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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno movie review and interview (non spoiler post)

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“When you’re shooting action, you’re basically shooting motion. When you’re shooting drama, you’re basically shooting emotion. But in motion there is emotion. You have to find it, and join motion and emotion into one” – Director Otomo

The big day has come to prove that Rurouni Kenshin’s heart of sword still glows with all its might, the sleeper fans rejuvenated their souls to go out and talk about the wandering swordsman from the Meiji era. Its hard to digest sometimes to watch a live action movie that was adapted from a manga or Japanese comics and also from an anime. Because some other films are a bit overrated and silly.

But I feel that Rurouni Kenshin movie 1 and 2 and the upcoming part 3 movie this September 2014 will bless this film as the most important manga-anime-movie of all times, because the film director Keishi Otomo and his team did well in making the film, according to an interview last night at the Asian premiere in SM Megamall, “It is really fun to shoot the movie, these guys are the best. This is the movie that we placed our heart and soul, all of us did our hearts and soul, I hope you really enjoyed the movie and have fun.” – director Keishi Otomo

We expect already the fate of the characters in this movie, and because it is based from the manga and anime – Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (Wandering Kenshin: Romance of the Meiji Swordsman) created by Nobuhiro Watsuki for Shonen Jump comics. I saw that the movie is very different because they compacted the story and the scenes in a condensed manner. According to director Otomo that they placed Kenshin at the center of the movie and all characters interacted and always related to Kenshin. The condensed version make way to tell story and develop the characters for Sanosuke, Aoshi, Shishio, Saito, Kaoru and almost everyone in the movie. That’s the technique that director Otomo did for this movie and I’m very surprised that it is very effective. The style is risky but it did really work!

The movie is rated PG, I’m not really sure of kids can like this movie, all we know that they watched Samurai X (the English dub version of the anime) on tv or in DVD, we can see that thet rated G of anime is now PG in movie, there are lots of hack and slashes and also the unfortunate fate of some people who live in the bad times of 1800’s war during the Meiji era. It’s a bit accurate, but I suggest that parents should guide your kids or teens when they watch this movie. Because the Japanese are well damn good in throwing up lots of emotions in visual form. In other words – the emotion will smack you in the face, just like what they did in Voltes V anime, they killed the mother of Steve, Big Bert and Little John infront of them and no thanks to that Beast fighter. It’s a Japanese way of telling the story – hit you hard, learn from it and start get out of your shell and move forward.

The movie also shows a lot of talks and discussions, these are very important and needed for the entire story, because if having a condensed version of the entire 100+ episode of the anime series or number of volumes of the manga, they need to tell the story in flashback and do fast pace of scenes. I’m impressed on the battle scene, because we saw lots of Kenshin’s fighting style, Saito’s sword action and more battle scene of other characters happening at the same day and the same time, just like in the anime. I expected that this will end here in part 2 but then the movie will continue and end the war with Shishio at part 3. They did the right thing, because the Shishio story arc is very long and lots of important details and scenes are needed to be shown in the live action movie version.

They missed to show some important characters that we expect to see in movie part 1 and 2, but don’t worry, I have a big guess that all of them will appear at the part 3 movie, My wish is that they should make this movie a 2 1/2 hour movie or pwede ding 3 hours movie.

If I will rate this – I will give it a 4/5 stars
because of the story telling, visuals, actions and the accurate setting.

Thumbs up to Takeru Sato because he did well acting as Kenshin and we consider him since movie part 1 as the live version of Hitokiri Battousai.

If they will end the whole manga-anime series in part 3, and then I wish….wish…wish….they start filming the PRELUDE story of Kenshin when the time he was hired as an assassin and show how he got those X scar. I believe after part 3, they will make one last more… I will try ask that later to the director at the press con event.

geez…I can’t wait for the release of their official DVD

I will post some interview and snippet info that I read in the production note of the film.

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”There are roles that mark a turning point in an actor’s career. The encounter of Takeru Satoh and Kenshin was an encounter of very rare timing. A miracle among miracles, I think. He’d played an assassin in Ryomaden, and the extension of that line intersected with my going independent. For Takeru, it was a once-in-a-lifetime role. A lot of things had to be perfectly timed for that to happen. I think that’s always very important in things like stories or movies. And strangely, that background always comes out somehow in the picture. Takeru Satoh is of a generation that doesn’t really know period-piece movies.

As a guy like him plays Kenshin, through the Kenshin he portrays, you can find young people’s aesthetic idea of what is a ‘cool guy’. And by doing that, ‘cool’ as they define it combines with our generation’s definition of the samurai as ‘cool’. That dynamism, that interest, creates an approach to universality whose potential you can really feel. When Akira Kurosawa was going to make The Seven Samurai, he said he wanted it to be like steak with butter melted over it and eel in kabayaki sauce on top. He was absolutely not going to serve his audience just rice in hot tea. That was the sense in which he made his movie, but now even The Seven Samurai strikes people brought up on computer games as long and slow. Times have changed; they don’t have the stomach for a meal like that. So how do you feed the computer games generation so they feel full? That’s what I’m trying to do with the Rurouni Kenshin movies.” – director Keishi Otomo



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”There are things this time that Kenshin must overcome to defeat his opponent, so Kenshin has to become a ‘new Kenshin’. Every day brought another scene that was vital, and every scene was a highlight. Even now that filming is over, I’m still reacting to Kenshin. As I got deeper and deeper into the character, I became more and more attached to him. It’s like he’s a close friend who lives inside of me. He’s a friend that I love, that I want to protect, that I don’t want to let go. That’s how strongly I feel about him. I’ve never had this feeling about a character before. I have affection for every character I play, but this is the first time I’ve felt that I wanted to go on playing him forever. Playing him has been the kind of experience you don’t get in life very often.” – Takeru Satoh (Kenshin)

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”Director Otomo asked me this time to play a Kaoru who has matured a little. And this time, Kaoru fights, too! Not with a wooden sword, but with a halberd. They let me do some real stunts, so it was a lot of fun. People love the character of Kaoru, so I’ve tried to play her as someone who deserves that. On these shoots, you have to be living in the world of the film, and the director gives hints, but he never tells me exactly what the answer to any questions that arise might be. You have to find it in yourself and express that. I’m really honored to be in a film like that.” – Emi Takei (Kaoru)

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”This was the first time I’d worked with Director Otomo, and Shishio was a special kind of character so I had some worries, but both the director and Satoh were very welcoming. Shishio is a character the staff built up with visuals and everything else over a long time. The action team also worked hard with me, so I felt really under pressure to respond to that. The director and Satoh and I talked about how to embellish the last battle between Shishio and Kenshin in great detail until we all agreed on how it would happen. And even though a lot of that was hard to put into words, it came together when we filmed it, and I think everyone was happy with the results. It’s a big thing for me that I’ve been involved with a truly world-class level movie, one that only comes along every decade or so.” – Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shishio)

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“After the first movie, we knew we could go ‘this far’, and it was very much in our minds at the script-writing stage for these films that the action and the drama would emerge with the same intensity. And that’s hard to do. When you’re shooting action, you’re basically shooting motion. When you’re shooting drama, you’re basically shooting emotion. But in motion there is emotion. You have to find it, and join motion and emotion into one, and film it with the sense of the feeling and the expression uppermost in mind. That’s a pretty high hurdle to get over. With the first movie, our motto was ‘do the impossible’; this time it was ‘overdo the impossible’ (Laughs). Anyway, I want to see the real thing. OK, so what is the real thing? It means that everything on the screen is great, and you push that as far as it will go. Everybody, the entire cast and staff, kept that feeling all the way through. That energy, I think, is what really surges.” – Director Keishi Otomo

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Rurouni Kenshin - Main 1sheet

The first sequel, “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno” will open across the Philippines on Aug. 20, 2014, to be followed by “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” on Sept. 24, 2014. Both films are distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

photos and info were provided by Warner Bros PH

The blogger

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, PBNetwork PH, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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