Rurouni Kenshin: Shin Kyoto-hen – Part II

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Well, I guess I put off watching it as long as possible.

This is going to be a short one.  I think I said pretty much everything I had to say about this OVA series and its place in the Rurouni Kenshin canon when I reviewed the first one, and there really isn’t that much different about the second.  If anything I think it’s actually worse than the first one, but to go into detail would just be too depressing.  I love RK too passionately to subject myself to another extended dissection of this misguided project.

If I were to encapsulate my thoughts in brief, I’d say the most pertinent question remains, simply, “Why?”  Why remake a story that was adapted with sublime brilliance already, why hand it over to a writer supremely ill-suited to author it, and why try and re-tell it in 10% of the time?  I suppose the answer is as an extended cross-promotion commercial for the live-action (which has been sitting in my in-box for weeks, and which I will watch eventually).  The fact is, Watsuki Nobuhiro’s Kyoto Arc is so superb that a sliver of quality shines through all the pancake makeup and costume jewelry DEEN have draped over it – but this is utterly inferior to both the manga and Studio Gallup TV versions in every conceivable way.  None of the changes in the plot are for the better, the exposition is comically rushed, the ending is anti-climactic and in the end, even Misao gets shafted by the script in the conclusion.  What a damn shame.

I will remain hopeful for as long as I live that the Jinchu Arc will get an adaptation someday – that it hasn’t already is one of the greatest injustices in anime.  The live-action did quite well commercially and these OVAs did sort of OK, so perhaps in the end they’ve marginally increased the possibility of that happening – it would be nice to think that something good might have come out of this misguided effort.  If in fact Shin Kyoto-hen is to stand as the last anime incarnation of one of the greatest manga ever written, that will be the biggest travesty of all.

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  1. Y

    Enzo, Aoshi or Saito? C'mon, spill it.
    Everyone else, too. Cough it off and reply it. We shall see who has more fans (I suspect Saito wins among male readers, thus overall).

    I suppose if you have a masochistic side, you may "also" choose Aoshi, who is always destined to be not as strong as Kenshin and Saito and thus his fans will always suffer being the 3rd fiddle. He is like Piccolo, damn it (not as strong as Vegeta; never will beat Goku).

    No comment on Aoshi in this OVA farce (why bother featuring him, I don't even…).

  2. r

    It's okay, Enzo. The live action is kickass *and* they are making a sequel. If you ever find time to post a review of the film, I'd certainly be interested in your thoughts. (But if not, of course no worries. You do plenty as it is.) Cheers~

  3. Y

    What the hell are you talking about? The live action really, really sucked! It was an amateurish B movie with dreadful acting all around. Pretty much similar to any comic-based live action movies, actually. I can't take you seriously if you thought THAT yet another lame-o was a kickass movie. Wait, perhaps you were joking.

  4. Y

    Well except for Uchuu Kyoudai live action one; I haven't seen that one yet, so I can't say the same for it. Maybe that one's acting won't be so bad.

    But as for Kenshin live action, well, I enjoyed 1st Mortal Combat movie and Street Fighter with Van Damme more than it and that's saying something. Geez. I think it is about the same level as "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li", maybe a tad above, but not by much. But perhaps "some" folks think that movie is a kickass, who knows? I can't and won't understand how, but hey, I can understand that the taste and what is good/entertaining can be extremely different among different folks.

  5. G

    The live action huh….Well the cinematography was fantastic, but that's where it stops, the acting was subpar. I understand Kenshin isn't someone particularly easy to portray considering how psychologically and emotionally complex he is, but that was worse than what I expected given the commercial success. Maybe my expectation was too high? RK is one of my favorite anime of all time, I just can't stand it being tarnished in any way. These dreadful OVAs make me want to pull my hair out (and possibly burn down the studio and whoever decided to pick up the project).
    My most feverish wish would be RK getting the FMA Brotherhood treatment……with all its former glory fused with modern animation. It would be a dream come true. Though, honest to god, DEEN should not be one on the job, it obviously doesn't give a rat's ass about quality.

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