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on August 11, 2014
The experience I have with Ruroni Kenshin is something that begins with when I grew up watching it on Cartoon Network. It doesn't end here, but it only begins anew; I watched Samurai X last summer and the movie is byfar the defining moment in all of Ruroni Kenshin, alongside the Kyoto Arc.

Himura Kenshin is constructed as the murderous Hitokiri Battousai (With perfect Richard Hayworth-referencing dubbing, by the way) and in the same breath deconstructed to a perfect form. An almighty samurai is what we're given between both ends of the spectrum, someone who lives and breathes the quest for redemption that so eludes a killer. The means by which the visuals are crafted in this movie fuses some off-kilter techniques, such as the use of 3D graphics at certain moments of the movie. These can come off imperfectly for some people, but their best manifestations can capture the emotion that seems to round out the entire atmosphere of the saga we have before us.

In closing, Ruroni Kenshin is the most muted Kenshin we've ever seen, someone who has an emotional breadth that is as tragic as it is alluring. The amorous subplot of Kenshin and Tomoe is something gorgeous in its stare and an undertaking that the series unfortunately missed; a point of contention for a lot of people is that the series' final season was entirely a filler arc and Reflection was made as a poor consummation that did not round out the canon. As such, we are only left to see a story that has yet to continue, but begins so perfectly. Enjoy.
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on January 6, 2017
Sometimes I'm a nerd, the show was great when I watched it when I was younger, it's still great today, the movies are must watch if you are a fan. I've read some complaints about the voices not being the same as the show, and the art work being different, but the art work is great and more realistic in my opinion. The voice overs are different, but a good fit and not a show stopper.
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on June 10, 2012
I came across this movie when I was searching for good quality anime. This is a brilliant but tragic story, beautifully animated, and very well written. You do not have to be familiar with the anime series to enjoy or to be able to follow this movie. I have never watched the series before this movie and since then I have watched only a few episodes of the series, however, besides explaining how the main character received his famous scar, the similarity between the two ends there. While this movie's tone is very dark and serious the series is far more comical and lighthearted. They are also animated very differently. I highly recommend this movie, especially if you like dramatic and tragic stories. I am glad that I had not heard of the series before I saw this movie so that I could judge it on it's own merits instead of comparing it to something I was already familiar with. Simply put this movie is brilliant and stands on it's own as a masterpiece.
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on June 7, 2005
First off, I must warn you that this movie is extremely violent. The television show, Rurouni Kenshin (especially the edited version) can be watched by children. It is at times violent, but not graphically so and includes much comedy. This movie is NOT for children. It tries to be as realistic as possible, so when they do things like cut a man in two, you see (and hear) basically what it would be like if a man were cut in two. It's extremely violent and graphically so. If you wish to avoid graphic violence, don't come near this film. It's easily rated R in that respect, if not NC-17.

However, that aside, this film is nie on perfect. I have only seen the director's cut, so I don't know what the differences are from the original version, but this production is basically flawless. The animation is beautiful. The music is great and fits wonderfully. The dubbing is fantastic (I only watched the English dub, so I can't say much about the Japanese acting). Even the sound effects are awesome.

The title is "Samurai X" because ADV Films couldn't legally use the Rurouni Kenshin name since Anime Works had the rights to Rurouni Kenshin, the show. This also means that the voice actors are not those of the show, but there aren't very many characters here from the show so that doesn't change much and the actors that they have do a fantastic job.

As I said, the story is extremely violent, but just the same, that's not the focus of the story. Instead it focuses on Kenshin and on his choices in the time of the Revolution that lead to his becoming a Manslayer and then later to swearing never to kill again. The story mainly takes place during the time that Kenshin is the "Manslayer in the Shadows" and shows the events up to the point that he comes out of the shadows and into the open. The term "manslayer" is never actually used in this film. The Japanese term is "hitokiri" and at the end of the film it speaks of "Hitokiri Battousai" (i.e. Battousai the Manslayer). But throughout the film, Kenshin is referred to as "The Assassin." This greatly helped me to understand what being a manslayer means - or at least what one in the shadows is and does. I never saw a manslayer that killed lots of people as being particularly bad. It's war, that happens. That's what the manslayer in the open is, but the manslayer in the shadows is indeed an assassin (and thus arguably a murderer) and that helped me to understand why Kenshin was so unhappy about what he had done. The story does a wonderful job of showing why Kenshin did what he did and how it affected him. The extreme violence just serves to show how nasty it really was to be a manslayer. We are left with no doubt as to who and what Kenshin was and why he did what he did.

While the movie doesn't focus on the fighting, we get to see quite a bit of it and the Kenshin here pratically makes the one in the show look like a wuss. He's absolutely fantastic. About the only time in the show that he comes close to fighting at this level is when he's fighting Saito towards the beginning of the Kyoto Arc. The fight scenes are absolutely fantastic. After watching this, you'll just about have to agree with Saito that Kenshin the Wanderer is pathetic in comparison to the Battousai.

And of course this film shows the events that lead him to choose to throw away his sword - or at least choose a reverse blade one - and become that Wanderer. The events at the climax of the film form the most heart-wrenching scene that I have ever seen. It is pivotal point in Kenshin's life and an event that is absolutely crucial to understanding exactly why Kenshin became the Wanderer. That scene makes it totally and utterly clear as to why Kenshin changes. The film also shows how Kenshin got his famous cross-shaped scar and it actually forms a crucial role in the story.

As an interesting side note, this move really gets me interested in the history of Japan - particularly around the time of the Revolution. While the story is easily understood without understanding Japanese history, it's easy to see how crucial a role the politics of the time play on the story and how some of the events around the story would be easier to understand with a better understanding of Japanese society of the era. But as I said, the story focuses on Kenshin and understanding of the political and historical situation aren't really necessary.

However, I would advise that you have read or watched through the Kyoto Arc (second season) of Rurouni Kenshin before watching this movie. I'm sure that you could enjoy it without having done so, but there are a number of small things that wouldn't make quite make as much sense and much of it would have less meaning to you. For example, seeing Saito and what he's doing means a lot more to someone who knows who and what he is from having seen are read the appropriate part of Rurouni Kenshin.

If you are a true Rurouni Kenshin fan and don't mind the violence, this is a must see. As another reviewer said, you will never look at Kenshin quite the same again. This film really helps you to understand why he is the way he is.
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on October 23, 2004
Anime that doesn't focus on action packed futuristic melo-drama is rare. The Samurai X OVAs bring to screen true period depictions of life as a wandering swordsman caught between the hero versus anti-hero manner of the waning Tokugawa Shogunate and the emerging neo-colonialistic Meiji Era.

Packed with soul-renching scenes and dialog, Trust & Betrayal, embodies master story-crafting and animation. Fight scenes, blood and gore are matter of fact and skillfully woven into the story line without being obtusely "required" to add spice to an already rich tale.

Although this Director's cut draws from the origins of the widely popular Rouroni Kenshin TV series, it does not depict the typical slapsticized misadventures with which many are familiar. Trust & Betrayal portrays a serious meta-play of circumstance, chance, discipline, endurance, forgiveness, and love.

It isn't without flaw, however. English dubbing, though masterfully done, doesn't give justice to the emotion that can be detected within the original Japanese script. Setting an English dialog with English subtitles betrays the differences of translation loss, and in a few frames, the re-mastering of subtitles actually fails (some lines of original subtitles can be seen on film). These are minor imperfections, though, and forgivable given the breadth and scope of the story and art.

Trust & Betrayal is best watched in its original Japanese dub with English subtitles. The story flows without distraction, and the souls of a wandering swordmaster and of those around him are given center stage.

This is a masterful tale told with excellent artistic rendition that leaves a longing for more.

Highly recommended for audiences 13 above with parental guidance for swordplay and violence. An excellent buy.
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on September 22, 2003
Four years ago in 1999, I saw a bootlegged, fan-subtitled copy of Rurouni Kenshin OAV (direct to video) and was completely amazed. This became the standard that I judged other animated features by in years to come. All the other reviewers will agree that this is an excellent animated feature bleeding (literally) with high production values and quality animation. The questionable computer/live work and a few freeze frame shortcut animation sequences are my only, negligable gripes.
What's best about the plot is that there really is no good guy or bad guy, no cops or robbers, no cowboys and indians. An ambiguous sense of good and evil that is very human leaves the viewers to make their own conclusions. This is art. It encourages thought and interaction. "Cops and robbers" is propaganda, which tells you what to think, that the cops are always the goodguys and they always have to win (Hollywood movies).
The "director's cut," so to speak, must be the 1 inch CUT at the top and bottom of the screen (letterboxing). There are about 10 seconds of extra footage, with the music switched and even removed in some portions. Overall, I liked trust/betrayal better, but buy this DVD as a package/cheaper deal. It combines 2 dvd's in 1 and edits them together to run continuously for it's 4 segments. As you have been told from other reviews, don't buy if you already have trust/betrayal.
And as always, watch with original language dialogue (Japanese)and subtitles. Horrific English dubbing ruins even the best of movies, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
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on December 28, 2003
This Movie is simply amazing. While it may be terribly violent and does hold some pretenses, that simply adds to the drama. I will be brutally honest, the fight scenes are bloody, and extremely violent. The way I see it though, it just adds to the idea of how he is this amazing assasin, who doesn't want to be. The character development is beyond good, the music is timed ever so perfectly, and the animation is top notch. The story is beyond amazing, I've seen the entire series and even the SX:Reflection DVD before this, but after seeing all of it(and the movie) I can say that this is probably the best of it all. Personally I like the character conflict with Tomoe and Kenshin, its pretty depressing/uplifting/shocking. The Development is pretty amazing, this is probably the best thing I've ever seen.
I don't know about seeing the series first, it definently doubles and even triples the effect of the movie. I don't know if you should see it first, but I certainly suggest it, the series has a lot more humor than the OVA's(which barely have any) and the sword fights get less realistic to a degree, but its worth it. Its definently worth it to last through the series before seeing this. On a 1-10 scale, I rate this movie at 100. Its simply unrateable, and is a must but must be watched at a certain time and be ready. At the end of the movie you feel like a diferent person, almost as if you were in his position. Its a little depressing, but if you think about it it also shows a lot of hope and possibilities. I think you should be prepared for an emotional trip though, it definently will yank at you a good amount.
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on December 31, 2013
This is an amazing anime. It's the North American import of Rurouni Kenshin, and it is one of the handful of animes that you can show to anyone without fear that they will think it is childish or somehow lacking. Amazing art, beautiful and tragic story, awesome movie all around.

I'm not going to try to compete with the other excellent reviews, I will just say that I am happy I saw this, and happy that I gave it as a present to a friend of mine. Beautiful work!
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on July 5, 2003
I won't go into the plot, because Amazon already has a satisfactory summary. When I first saw this oav, it had my mouth open, mouthing WOW. The story is absolutly terrific, albeit a little confusing (you have to watch it twice to really understand everything). This does a 180 from the series, as it focuses on Kenshin the Manslayer(duh!). Don't expect any humor, this movie leaves you to savor the fantastic swordsmanship and the moving ending with no distractions.
The Animation is amazing. It is clean cut and sharp. Notice I said ANIMATION. The cgi's are absolutely horrid. Particulary when they show a bounty of them around the middle of the oav. The sight of real water slapping against animated rocks is absoulutly nausiating.
The Music. Ah the music. It is absoulutly wonderful. The B-G music fits where it needs to go and adds to the scene, making it sad, eerie, or ... whatever. It Works. The voices. I don't think they are as bad as the other reviewer said (The one who said it makes watching the movie hard). None really stick out to me as something I would remember. They do their job, and they aren't terrible, they just don't stick out.
The most beautiful thing that I have found in this oav is the sword play. It is absolutely beautiful and gracefull. The movements are fluid, not chunky and jerky. One other great thing would be the rain effect on the blood. And boy is there a lot of it. The blood comes down in buckets. Stay away if you are squemish. [There is also a heck of a lot of violence. I'm pretty used to violence, but that first scene shook me(I wouldn't say it disturbed me however)]
There is also plenty of alchohal use. There are a few suggestive scenes, but I'd say no worse than a pg 13 movie. I must say however, that you should be mature in the head if you will watch it, not for the objectionable stuff, but simply to understand it.
One last thing before closing. This movie really does make you think about the subject of killing people for a better world. It is one of those movies that after you watch it, you think about it and reflect on it. It gives you that tuging feeling right on your heart (you know, that feeling that your chest is full and your throat sort of tickles). Its not a bad feeling, or anything like that, just that kind of feeling you get when you are reflecting on something deep and, well, meaningful.
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on October 7, 2003
this is a story of himura kenshin a bloodsheding man-slayer the story takes place in japan around 1864 in the meji era were they are still triying to help the good and kill the bad but when himura kenshin chose his fate as a hired assasin he would be forever scared inside. watch the movie and find out how or if he will ever find happiness inside.
I read the other reviews and some of them say their are buckets of blood now their is alot of blood but I wouldnt say buckets the first half trust does have some blood but thats just me, the second half is filled with romance, and if you are maddly in love with kenshin then you may not like the way this movie ends. the combo with real life photoes and cartooning is rather funny to watch, their is not much of it so it wont ruin the movie. for rurouni kenshin fans I highley recomend this movie, but for begginers you may want to wait. this movie is amazing and by far the best ova of ruroni kenshin will explain how he got his cross shapped scar, and why he decided to put away his sword and never kill again.the movie goes into high detail, and will keep you guessing until the end. and if you get sick or throgh up easly then I dont recomend it. the movie is in english and I think they matched the voices exeptionly well. their are a few swear words but I only noticed 1. it can be confusing but its worth watcing more than once. if I would rate this movie I would say about around the age of 15 even though audiences below (13)should be able to withstain the violence, after all its just a cartoon.hope my review helped.
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