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Samurai X - The Motion Picture (Rurouni Kenshin)

3.9 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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(Mar 27, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The war against the Tokugawa Shogunate ended years ago. But there are some who are not happy with the outcome. Shigure Takimi watched his friends and family get slashed down in the name of freedom and prosperity. Now he and a band of desparate rebels have sworn to settle one final score. Only one man stands in their way: Rurouni Kenshin. Will the former assassin take up his sword to fight again? When Shigure discovers Kenshin's true identity and his fight becomes a personal vendetta, the young hero will have no choice.

Amazon.com

Although it boasts plenty of sword fights, martial arts combat, and odd, orange blood, Samurai X offers deeper and more sensitive characterizations than typical anime samurai epics. Based on the manga by Noboru Watsuki, the film centers on questions about the nature of Japanese society during the years following the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century. Kenshin Himura and his friends Kaoru, Sanosuke, and Yahiko seem like an ordinary, slightly goofy quartet. But red-haired Kenshin is an expert swordsman; tall, lanky Sanosuke, a martial arts master; adolescent Yahiko, a samurai-in-training. Kaoru fills the role of outspoken anime heroine. An ugly encounter with some drunken British sailors introduces Kenshin and his friends to the noble Takimi Shigure and lovely Toki Takatsuki. Shigure leads a group opposed to the Meiji government, which they believe is corrupting Japanese culture, and his ill-conceived attempt at rebellion brings him into conflict with Kenshin. A key fighter in the Restoration, Kenshin received scars on his soul that mark him more decisively than the X on his cheek; he weeps for the needless bloodshed he helped to unleash. Director Hatsuki Tsuji builds subtle visual patterns of downward motions--falling tears, fluttering bamboo leaves, the deadly stroke of a sword, Kenshin's spectacular leaps--to create a film with an unusually satisfying resolution. Not rated; suitable for ages 14 and up for violence. --Charles Solomon

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Hatsuki Tsuji
  • Format: Animated, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ADV Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056HOW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,982 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
To get it out of the way first, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie--I am huge fan of the Rurouni Kenshin series, and the movie, while not quite as good as the series' best parts, succeeded in giving me more of the same stuff I love so much (as long as you don't watch the horrific English dub--even compared to the series' English dub it's horrible).
Now on to the important part--the confusion that has been steeped upon this release. Here's what everyone should know, but seems to ignore (at least in reviews): "Samurai X" is the American title used to replace the Japanese title, "Rurouni Kenshin," when this movie and the OVA's were released by ADV. The original series (it came first, only after the comic) is being released under its original title by Anime Works. The Kenshin OVA's (under the American titles "Samurai X: Trust" and "Samurai X: Betrayal") were made later as a prequel to the series, chronicling the early days of Battousai the Manslayer/Hitokiri. By the time the series begins, 10 years later, the main character Kenshin has given up his past role of Battousai in order to somehow make up for his evils, so he lives as a wandering swordsman (note: not a samurai by any means, ever!) who refuses to kill. The Rurouni Kenshin movie takes place around the time of the series--as in, the same supporting cast appears, and Kenshin is currently a wanderer. Not only does the movie's story occur within the context of the series, but stylistically it fits as well.
Comparing the RK movie to the OVA series, in terms of story or style, is useless. They are two completely different works based on the same series, one made to portray the dark and violent aspects of Kenshin's early life, and the other meant to act as a direct companion to the material in the series.
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Format: DVD
The timing of this film is after the 'Samurai X' OVA's. The year is 1879, sometime during the progress of the 'Rurouni Kenshin' television series. The bloody overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate has been followed by the Meiji restoration, but all is not well. Samurai led by Takimi Shigure regret the passing of the old days and plan to start a counter-revolution. Himura Kenshin, one of the samurai who fought to overthrow the Shogunate, finds himself forced by destiny to oppose Shigure. In the past, a mistake by Shigure left his closest friend, Takatsuki Gentatsu without sufficient resources for a raid. Unknown to Shigure, Kenshin is the samurai who killed Gentatsu. Both men were deeply affected by this, at the restoration of the Meiji, Shigure was sworn to vengeance. And Kenshin had his sword blade reversed, determined never to kill with his sword again.
Now, in Yokohama, Shigure plots the death of the British Governor. When Kenshin helps protect Takatsuki Toki (Gentatsu's sister) Shigure befriends Kenshin and eventually asks him to take care of Toki if something should happen to him. In the meantime, forces in the government intend to use Shigure as a means for achieving their own ends, creating a multi-layered scenario of betrayals that will culminate in the final battle between the two honorable opponents.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the highly romanticized depiction of samurai behavior and swordmanship, this becomes a dramatically engaging story instead of a simple tale of blood and swashbuckling. Kenshin's youthful appearance and the antics of his friends keep the film from being overwhelmingly tragic. Thus it is a well-balanced plot with many subtexts to add to its richness.
Artistically, the film is first-class.
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Format: DVD
Let me start first by saying that RK is currently my favorite Anime - I think the Trust/Betrayal set and the entire TV series so far are FANTASTIC and worth 5+ stars. Unfortunately, Samurai X - The Motion Picture is neither "here nor there".
The Trust/Betrayal series takes a little getting used to (because it's different from the TV series), but the pair is a masterpiece - the quality of the Anime, the music, and most of all, the storyline, are all first rate. At first, when I saw the cross scar on Kenshin, I thought the Anime may be somewhat cheesy, but the Trust/Betrayal series totally dispelled that idea...
The TV series from Media Blasters isn't as deep or dark as the pair, but the storylines are tight, the action fast, and there's a great mix of lighthearted situations along with deeper tales - you'll care about the bad guys as much as the good!
Now, we get the Samurai X - TMP. The animation is in the style of the TV series, but it's as long as a movie. The story is flabby and doesn't get anywhere until the second half (not as well written as the TV series) and the animation quality tries to be more than the TV series, but doesn't quite do it. If you are an RK fan, there's nothing I can write here to convince you of anything, but I would just suggest that you RENT this one first.
So far, I have purchased ALL the RK DVDs and I intend to purchase the entire TV series on DVD. The one exception is this one - I've cancelled my order after having rented it. It truly deserves 3.5 stars - suggestion: rent it first, before you buy.
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