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Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 10/20/2002

Synopsis:
Many years have passed since the events chronicled in the Rurouni Kenshin TV and first OAV series. Kenshin and Kaoru have been living as husband and wife with their son Kenji. But the sad truth remains: Kenshin's wandering is far from over... and perhaps it never will be.
 
Review:
If you've read the entire Rurouni Kenshin manga series, you're probably aware that Kenshin and Kaoru ended up together and had a cute baby boy named Kenji. Unfortunately, Rurouni Kenshin OVA 2: Seisouhen (the final RK installment), really destroys any picture of happiness you may have had for our wanderer.
 
Seisouhen unfolds from Kaoru's perspective. Fifteen years have passed, and Kaoru is all alone... waiting for Kenshin. Kenshin's been wandering throughout their whole life, returning once in a blue moon to visit her and Kenji. Kaoru recounts the things that have happened long ago -- how she met Kenshin, how Kenshin had saved her life numerous times, how Kenshin had fought one battle after another (part of the Jinchuu / Enishi arc is shown). For Kaoru, helping Kenshin get as far as he can on his chosen path is her life and happiness. She hurts like hell every time he leaves, and yet she waits tirelessly for his return with a warm smile of welcome. I really hated Kaoru in the TV series, but watching Seisouhen made me understand how Kaoru can be the only woman for Kenshin on account of her inner strength, utter devotion, and complete selflessness.
 
I have mixed feelings about Seisouhen. Granted it's a superior piece of work, but somehow I've always wanted Kenshin to ultimately be able to experience a normal, happy life... especially after everything he has gone through. Apparently someone had other ideas and so we are left with this tragic finale instead. I felt some resentment for Kenshin. How could he have been so selfish? He was so absorbed in his personal issues that he had deprived his family of his presence for the most part of their lives. I could not for the life of me see the sense in what he was doing. In the second half of Seisouhen we see Kenshin practically starving to death in a remote part of China, living in destitution by himself. Call me dense but if he was helping others in that or atoning for past deeds I just didn't see it.
 
The art and animation are superb, and are quite similar in style to the first OAV series. Seisouhen is laden with gorgeous character designs, incredible fight sequences, and magnificent backdrops. Each and every scene is crafted meticulously, making the most of every expression and movement to highlight whatever emotion it is that is supposed to prevail at the moment.
 
Seisouhen is definitely a must-see for RK fans. It's the saddest and most depressing OAV series I've ever seen but it's also one of the most beautifully portrayed. Yes, I thought Kenshin and Kaoru's married life was pretty pathetic, but their love knew no bounds and they didn't have to be together to be one with each other. At least we get a little consolation and some hope for the future in the end, just make sure to watch all the way through the credits...
 
Miscellanies:
The boy in the fourth screenshot below is Kenshin and Kaoru's son Kenji. Seisouhen is made up of only two episodes. The R1 DVD release is entitled "Samurai X: Reflection". The Samurai X: OVA Collection bundles this together with the first OVA series.

Screenshots
Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen
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Review Title:
Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen
Alternative Titles:
Samurai X: Reflection
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
2
Duration:
90 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2001
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Drama, Historical, Romance,
Samurai, Shounen
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