Rurouni Kenshin is a 2012 Japanese film adaptation of the manga of the same name. Directed by Keishi Otomo and starred by Takeru Satoh (Himura Kenshin) and Emi Takei (Kamiya Kaoru). The film follows the story of a fictional former assassin, Himura Kenshin during the early Meiji period in Japan. After participating in the war, Kenshin wandered around Japan to offer protection and help in those in need as atonement for the murders he had committed.
After reading Chapter 5, an East Asian era film is the best film to dissect when it comes to in depth learning of mise-en-scène for they have to be accurate with the set, props, and costumes to correctly display the time and place of the film.
The film started with a war. They used a blue color and snow to insinuate the tragic event that happened in the war.
As oppose to the first scene, the next scene is vibrant and full color. This shows that Japan had fully recovered from the war. You can see that the military are in white and in order – a sign that they are not in war.
They also used rain in the film to show Kenshin’s emotions. In the fighting scene of Kenshin and Saito, the rain symbolizes Kenshin’s frustration when Yamagata, Saito’s boss, asked Kenshin to fight for them and be an assassin again though he already told him that he’s not an assassin anymore. Then Saito asked him to fight him but Kenshin said that he’s not going to use his samurai to fight. This escalates Saito’s anger and he made Kenshin use his samurai again.
On this scene, the rain symbolizes not only the loss of a family but also Kenshin’s remorse. When Kenshin witnessed the pain that he had caused, he started to be remorseful. This became the turning point of Kenshin’s life and he decided to quit being an assassin.
Not only they were meticulous in recreating Tokyo [Japan] but they also paid attention with the costumes to bring each manga characters to life.
Also, the film has an excellent direction and fight choreography. With both changing choreography and camera techniques, the actions are kept consistently fresh and exciting. It’s pretty obvious that they used wireworks for making the characters to move fast; however, they were able to hide it properly making it seems far more real than CG effects. Also, the music scores that used matches well in all the scenes. They used Japanese instruments giving a more authentic feel in the film. Though the production already have a basis on how should the story goes, with proper use of music, color, and design will give an aesthetic overview of the film.
PS. I can’t wait for the sequel.