A fansite dedicated to one of the greatest animations ever produced: The Rurouni Kenshin OVA.
This site contains information about the OVA series (Tsuiokuhen), details about various
collectable figures and resin statues of the Hitokiri Battousai that I have come across over the years, as well as recommendations of other anime, movies and games for Kenshin fans.
I just watched the new Kenshin OVA, which covers the events of the Kyoto Arc, and I have to say I am impressed. They did a great job of modernizing Kenshin and cramming a lot of stuff into 45 minutes. Fights were fast paced and realistic. Fans can recognize the trademark moves even though they don't spell it out for you. There have been a few changes to the storyline but mostly for the purpose of streamlining, and the mood is much more mature than the series. That said, you should probably have seen the original Kyoto Arc in order for the OVA to make sense.
The trailer for the new Kenshin Movie has come out and it's looking really good. It looks like they will spend some time on Kenshin's backstory during the Bakumatsu. The action looks nice, and I like the gritty and realistic theme that is conveyed in the trailer and the official site.
A Megahouse G.E.M. Series Saito Hajime figure has been released, and a Shishio Makoto figure coming out soon. The Saito looks good but the ShiShio looks totally badass. Hoping to see a Shinomori Aoshi figure, or maybe a cooler looking Hitokiri Battousai than the one that was out before.
Well, my Kenshin OVA Blu-Ray finally arrived. I'd like to thank Canadian customs for delaying my parcel by over two weeks, rummaging through my parcel, and charging me $8.50 (on top of taxes) to do so.
The blu-ray arrived in an attractive slipcase, and includes a Japanese booklet as well as an English translation booklet. While I like the artwork on the slipcase, it feels a bit out of place stylistically. The OVA has a very distinct elegant, realistic and dark art-style, while the slipcase is very vibrant and cartoony with a modern anime feel.
The booklet is pretty high quality, but is all Japanese. There is a translation book included, but it contains just the text. While I am grateful for the translation, I think it would have been more impressive if they just printed out an English version of the booklet. The booklet contains some cool production sketches, tiny screen captures, character information, and an interview with the director.
But of course, the main attraction is the Blu-Ray disc. The menu is pretty, and has some very cool visual brush stroke effects overlaid with HD footage. Upon starting the video, it is obvious that they wanted to keep the Blu-Ray release as close to the original as possible. The video is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, and contains none of the changes found in the Director's Cut DVD released a few years ago. This is mostly a good thing, since the director's cut really messed up the music and cropped the images poorly to force widescreen.
As for the Bluy-Ray's video quality, it is amazing! This is probably the best we will ever see the OVAs. I gained a new appreciation for the amount of detail and work that went into the artwork. You can see how incredibly detailed the background paintings are. You can see the fine wood grain and intricate leaves and branches that had been painstaking painted by hand. The characters look incredible, almost like you have the animation cel in front of you at times. You can see the inked outlines and finely detailed hair with crisp colors. High Definition finally does justice to all the elaborate detailing that was lost by standard definition, and shows that the hand drawn Kenshin OVA can give any modern big budget CG anime a run for its money.
While the video transfer was very impressive, it isn't perfect. The vast majority, probably around 90% was transferred from film master to HD and looks amazing, but the remaining portion was simply up-scaled from an SD source. I think it was because the original film was either lost, or only an SD digital master exists for those scenes. They don't detract from the experience too much, but it would have been nice if they could have found a way to make these scenes true HD like the rest of the film. Another gripe is with the credits in between each Act. They interrupt the flow, and while it worked when each episode was on its own VHS, it doesn't really make sense when all the episodes are on one Blu-Ray.
For sound, you are given the option of Japanese 2.0, Japanese 5.1, and English. Subtitles are available in Japanese and English. I've only listened to the Japanese 5.1, and it's pretty good. Sometimes the vocals can be harshly panned from one speaker to another, but I didn't find it too distracting.
There wasn't much in terms of extras. There is some vintage promo footage in SD format that lasted a minute, and that was it. I would have liked to see some interviews with the cast and director.
Overall, the Blu-Ray release delivers. It is the ultimate Kenshin OVA experience and really showcases the amazing artwork and detailing that went into making such a high quality anime. There is some room for improvement if they ever make another release, but I am totally satisfied with my purchase. This release isn't for everyone - It is very pricy compared to domestic releases, but is actually a steal if you had considered importing it. So for all you hardcore Kenshin fans, this Blu-Ray release gives you the chance to see revisit Kenshin in HD glory.
The newly improved Kenshin OVA will be streaming live online August 19th at 10:00 pm PST for free!
Japan x North America simulcast!
This year marks Rurouni Kenshin OVA's 15th year anniversary.
As a part of the release campaign of Rurouni Kenshin's Blu-ray OVA in both Japan and North America,
Niconico will be simulcasting "Rurouni Kenshin~Trust & Betrayal (Tsuioku-hen)" in Japan, United States and Canada.
You can access this awesome event here:
If you are in San Francisco, Viz Cinema will be playing the Kenshin OVA on August 27th at 2:15 pm with tickets at $8.
I hope more screening events will pop up, I'd love to see Kenshin in theatre!
Good to know they are working hard to re-master everything! Working so hard that she does seem a bit sleep deprived. With less than a month to release, this must have been taken during crunch time. Can't wait to see the final result!
A new Kenshin figure in the Revoltech line by Kaiyodo has been announced! While it's great to see more Kenshin figures coming out, I've never been a huge fan of the Revoltech line. They are highly posable figures, and look great for robotic figures, but kinda awkward for more human and organic subjects due to all the joints and seams. As with the Megahouse figure, there will be two versions, the Himura Kenshin version and the Hitokiri Battousai version. It is currently listed at $40 USD at BigBadToyStore.
I'm not sure if I'll be picking this one up. It's just very hard to make flowing Kimono and Hakama pants posable without them looking very awkward with seam lines, breaks and joints.
There is also an update on the Blu-Ray release of Trust and Betrayal, with a nice picture of what you'll be getting in the set. Next month can't come soon enough!
I've finally got around to sharing some of the Kenshin merchandise I've acquired recently.
First up is not officially a Kenshin product, but is really cool. It's a Tanto (knife) that looks almost exactly like the one used by Tomoe throughout the OVA. This particular model is the Cold Steel Kwaiken (CS52K), and is based on an actual antique. It sells for under 100 USD, but has been discontinued so they can be a bit hard to find.
The handle and saya are a nice black laquer finish, while the blade is a Damascus type steel with a hidden hamon. The hamon is definitely there (I did etch testing) but Cold Steel did not try to bring it out. The blade is top-notch and very sharp. The fittings are a bit rough, but acceptable at this price range. The knife does a feel a bit top heavy though, and is better suited for stabbing rather than slashing.
Next up is the Yamato Story Image Figure Series 2 Kenshin. Though small, this figure is really kick-ass and really captures the essence of the Hitokiri Battousai. It feels more true to the OVA than the new Megahouse figure I just reviewed recently. Pair it up with the Saito Figure from Series 3 for an epic showdown.
Now onto the Japanese Kenshin OVA LaserDisc release. Laserdiscs (LDs) were a popular format in asia during the 80's and 90's. They are massive video sized discs about the same size as a record. They are kind of like DVD's, but stored information in analog form. They actually had better quality than early DVD's, since storing it analog means no compression artifacts, and you can go through a film frame by frame. But as compression technology improved, DVDs began to have better image quality than LDs. LDs never really caught on in North America, despite being a lot better than VHS. Nevertheless, they are excellent collectors items, because of their rarity, the sheer size of the artwork, and tons of extra content.
I had to import my Kenshin LD from yahoo auctions japan through a middle-man, so all the fees and shipping added up to quite a bit, but it was totally worth it. The OVA comes in a large box. Inside is an oversized book with artwork, information, and promotional material. There are four Laser Discs, one for each episode. The cover art is really cool, especially when printed at this size. A very cool and historical collector's item. I just wish I could watch it, but I don't have a Laser Disc player. The image quality would probably not be as sharp as DVD, but Laser Discs are supposed to have a very film-like quality that you can't get from a digital medium.
Finally, I have the North American release of the Kenshin OVA Soundtrack. This CD is pretty rare, since ADV died and the CD has been out of print for a while now. It has some pretty cool linear notes from the composer, and you can check them out below.
My new Megahouse 1/8 Kenshin Figure arrived today, so I thought I'd post a short review and lots of pics!
The first thing I noticed was that the box was pretty small for a 1/8th figure. When compared to my 1/8 Megahouse LeLouch, Kenshin seems to be a scale lower. Kenshin comes with a sword, a stand, an extra head, and an extra hairpiece. The two heads are of the younger Hitokiri Battousai, with one scar, and a more mature Himura Kenshin with the cross shaped scar. Each head has a front hair piece, a face, and a back hairpiece. An extra back hairpiece can be used to give Kenshin shorter hair. So there is a total of 2 front hair pieces, 2 faces, and 3 back hair pieces, though the two front hair pieces appear to be the same. This allows for 6 possible combinations depending on your preference.
The extra head and hairpieces are the only extras, and the rest of the figure is pretty static. There is a sword, but it does not fit into the sheath unfortunately. Painting and detail wise, the heads are nicely detailed, but the body is pretty plain. I think the body sculpt could have had a sharper sculpt, and more painted detail.
The stand is pretty cool, with a dragon printed in black on a red background. I think the version with the red shirt has inverted colors.
All in all, pretty good figure, but I was expecting the same level of awesomeness that Megahouse delivered for their LeLouch figure. It's still probably the best plastic Kenshin figure, but also the most expensive at around 70 USD. The Kenshin Resin figure is still an order of magnitude better, but those are really hard to find, so this is a good alternative. Besides, it's pretty awesome they released a figure for a series that ended over 10 years ago. As Kenshin regains popularity in this new generation with new video games,new animated features, and a rumored live-action movie, I look forward to seeing even more figures in the near future.
Great news! Aniplex has decided to release the OVA in Japan and America at the same time. This means that we will be able to get it much faster, cheaper, and fully translated as well. It also seems that the release will be for the 4 original episodes, and not the inferior directors cut! This is exactly what I had hoped. Also, this appears to be a limited edition release, and comes with a deluxe booklet, as well as a separate translated booklet as well. How limited, I'm not sure. But you pre-order now at rightstuff or bandai. At $64.98 USD, it's twice as expensive as normal domestic Blu-Rays, but still a lot cheaper than the $100 USD they are charging in Japan for the same thing, and we are getting an extra book too. It's actually a pretty good deal!
Click the picture below for more info and pre-order links:
Great Scott! It appears that our prayers have finally been answered, and the Kenshin OVA is going high definition with a Blu-ray release on August 24th! Not a whole lot of information is available at the time, just that it's being released by Aniplex at 8400 yen, which is about 100 USD. All four chapters are going to be on 1 disc, and I really hope they don't give it the director's cut treatment they gave the DVD. For those that haven't seen the DVD director's cut, it had superior transfer quality, but they cut out a bunch of the music, mixed up the tracks, and also cropped the frames quite poorly.
I would prefer them to keep the music the same as the original, and do a proper widescreen release this time around. This might be hard because of the source material, but I would rather see a letter-boxed 4:3 release than a badly cropped 16:9 release. At about 100 USD I hope they'll get it right the first time around! I'm not sure why media costs about 3x more in Japan than North America, but I decided to pre-order a copy and I will post a review of it once I get it. Since ADV is now closed, I don't know when or if a North American release will happen. I guess I will be watching the OVA without subtitles for a while, but that should be okay since I've seen it enough to know most of the lines.
I ordered from amiami, as I've had a great experience with them in the past, and their prices are always competive. Here is a link. They are also releasing the Kenshin Movie, and the second OVA, but I won't be getting those.
The new Kenshin Megahouse figure is looking great, and comes with two swappable heads: A Rurouni head and a Battousai head. There is the normal red version, and a limited blue version. Of course, I'm going with the blue version, and putting the Battousai head on it.
I also ordered it from amiami here. Kenshin is going to look awesome next to my Megahouse Lelouch! Too bad I have to wait till June for him to arrive.
Megahouse is releasing 2 new Kenshin figures soon, one of Himura Kenshin and the other of the Hitokiri Battousai. I believe these are 1/8th scale figures. Pictures below courtesy of tomopop.
I think it's really amazing that we are still getting new Kenshin figures released and I will definitely be getting the Battousai. I do hope they spend a bit more effort differentiating the two sculpts though. While the head sculpts are pretty different, the bodies look identical. The Battousai figure should really have hand guards and a wakizashi (secondary sword). I'm guessing these figures won't be cheap, at around $50-$100 USD, so they can afford to spend a bit more effort on accuracy.
I guess they are deciding that the Kenshin 15th Anniversary is a great time for all this new material, like this new PSP game:
Hopefully we will hear some official announcements for newly animated material or a live action movie soon. 2011 looks like a big year for Kenshin's revival.
So it's been over a year since my last update. I guess I've been saving up for one big update!
In the past couple months, I managed to acquire my dream cel and my dream katana. It's funny how a 2 hour anime I watched 7 years ago still has such a huge influence on me today. It's weird to think how different things would be if I hadn't watched Kenshin. I certainly wouldn't be collecting cels, swords, or statues.
I've updated the Katana section with a review of the Hanwei Tori Elite, and updated the Cel section with my newest addition. There is also a new anime out that focuses on the Shinsengumi. It is called Hakuouki, and it has some very nice character design and artwork.
There are rumors of a live action Kenshin movie out there, but I haven't come across anything concrete. I'm not sure how I feel about a live action Kenshin movie. Since the majority of Kenshin fans prefer the light-hearted version in the manga and tv series, I would think that any live action movie would be along those lines. But it would be impossible to capture such a long running series in one two hour movie. The only way I could see a live action movie succeed is if they did a retelling of the events from the first OVA. This would keep things concise, realistic, and stand-alone.
While I was looking for info on the moive, I stumbled on amazing music video for a song called Kagen no Tsuki by Domoto Koichi. I guess he was a huge Kenshin fan too, because his video is basically one big homage to the Kenshin OVA. I've uploaded the video, so be sure to check it out!
I will be updating the figure section after finals, and posting scans of the Kenshin OVA cd that I got. Till then.
I've been working on the media section these past couple of days, and it's finally up. The media section contains recommendations for different Anime, Movies, and Games for Kenshin fans.
It also contains AMVs, and my collection of Cels and Swords. The update took a lot longer than expected, mostly because I had to track down a lot of old videos and take screen caps from them. It also didn't help that I was listening to Longview for motivation on a hot summers day.
After many months of delay, it's finally done. So what are you waiting for? Check out the new media section right now!
I've finished the Kenshin music video that I had been planning for a while now. This video combines my favourite animation with my favourite song from my favourite band. The song is And All That Could Have Been by Nine Inch Nails, and when I first heard this song, it brought back images of Kenshin as he struggled through the snow in search of Tomoe. Now, I can share that experience with this video.
This was my first, and probably last anime music video. I had spent a day planning it out, and wasted a huge amount of time converting the video format back and forth while trying out many different video programs. I found iMovie very intuitive, but too simplified and impractical for AMV production, while Final Cut was too complicated and confusing. I finally settled on Adobe Premiere Pro, and spent a full day of intense, non-stop editing. The final product was then compressed, and placed on Youtube for your viewing pleasure:
I bought a new cel recently. It's from the 4th episode when Kenshin is fighting his way to see Tomoe. It's an amazing cel that has came with an extra layer for the breathe. The seller was also a Kenshin OVA fan. The cel cost me a pretty penny, so I was relieved that customs didn't charge me taxes on it when it crossed the border.
Been extremely busy lately with finals and haven't had the chance to work on updates lately. I'll probably get the media section done after my last exam on Thurs.
Some good news though, I got my first animation cel. For those of you who don't know, cels are hand drawn and painted transparencies which are photographed and put on film to produce animation. Since thousands of cels are needed for the production of one animated film, many cels find their way onto the market. The point of owning a cel is that you actually get to hold an original piece of the artwork that went into making your favourite anime. Recently, animation has become computer based, eliminating the need for cels.
Fortunately, the Kenshin OVA was produced using cels. Unfortunately, they are quite rare and go for a very high price when they are sold. I managed to find one recently for a fair price. As my first cell, I didn't want to spend too much money since I don't know that much about cel collecting and didn't want to get ripped off.
Anyways, here it is:
Not the best cel ever, but I like it and I like the fact that I own a physical piece of the OVA now.
Now I just gotta find one of Kenshin.
It is with great pleasure that I announce hitokiri.net's affiliation with Destiny's Embrace. DE is one of my favorite RK sites, and has been around since 2001. It is a high quality site that is updated constantly and has an extensive gallery, so be sure to visit DE at http://www.twilighthush.com/sora/.
It's been a while since my last update. Things have been real busy now that I've started engineering. Anyways, I've been thinking of doing something original for the media section. There are already a lot of great RK sites with huge galleries, so I think that instead of putting up pictures, I will provide recommendations and reviews for movies, anime, games and manga that fans of the Kenshin OVA would enjoy. Sure, nothing beats the Kenshin OVA, but I think some new material for those obsessed with the Bakumatsu era or Samurai action would be nice. Hopefully I can get get the update done in the next few days.
After many hours of work, I managed to get the forums up and running. This forum is powered by Phorum, which I chose because of it's simplicity. I know that these forums won't be that heavily used or populated, so I wanted something streamlined that I could integrate into the site properly without looking too clunky. It took forever getting everything to look right, but I think it was time well spend since the results aren't bad at all. I'm planning on linking this to the home page via rss feeds or something so I can just update here from now on instead of editing html everytime I want to make an update.
August 25, 2008
Updated the figures section, and added lots of pics for the Amie-Grand resin statue, toycom PVC figure, the yamato figures, and others. Also added stuff to the OVA an Links pages. Forum and media will be coming soon.
August 24, 2008
Website is finally complete and online! Spent forever hunting down various pictures to use for the top navigation menu, but it I think it turned out all right, so it was worth it. The Tomoe and Kenshin profiles were taken from images of animation cells. For the background, I tried to re-create the scene where Kenshin is fighting Kiyosato and he slashes a wooden wall, leaving a large slash across it. I actuatally took an image of several pieces of wood and then arranged them properly, and applied several filters to get them looking right. Finding a good image of a katana was difficult. I wanted the hamon to be prominent, but most photographs of swords have too much reflection from the flash, so people use scanners to get good images. But scanners make the sword look kind of dull and dead. For the menu, I wanted the letters to look like an engraving on the actual sword, so I played around with photoshop a bit to get the desired effect.