Rurouni Kenshin Movie (Overall)

Japanese MoviesMovie Reviews

If you have not seen the Rurouni Kenshin anime, SHAME ON YOU.   Rurouni Kenshin live action = WIN.

Spoilers ahead

Kenshin is really the highlight of the movie, and I’m not saying that just because he’s the main character.  I was skeptical about Sato Takeru’s acting chops, but it turns out that he pulls it off PERFECTLY.  OMGAWD.  Am I the only one that converted into a raving Sato Takeru fan!?!?  First of all, he made my dreams come true by being a perfect Kenshin.  His voice/way of talking = KENSHIN.  His hairstyle = KENSHIN.  His “oro” = KENSHIN.  AHHHH!!  But he also does a great job of balancing his darker, serious side with his more lighthearted side.  I love it when it shows him as a BAMF one minute, and then a cute harmless guy the next minute.  The movie also does a great job on Kenshin’s back story despite the limited amount of time. 

Unfortunately the casting for the leading lady, Kaoru, was rather disappointing.  Takei Emi tries really hard, I will give her that, but her interpretation of Kaoru falls flat.  Granted, my memory is still really fuzzy, but I remember Kaoru as a much tougher and livelier character.  She was definitely way more spunky!  But this Kaoru is just sorta…….there.  She just does not have the same essence that the original Kaoru has, nor does she have the enormous stage presence required to pull it off.  Takei Emi does alright in the first half of the movie acting-wise, but she does not leave her mark as the leading lady.

“I do it to survive.”

On the other hand, I felt like Megumi, the lady doctor played by Aoi Yu, really steals the limelight from Kaoru…probably because Aoi Yu has such a stronger stage presence than Takei Emi does.  Honestly I didn’t even remember Megumi’s character (that’s how bad my memory is……) so I went back to the anime for a quick reference.  I think this Megumi is too young in comparison to the original Megumi, who looks older & more mature.  However, Aoi Yu’s portrayal of Megumi still makes her into a very intriguing and sympathetic character.   There is just something about Megumi’s desperation to survive that made me really invested in her storyline.   She’s really similar to Kenshin because they are both carrying guilt and shame over their past.  And even though Megumi doesn’t have Kaoru’s fighting skills (which, are hardly existent in the movie) she still has tons of GIRL POWER!

“That scar..are you proud of it?”

Seriously, if I didn’t have background knowledge in Rurouni Kenshin, I’d probably be shipping Megumi & Kenshin in the movie. O________O Which is just weird.  But really, you can’t blame me.  Because the Megumi-rescue scenes are EPIC and she somehow has really good chemistry with Kenshin.  I mean, the scene where Kenshin is brooding over all of the suffering that Kanryu has brought upon the villagers and..MEGUMI!?!?  And when Megumi goes back to Kanryu, with the resolve to kill him once and for all??? OMGGGGGGG.  I also got chills when the baddie tells Megumi that Kenshin is fighting for her sake.  AHH! 

Ok, ok, I will get back on track.  Overall the action scenes are excellent, especially the ones when Kenshin & SANO (OMG I LOVE SANO!) fight to save Megumi.  I wish we could’ve gotten more of the bromance, but there was not enough time.  Even so, it is freaking awesome seeing Kenshin & Sano walking together in slow-mo.  Somehow I imagined Sano to be a bit taller and more handsome, but this Sano is still awesome! 

Unfortunately the Kaoru rescue scene felt rather anticlimatic to me.  Maybe the problem is that I was way too invested in Megumi’s rescue, so when Kaoru’s time came around……I didn’t really care.  Also there is very little in the previous scenes that shows Kaoru & Kenshin’s deep when Kenshin is angry enough to kill for Kaoru, I just don’t get WHY he’s willing to do so.

Also Kaoru’s speech at the end?………………..I laughed.  I mean, REALLY?!?!?!  Does Kaoru REALLY have that much breath to go ON AND ON about why Kenshin shouldn’t kill the baddie?  UGHHH!!! 

Despite my gripes about Kaoru, this live action was a great adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin.  I only wish there was more time  so there could be more character development, of say…SANO!!!  But overall, the movie accomplished a lot within its time restraints, with Kenshin’s back story and setting up all the characters’ friendships.  I’M READY FOR A SEQUEL!!!!!! 

Note: No copyright infringement intended.


I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • Watched it and LOVED it too. I have no idea what rurouni kenshin was all about so the story was great 😀 I did think that Kaoru was a weaker character in the movie too. She doesn’t have much fight scenes either so she couldn’t show her girl power…. I agree that the actress playing Megumi was very spotlight-stealing 🙂

    It’s OUT???? GAH, I wanted to see it at the theater so badly *TEARS OF BLOOD*
    Damn you, producers! Though I’d still buy the DVD, because I’m fickle this way.
    haha, girl, the trailer itself turned me into a fan of Take-chan! That’s how much charismatic he is…*swoon*
    And even without having watched the movie, I felt like Takei Emi didn’t bring anything special, ESPECIALLY in comparison with Aoi Yuu ♥ (mode fangirl ON)
    I’m dying to see the fighting sequences, but I’ve heard the movie will be shown in Bruxelles soon, so maybe I’ll save some money and go watch it there…


      I heard that Rurouni Kenshin was played at some Asian film festivals, maybe there are some in France? I really really hope they will at least release a subbed blu-ray DVD to tide over us fans. >.<""

  • I saw it in the theater with English subs and I do not regret paying for it. 🙂
    I agree with you about the time constraint getting in the way of character development. My other gripe, aside from the cartoonish villain, was that we weren’t shown how the 5 of them bonded so there was also a niggling “why? why would they risk their lives to save Megumi and Kaoru?” in the back of my mind. But well, I just rolled with it knowing that it’s a movie and since I had watched the anime so I have a bit of a background story to fall back on.
    Also, the theater was filled with laughter with the antics of the 3 guys, esp. Sano’s.

    • LUCKYYYYYYYY. I so wanted to see it in the theaters..but it wasn’t available where I am >.<

      I agree, we didn't really get to see why the main characters were such great friends, to the extent that Sano & Kenshin would fight to the death for Megumi & Kaoru. I think it sorta explains why Kenshin went to save Megumi–because she told him about the suffering she & Kanryu brought upon the villagers and he could empathize with her. But it didn't really show why he was so angry about Kaoru's kidnapping.

  • Lol. I definitely definitely agree with you on these two points: Emi Takei’s Kaoru would have been forgettable if not for the fact that she’s a major character; and Aoi Yu’s Megumi was well-played despite the age issue. If you find yourself rooting for the Kenshin+Megumi pairing in the live action movies (and I do believe there will be a sequel), then I’m with you there. You have a fellow Kenshin+Megumi fan in me, purely on the basis of their unexpectedly good onscreen chemistry, Hehe.

    • Good I’m glad I’m not the only one that was leaning towards Kenshin & Megumi. It felt really weird because back when I watched the anime, I was a total Kenshin x Kaoru fan. O_O

  • Finally watched it, too. I’m a Kenshin noob and totally watched it for Sato Takeru. It had me squeeing like a fangirl. I knew the boy could act, but this role is his absolute best. He played it well. I also loved the action sequences. I’m a sucker for good actions scenes and the ones in this movie didn’t have me shaking my head at absurd wire art like I usually do. I also like how there is no unrealistic overly dramatic play during the fight scenes. It feels very real and awesome.

    I like Takei Emi. She royally failed in her role. How is it that Megumi took center stage? Aoi Yu did a remarkable job. Since I know Kaoru is supposed to be integral to Kenshin and the story, it seemed rather shocking about how little she’s there and how she just tends to fade into the background. The little boy had slightly more presence than her. Sigh.

    I am excited as I’ve heard there is a sequel in the works. Wonder if we’d get to see Ayano Gou again? Though I wasn’t digging the short, blond hair and his pretty face had that scar…meh.

    • *thumbs up* I love Sato Takeru now! *w* The fighting scenes were awesome, not too overdone but just right! The wire effects were really good too.

      Yes Kaoru’s actual role in Rurouni was really understated in the movie. I kinda wonder how/if they will fix this obvious problem if they do make a sequel. (I really hope there will be one!!)

  • Oh I totally forgot about this one! I always find out asian movies are coming out and resolutely put it out of my head until I find it online as a happy surprise. I haven’t seen the anime YET *ducks*, but I started reading the manga, which I love.

    I already like Sato Takeru from Mei-chan no Shitsuji and what I saw of Bloody Monday. I had reticence for this one, just because movies are just never as good, but now I’m excited to try it.

    • He was in Bloody Monday??? I don’t remember T_T

      Anyways this movie is excellent, even if you haven’t watched the anime it is still good! The action scenes are great and Sato Takeru is LOVE!

  • LOL heisui!!!! i was laughing when reading the last paragraph about Kaoru having enough breath to go ON and ON and ON and ON about the baddie!! I was thinking about the exact same thing when watching that scene… i secretly want her to die so Kenshin can be with Megumi haha

    • LOL unfortunately, Megumi x Kenshin is not meant to be. There was good chemistry between them in the movie, but in the anime it is clearly all for Kenshin x Kaoru. *tear* In the movie universe though, YAH I would ship Megumi & Kenshin together. HEHEHEHE

  • hi there, i know i’m really late for a comment..but this is me who happened to watch this amazing live action movie recently. So, let me. 😛 .First of all, I want to say I totally agree with u. Now, I’m a Takeru fan too. Kenshin has been my life time hero (above all the marvel heroes and other anime heroes). And I love listening to the opening theme Sobakasu and movie OSTs by One ok rock. I’ve been really busy with my studies and graduation , that i failed checking updates about my favourites. Now, I’ve watched all three live adaptations and still can’t get enough. Although they say the last one as ” the legend ends”, can we expect more later on?. u know, with some background stories and some family things in present. 🙂

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