If Kyoto Inferno left us clawing for more action, Legend Ends shut us up.
What fell short with Kenshin and Shishio’s (Tatsuya Fujiwara) encounter on the movie’s second installment (Kyoto Inferno) was justified and brought to its climax at Legend Ends – a bloody, tragically satisfying ending.
I’d like to highlight 3 things, which I think are worth mentioning on this review:
- focus of the story
- action scenes
FOCUS OF THE STORY
Compared to its two predecessors, Legend Ends started with a clear goal: to defeat Shishio and stop his diabolic plans against Tokyo (and the entire Japan)
The focus of the story was clear and specific. We knew it all along the moment Kyoto Inferno ended with Hiko Seijuro (played by Masaharu Fukuyama), saved Kenshin’s life.
Even the saving of Kaoru (Emi Takei) comes as secondary to the urgent goal of wiping Shishio out of the picture.
There’s nothing much of the sideline stories this time. It’s all about Kenshin and Shishio and who’s purpose deserves the win.
…because nothing brings life to a movie than its awesome cast…
As always, Sanosuke Sagara (Munetaka Aoki) has his own epic way of stealing the limelight and send us laughing even at the hype of Shishio’s killing spree.
His character is hilarious but is a fitting match contrast to everyone’s serious, sentimental attitude. He’s drop dead unpredictable, careless and to some extent, idiotic.
And frankly, it’s difficult not to like somebody who always comes up with a surprise stunt that leaves you frowning in confusion and horror but leaves you laughing in the end anyway. He’s likeable.
Ten Swords (Juppongatana)
If there’s one thing that perhaps disappointed the avid anime fans was the minimal (if not nothing-at-all) attention given to Shishio’s Ten Swords.
We’ve had a taste of them in Kyoto Inferno so it’s difficult not to expect more from them in Legend Ends. Unfortunately, the characters of what could be Shishio’s greatest weapons were left underdeveloped in the entire film.
Even the version of Saito Hajime’s (Yusuke Eguchi) battle against Usui the Blind Sword (Mitsu Murata) was cut short (much to my surprise as I expected it to be among the highlights).
Kauro and Megumi almost didn’t have anything to do in the film. Save for Yumi whose body (literally) had an important and memorable role to play during Kenshin and Shishio’s battle.
He had my eyes at Kyoto Inferno. And it never left him until Legend Ends. With Kenshin’s defeat on the previous movie, his rematch against Sojiro (Ryunosuke Kamiki) can be considered as one of the most awaited battle (given that Shishio’s the ultimate fight in the end).
If I’m to describe their match, I’d say it’s quick, smart and badass.
Hats off. Takeru Sato’s the perfect Kenshin. I wouldn’t question that. Physical appearance, manners, fighting skills are all superb. He nailed the character.
(Is it just me or did Takeru Sato really look so pretty on that long, tangled, loose hair?)
From Kenshin’s training with his master to his inevitable match against Aoshi Shinomori (Yusuke Iseya) up to the long-awaited ultimate battle with Shishio, the action maintained its momentum.
No wasted seconds and minutes. It’s a display of awesome swordsmanship, speed, and well beauty in general, among the characters.
Legend Ends is a fitting and lovely ending for our Rurouni Kenshin trilogy!
There might be future movie installments but for now, we’ll have to sit back and savor the journey that we’ve had with our red-haired samurai.
Though I still dread the idea of Seta Sojiro dying on that ugly, black ship.