Rurouni kenshin (Live action) : The Story, Review and Watch order of the movies

Rurouni Kenshin Live action movie watch order and review


The first thing before I start saying anything would be, “Rurouni Kenshin is the best live-action adaptation of an anime and totally worth watching”. 

…Rurouni Kenshin is a classic anime that got its first Live action anime movie in 2012, known as Rurouni Kenshin: The Origins‘. And if you’ve gotten tired of watching lame Live action movies then this series is a must-watch for you. It starts off with the movie which I mentioned above. Then the next arc of the series is broken down into two parts which are known as Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The legend ends. Next in line are Rurouni Kenshin: The final‘ and ‘Rurouni Kenshin: The beginning‘. All of these are top notch and you won’t regret watching it, I can assure you that much. 
And if you’re worried about the order to watch the movies then worry not. You got it!!

Chronological order –

1. Rurouni Kenshin: The Origins 
2. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno
3. Rurouni Kenshin: The legend ends
4. Rurouni Kenshin: The final’
5. Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning
I was not aware of the best order so I had to watch in chronological order but if you want to watch in a more continuous way then the best watching order would be
1. Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning
2. Rurouni Kenshin: The Origins 
3. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno
4. Rurouni Kenshin: The legend ends
5. Rurouni Kenshin: The final
Also, all the Rurouni Kenshin movies are available on Netflix. So you needn’t waste your time searching for it.
Note:- This is going to be a review but I’ll be using parts of the movies as references, so if you want to avoid any spoilers then you can skip reading now and watch the movie first. 

The legend of Himura Battousai 

The legend of Himura Battousai aka Kenshin Himura
Himura Battousai aka Kenshin
Himura Battousai also known as Hitokiri Battousai (meaning Battousai the killer) is a highly skilled samurai whose skills are second to none. In times of war, he used his sword to assassinate people in order to help overthrow the Shogun. He didn’t enjoy killing yet he took his sword and killed, all for the sake of a new and peaceful future. After the war ends, Himura lays down his sword and swore to never kill again. In order to protect his vow, he started using a Back-blade. 
He started living as a wanderer and helping everyone he can. 10 years have passed….. And from here the series really kicks off as ghosts of his past start chasing him and we get The Origins. 
1. Rurouni Kenshin: The Origins
Rurouni Kenshin The Origins
Rurouni Kenshin Origins (2012)

10 years have passed since the Shogun fell, Himura Battousai has turned into a Rurouni (wanderer) going by the name, Kenshin. After traveling for so long he appears once again in Kyoto. He returns and finds out that a samurai has been killing people using his old name i.e Hitokiri Battousai. 

The Samurai is a fierce warrior who can paralyze people using his sight and unlike Kenshin, the fake Battousai enjoys killing and craves for even more blood. Kenshin makes some friends and starts living with them going by the code of ‘not to kill’. But, for a samurai to wield a sword and not kill is considered to be impossible. This movie showcases how difficult it is, for Kenshin, to live by his vow as he is only a human with emotions, and when angered even he may do what he doesn’t want. 
There was a point in the movie when he almost lost it and was ready to kill the fake Battousai after he kidnapped Kaoru and gave Kenshin 2 minutes to save her life by killing him. Kenshin almost lost his temper until Kaoru broke free from the paralysis and stopped him from killing. It was at that moment when he realized how difficult it is to live without killing cause he was famous for his sword skills and the center of attention for many who don’t enjoy peace.
Overall, this movie was really well made. The fight scenes were great and had a lot of intensity. One such scene would be the fight at the end at the Mafia’s mansion where Kenshin and Sanosuke take on hordes of bodyguards. Also, the scene where fake Battousai charges at the police HQ and kills police officers was outstanding. The 1 on 1 action was great too, filled with lots of adrenaline. Apart from the action, the storyline and acting were top-notch. Especially for a live-action adaptation film, this movie and the whole series are a must-watch for everyone.

2. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno 

Poster of Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno
Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

Next in line is the Shishio arc. Now, this arc is my favorite out of all the arcs in the series and probably the best as well, in my opinion. 

It involves politics, betrayal, the darker side of governance, a master swordsman, and so much more The acting was just as great as in ‘The Origins’. Shishio was also one of the Assassins who was working for the same side as Kenshin’ but they had never actually met. Shishio had his way of living which was quite in contrast with Kenshin. Unlike Kenshin, Shishio was betrayed and burned alive by his own accomplices. He believed in the survival of the fittest, “The strong survive and the weak die”. He somehow survived, though in the worst condition possible. Many years later, he plans to overthrow the new government, for he believed that the new order has made people weak. So, he was driven by the idea to make the people of Japan stronger and that, it could be done only by force. 
As I mentioned earlier that this movie had a lot of politics involved, not just because of the government involvement but the involvement of Shishio, who was a tactful politician as well apart from being a master swordsman and the movie has displayed it very brilliantly. Some action scenes were very intense and some were just great….!! Though one thing didn’t change and that was Kaoru getting kidnapped again, which was…crucial, I think…., because she is dear to Kenshin so she can be used to lay traps for him. 
You’ll know more when you watch this part. Let’s move on now to the next part 

3. Rurouni Kenshin: The legend ends

Poster of Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends
Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends

The legend ends as a continuation of the arc in Kyoto Inferno. While the Kyoto Inferno was based on the politics around the new government. The legend ends is more focused on Kenshin and has a crucial role in his character development. The reason was that, after years and years of killing and having a kind and righteous heart, Kenshin couldn’t bring himself to value his own life and he had literally considered himself disposable. And it should be obvious that he couldn’t be content with his life after spilling so much blood.

But, after he trained with his master to learn the ultimate technique….the master also taught him the value of his life, that he has people who love him and that “His life is not his just his own to be thrown away very easily”. From then on he started valuing his life more and gained a new perspective to continue moving on. Even though everything was the same as the older movies, the storyline had more depth, the character development was well done and the best thing for me was the portrayal of Shishio. He was not just some evil character but rather an antagonist with strong but conflicting ideologies. And as a character, I liked him a lot.
Just like the title suggests, the legend does end and a new legend begins. And since I don’t want to spoil everything you should go and see what I mean.

4. Rurouni Kenshin: The final (Part-1)

Poster of Rurouni Kenshin The final
Rurouni Kenshin The Final

In terms of the story’s chronology, this is the final part of the series. After the end of the Shishio Arc, a new enemy appears, Enishi Yukishiro. Back when Kenshin was Hitokiri Battousai, he had killed Enishi’s sister and got the second scar from her. Enishi then flees to China, works up his way in the Underground, and becomes a renowned person in the Mafia. 

Enishi was a lot different from Shishio. He was chasing Kenshin only for his personal vendetta, unlike Shishio who had big ambitions. He just wanted Kenshin to suffer. He was also the one who smuggled weapons to Shishio. He was more like a character who needed redemption and not much of a villain. The movie was based mainly on Enishi and sheds some light on Kenshin’s past and the wife he killed. This was the one thing that was difficult for him to get over, because… He loved her.  He had regrets but, moved on with the help of Kaoru. Enishi faces off Kenshin in a final fight and finally gives up on revenge and repenting for his sins. 
The movie was good overall but, lacked in some aspects as well. Enishi felt like a pushed character and the makers just tried to make sense of his plot. But his character’s story was compensated with some great acting and I guess that’s why he didn’t feel like a weak character. I also think that his backstory could have been explored a little more like how he survived in the Underground world of the Mafia and how he trained to become this strong in sword fighting. Apart from this, you will definitely enjoy the action and the acting was superb, just as expected of the actors.

5. Rurouni Kenshin: The beginning (Part-2)

Poster of Rurouni Kenshin The Begining
Rurouni Kenshin The Begining

In terms of storytelling and emotional connection, this was the best among all the movies. 

This is a prequel and the story of the time when Kenshin was still an assassin, yet it wasn’t an action-packed film. Still, this is a must-watch because of the storyline and the romance between Kenshin and Tomoe. 
Tomoe is the fiance of a Samurai who gets killed by Battousai. He also gets his first scar from that Samurai. Tomoe wanted to avenge his fiance so she plans to get close to him and find his weakness so that he can be killed. But when she starts getting closer, she starts to understand him, feel for him, and love him. And Kenshin develops feeling for her too. When you watch the movie you’ll realize how strong of a character Tomoe was. 
It’s not easy to forgive someone who has killed someone you love. Still, she doesn’t just forgive but also empathizes with his ideals and wanted to protect his present so that he can protect the future of many more than he killed. She had so much faith in him and became his happiness. She was the reason that Kenshin could have a little bit of sanity and why he was able to quit his killing.
This was a really good prequel that beautifully displayed Kenshin’s past and why he killed Tomoe. It just gave an overall depth to the story and addition to Kenshin as a character.
I enjoyed all of these films and if I had to choose one then overall I’d choose Kyoto Inferno. But, in terms of a great storyline, it’s definitely gonna be ‘The final Part-1’. 
This is it for the review and I hope you liked it! If there are any suggestions or reviews then you can leave them in the comments or discuss them with me on Instagram

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