As you might know, anime/manga culture is as big in Japan as Hollywood is in USA. To some of you they might seem childish or whatever it is that you think, but for Japanese people there is no age limit for reading mangas or watching anime.
Unfortunately, not so many of them are known outside of Japan. Now, you might say otherwise, but trust me – knowing how many of them have been released in Japan so far and how many new ones are released every year, it IS a small number that we know. Thankfully they are being introduced through not-so-official channels to us increasingly (and that would be a no-no if those SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and other sh*t laws had been passed – think about that), so we are able to follow latest ones as well as catch up with the classic ones, though still with a ‘decent’ delay.
Anyhow, one of those classics (and one of my personal favs) is Rurouni Kenshin
aka Kenshin the Wonderer, based on (as most animes are) a samurai manga created by Nobuhiro Watsuki
. It is a story about Hitokiri Battousai or Manslayer, Himura Kenshin, who had one of the major roles in bringing down Tokugawa Shogunate, thus beginning Meiji (Restauration) Era, in 19th Century (1868, to be exact). After ten years, regretting his Battousai past, he wanders wearing his sakabato (reverse blade sword), vowing that he will use it only to save people and never to kill again. Along his way old enemies reappear, and a series of events unfold that will question his ideal of living peacefully in Meiji Era, but also bring him treasured friends and new love. They will help him to stay true to his new self and show his enemies that true strength and samurai honor don’t lie in ‘survival of the fittest’ way, but in compassion, serving as protector for those who are unable to protect themselves.
Being very popular, it has lived since 1996 through several arcs, the latest having been released in 2011 (marking 15th anniversary), and we will finally have the chance to see the live-action film adaptation this year (that is, it will be this
year for Japanese – I’d guess another year for the rest of us, if you wait for it to be released officially).
Directed and scripted by Keishi Ōtomo
, co-scripted by Kiyomi Fujii
, it will star 23-year-old Takeru Satoh
as Himura Kenshin, while 18-year-old actress Emi Takei
also appears the heroine Kaoru Kamiya. Yuu Aoi
(Hana and Alice, Honey and Clover) plays Megumi Takani, Munetaka Aoki
(The Last Message Umizaru, live-action The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) plays Sanosuke Sagara, and Taketo Tanaka
plays Yahiko Myōjin. Kouji Kikkawa
(Let’s Dance With Papa) appears as Jine Udō, Yosuke Eguchi
(Shonan Bakusozoku, Tokyo Love Story) as Hajime Saitō, and Teruyuki Kagawa
(From Up On Poppy Hill, 20th Century Boys) as Kanryū Takeda rounds out the cast.
The film will open in Japan on August 25th, 2012. Meanwhile, take a look at the trailer and behind-the-scenes video, in which Takeru Satoh practices his Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū style moves.