From Anime to Live Action : Ranma ½ and Rurouni Kenshin

Monday MoviesI used to be an anime addict…meaning that I watched anime from Monday to Sunday, unlike nowadays kids, I grew to love Japanese Animation (Anime) more than Western animation. I watched whatever anime shown by any TV Channel. Sadly, there isn’t many anime in TV anymore 😦 I miss spending Sunday morning doing nothing but watching one anime after another.

I don’t watch much anime anymore nowadays…not because my love has been wiped away…not at all!! I still love anime more than any western animation…but it’s not easy being anime lover now…TV hardly shown it anymore and buying or renting is a bit troublesome. The last anime I watched was Senrei no Moribito.

Ranma ½ and Samurai X were two anime I watched routinely back then. I like Samurai X far more than Ranma ½ (but I still like Ranma), Samurai X was THE anime that introduced me to the wonder of L’Arc~en~Ciel’s music (which then becomes the band I love the most for the past 12 years). Anyway, I was so happy when I found out that both Ranma ½ and Samurai X have their Live Action movie. Ranma’s movie was for televison but Rurouni Kenshin (the movie title for Samurai X) was played on cinema.

Let’s just move on to the review, shall we 😉


Ranma ½

Director: Ryo Nishimura
Writer: Yoshihiro Izumi
Starring: Yui Aragaki (Akane), Kento Kaku & Natsuna Watanabe (Ranma)
Released: December 9, 2011
Rating: 2 stars

The movie is similar to the series. Tendou Akane is the youngest daughter in Tendou family, she is very strong and skillful at Kendo. Her father has made a deal with his best friend, Saotome Genma to do an arranged marriage between Akane and Saotome Ranma. The problem is both Ranma and his father had fallen to a sacred spring, Jusenkyou Water. Whoever falls into the spring will change into something else when cold water is poured on him and will turn back when hot water is poured on him. Ranma changes into a girl and his father turns into Panda.

I like the anime because it was very funny, especially the pervert Ranma’s grandfather. But I feel a bit disappointed with the live action. At first, the movie special was fun and funny…everyone stayed true to the anime…BUT as the story moved on, Akane became weaker and weaker, she became like a desperate girl needing boy’s protection. Akane in the movie is SO NOT like that. Akane is cheerful and not weak. The weak portrayal of Akane is the reason I can only give the movie 2 stars…those stars belong to the rest of the casts.

Rurouni Kenshin


Director: Keishi Ōtomo
Writer: Kiyomi Fujii, Keishi Otomo
Starring: Satoh Takeru, Takei Emi, Aoki Munetaka, Kagawa Teruyuki, Aoi Yu, Kikkawa Koji, Eguchi Yosuke.
Released: May 2012
Rating: 4 stars

The Sword is a weapon. Swordsmanship is learning how to kill. No matter how much you sugar coat it, that is the Truth

Rurouni Kenshin totally lived up to its awesome anime!!

A brief about Samurai X:

Himura Kenshin was trained to be an assassin who could kill many men at short time, he was known as Hitokiri Battousai (the slaughter). He had become a killer at a very young age, hadn’t even reached 15 years old yet. When Tokugawa era was replaced with Meiji era, Kenshin disappeared and showed up again in Tokyo a decade later. He was no longer the famous Hitokiri Battousai.

Sakaba Sword (reversed sword)
Sakaba Sword (reversed sword)

He had vowed to never take another soul anymore, he reversed his sword where the sharp edge was facing him and the dull edge facing the opponent. The new Kenshin lived in a dojo belonged to Kamiya Kaoru. They lived together with Sanosuke and Yahiko. The world hadn’t gone as peaceful ad he expected it to be and he still had to fight to protect the people he loved.

The story for Rurouni Kenshin (2012)

I don’t remember all the stories in Samurai X anymore (it was called samurai X because of the X mark on Kenshin’s left cheek)…so I am not sure whether the story in the movie is also from the anime, but the characters stay true to the anime…which is why I like the movie.

The movie begins with the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Hitokiri saw the mew era was about to come, he left the finished battle without taking his sword with him. Ten years later, the renewed Battousai who liked to introduce himself as Himura Kenshin (Satoh Takeru) went back to Tokyo and saw a poster of another man using his name whenever he killed people. The fake Battousai was Jin’ei (Kokkawa Koji) who worked for a drug dealer named Kanryu Takeda (Kagawa Teruyuki). Kenshin met Kamiya Kaoru (Takei Emi) and helped her defend her dojo. Things got complicated when Takani Megumi (Yu Aoi) was brought home by Yahiko (Tanaka Taketo). Megumi was running away from Kanryu. Like it or not, Kenshin along with his new friend Sanosuke (Aoki Munetaka) were dragged into a fight with Kanryu and his skilled men.

What makes me love this live action movie is because Satoh Takeru IS Himura Kenshin!!! I have never imagined him to be that good! I have seen him in Mr. Brain and Bloody Monday (need to rewatch and review it in the future) but never picture him as Kenshin. He is really good as him. In my opinion, apart from Matsuyama Ken’Ichi as L, Satoh Takeru as Kenshin can be considered as one of the best portrayal from anime/manga. The other casts are also fun to watch, especially Kagawa as Kanryu. My least favorite is Aoki as Sanosuke…something about him can’t make him as Sanosuke as the anime.

Takeru Satoh as Kenshin
Satoh Takeru as Himura Kenshin

The fighting scenes are also interesting…not as good as Zatoichi, but still fun to watch. I like how Kenshin’s face transforms from awkward man to a man full of confidence once he has his sword on his hand. The last 40 minutes of this movie SHOULD be watched in cinema…it would definitely gives greater effect (Too bad, Indonesia didn’t play this in cinema 😦 )

Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu
Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu

What I don’t like about this movie is the music! It’s not Japanese enough…it feels odd to have a samurai movie with music that has no Japan feel to it. I like the music on Senrei No Moribito more, it was so Japanese. The other part that makes me unable to give more than 4 stars for Rurouni Kenshin is the gun versus swordsmanship part…I think that part is just TOO much. I also feel that the friendship with Sanosuke is not clear for anyone never watched the anime or read the manga, maybe because of the duration.

…but, overall…I love the movie, I have seen it twice and so sure will see it again in the future.

There are rumours of sequel…if the do make it, I hope it will be played here in Indonesia 🙂

When one person kills, resentment is born. Just let people kill themselves. Until that ideal is severed. That is the purpose of my sword.

I was going to ask ‘Have you seen any of these movies?’ then I realize, most my blogger friends (except for Jason) don’t really watch Japanese movies…so, I will close my post with, hope you enjoy reading the reviews 🙂

38 thoughts on “From Anime to Live Action : Ranma ½ and Rurouni Kenshin

  1. I loved Rurouni Kenshin too! I watched it on the plane but can imagine how amazing it must be on the big screen. I thought Sato Takeru was perfect for the role and the fighting scenes were pretty cool. I didn’t mind the music as I like the combination of period films x modern music.

    1. Horaaayyy…I am glad you like it too 🙂
      Me too…I really think he is perfect for the role. He also looks good with the katana even though he is not really a kendo master.

      I do like the soundtrack by One OK Rock…the singer has good English pronunciation, I wish the scoring is a bit ‘Japanese’ even though modern.

  2. Sorry Nov, I don’t care for anime at all. I used to read Candy Candy in Jr High but that’s about it. I much prefer Pixar/Disney animated features, though now I’ve enjoyed a bunch of Dreamworks ones as well, like How to Train Your Dragon.

    1. No worry Ruth 🙂
      It goes the same for me…I always like anime more than other western animation and that’s why I prefer Studio Ghibli way more than Pixar/Disney/Dreamworks. In my opinion, anime always has deeper story than western animation. Have you seen any of Ghibli’s animation? they are amazing.

    1. Not very good!! The anime is WAYYY funnier. At some point, the live-action was a bit boring.

      Hear hear!! it was indeed a kick-ass movie. I look forward to the sequel

  3. I’ve watched Rurouni Kenshin. And I’m a bit disappointed on Saito`s potrayal. In the anime, Saito came as a serious threat but later became powerful ally. Yet, in this movie, he didn’t look that powerful when fighting Kenshin (in the anime, Saito almost made Kenshin’s nature as a killer comes back again). Haha, also his kenjutsu: Gatotsu, it only appeared in the movie just to cut down lamp? Hix Hix. I miss the bad ass Saito. LOL. Sorry for bragging too much. As a movie, it is a good adaptation, but not as great as I expected.

    1. Ah…I don’t remember much about Saito, so the whole movie looks better for me…but I do understand your point, it’s like when I watch Death Note, I felt so disappointed with Kira.

      Don’t worry Dhitz…Brag all you like here 😉

  4. Here you have less anime to watch while we have more. Inuyasha was my first. I liked the way the trailers showed him sitting when ever Kagome said “sit”, sometimes so hard he’d drive a hole into the ground. Now it seems like all the good stuff on Netfix is anime.

    I hate it when the heroine turns into a wimp. So irritating. I’ll skip Ranma 1/2, but the Samurai sounds like one I’d like.

    1. There are still a lot of anime to watch if we have cable. Inuyasha is really fun…I love their relationship.

      Hear hear! Akane was a better character in the anime than the movie. As for Kenshin, you should watch it, it’s one of the best live action movies I have ever seen.

        1. Akane from Ranma 1/2 is also like Kagome (Both Ranma and Inuyasha are written by the same Manga artist – if I am not mistaken).
          There are a lot of characters like Kagome in anime, that’s one of many reasons why I love anime. Girls are not only represented as damsel in distress.

  5. I’ve been wanting to see “Rurouni Kenshin” since I heard about it. I liked the anime series a lot, and I’ve been waiting for a DVD to pop up somewhere with subtitles. There’s a Malay version now and I’ve been waffling over grabbing it…. I keep hoping the HK version will pop up first with better subtitles.

    I’m glad to hear it was good and that you liked it so much…but it makes me want it even more!!! 😉

    1. The DVD hasn’t been sold here either 😦 I’d love to own one when it’s here.

      You know, I am a very difficult person to please when it comes to adaptation, either book or anime, and I honestly think Kenshin is a really good adaptation. Would love to know your opinion once you have seen it 🙂

  6. I didn’t grow up with Anime, not even to my first love Inuyasha. In my memory I can name some of them but did not watch them as I grow old. But when RK Live movie came in, it interest so much how the cinematography would be, because anime is dreamy and the actions are really intense that not even a professional action star can imitate… but voila! Came this movie, and I was really amazed! Such perfection! The Philippines is waiting for it’s DVD release in the country. The movie hits the cinemas with a blast and lasted for over a month.

    1. Whaaat??? aw it’s not fair!! hiks, I envy your country 😦 there are so many Kenshin’s fans here but the movie wasn’t played here. I wish my country’s cinema is more open to movies outside Hollywood. Not everyone is Hollywood movies’ fans. I am still hoping when the sequel has been produced, it’ll be shown here.

      I am in my thirties but still enjoy good anime 🙂 I think anime knows no age boundary.

  7. Ahaha this brings me back to my childhood. I remember watching Ramna 1/2 as a kid and it was a pretty decent animated show. I don’t really see how it would work in live action though, as you note, a lot of the humor only works through the manga and animated version. Haven’t tried reading Samurai X but this looks very intriguing!

  8. I am a giant child so I love my anime in most ways, action, comedy, drama, love em all 😀

    I’ll check out the live action soon. What’s your view on the more adult Anime coming out? Haha Not like that ;D Thinking more like Black Lagoon 😀

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