Deeper, Darker and Exquisite!
Sierra | Canada | 05/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I finally got around to purchasing and watching Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend of Kyoto. I was expecting it to be as good as the first set (Wandering Samurai) but I got a whole lot more than I bargined for. The "Legend of Kyoto" set is superb! The english voice cast was wonderful! The voice actors that were particularly impressive include Richard Hayworth as Kenshin (Fantastic job! This man has talent!), David Lucas as Mokoto Shishio (Beautifully performed! He really makes you want to hate him by the end of the series.), Sparky Thornton as Hajime Saito (Very well done! The "Wolf of Mibu" indeed!) and of course, one of the best known english voice actors in anime, Wendee Lee as Yumi (She's a seasoned pro. Nothing short of excellence in her performance.)
In these episodes much is revealed about Kenshin's past, as well as that of many of the other central characters that will appear in this series. The character development is excellent. There is no useless information, and it never becomes dull or confusing. The animation is beautiful, and the swordfight scenes are executed magnificently. There are no repeating frames or sloppy drawings in any of the battles. The music is wonderful and helps to emphasize many of the intense moments in the "Kyoto" series. I especially adore the opening theme "Half" by Makoto Kawamoto, and I love the closing themes, "Heart of the Sword - Before Daybreak" performed by L'Arc-en-Ciel, and "Let it Rain" by Bonnie Pink. And finally there is the story.
Kenshin Himura, commonly known as "Battousai: The Manslayer," was the strongest fighter in the Revolution 10 years ago. But since then he has opened his eyes to the sins of his past and decided to become a wanderer, never to kill again. He is now a kind, gentle, wise, and sometimes goofy, young man who always captures the hearts of the people he aids. Instead, he uses his unique reverse-blade sword to protect his loved ones and anyone who is in need of protection.
In the "Legend of Kyoto" series Kenshin is asked by one of the top men in the Meiji government to go to Kyoto and stop Makoto Shishio from trying to take over Japan. This is no simple task because Shishio, like Kenshin, was also a Manslayer. In fact, Shishio inherited the title from Kenshin after he became a wanderer. Kenshin makes the most painful decision of his life and leaves his friends and his new home to go back to Kyoto, the place where he became a manslayer. Kenshin joins forces with ultra-cool, and equally dangerous Hajime Saito, who now works for the police force, but was once a manslayer of skill equal to that of Kenshin. However, Kenshin's friends are not about to sit idly by and watch their beloved friend go to Kyoto and fight alone. Kaoru, Sanosuke and Yahiko will all travel to Kyoto to help Kenshin.
Aoshi Shinamori, an old rival and leader of the Oniwaban group returns with a vengence seeking a rematch with Kenshin, and the remaining members of the Oniwaban group are met by Kenshin and his friends in Kyoto. Also, Shishio has a lethal group of warriors known as the Juppongatana who each have their own reasons for working with Shishio. And finally, we get to see the man responsible for training Kenshin in the Hitten Mitsurugi Ryu, Seijuro Hiko the 13th (My favourite character. I love this guy!). Hiko is a tall, handsome, menacing-looking man with unmatched skill and knowledge in the Hitten Mitsurugi Ryu. He is very wise, intelligent, and incredibly arrogant (Or he has extremely high self-confidence, depending on how you look at it), and he has a relentless love for saki. Kenshin visits his master and asks him to teach him the ultimate technique of the Hitten Mitsurugi Ryu. He goes from wanderer to pupil once more for the sake of defeating Shishio. How Hiko and Kenshin met is revealed along with some funny and touching flashbacks from when Kenshin was under Seijuro's training when he was younger.
The "Legend of Kyoto" set is, without a doubt, the most powerful set of episodes in the entire Rurouni Kenshin series. Here, it is emphasized that a fighting style cannot rely on mere strength alone, but requires a strong spirit and extensive skill that can only be acheived by years of intense training. In other words, it's not mindless fighting that holds no meaning. The mood of the series becomes much darker and more serious than in the first set. But it also contains several genuinly funny moments. Kenshin continues to teach others that killing is never the answer to anything, and that living your life peacefully may be difficult, but is what will ultimately bring peace to your heart. The "Legend of Kyoto" episodes of the Rurouni Kenshin series have become the best set of anime episodes I have ever watched. Nothing is sacrificed here. This series is beautiful, touching and, in my opinion, a masterpiece onto itself. Buy this box set and see for yourself why this series is one of the greatest ever made!"
The reason why this show is the best
Cloud | Canada | 04/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Few anime shows can ever be masterpiece level. Season 1 of Rurouni Kenshin was a great introductory season but with its share of problems. There wasn't a central plot as it seemed most of the episodes were more "mishaps" then anything. Not so with Season 2. Season 2 has everything going for it and anything you would ask for.At the end of Season 1, a man named Saito Hajime came looking for Kenshin. Sanosuke got involved and as a result, became seriously injured when Saito attacked him. So Kenshin fights Saito(in the first of 3 awesome battles). The fight ends in a draw, and Kenshin is informed a former hitokiri(man-slayer/assassin) who was Kenshin's successor as hitokiri is planning on overthrowing the government and controlling Japan. So as usual, it's up to Kenshin and his friends including some new ones to take down Shishio and his Juppon Gatana clan.First of all, you know a series is great when you actually care for villains or former villains. Soujiro Seta, Saito Hajime and Aoshi Shinomori have all fought Kenshin but turned things around and you still care about each rather than disposable right hand runts. The animation is far better, and a more serious tone with it's share of laughs and 3 of the greatest fights: the aforementioned Saito fight, Kenshin's rematch against Aoshi and the final fight against Shishio. I won't spoil anything but I'll say this: Kenshin does the coolest move on him.New characters are introduced including the Juppon Gatana, and Misao, the next commander of the Onibwa Banshu and one with a big crush on Aoshi. By the way word of advice: watch season 3 at your own risk. Season 2 ended the best way it could but then season 3 was tacked on at the end and while it does have its moments, it feels like the series sputtered to a bland close rather than it's perfect ending in this season.Great fights, music, characters, storylines, this season has it all and most likely more."
A must for every anime fan
jaime_g | Ontario, Canada | 01/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kenshin is a classic. While the later episodes were not great, almost any anime fan will agree that season 1 (also available in a box set - The Wandering Samurai) and season 2, the Kyoto saga, are absolute must-sees. Kenshin also seems to transcend age and gender borders, appealing to both boys and girls, from 9 or 10 years old (although the series is not recommended for children, I know of some parents who have chosen to allow their children to view it anyway, citing the good moral truths of an assasin who has sworn to never kill again and to fight only to defend the innocent in atonement for his terrible past) to senior citizenship. Old fans have been waiting for this box set for years. If you've never seen Kenshin and are just looking for something new to try out, I would definitely recommend both the season 1 box set and this one."