After the success of the first movie, the most successful live-action manga/anime crossover is back for not one but two films in a story arc.
Takeru Sato reprises his role as the wandering samurai and former assassin Kenshin, who has sworn to never kill again at the end of the war, taking up a reverse blade (the sharp edge is on the back to not harm anyone) as a symbol of this oath.
However, one does not simply walk away from their past. As an insurmountable threat to the peace that Kenshin helped fight so hard for begins to show itself in the form of villain Shishio, Kenshin is called upon once again to eliminate the terrorist.
But how can a warrior who has sworn off killing take the life of someone?
This is the moral dilemma that Kenshin wrestles with for most of this movie. While his resolve was strengthened in the first movie to keep to his oath, the bodies of the victims slain by Shishio continue to pile up in this movie, forcing Kenshin to make a difficult decision and go into battle.
Furthermore, in his first duel with one of Shishio's underlings, Kenshin's reverse blade gets broken. This mirrors his coming closer to breaking his oath of not taking a life, because the only blades available that could possibly challenge Shishio are all killing ones.
The film is not an edge-of-your-seat action movie, as one would expect from the first of a two part arc. However the pacing was very well done with adequate climaxes and amazing character development that sets this movie up beautifully for the final instalment.
I can't wait to see the last movie in this trilogy.
Even the greatest heroes cannot do it on their own.
Bechdel Test: Fail. It's all about the lone wondering samurai who is the last hope of the new world.
No. of films seen this year with:
White man saving the world - 4
Non-white/male protagonist - 9