The legendary red-haired battousai is coming to the U.S. on the big screen! If you’re an anime fan like me, you’re probably jumping for joy right about now. And if you aren’t an anime fan, but like samurai movies, then stick around because you’re gonna dig this.
What is Rurouni Kenshin? It’s a highly popular manga and anime series about a deadly swordsman named Kenshin who served as an assassin during the Bakmatsu war in the late 1800s. Now, he wanders the land seeking peace and atonement for his bloodshed. Kind of like Angel, but without the whole vampire thing. He is kindhearted and not at all what people expect of a cold-blooded killer. Just don’t mess with his friends.
The show is widely popular both in Japan and the U.S. because it combines all the adventure you’d want out of a samurai story with the complex and lovable characters of a good novel. It has action, romance, and a bit of historical fiction.
Check out the trailer:
If you want specifics, here are the official descriptions from FUNimation’s website. Be warned, these do contain some spoilers, so read at your own risk:
RUROUNI KENSHIN: ORIGINS
Fans of the samurai genre will be awestruck by this riveting film adaption of the classic franchise! In the wake of a brutal civil war, the legendary and feared killer Kenshin Himura throws down his sword and vows to turn his back on bloodshed. Choosing instead to live his life as a peaceful wanderer, Kenshin soon finds that the world around him is rapidly changing—and not for the better. A sadistic drug lord, Kanryu, oppresses the people, poisoning them with opium and stealing what little they have left. When this greed-driven monster threatens the beautiful kendo instructor Kaoru, Kenshin can no longer stand idly by. Together with his street fighter comrade Sanosuke, Kenshin sets his sights on a showdown with Kanryu and his deadly henchmen. In a staggering action sequence for the ages, longtime fans will find out if Kenshin can survive his promise to face his own blade—before spilling the blood of his enemies!
RUROUNI KENSHIN: KYOTO INFERNO
Spectacular fight scenes and swordplay capture the true spirit of the classic franchise in this thrilling live-action adaptation.Former assassin Kenshin Himura and his friends are called back into action when a ghost from the past era rises to wreak havoc across Japan. Makoto Shishio, another ex-assassin, was betrayed, burned, and left for dead at the end of the war. Badly scarred—but very much alive—Shishio has put together an army and aims to overthrow the new government—burning anything and killing anyone who stands in his way. After witnessing his brutality firsthand, Kenshin agrees to intervene and help keep the peace. Will the wanderer with a blade bathed in blood be able to withstand the fury of the swordsman forged by fire?
RUROUNI KENSHIN: THE LEGEND ENDS
After his confrontation with Shishio ends in defeat, Kenshin Himura awakens at the home of his old Master. With his mind set on revenge, he trains day and night to learn the final technique of his deadly fighting style. While he builds up his strength, Shishio and his army attack the coastline and force the new government to name Kenshin a wanted man. With the world closing in on him, Kenshin will have to look inside himself to find the strength he needs to protect his friends and end Shishio’s reign of terror once and for all. As the two ex-assassins prepare for their final fight, the wanderer with the back-blade and a bloody past will learn which force truly drives him—his will to live or his killer instinct.
The franchise has 28 volumes of manga, a 95-episode anime series, a couple of animated movies, and more. These live-action movies were made over the last few years and received some surprisingly good reviews stating that the production is very well done, the sword fighting is amazing, and it stays very true to the story. I’ve only seen the trailers and some photos, and I can instantly recognize who the characters are. Any anime fan will tell you that a live-action adaptation is easier said than done, and often not nearly as good. (I’m looking at you Attack on Titan movies.)
And now, these films are coming to U.S. theaters for a limited time courtesy of FUNimation. Rurouni Kenshin: Origins will run from August 8-10 with advance tickets available now. Then Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno will run September 12-14, and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends will run October 3-5. To find a theater playing it near you and to purchase tickets, go to FUNimation’s official Rurouni Kenshin movie website.
Are you going to try to catch this trilogy on the big screen? Tell us what you love about Rurouni Kenshin in the comments, and tune in to Anime Gateways on Geek & Sundry’s Twitch channel starting August 12!
Image credits: FUNimation Films