Only a few iconic anime heroes have smoothly transitioned into live-action so far. Among them is the legendary slayer-turned-pacifist Himura Kenshin (緋村剣心) back in 2012. The success of the live-action film prepared the ground for a further two-part live-action sequel, a gender-flipped stage play, a spin-off manga and a series of Sumi-e art works. But it’s not over yet! Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心) fans – get ready for another treat as our favorite swordsman heads to our smartphones in a free-to-play game. Take a look at these seven ways to enjoy Rurouni Kenshin!
Rurouni Kenshin is a shonen manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki (和月伸宏). Set in the 11th year of the Meiji period (明治時代), it features the life and adventures of a well-known assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai (人斬り抜刀斎). In search of atonement, he renounces his previous identity and wanders around with a reverse-edged sword and a vow to never take a person’s life again. Himura Kenshin ends up at Kamiya dojo (神谷道場), a kenjutsu dojo (剣術道場) where he meets Kamiya Kaoru (神谷薫), Myojin Yahiko (明神弥彦), Sanosuke Sagara (相楽左之助), and Takani Megumi (高荷恵). Here he encounters both friends, who appreciate his soft-spoken and humble demeanour, as well as enemies who stir up trouble and put his promise to never kill again to the test.
The original manga ran from 1994 to 1999. Despite his busy schedule, Watsuki gave the anime producers the “go” signal to release Rurouni Kenshin as an anime under the name of Samurai X. The 95-episode anime series is followed by the anime films, Samurai X: The Motion Picture and Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc; plus two original video animes Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal and Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection.
At around the same time, Watsuki illustrated a light novel entitled Rurouni Kenshin: Voyage to the Moon World.
Much to everyone’s apprehension, a live-action plan was announced in 2012. Fans were overjoyed at the spectacular performance of Sato Takeru (佐藤健) and direction by Keishi Otomo (大友啓史). The movie adaptation gained positive reviews and raked in millions of box office earnings in and out of Japan. The sequels also earned praise particularly for the action direction and fight choreography. On top of this, the trilogy’s theme songs, performed by One OK Rock (ワンオクロック), were big hits in the charts.
Rurouni Kenshin Movie Website *Japanese only
In 2015, the all-female musical theater troupe, The Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団), performed Rurouni Kenshin The Musical with actress Seina Sagiri (早霧せいな) playing the titular role. A Shinsengumi character (新撰組隊士), Kano Sozaburo (加納惣三郎), was created solely for this show. It’s the same as the name of the samurai Ryuhei Matsuda (松田龍平) played in the movie Gohatto (御法度). In the Rurouni Kenshin stage play, there’s a love triangle with Sozaburo as Kenshin’s rival for Kaoru’s affections.
Two years after the release of Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin: Uramaku Honō wo Suberu (るろうに剣心裏幕炎を統べる – Controlling Flame Rurouni Kenshin: Hidden Chapter) spin-off that focused on Juppongatana (十本刀)’s Shishio (志々雄) and Yumi’s (由美) first encounter, a new spinoff hit the shelves: Rurouni Kenshin Ibun: Ashitarou Zenka Ari (Rurouni Kenshin Variant Story: The Criminal Ashitaro). The story follows new protagonist Ashitaro Hasegawa (長谷川悪太郎), a convict who meets Aran Inoue (井上阿爛) on his release from prison. Later on, they run into a mysterious girl named Asahi (旭) who has also been waiting for Ashitaro’s release.
To celebrate the end of 2016 and the coming in of the new year, a set of Rurouni Kenshin Sumi-e prints went on sale via the Aniplexplus (アニプレックスプラス) website (Japanese only). Sumi-e is a traditional Japanese brush painting that has been around for over 2,000 years. Rooting from Chinese calligraphy and brought to Japan by Zen Buddhists, the monochromatic paintings encompass philosophy into beautiful works of art. With impressive strokes of his brush, Sumi-e artist Okazu (御歌頭) creates traditional portraits of Himura Kenshin, Saito Hajime (斎藤一), and Makoto Shishio.
— 「るろうに剣心 剣劇絢爛」公式ツイッター (@ruroken_kengeki) March 14, 2017
In early 2017, Bandai Namco (バンダイナムコ) announced a weapons action game called Rurouni Kenshin: Kengekikenran that is available on both iOS and Android devices. There’s no better way to wait for the release of the manga’s new Hokkaido (北海道) Arc than to delve into the dynamic world of Rurouni Kenshin online.
With these seven ways to enjoy Rurouni Kenshin, there’s no need to quit your favorite manga; just enjoy it in its many new and exciting forms!
Rurouni Kenshin: Kengekikenran Website *Japanese only
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