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Samurai X - Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin)

3.7 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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(Mar 25, 2003)
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(Dec 28, 2004)
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Director's Cut

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rurouni Kenshin is a wanderer, a lost soul, cursed to seek atonement for his life in the bloody trade of the samurai. During the long war to overthrow the corrupt government, he was known throughout all Japan as the Hitokiri Battousai ("sword-bearing master assassin"). But the end of the war has brought no peace to Kenshin, despite a vow to draw his sword only for the protection of those in need. Now his wife Kaoru steadfastly awaits his return, mourning his absence as well as that of their son, Kenji. Will Kenshin return before she dies of grief? The past meets the present fifteen years after Kenshin first left.


The final OAV in the Samurai X/Rurouni Kenshin continuity brings the long-running saga of master swordsman and assassin Kenshin Himura to its conclusion. The story is set in 1893, long after the bloody conflicts of the Meiji Restoration--and the events in the previous OAVs that culminated in the death of Kenshin's wife, Tomoe. With his devoted second wife, Kaoru, Kenshin seeks peace in trying to aid the helpless. But he cannot escape the karmic burden of the many deaths he caused: there is no peace for Kenshin in this world. The Japanese concept of the transitory nature of beauty permeates the two-part adventure. Director Kazuhiro Furuhashi ushers the narrative along at a deliberate pace, deftly inserting the many flashback sequences. The result is a properly elegiac farewell to one of most popular anime characters on both sides of the Pacific. (Rated 17 and older: violence, alcohol use, mature themes) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mayo Suzukaze, Richard Cansino, Dean Wein, Dina Sherman, Dan Martin
  • Producers: Eric P. Sherman, John M. Cusimano, Kaeko Sakamoto
  • Format: Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000844K0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,045 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Samurai X - Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 15, 2003
Format: DVD
The 'Samurai X' OVA's stand separate from the body of the Rurouni Kenshin series in that the subject is the events preceding and following the television stories. While the contain a commonality in characters and are the go further in the direction of presenting more of the motivations that lie behind master assassin Kenshin Himura's decisions and provide us with closure on the story of a life full of regret and the quest for atonement.
All of the OVA's, 'Reflections' included, lack the comic relief of the TV series. In that sense they are an acknowledgement of Kenshin's contribution, and the ongoing price he would have to pay for being a murderer. In 'Reflections,' Kenshin seeks the ability to be at peace again. And Kaoru, the loyal wife of his later years wants desperately to be as important a part of his life as his first love, Tomoe, who sacrificed her life at his hands so that he could go on to fight the Shogun.
The pressures of their lives drive them apart on more time, as Kenshin travels to China to help the living. But the real story is the retelling of their relationship and it's themes in carefully interwoven flashbacks. The threads of destiny and duty wind tighter and tighter as the drama, reminiscent of Greek tragedy as well as Noh plays, comes to its bittersweet conclusion.
It is almost unfortunate that 'The Cross-shaped Wound' (the last episode of the previous OVA volume) reached such a high standard of artistry. 'Reflections' is wonderful, beautifully written, illustrated and scored, but it lacks the utter magic of its predecessor. I can't fault it though, it is the difference between excellent and perfection, and I am delighted to have experienced both in the same series.
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Format: DVD
One of the most disturbing images in the new Kenshin OVA Reflection, is to see Kenshin failing in the grip of some sort of disease. This illness however, is a reflection of two distinct things: in the story presented here, Kenshin is not afflicted with some earthly disease such as leprosy or turberculosis. Megumi tells Kaoru that Kenshin is only a man, and that all of the fighting he has done will eventually take its toll. Kenshin also talks about having given up his sword and suffering in a different way to continue atoning for his past - and that is what I believe causes his illness. The lesions are an outer reflection of his inner turmoil and guilt, feelings that his once strong body can no longer supress. Kaoru doesn't contract it because it's communicable, but rather because her soul is so bound up in Kenshin's that she shares all of his pain, spiritual as well as physical. She willing shares his burden out of her great love for him.
The story of Reflection takes a beloved character and reflects a flawed understanding of just who Kenshin was and what his story was about. His essential nature has always been that of a deeply scarred man attempting to atone for his past. He has always suffered and felt guilt for the killing he has done, yet he is also the wanderer who has cared for many people. A man who never abandoned his principles such that his very example has helped other unhappy and guilty souls find peace and purpose (i.e. Megumi, Sano, Saitou, Aoshi, even some of Shishio's Juppengatana). To believe that this man would, after all his been through - even after making his peace with Enishi - STILL be wandering around Japan, abandoning Kaoru and their son, is just unbelievable.
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Format: DVD
I bought the Region-2 DVD of this director's cut before the domestic release of the original version, so this was actually my first exposure to it. I was forewarned by summaries and spoilers about how much of a downer it would be, but boy, is this OVA a downer. Although the animation is as beautiful as the first OVA (Trust/Betrayal), its dramatic structure is imho much weaker due to various factors.

The first half of Reflections is built around fragmentary recaps which can't be fully understood without prior familiarity with the original manga and/or the parallel first two seasons of the tv series. The plot then proceeds through the manga's Jinchuu Arc in a manner that's only slightly less cursory, and similarly requires foreknowledge of either those manga volumes (not yet translated by Shounen Jump as of the DVD's release date) or the Trust/Betrayal OVA, or optimally both.

And then there's the whole question of how the OVA depicts Kenshin's behavior after the manga timeframe; in many fans' opinion, he completely reverses the direction of character development that was shown throughout the manga, negating the peace he'd supposedly found. So while Reflections is dependent on its context, it simultanously undermines that context's core themes, which is a really irritating paradox.

A mitigating factor in the Director's Cut is that it adds some happy scenes that weren't present in the original version: Kenshin's second wedding; early scenes from his marriage including the birth and childhood of his son. Kaoru and Saitou also have a brief conversation about, er, something. (Maybe if I actually understood Japanese I could attempt a summary.
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