Live by the Sword

Himura Kenshin
Himura Kenshin (Photo credit: bibliomom)

I watched a movie today.  One I had wanted to see back in September, but alas I do not live in Japan and it was not released outside the country.  Mores the pity.  Its an excellent movie with an engaging cast and a powerful story line.  And it happens to be based on one of my favorite anime.

It follows the story of a wandering samurai, known as a ruroni, ten years after the war that ushered in the Meiji era.  Japan is showing many signs of becoming westernized from the dress to the guns and a very pervasive opium trade with the west.  Into this new era comes Kenshin Himura, a ruroni in a time when swords are outlawed and samurai are nothing more than thugs or beggars.  He meets a young woman, Kaoru who lives at a dojo as she tries to keep alive her father’s sword style.  Unknown to Kenshin there have been recent killings in the area attributed to a wartime specter called Hittokiri Battosai after his sword technique.   He soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that involves the local police, an opium magnate and Kaoru’s dojo.  Along the way his vow never to kill again is put to a severe and near fatal test.

The movie and the casting was very faithful to the anime.

Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura

While the movie has its share of violence it never feels gratuitous.  Its a violent time and the depiction of the war is heart wrenching instead of stomach turning.

What I found most fascinating about the end, even though I knew from the anime how it ended, was how un-Hollywood-esque it was.  I won’t spoil it for you, I’d rather you watch it for yourself.  What makes it even more poignant was that things like this actually happened, the war, the opium trade, the oppression of a former elite class.  All in the name of progress.

If you would like to watch this show it is available for free at DramaCrazy.net along with a host of other amazing dramas and movies we will never see aired here in the States other than on special satellite channels, if then.  We are severely deprived.

Tomorrow I will discuss this imbalance in access further.  Now go watch the movie. Just click here.

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