While I was in Taiwan and Japan these past two weeks, I got to watch a ton of inflight movies. I must’ve hit the motherlode because almost every Asian movie I wanted to watch last year was available on demand and I gorged on them only to be left majorly disappointed (Thieves? Highest grossing K-movie of all time? So overrated and zzzzz-inducing. The Four? Like a wuxia Gossip Girl mixed with X-Men). In this scrimmage came the shining star of Asian cinematic fare so awesome I nearly started squeeing in the middle of a crowded plane and hyperventilating as I watched. The live action adaptation of the critically acclaimed manga Rurouni Kenshin is every bit as good as the trailers and stills looked. This movie shows us how manga adaptations can be done right, and done well. The casting was mostly across-the-board perfect (Sato Takeru as Kenshin = MARRY ME!, Takei Emi as Koaru = puuuurty but the sole weak link) and the directing was phenomenal. The movie is basically the first two arcs of the manga story, with some later elements deftly woven in seamlessly.
The pacing for this slightly longer than two hour movie was exquisite, with the slow character developments buttressed by a handful of thrilling action sequences that fairly scream out KENSHIN YOU ARE MY IDOL. My only disappointment was not being able to watch this movie on the big screen and instead made do with my tinny inflight television screen. *shakes fists of unfairness* The movie has done gangbusters business in Japan and all over Asia where it enjoyed a successful wide release. The production company has announced that a sequel has been greenlit (YAY!) with the same cast. For so long Takeru has been the sidekick best friend of his more high profile acting colleague Miura Haruma, but I can safely say that this role and performance has now launched him into the A-list as far as I’m concerned. He brought to life Himura Kenshin’s sweetness and deadly fighting skills, plus an added dose of sexy that wasn’t as evident in the manga. I never thought the day would come I would want to jump Kenshin but that day has arrived and I couldn’t be happier. Continue reading