Everyone will agree that Rurouni Kenshin live-action series is one of the best adaptations in Japanese entertainment. If you compare it to the likes of other shonen manga and anime adaptations to film, movies like Bleach, Attack on Titan all fall short of what Rurouni Kenshin has come to be. Mix it with the best actors, crew, the cinematographer, and director, and you get the perfect concoction of top-notch cinema.
As a big Japanese entertainment, Takeru Sato, and Ryunosuke Kamiki fan myself, I was pleased to know it ended well, but deep inside me, I was missing it, especially their fights and all the other cast members that perfectly brought to life their assigned portrayals. I missed them, and when it was announced in 2019 that they would create another two films following the first three, I was delighted and excited.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final Review
Director Keishi Ohtomo deemed it necessary to create another Rurouni Kenshin film. At first, I thought that it wasn’t necessary, ‘coz both Kyoto Inferno and Legend Ends has a perfect twist and social and political commentary, with Kenshin, despite being known as the greatest assassin, has more to improve, and going back to his roots and being trained by his master with the Hiten Mitsurugi Style, or the High Heaven Technique. One can say that the 3-part series has brought about its closing.
However, I forgot that it was necessary to explain how Kenshin got his X mark, especially to people who have only seen the movies but have not watched the anime or read the manga. I also remembered that in the first three films, the scene where Kenshin kills Kiyosato Akira, who was about to get married, is played again and again. After that killing scene, Kiyosato’s fiancee crying over her dead lover’s body is also repeated, with Kenshin witnessing the sad moment. It turns out that the woman vowed to revenge against her late fiance’s killer, Kenshin, but fell in love with him instead. The story is based on Rurouni Kenshin’s OVA, Trust, and Betrayal, which parts have been shown in The Final and The Beginning films, respectively.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is like a consolidation of everything that occurred in the first three films. What’s even a greater delight was when they announced that Kamiki Ryunosuke (Sojiro Seta) would appear in the film. I questioned how he would be, and I was even surprised that he was still alive after The Legend Ends. I was excited and happy that, in the end, he was a changed man and helped Kenshin move forward with his ongoing challenges.
If you’re a Japanese entertainment fan like me, you will get very excited about the last two installments of Rurouni Kenshin. In my Rurouni Kenshin: The Final main trailer review, I was most excited about Mackenyu Arata playing Enishi Yukishiro (this was before it was announced that my bias Kamiki Ryunosuke will appear in the film), and he did a great job.
I think that the trailer gave away almost every part of Enishi’s character. Watching the film wasn’t surprising anymore. Even if I didn’t get to watch the OVA or read the manga, I already knew that eventually, Kenshin would triumph. Mackenyu did an awesome job as Enishi, bringing Rurouni Kenshin mangaka Nobuhiro Watsuki’s “depressive type, falling deeper and deeper and deeper, ” to life.
Overall, the film was a commemoration of the first three. Although I believe it was a necessary film to produce, it lacked depth, story-wise. Like a Hollywood blockbuster action film, it had full-packed fighting scenes than a deeper story, which I guess a lot of people appreciate. And yes, Rurouni Kenshin live-action adaptations have given birth to the best sword fights in cinema.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final Commentary / Analysis
The political and social commentary of Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is very subtle and almost close to nothing. It’s mostly more personal and philosophical, as each of the characters has to deal with their issues: their past and present. The new villains apart from Enishi are the usual underdogs and society’s rioters that feel uncomfortable when someone like them changes for the good. In one scene, a fighter whom Kenshin defeated, wanted him to take his life and become the Battosai he once was. This has always what other members of the shogunate cannot accept, even Saito himself (until Rurouni Kenshin: The Final). Since they don’t believe that they have the power to change for the better, they stop other people from doing so.
Despite that, it’s a delight that Kenshin’s past enemies were moved by him and the past that he let go. Apart from Sojiro Seta, Aoshi Shinomori from Kyoto’s watchers have been inspired by Kenshin to change. Because of that, they have come to help Kenshin and further prove that they can clear out the shadows of their pasts.
As for Enishi, he truly was a broken man. It was said that he was very obsessed with her older sister Tomoe. Hence, everything that he lived for was to avenge his sister. It was shown that he even didn’t care about his country being ostracized by cruel Chinese men, nor the money he gets from his illegal activities. However, while going through his long-awaited revenge, he felt guilty about doing it. He knew deep inside that his sister wouldn’t have wanted it. During his fight with Kenshin, Kenshin tells him that being dead won’t make him atone for his sins. He would rather save a lot of lives instead. In the end, Enishi was able to discern and ratify Kenshin’s new lifestyle.
As what I’ve said, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is a culmination of the first three films. Japanese entertainment fans would be delighted to see their favorite Rurouni Kenshin characters once again, especially coming together and help Kenshin. Plus, the fighting scenes are awesome, as usual.
There are additional OVA books about the future of Kenshin together with Kaoru, as told in Kaoru’s eyes. I’m not sure if they will produce a movie out of that, but if they do, I’m going to be vexed again. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, starring some of my favorite J-actors like Nijiro Murakami.