Movie Preview – One to Watch For…
Well, last year long suffering anime fans were blessed with the more or less successful reboot of Space Battleship Yamato through the high-budget live action movie starring JDRAMA king, Takuya Kimura. Whatever one thinks of that film the fact remains that anime has always been a compelling source for live-action shows or movies although their quality vacillates wildly from utter junk to cult classics. This year there’s yet another anime favourite that is being translated to the silver screen and no, I’m not talking about the Starz network and Sam Raimi’s Western adaptation of Noir.
While I am certainly intrigued about how Raimi will handle the conversion I am more interested in this “other” title that has certainly been one of my anime favourites for a very long time. Can you immediately guess it from the teaser image?
Probably not, unless one takes a long hard look at the shot and tries to pick up what appear to be unique assets that one does not normally attribute to the traditional samurai film genre. Need a hint? How many samurai have that hair colour? Of course, most will immediately know what anime this is from once they see the following trailer as there is an obvious reveal of the protagonist’s key physical facial feature…
This is the live action Japanese adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin, more famously known in the West by its re-jigged title, Samurai X. Judging from the rather grim trailer the movie seems to be following the serious tone found in the OVAs rather than the semi-comedic first season which had Kenshin more or less involved in many light-hearted hijinks with his compatriots. Right now story elements are rather scarce but looking at the trailer one gets the impression that it will chronicle events long before the show’s standout Kyoto story arc that involves Shishio Makoto. Fans of the show will no doubt hope that this film becomes a hit merely to force filmmakers into tackling that storyline which is seriously one of the best arcs that I’ve seen in any anime. Too bad the show subsequently falls off a cliff after that but chalk that up more to the fact that the TV showrunners decided to diverge from the manga as creator/writer/artist Nobuhiro Watsuki was just not finished with his current plot.
As for my initial thoughts of the cast well, I can’t say Sato Takeru has impressed me with his past work as Bloody Monday is one of the worst JDRAMAs I have ever had the misfortune of seeing although I will admit that Sato Takeru at least matches Kenshin’s physique as he has never been portrayed as a particularly masculine figure. In fact, creator Nobuhiro Watsuki has commented in the past that when he designed Kenshin that he started with the prototypical samurai stereotype in the mould of Toshiro Mifune and then purposely started changing every attribute to the polar opposite and found that he ended up with a rather girly feminine figure and in a rush to somehow make him more manly slapped on the famous X scar on his cheek.
Of note, it is also too bad that the filmmakers have decided not to use any known musical cues from the anime’s superlative soundtrack and instead have thrown together a rather generic tune. Oh well, let’s hope they manage to incorporate some better known melodies into the final film.
Since we are still about eight months from its release date I’m sure that a torrent of more information will start to come up as the advertising/marketing campaign begins to ramp up. Until then I would seriously recommend any anime fan pick up Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X and watch until the end of the Kyoto story arc as there is much fun to be had. It also makes me wonder what I did with my Rurouni Kenshin anime review that I remembered I penned long ago but somehow have misplaced. If I find it I’ll certainly repost it here.
© 2012 The Galactic Pillow