REVIEW: ‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Final’ Delivers A Worthy End To The Battosai’s Story

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Rurouni Kenshin: The Final

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is an adaptation of the manga Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki and is streaming on Netflix. After the defeat of Makoto Shishio, Kenshin and his friends took to living a quiet life at the Kamiya Dojo. But life has other plans. A mysterious figure has come to Tokyo intent on passing judgment on Kenshin. Even if he has to burn the entire city to the ground to do it.

Kenshin’s tale has always been one of a man who seeks peace after living a life that nearly drowned him in chaos and blood. He tries desperately to leave the past behind him, so that he may be able to help shape a brighter future. Yet inevitably, there is always someone who cannot let go of what was. Who seeks out a more direct and violent way of changing the world that is. And it seems that Kenshin is always doomed to stand in the eye of the hurricane.

In many ways, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final will feel all too familiar to those who have followed Kenshin’s journey this far. Villains from the past, vengeance being sought on a corrupt world, and the sins of Kenshin’s past returning to visit him. In the broad strokes, one could be forgiven for seeing this last entry in the series as being an all too familiar retreated of what has come before. But to do so would be to discount how much further this film takes its story, how much deeper it plunges its characters into the fire fueled by Kenshin’s past, and ultimately how much hope, spirit, and perseverance a single wanderer can inspire. To underestimate these things would be to miss the entire point of what Rurouni Kenshin: The Final brings to Kenshin’s saga. And that would be a shame, that it would.

As so much of the plot here is ripe with spoilers, I’m going to go light on the details for those who may not have read the manga or watched the anime. The only thing I will say about this story’s villain beyond he is from Kenshin’s past is that he is connected to the protagonist’s most striking feature: his cross-shaped scar.

From the first confrontation with Kenshin’s would-be killer till the credits roll two and a quarter hours later, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final delivers a paced experience that balances its off-the-wall action with moments of emotional reveals perfectly. How this movie manages to cram so much into its runtime without ever feeling overstuffed, or drawn-out is beyond me. But somehow, it accomplishes it. And does what every fan of a series wants from the finale. To get one last chance to revel with something they love, but with a story that cranks every element up to eleven. And while many of the elements are what anyone going into this film after watching the first three installments would expect, there is one area of the film that caught me completely off guard: the number of returning characters It features.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final delivers a veritable who’s who of returning characters. Everyone I wanted to see, as well as a couple I never expected to show up, not only appear, but are given the chance to deliver meaningful contribution’s to this final act. Every actor delivers their character with all the personality I wanted. The combination of an amazing story, and excellent acting to deliver it makes this final act arguably the best of the series.

Just as the cast is bigger, so too are the battles. With huge sword fights, massive explosions, and sizable portions of Tokyo going up in flames, the physical threats faced by Kenshin and company easily feel right for the level of threat. No punches are pulled with the delivery of the series trademark, high octane sword battles.

The last element I have to mention here is the musical score. From the hard beating rhythms of battle to the sweeping orchestral moments during the movie”s most dramatic scenes Rurouni Kenshin: The Final’s soundtrack is the final piece that brings its fusion of high impact action, and emotional drama together.

When all is said and done, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final does everything I could ask it to. It gives action, emotion, and great character into the final installment of one of my most beloved franchises. Not only has the Rurouni Kenshin adaptations shown you can adapt anime/manga into live-action successfully, but that you can also craft an ending for it that any fan will cheer for.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is streaming now on Netflix.

 


Rurouni Kenshin: The Final
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final does everything I could ask it to. It gives action, emotion, and great character into the final installment of one of my most beloved franchises. Not only has the Rurouni Kenshin adaptations shown you can adapt anime/manga into live-action successfully, but that you can also craft an ending for it that any fan will cheer for.