Anime Meta-Review


Rurouni Kenshin, OAV Series


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-4 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: exemplary
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title is a personal favourite.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Before I start I must mention that this anime does not warrant a "not for the sensitive tag" because the whole point is that it is an essay in violence, and it's effects. Thus while there is a lot of graphic violence and cruelty it is intrinsic to the story. Of course if you can't handle that, or are addicted to the humor of RK TV, then perhaps you want to miss this somber and dark tale. It would be a shame though, because this is a wonderful production. This OAV series fills in the backstory to the TV series, the origin of Kenshin (and where he acquired his scar) although some clues were given during the TV series as to what to expect.

Effectively the very young, but capable, Kenshin chooses to wield his sword in order to protect people against suffering. However in the murky world of politics right and wrong are not so clear and Kenshin finds himself as an Assassin (Hitokiri?) on the side trying to bring around political change. This marvellous, and self contained, story follows some events in this period, including re-affirming his path and bringing to him the full horror of what he has become.

The story is somber and subtle but very strong and atmospheric. The animation, which is excellent, is also restrained to the needs of the story in a masterful display of directorial control. This strongly brings out the wonderful characters and events in some marvellously understated and believable dialog. There is a serving of action, and it is well done, but that is certainly not the focus. It is more on the repercussions of violence, and Kenshin's out of place purity, that fill this production. Strangely enough it is also a romantic tale, once again understated, and dark omened, but touching none the less. The conclusion is dramatic, tragic and fitting. Also interesting is the use of live footage, a quaintly retro step in this age of computer graphics, which is nice although not always successful. Apart from that the world depicted feels real and historically solid, with a great attention to detail.

The animation is rich, almost painterly in parts, and at has moments of great beauty. It is also very well staged, with some of the scenes being very memorable. You won't follow all the politics (but neither does kenshin) and some of the violence is brutal and tragic (especially start and end) but this is a very capable production worth sampling. Negative points for the fan-subbers using `sheath' instead of `scabbard' which actually ends making a lot more difference than you might think.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009