Markedly omitted from the TV Anime series, the Jinchū Arc finally receives its due glory with Rurouni Kenshin: The Final.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (るろうに剣心 最終章 The Final) Synopsis
Based on the final story arc of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s manga masterpiece, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final depicts the tribulations of Kenshin and allies after the Kyoto confrontation with Shishio. 12 years after the Meiji Restoration, Tokyo is at peace; that is, till institutions associated with Kenshin are brutally attacked. Before long, it becomes clear too that the attacks are masterminded by Yukishiro Enishi, a vengeful character from Kenshin’s dark past as an assassin. Just who is Enishi, and why does he hate Kenshin so much? And what is the relationship between him and the disfiguring cross scar on Kenshin’s cheek?
Like what actually happened in the Jinchū Arc, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final corrected a “grievous” wrong. That is, for me.
20 years ago, when Samurai X the Anime was shown on local television, I was baffled as to why the Jinchū Arc was not adapted into the series.
The way the Internet was back in those days, I never uncovered the reasons why too; or should I say, I wasn’t convinced by fan theories. Ultimately, I concluded the arc was omitted because it was just too dark and bloody when compared with previous story arcs. (I.E., better suited for an OVA)
Years down the road, I was correspondingly unsurprised that The Legend Ends finished the cinematic trilogy with the defeat of Shishio. By then, I have accepted that Enishi, my favourite Kenshin villain, was never going to see the light of a live-action adaptation.
Well, justice has been served at long last, and as a fanboy, all I can say is, it’s glorious. GLORIOUS! Near seven years since The Legend Ends, the producers have refined the octane-fueled swordfights to perfection, with a huge dose of Musou battles thrown in for good measure.
As befitting the battles in the Manga, emphatic slow-mos of flourishes are everywhere too. Hereby, I’m not ashamed to share that several times while watching, I yelled “Hiten Mitsurugi!!!” and “Gatotsu!!!” These moments were truly such splendid, euphoric conclusions to the confrontations, exactly the way they were in the Manga.
Coming to the cast, it is clear that all have further grown into their characters. I’m not just talking about how lead Takeru Satoh completely captured the complex duality of Himura Kenshin, effortlessly transiting from tranquil wanderer to deadly slasher within seconds. Even secondary characters like Yū Aoi’s Megumi display a clear understanding of the source material.
Add to which is Mackenyu Arata’s Enishi. What can I say? The boyish Mackenyu not only looks like Enishi, every move he makes reflects the brutal agility and self-destruction that define his character.
The summary, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is a thrilling treat for fans and non-fans of the Manga series alike. Like some reviews say, easily one of the best Manga live-action adaptations ever.
The adapted story is noticeably different from the original. But what the Jinchū Arc represents, redemption and reconciliation and dazzling battles and all, everything is embraced.
Read my review of Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, the accompanying prequel!
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