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Rurouni Kenshin

Tuesday 1st October 2013

Hugh David gets on the trail of Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni KenshinFan-favourite Rurouni Kenshin aka Samurai X is back. This time Kenshin takes live-action form, in the shape of former Kamen Rider and TV samurai Takeru Sato, while the film adapts various arcs and characters from Nobuhiro Watsuki’s original manga into a blockbuster that also works for newcomers. Kenshin remains the hero fans remember: a lone vagabond warrior with the dark past of an assassin, the Hitokiri Battosai, not even able to be a ronin and sworn to avoid drawing his blade lest he kill with it again.

Partly inspired by the 19th century killer Gensai Kawakami, whose cold-blooded nature was concealed by his handsome looks, the manga itself ran from 1994-1999, becoming one of the leading lights of Shonen Jump magazine. The subsequent TV anime adaptation from Studio Gallup, Studio DEEN and SPE Visual Works was a tea-time staple in Japan, running for 95 episodes from 1998; it was this version that was re-christened Samurai X for Sony’s pan-Asian TV airings, a name both appropriate to the character and easy to pronounce in other languages. While these two versions are the ones fixed in the minds of most Asian fans, it is the subsequent Trust & Betrayal videos that really made their mark on international fans.

The TV series’ style was more family-friendly, with cartoonish interldes and comedy sequences, although the fight scenes were detailed and realistic, but the 1999 videos went with a darker, more violent approach in their telling of the prequel storylines from the manga. This two-parter, also recut as a feature later on with additional animation and a new soundtrack, featured the kind of violence seen in 1970s Japanese cinema, complete with artistic blood spatters and slow motion. It brought a whole new set of fans to Samurai X and Kenshin, but it also made it much harder for the original series to sell in the West, failing to meet the blood-letting expectations raised. The release of the 1997 feature spin-off from the TV series, which was tougher than the series but still animated and voiced in its style, proved as much. A 2001 video, Reflection, provided a suitable finale to the entire saga, although a further “New Kyoto Arc” 2-part video released in 2011 retold that storyline from another character’s perspective.

As such, despite its immense popularity domestically, the TV series has still never been released in the UK, where the BBFC costs alone for 95 episodes would make a release prohibitive for something with such a relatively small audience. The US DVD releases are now out of print and going for silly prices online, as are the UK video collections. Viz Media have released the manga in English, and the most recent video is readily available on Blu-ray and DVD internationally, but for introducing new fans to such a respected and established franchise, the live-action feature could not have arrived at a better time.

Rurou ni Kenshin, the live-action movie, will be released on UK Blu-ray on 17th February 2014.

Buy it now


Digimon: Digital Monsters Season 2

was £39.99
By popular demand, the anime fan-favourite released for the first time on DVD!

Four years after Tai, Mimi and the rest of the Digidestined brought peace to the digital world and found their way back home, the Digimon Emperor - a new villain - threatens the world and its Digital Monsters. With some the original kids off to junior high, a new generation is chosen to defend and save the world from evil.

Davis, Yolei, Cody, and Ken join T.K and Kari to form the new Digidestined team. Together they journey back to the Digital World to battle the Digimon Emperor and free all the Digital Monsters from his control.



One Piece Music: The Babystars

Tom Smith on the band behind the third opening
Babystars may want to change their name; Two of the remaining members are now pushing towards 40-years of age, making them more middle-aged than babies. As for being stars, a lot has changed since their debut back in 2002…

Dragon Radar GT 2

The second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close
Dragon Ball GT sees Goku and his allies fighting against some of the toughest foes the universe has ever seen. Take a look at some of the faces you’ll meet as the second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close!

Mondo Does Ghost in the Shell

Strange things afoot at SDCC booth #835
On sale now at the San Diego Comic Con in a limited edition of only 325 prints, Kilian Eng's beautiful Ghost in the Shell poster for Mondo. It's a thing of beauty made specially to commemorate the 25th anniversary.
Acclaimed director Isao Takahata’s first film in fourteen years is the Academy Award nominated The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.

Halo: Nightfall

Hugh David locks and loads for Locke
Jameson Locke is a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch. When he and his team are caught in a horrific biological attack, they unravel a plot that draws them to an ancient, hellish artifact, where they will be forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives…
The popular anime series Tiger & Bunny will be receiving a new movie, and this time it’s a live-action Hollywood film.
Following its remarkable success in UK cinemas last Autumn, Manga Entertainment is thrilled to announce that the home video release of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' debuted last week in the Official UK Home Video Chart Top 20.
Commuters that pass through Shinjuku Station in Tokyo this week are treated to a fantastic wall display of 7,649 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
The official Shonen Jump website has started a Naruto Next Generation countdown. The website currently shows the silhouettes of Boruto and his friends.

Sword Art Online Music: Eir Aoi

Tom Smith on a singer’s internet fame
INNOCENCE, at the time of writing, has been Eir Aoi’s biggest selling, awarding her a peak position of six in the weekly Oricon chart.
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