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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Samurai X - OVA 4: Reflection » User review

A Final Farewell to a Great Swordsman

  • Mar 23, 2007
Rating:
+5
Pros: Very moving, characters you care about, beautiful animation and music

Cons: It really does help to know the series

The Bottom Line: If you don't know much about Rurouni Kenshin, I suggest you at least do some research - otherwise you may flounder a bit like I did.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

I’ve never seen more than a handful of Rurouni Kenshin episodes, and that includes the OVAs (original video animation). What I know is that Rurouni Kenshin is, or rather, was, a great assassin during chaotic times of Japan’s history. The characters are fake, but the history is real. He killed so much, and went through a great deal so that after the new government was instated and things calmed down, he put away his assassin side forever to try and live peacefully.

This particular OVA is the final chapter to Kenshin’s story. It’s a farewell of sorts, by the creators and for the viewers. I can tell you right now it may not make everyone happy. It’s one of those endings that isn’t happy…and yet in a quiet way, it is.

Kenshin and Kaoru, after many trials and tribulations, are together. Life isn’t always easy because men are constantly after Kenshin, testing his assassin skills and using Kaoru as bait. His biggest challenge is Enishi, the younger brother of Tomoe. Tomoe was the woman Kenshin loved 15 years ago – since then Enishi has been on the warpath after Kenshin in order to destroy him. Adding to this problem, Kenshin is sick with a bad disease, but continues to travel far and wide in order to help those less fortunate. It’s a struggle inside of himself as well as Kaoru as they both want happiness, but are at odds with the sorrow they hold; Kenshin with his past guilt and Kaoru for Kenshin’s pain. Watch as the tale unfolds and see who finds peace at last.

Trust me – it helps to see the series. There are characters that pop up from there that someone like me thinks “Ok, I sort of know them but overall, not really.” If you do know the series, you get to see everyone again, though in a more serious format and many of them much older. Yahiko, Sanosuke, and Megumi – a few more probably but I don’t know anyone. I can say that Enishi got older, buffer, and hotter – too bad he’s tormented. Actually, the ending to that small section almost made me tear up. It’s always sad to see a man crumble like that, letting the boy inside escape so much. Aww.

Even though I didn’t know a lot of the flashbacks that you will get to see, a tribute as some call it (again, better if you’ve seen the series), you can still appreciate the thought and purpose behind it. I was focused more on the present, or at least the near present as much of it was Kaoru reminiscing, and did have an out loud “Aww” moment when Kenshin and Kaoru showed their loving side to the audience. Very sweet, even with Kenshin being in such bad condition.

Things progress slowly, but piece by piece you begin to understand things. Where Kenshin is. What has happened between him and Kaoru. How Kaoru got sick. Who that Kenji guy is (I’m probably just slow on that one). When the end comes, you’ll probably be expecting it by that point in time. Some of you will probably be hoping for a happily ever after sort of thing, and in a certain way, it is. Even if you find you don’t like it (let’s just say it made me tear up – which is a good thing because that means it’s good stuff), take a close look at Kenshin’s scarred cheek. At least that should make you smile.

The animation is very, very nice. I love the detail and it’s the kind you just can’t go wrong with. Along those same lines, the music is also very good. It’s powerful and quite moving in many instances. Sometimes it’s soft and in the background so that you barely notice it while it still manages to affect the tone and your emotions. Other times it comes to the forefront to enhance the scene even more.

The voices are all just fine. You can choose either version you like. Kenshin is female in both versions, something I never quite enjoyed, but I did what I could to put myself in a place that I could ignore it as much as possible. I’d sort of hoped at least this older Kenshin might have a different voice, but to no avail. Ah well. Can’t do much to change it now can I?

Though there is some fighting, there is little blood involved. I doubt your kids will understand this anime, so you might as well just keep it to the adults. It’s more character oriented than anything anyway, so if they are looking for Rurouni Kenshin action, they’re not going to get it.

Even though I’m probably not going to watch this very often because I don’t know much about the whole picture/characters, and honestly don’t feel very motivated to do so, I still give this anime 5 stars. Hey, anything that has good anime elements and can get me all teary eyed deserves 5 stars. Rurouni Kenshin fans – I hope you enjoy it very much.

NT

Rurouni Kenshin OVAs:
Samurai X: Trust
Samurai X: Betrayal

If you like Rurouni Kenshin, there is also Samurai X: The Motion Picture

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD

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About the reviewer
Nicole ()
Ranked #166
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The final in a series of four OVAs (which include TRUST, BETRAYAL, and THE MOTION PICTURE), REFLECTION finds Kenshin coming full circle as the war against the corrupt government has ended and it is time for him to go home. With his wife on the verge of death from her grief over his 15-year absence, Kenshin begins the long journey and wonders if a doomed soul like his can ever truly go home. One of the best OVA series ever created, RUROUNI KENSHIN (aka SAMURAI X) is an absolute visual marvel, filled with considerable violence, an engaging plot, and imaginative fight sequences that make for an unforgettable experience.
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Details

Release Date: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: ADV Films, Inc. (March 25, 2003)
Runtime: 1hr 0min

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