Back in the late 1990’s, I became a huge fan of the now classic anime series Rurouni Kenshin. So when I learned about a live action adaptation coming along, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. I’m glad my worries were for nothing as the movies are pretty good, as proven with Funimation’s latest release of Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno. Featuring a solid cast that delivers the drama, action, and occasional laughs much like the series, this is one that fans and lovers of samurai action will want to check out.
This film has our hero Kenshin Himura and his friends trying to live peacefully in a chaotic time during the late 1800’s of Japan. Times and ways of life are changing ever so fast, and it doesn’t help that a forgotten assassin from the country’s past comes back to haunt it in the form of Makoto Shishio who was burned alive and left for dead at the end of the war. After recovering as much as a charred person can, he’s assembled his own personal army to wage war on the country their betrayed him along with any who stand in his way of making a new world. So of course Kenshin isn’t going to just sit back and let this go unchecked. But being a former assassin himself who vowed never to kill again is going to be tough, as Shishio and his followers will try to make him break that promise and lose himself to the killer within.
The Kyoto arc is arguably the best part of the anime series, so to see it come to life in live action was pretty exciting for me. While it’s not as fast paced and flashy as the show, the fight choreography of the battles was good. The actors chosen for the roles also do a great job of bringing the characters to life, from Kenshin and his laid back happiness, to Shishio and the hate he carries. It was also great being to see all of this unfold in high definition as the visuals and audio help make the action and drama leap off the screen and into to your viewing area.
There’s also quite a few special features to check out when the action is over, such as a nice collection of interviews with the cast members, some original Japanese TV commercials for the film, an extra that explains Rurouni Kenshin for those who have never seen the series or first film, and more. I really liked how they added this one on there so that anyone can get into the film without worrying about missing out on anything.
If you love the anime series like I do or enjoy samurai films, you’ll want to grab your kimono and go on a quest to pick up Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno on Blu-ray. The cast does a great job bringing the beloved characters to the live action realm while also capturing the drama and action fans have come to expect. Pair this with seeing it in high definition along with some sweet extras, and you have a Blu-ray worth getting a cross-shaped scar for.