Synopsis: Going around town, Kenshin and friends see a pretty Japanese girl being harassed by some drunk foreign sailors. After helping her out, Kenshin discovers that the girl is Toki Takatsuki. It rings a bell somehow, and as the story progresses, Kenshin realizes that he had actually killed Toki's older brother during his slasher days. Alongside Toki is the noble Takimi Shigure. Takimi has always been close to the Takatsuki family, and he was Toki's brother's best friend. Although Takimi is a good and honorable man, he leads a rebel group that is against the Meiji government. This puts Kenshin in a very awkward position, as he is trying to help the government maintain law and order. What's more, Toki and Takimi don't know that Kenshin is responsible for the death of their beloved...
Review: I watched this movie a grand total of four times before I could come up with this review. I fell asleep the first two times, and although I got to watch the whole thing the third time, the memory faded all too quickly. I'm a big fan of the Rurouni Kenshin TV and OAV series, and thus I was disappointed by this unexciting installment.
First of all, the Rurouni Kenshin movie is way too politically-inclined for my tastes. Where Takimi and his group are concerned, it's all about the government. Of course, our hero and mediator Kenshin has to somehow talk Takimi out of his rebellious ways. Talk, talk, talk. You'll get lots of that in this movie. The pacing is also quite sluggish, especially if you compare it to the TV and OAV eps. Granted there's blood, violence, and serious situations, but you won't see much of Kenshin's awesome sword skills. Rurouni Kenshin mainstays like Sanosuke, Kaoru, and Saito are also nothing more but set decorations. They're just... there. The Toki and Takimi sub-plot is supposed to be very emotional and touching, but having been uninterested during most of the running time, I felt nothing more than a mild sense of pity for them.
The art and animation are done nicely but inconsistently. In some scenes, everything looks just perfect. But in others, the characters suddenly don't look so great. The music isn't so hot either. Rurouni Kenshin the Movie is admittedly above average, but it's just not my cup of tea. I'd recommend it only if: a. you don't mind, or you actually like, political stuff; or b. you’re a Rurouni Kenshin fanatic who has to see every single animated Rurouni Kenshin work. I'd rather go to the dentist than see this again. My hubby liked it though.
Miscellanies: This movie is based on Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki's works but was not written by him.