first two installments hadn't already established themselves as excellent pieces of live-action anime adaptation, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends gave viewers during its advance screening last week a satisfying movie experience that was light years better than its Hollywood counterparts trying to perfect the samurai genre.

The movie is an absolute triumph for director Keishi Otomo, who polished episodic aspects of the source material. The monologues are still there, but this narrative technique moves the story forward, instead of just serving as a formulaic element culled from the anime and manga. Viewers get to know what goes into the mind of Shinta-Battosai-Kenshin, immersing us into a multitude of philosophies about redemption and self-respect.

As the movie progresses, viewers will find themselves as confused as Kenshin on whom to trust—will it be his mentor determined to strike a killing blow, will it be the government which sought his help from the first place, or will it be Shishio himself who shares his villainous past?

There is a lot of fan service in the movie made to titillate those who grew up watching the anime. The limits of the two-hour film though only allow brief signature moves of Shishio’s Juppongatana to be shown, save for Sujiro, who brings nerdgasm with his rematch with Kenshin. The five-way fight of the protagonists against Shishio is also one of the highlights of the movie, with the latter going meta while commenting that characters are popping out of nowhere.

All in all, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends fits the bill. It is what both fans and moviegoers would expect from a Japanese samurai (and ninja) flick and it does not disappoint.

With cosplayers from Juppongatana PH during the advance screening of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Here is the official synopsis of the film:

“Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” is the final chapter to director Keishi Otomo's blockbuster trilogy based on the Kyoto arc of `Rurouni Kenshin,' the popular manga series written & illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
To stop Makoto Shishio who aims to conquer Japan, Kenshin arrives in Kyoto and tries to face off against Shishio’s troops. However, his enemy has begun its course to start invading Tokyo with the steel-reinforced battleship. To save captured Kaoru who is thrown into the sea by Shishio’s men, Kenshin also dives in after her, but is washed ashore alone, unconscious.
Kenshin recovers with the help of Seijuro Hiko, the master of Kenshin who happens to find him on the shore. He realizes he is no match for Shishio unless he learns the ultimate technique of his sword style, and begs the master to teach him.
In the meantime, Shishio finds that Kenshin is still alive, and puts pressure on the government to find Kenshin and execute him in public for his sins during his days as the “Battosai the Killer”. As Kenshin faces his biggest challenge, can Kenshin really defeat his fiercest enemy Shishio, and be reunited with Kaoru?!
Kenshin-Sujiro rematch! Photo from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Keishi Otomo, “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” stars Takeru Sato (Kenshin Himura), Emi Takei (Kaoru Kamiya), Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke Sagara), Kaito Oyagi (Yahiko Myojin), Yu Aoi (Megumi Takani), Yosuke Eguchi (Hajime Saito), Min Tanaka (Nenji Kashiwazaki), Tao Tsuchiya (Misao Makimachi), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Soujiro Seta), Maryjun Takahashi (Yumi Komagata) and Tatsuya Fujiwara (Makoto Shishio).
Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 24, 2014, “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.