The four-episode Samurai X original animation video captures the mixture of swordplay and poetry that makes Japanese warrior culture so intriguing to viewers on both sides of the Pacific. The OAV series serves as a prequel... more » to both Samurai X: The Movie and the more lighthearted TV series. The action unfolds in 1864, when a few clans began the revolt that would overthrow the military dictatorship of the Tokugawa Shogunate and return power to the Emperor in the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Shinta, a lonely orphan, is transformed by master swordsman Hiko into Kenshin Himura, an assassin in the service of Katsuga, one of the revolutionary leaders. Kenshin kills whomever Katsuga orders with consummate skill and unshatterable calm. He believes he is using his sword to bring about a better world, even as the intrigues and counter-intrigues escalate. But he becomes aware of unspoken doubts when he meets Tomoe, a mysterious girl whose beauty, like the iris, is seen to best advantage in cloudy weather. Director Kazuhiro Furuhashi choreographs the sword fights with a grace that infuses even scenes of extreme violence with an elegant sensuality: in one striking image, he focuses on the rain washing a spatter of blood from Tomoe's cheek. The dialogue in the English translation often sounds stilted, but the words are usually superfluous. Furuhashi's ability to present a story visually has made Samurai X a popular anime property in America and Japan. Unrated; suitable for ages 18 and up for explicit violence. --Charles Solomon« less
Zhu Ying Chiu | Atlantic City, NJ United States | 04/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Himura Kenshin, also known by many as the Hitokiri Battosai. Unlike the title suggested, he was NEVER A SAMURAI to begin with. He didn't received such title from any but Sony Corporation. Who's too dumb to even recognize his legendary status as the finest assassin ever graced the anime world. Ok, the review: I won't describe how incredibly poetic the story is, but the music and the animation quality is a degree above Ghost in the Shell. The dramatic music in the background fits the mood of the OVAs ( Orignal Video Animation ) perfectly. The character design is a big step toward realism oppose to the TV series' big eyes and big hairs and big... etc. The tone of the show is one of the gritty and dark and very bloody. Speaking of blood, there's about three dozen bucket of them shed in this show, but nothing was overdone; everything from the tearing of human flesh to the sound of metal alloy of the Katana forcing its way down toward the inside of human brain is captured flawlessly. The dubbing is TERRIBLE, not only does Kenshin doesn't sound like his Japanese counterpart, most of the meaning of the words were altered to be more appealed to the US audience, I recommend you all to set it to Japanese and with subtitles. One last secret, when you purchased the DVD, turn it flat with the cover sides up, then slip out the cover paper SLOWLY... turn it upside down and prepare for an AMAZING surprise! IT's the ORIGINAL COVERS of the Kenshin OVAs, instead of that ANNOYING Samurai X, ( what a cheesy title! ) there's the orignal title in Japanese " Rurouni Kenshin ". If you LOVE " amazing bloody swordfights, political conflicts, sadness, moody atmosphere and tragedy of love " then by all means, BUY THIS DVD! P.S. the love area of this show was handled with such a grace and care, it's not cheesy by any means."
He Who Slashes as He Draws His Sword
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1854, Shinta, a young boy sold into slavery is the sole survivor of an attack that kills an entire caravan. He is only saved because Hika, one of Japan's legendary swordsmen comes upon the slaughter. Hika is so impressed with Shinta's courage that he renames him as Kenshin, and takes him as a pupil. Ten years later, Kenshin Himura parts with his master to become an assassin in the service of the Chosho clan - helping the plot to bring down the Tokugawa Shogunate and restore the Emperor.These are spectacularly violent times, marked by riots and killings on both sides. There is plenty of work for an assassin, even one who is barely out of his childhood. Kenshin becomes a deadly killer, soon considered one of the most dangerous in Japan. In one of his early missions, he receives the first half of the X-shaped scar that marked his face. And so sets up a chain of destiny that provides much of the charm and depth in an otherwise grim tale of politics and revenge.The two episodes in this DVD, along with the two in 'Betrayal' are a prequel to the long running TV series that has captured imaginations in both Japan and the US. Here we learn of Kenshin's beginnings and accompany him through events in 1864 leading up to the end of the Shogunate. In parallel to the historical drama being played out is Kenshin's relationship with Tomoe Yukishiro, the woman whose betrothed lover was killed by Kenshin. Tomoe keeps Kenshin from losing all his humanity and saves him from wasting his life in a senseless gesture.This is a beautifully created series. Free of the 'limitations' of the TV series, director Kazuhiro Furuhashi chose to create a darker story line with much more delicate film values. Artwork and music enmesh the viewer without ever overwhelming the story with technical excess. Scenes of beauty interspersed with the sudden violence of the assassin's work. Because of the prequel nature of these episodes, 'Trust' and 'Betrayal' are a perfect starting point for those interested in the series as a whole. And, even if you go no further, you will never regret the time spent."
A very rare gem among anime.
bayareaboy | San Francisco, CA | 03/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I wish this DVD had included the second disc(betrayal), since they could've easily fit both within one DVD. Also, the DVD didn't have much in the way of "extras" that should've been included. Ok, enough about the rants.I won't go into telling a summary of the story. For those who don't know, Samurai X is actually Rurouni Kenshin in it's OVA/OAV format. This is not the TV show. Samurai X can be compared to Ninja Scrolls, Ghost in the Shell, etc. Why? For one, it doesn't offer cute little half naked goddesses that appear from the sky to live with some idiot 16 year old teenage kid. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Tenchi and some of it's variants immensely. Secondly, there's a strong plot that is weaved very intelligently. The movie is serious and very direct. As many of the reviewers have already stated, this first DVD is packed with a lot of action and gore. Don't let that fool you, the gore just adds more to the flavor of a serious storyline. The art is one of the best I've ever seen in animation. The movement is very fluid, down to the facial expression. The environment is beautifully drawn, espcially the snow that starts to fall. One gripe I do have is that a bit of CGI was thrown in during some parts, however, it doesn't deter from the actual storyline. The music is perfect during every single moment of the film. Yes, it's all classical/symphony type. Like one reviewer said, no J-POP! Very emotional and very powerful indeed, this rarity among anime only seems to pop up once every few years."
General Review of "Kenshin OVA: Trust"
Marc Ruby? | 06/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains the first two episodes of the 4-episode mini-series, exploring the past of Himura Kenshin. The animation is of a different quality than the television series, with dark, almost phosphorescent colors. For those who have seen the first thirty episodes of the Kenshin TV series, you will notice the graphic violence to have sharply increased. While this is not "Fist of the Northstar" or "Ninja Scroll," the battle scenes are not for impressionable children.The Japanese voice of Kenshin returns for the same role, while the otherwise alien cast does a wonderful job for the Japanese dialogue. This hybrid DVD boasts an English track, which at times contradicts the Japanese subtitling, but is of a superior quality than general anime (for taste-comparison, I consider "Princess Mononoke" to have had the best dubbing of any anime film I've seen). It becomes apparent the voice-casting for the English edition was to better define characters for the US audience. This a hybrid, so you can switch between languages and subtitles as you please. Both sets of dialogue are supported by a soundtrack rivaling that of the US's big budget war films. In particular, the ominous "Shades of Revolution" track drives the grittier and more intense scenes.There is a brief, expositional scene that reveals the greater points of Kenshin's childhood, and his real name. After this opening, there are ten or fifteen minutes of ragged time transitions, before the story levels out. Episode two is also intense, but maintains intensity through linear storytelling, though there is one heavy-handed element, that I will neglect to comment otherwise upon, because it would be a harsh spoiler.Do not expect slapstick in this series, for there is little to no comic relief in any episode. The love story will draw a fair share of fans, while the action, which tapers off towards episode two, is certainly worthy of its own following. If you purchase this DVD, it is almost necessary to purchase Kenshin: Betrayal. I wish all four episodes had been collected on one DVD (Mediablasters does put out two-hour DVD's), but you can't have everything."
A classic of Modern Animation
R. Hunter | Texas, USA | 07/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Samurai X OVA (Original Video Animation) Trust and the second part called Betrayal is truly one of the classics of modern Japanese Animation. The story is about a gentle boy, born in a time of violence. He is trained as a master swordsman, and becomes an assassin during the Japanese civil war of the 1800s (known as the bakumatsu). This story is about the conflict between one's ideals and one's actions. The conflict between Kenshin's desire for a peaceful world, and his occupation as a cold-blooded murderer.This story is very violent. Assassinations are shown in a very graphic way, but the violence is used to emphasize the dichotomy between the ideological youth's dreams and actions.The conflict is brought into focus when the main character, Kenshin meets a woman named Tomoe who makes him question the life that he has chosen.The graphic violence makes this a title for a mature audience, but a mature teen may also appreciate this work. The main character comes from the anime / manga series Rurouni Kenshin that is set ten years after this story. I stongly recommend that you watch this work subtitled in Japanese, as the original voice acting is very fine.Don't let the violence prevent you from seeing this excellent work."