English: Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal
Synonyms: Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen, Rurouni Kenshin: Reminiscence
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 20, 1999 to Sep 22, 1999
Duration: 30 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.901 (scored by 41380 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction drama historical romance samurai
May 29, 2013
Tsuiokuhen tells the story of Himura Kenshin, detailing his rise to infamy as Hitokiri Battousai during the Bakumatsu period and ultimately tracing the origin of his cross-shaped scar and his vow never to kill again. The beauty of the story lies in its raw, ominous execution. Contrary to the manga and the TV series, Tsuiokuhen faces the brutality of the Meiji Revolution with a mature clarity that really draws you in, and exhibits an emotional rawness that will leave you in pieces. The story never slacks and, despite being told over four OVAs has more of the feel of a movie, remaining unified and captivating from start to finish.
Tsuiokuhen is particularly enjoyable character-wise having already watched the TV series and read the manga, but the character of Himura Kenshin as presented in the OVAs is well-shaped enough to stand on his own and still be a tour de force of character design. The focus of this anime is the period of Kenshin’s life as he transitions from adolescence into maturity amid the turmoil of the Bakumatsu and his struggles to uphold his idealism while continuing to commit acts of violence in the name of a brighter future. The splendor of the character designs throughout the OVAs is in how convincing each character manages to be, each action is believable and sympathetic, further drawing you into the story.
The darker and more realistic theme can also be seen in the animation, which, despite being made in the late 1990s, is remarkably sharp and dismally realistic. The animation is fluid and the action is raw and brutal. The comedic edge to the animation style that existed in the TV series and manga is completely gone, furthering the serious tone.
The music is dark and intense in the same manner as the story, and there is great attention paid to realism in sound effects. The voice actors each give magnificent performances (particularly, in my opinion, Mayo Suzukaze’s darker interpretation of Kenshin). Overall, the sound just adds onto what is already a brilliant work.
This is a must-see for pretty much anyone who enjoys anime, particularly those with an appreciation for accuracy in the portrayal of history and fans of the samurai genre (as well as anyone who watched the TV series or read the manga).
Aug 13, 2008
Art/Animation - 9
Taking a step away from the style of the Rurouni Kenshin TV series, Tsuiokuhen takes a darker and more grim approach to its presentation. The first and most notable change from the TV series is the depiction of the various sword styles and their employment in the scenes, as well as realistic blood splatter. While the TV series emphasizes the effect and abilities of the techniques of these styles, Tsuiokuhen brings realistic swordplay into its story. Another noticeable changeover is the expressions of its characters: although in the TV series these characters are serious but still have comedic tendencies, all this is removed in these OVAs, leaving a serious tone for its story. In addition to these changes, Tsuiokuhen also has more of an emphasis on its setting through its animation. It is undeniably Japan under the Tokugawa Regime, the banners of the Samurai, rags worn by the slaves, and everything down to the buildings and clothes.
Sound - 9.7
This anime’s music soundtrack is both beautiful and intense. In addition, combining sword fights that sound like real sword fights, attention to sound effects, and the voice actors chosen, Tsuiokuhen’s sound is nothing short of brilliant. The voices of the characters are just another reason as to why this anime has a grim depiction as many are cold and basically emotionless, while other characters have either normal voice expressions or even upbeat tones. With such great story, characters, and animation, Tsuiokuhen could have easily loosened the reigns in the sound department, but instead this show doesn't stop short. The great sound selections really finalize and add polish to an already great show with the final result being a true masterpiece.
Characters - 10
Tsuiokuhen provides the foundation for what becomes one of anime's most likable and well developed characters in Himura Kenshin. A focus of this anime is Kenshin's growth as he transitions from adolescence to adulthood and his struggle as he comes to terms with his role in the world. Newcomers to the Rurouni Kenshin scene will be introduced to a wide variety of unique characters who play a prominent role throughout Kenshin's life. Fans of the historical/samurai genre will see familiar faces in Soushi Okita and Hajime Saito of the Shinsengumi. The swordmaster Seijuro Hiko also serves as a counterpoint to Kenshin's idealism with his jaded take on life and his belief that a sword is merely a tool for murder. Those already familiar with Kenshin as the vagrant samurai with a reversed blade sword will be treated to a glimpse into the background of the Hitokiri Battousai, his relationship with Tomoe, and the events that shaped Kenshin and gave direction to his life. Cameo's by Makoto Shishio and Enishi Yukishiro will seem more noticeable and somewhat nostalgic for those who have seen what they become and the role they play in Kenshin's future.
Story - 10
The story of Tsuiokuhen depicts the past of Himura Kenshin and how he became known as Hitokiri Battousai, all the way to the origin of his cross-shaped scar and his vow to never kill again. It shows Kenshin's trials and tribulations during the Bakumatsu and, as readers of the manga are familiar with, his relationship with both Yukishiro Tomoe and her little brother, Enishi. The beauty of what Studio DEEN has accomplished here lies within the dark, brooding and emotional way they went about narrating the story. Contrary to the aloof way the TV series was, Tsuiokuhen went with a more mature outlook, easily evident with the excessive blood and gore shown in all of the battles. And with telling the story in only 4 OVAs, the story never seems to slack, but stays intriguing from start to finish.
Enjoyment - 10
Tsuiokuhen manages to combine a high level of violence with a very dramatic historical storyline, which is quite an accomplishment since many shows often go overboard on either the gore, the action, or the narration. Here Studio DEEN has done a great job portraying the story in a very gritty, down to Earth style that lends seriousness to the historical and dramatic aspects of the show. At the same time, the violence is very raw, brutal, and shocking to the senses, but while there are fantastic sword fights, the focus remains on the purpose behind them. Combined with a subtle but chilling soundtrack, this lends an air of maturity to the show and contributes to the tumultuous and unsettling environment Kenshin has become a part of. While this OVA isn't very lighthearted, it is a very unique blend that will likely please most viewers and makes Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen a must see for any anime fan.
OVERALL - 9.74
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
BlackMagic - Who wrote the Character and Enjoyment sections and combined the individual review parts together into a whole.
BURNlTHElPRIEST - Who wrote the Art/Animation and Sound sections.
vindemon64 - Who wrote the Introduction and the Story section.
Here are their individual scorings for the Anime:
Category - BlackMagic, BURNlTHElPRIEST, vindemon64
Art/Animation - 9, 9, 9
Sound - 9, 10, 10
Characters - 10, 10, 10
Story - 10, 10, 10
Enjoyment - 10, 10, 10
In the club wide poll held for Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen it received an average overall rating of 9.09 read more
Jul 7, 2007
One word for this anime: Amazing! It's so good that it's hard to decribe. This is one of the only anime series that will make the viewer's jaw drop to the floor and be filled with emotion. Those who are Rurouni Kenshin fans will love it; those who are new to the series will still like it. It's a drama and may not be as interesting among younger viewers and is more mature than the anime. Those who are sensitive to extreme violence and blood may want to turn their heads during some scenes.
The first episode is a little jumpy as it skips from past to present, which to non-Kenshin fans may be confusing. Besides the jumpiness, the plot is excellent. For a drama, the pacing isn't thin and slow and is perfect for the setting. The story to Trust and Betrayal is far more enjoyable than regular series. (which is enjoyable to begin with) The characterisation is somewhat shown in the series, and could be developed further. One learns that Kenshin is turning into a merciless manslayer when he slices a man in half, killing for the first time, and shows no emotion after. However, the other character's personalities aren't as developed.
The artwork is realist compared to Nobuhiro Watsuki's original concept, but is artwork at it's finest. Those who aren't into realist artwork will still find this series interesting to watch. They used computer three-dimension graphics, mostly in the backgrounds, but still kept unto the traditional animation. For traditional animation, it's one of the best.
The music will make one go in awe with it's use of a fulll orchestra. It creates moods and themes that also make the viewer full of emotion. The music is a main factor in making this OVA unbelievable, but it was already magnificent to begin with.
They hired the best actors in both casts for this anime. The Japanese Kenshin voice (Mayo Suzukaze) is a little too girly for the role and the English Tomoe voice (Rebecca Davis) is too emotionless it sounds like she is reading the script. The voices have a different tone than the regular anime series, which is a nice change. The OVA voices are realistic and set the drama tone, while the anime has exaggerated voices that are too cartoony. Even the Kenshin voice is different, but it's hard to decide which voice is suited better. (J. Shannon Weaver in OVA, Richard Hayworth in anime) The Landlady had the best acting performance in the English dubbed, but the acting was still great. More emotion could be used in characters, but the voices matched the characters.
This OVA has to be the most underrated anime known in the anime world. It was never a "fad" or a trend as most popular series start out, which is somewhat sad because this anime deserves attention. (Although fads are always hated in the end which shouldn't happen to this OVA) Everything about the OVA is wonderful from the music to the artwork. Anyone involved with this OVA worked extremely hard in putting effort and it clearly shows. This OVA should be on every anime fan's shelve.
Dec 1, 2009
Story - 10.
A serious, sad story. A romantic drama. Or is historical a better word? After all, this isn't just the story of the Hitokiri Battousai. While the focus lies on his actions, the overall story is that of the Bakumatsu and the bloody war before the Meiji Restoration. The OVA beautifully plays with this legendary battle, not pushing it to the background, but not letting it take the lead either.
Art - 9.
The art may seem too dark at first but it is in fact quite fitting. The characters look serious, mature and their emotions are clearly visible on their faces. The setting is especially beautiful: the backgrounds, buildings, even the crowds you see on the streets, they all look real. The same goes for the swordfights. Typical shounen anime defy all laws of nature or show only flashes of light. There is not a single fight in Tsuiokuhen that doesn't make sense. Perhaps that is the best part of the fights - blood, wounds, exhaustion, they all seem real.
Character - 10.
Every character truly matters. The smallest side characters are crucial to the plot. This may be because it's a short OVA.. but what if a story is so well-written that you can see the story from every character's eyes? By focussing on a character's face just a little too long, their (side)stories will grab you when you least expect it. The historical characters, for example Soushi Okita and Katsura Kogoro, aren't ignored either. Every single character influences the storyline, and by that adds something to Kenshin's life - be it a good or a bad thing.
Sound - 11.
I wish I could give an 11/10. I already was a bit of a Taku Iwasaki fanboy but now I am convinced that there are no better composers. The voice actor's are fitting (serious voices for serious characters), the sound effects are great (especially in fights), but I was too distracted. Well, not really.. but the soundtracks give me shivers if I just think about them. The music get's intense at the right moments but never loses it's beauty. Nothing sounds synthetic or unfitting. I almost want to say: 'It's as if the OST was made for this anime'. Hehe.
Enjoyment - 10.
A romantic, historical drama that never ceases to amaze. You will feel the chill run down your back when a fighting scene starts, if your volume is high enough. You won't be bored by too many historical aspects, and while every fight is bloody, the gore isn't so much that it becomes too much to handle. Serious themes like death, hatred and betrayal aren't shunned.. and it doesn't stop there. A mature OVA that didn't let go of me for quite a while.
What would make a man with a cross-shaped scar on his cheek devote his life to end bloodshed and make him vow to never kill again? Watch this. You'll find out. read more
Apr 6, 2010
Story (10): The story was outstanding. This isn't just another action anime. No, the action and sword fighting are more of a means to advance the plot. The pace felt just right. Interesting story line that will keep you involved. Also pretty original.
Art (9): The action scenes were done perfectly. The art was fantastic throughout and at times stunning and beautiful. Great job. Again, just not mind blowingly awesome enough to quite get a 10.
Sound (9): I started watching the series with an English dub, but it just wasn't quite working for me. I probably didn't give it a fair shot, but nonetheless, I switched to the sub part way through the first episode. I had no problems with the sub and I liked the soft voices that some of the characters had (especially kenshin, because it was a great juxtaposition/revealing of his true character). Try the dub if you want, but if you don't mind subs, I would recommend the sub. The music was very suiting and the effects were just right.
Character (10): Simply great character development. Character development is probably what this anime is all about, and they nailed it, getting just the right combination of sympathy and mystery.
Enjoyment (9): Overall a very enjoyable anime. Again I would highly recommend it. Just watch it (c'mon, it's only four episodes). read more
Oct 16, 2008
This technique, the method of hinting to the viewer what should happen early on in the film and then challenging us to interpret how specific situations are changing as the relationships between characters develop, is a masterful one. It plays to those who prefer to think through their entertainments as opposed to being simply presented with them, and is complemented time and time again by director Kazuhiro Furuhashi's use of symbolism (one will never think of an iris the same way). It would be fair to claim that Tsuiokuhen is not so much a marvel of Japanese animation but more accurately a marvel of storytelling as a whole, one that is on the same level as many of America's most heralded Hollywood dramas.
If there is a flaw to be found in the film, then it is in the sloppy decision to insert live action images into certain scenes. Sometimes, the technique works, but more often than not one finds himself wishing that everything had been drawn, because the images that are drawn are stunning.
Tsuiokuhen is notable for its characters, perhaps more than anything else. Kenshin never looks vicious, even when he's tearing people apart with his brazen sword, but he always looks tormented. Here's a being who's dedicated his life to doing what someone else believes is right simply because Kenshin wants to do something helpful, but in doing so, he bears an overwhelming sense of sadness upon people who never wanted anything to do with anything. Kenshin's intentions and the harrowing effects that they lay upon his soul make us sympathize with him, despite the fact that in the modern day world, we might view him as a monster.
As the story progresses, Kenshin develops relationships with certain characters that compound into an earth-shattering catharsis. The final few minutes of the film play out like a ship setting sail from home, Taku Iwasaki's grandiose soundtrack playing over scenes that that resound in the mind. One would think that such a sad movie would be difficult to endure, but surprisingly it isn't. The film is undeniably enjoyable, and despite its slow pacing never ceases to keep your every attention.
After my first viewing of Tsuiokuhen and every viewing thereafter, I was left with a shiver down my spine that few presentations have ever left me with. One cannot stress just how accessible the work as a whole is to all lovers of stories, and to all supporters of well-crafted art. I am not a colossal anime fan - that much should be obvious - but, by hook or by crook I stumbled upon this anime, and I love it in ignorance. For those who are not ignorant, I can only imagine that the experience would be all the better. read more
Jun 20, 2009
Just like in the original TV series, this oav also implements events and characters from actual Japanese history. For example, Kenshin’s boss Katsura, the leader of the Choshu clan is one of them. And I heard that less than 30% of the Japanese public are not at all aware of his significance to Japanese history such as he had a role in restoring power to the Meiji emperor. And an event implemented in the story of this oav is the Ikeda-ya affair in which the Shinsengumi made their mark in Japanese history. So I thought it was an effective touch to progress the story and set the tone.
So if you’ve seen the TV series and haven’t read the manga, I say check this out. You’ll see a completely different take on Rurouni Kenshin in which it still fits in the continuity of the series and view Kenshin from a different stand point not just because he’s younger, but of what he’s struggling with and see what defined his character in the TV series. As for manga readers, it faithfully adapts this flashback from it so you’ll be able to appreciate it but with a different art style which I will not get into.
As fans of the franchise can tell, the character design takes a totally different direction from the TV series and manga. While the manga and anime looked more generic Shounen in its own way, the quality of the art in this version is much more theatrical and realistic. The resolution, the clothing, the faces, eyes, and everything else felt more like an Oshii Mamoru movie than something based off of Shounen Jump, and it really fit the atmosphere and mood of the OAV excellently well. In further addition, since this is Kenshin in his killing days, you get to see more blood and violence. I wouldn’t say it’s to the level of Ichi the Killer, but it is pretty violent and intense. Though I praised the action for being technique-centric, that isn’t really at all present here. You won’t see Kenshin doing his Ryuu Tsui Sen, but you just see him hack and slash, but from what little knowledge I learned from a friend of mine who does Iaido and Kendo, it looks right and the quality feels more like a Kurosawa movie and I felt it goes with the aim of being realistic.
Unfortunately, the high profile bands and the techo, and acoustics and all the things that made the music kick ass in Kenshin isn’t really perfect here. If anything, music in general isn’t that centric or present. I felt the silence gave more an appropriate feel of ambiguity and unpredictability and brought a different style of drama. When watching this OAV, I do feel some music and be too much in your face at times, and I felt the lack of music in its own way was too much in its face. But I totally understand that this oav has a different kind of intention and direction, so it works in its own way. I just wish for the ending or opening themes, they could have used TM Revolution to contribute just to give Kenshin its unique identity in that sense of why I like Kenshin.
But moving on, Suzukaze Mayo resumes as Kenshin, Ikeda Shuuichi resumes his role as Hiko Seijuuro, and Hirotaka Suzuoki is back as Saitou. But enough about them, time to talk about the others. I thought Iwao Junko got the voice of Tomoe down though I think anybody could have played her. She’s reserve and secretivie, and that’s all you need. And Seki Tomokazu, another personal favorite of mine plays the role of Katsura. He’s charming, charismatic, and fair. And Nakao Ryuusei who is most famous as Freeza in DBZ and the multi-talented Takagi Wataru also known as GTO play a couple of Kenshin’s buds. Though they play practically almost nobodies, their well known voices (at least to me) stood out.
I have to say that this oav captured this part of the Jinchu arc excellently well. Even though this story arc was dark to begin with, I felt the art style and the different approach to be less reliant on music made it feel fresh and gives you a different kind of insight.
Apr 18, 2008
After having completed the series, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. This OVA series is what gave me a new appreciation for Rurouni Kenshin. Needless to say, you should watch the series before diving into this one, as it will allow you to feel the same as I did.
The animation is top notch. It is a beauty to behold. The musical score composed by Taku Iwasaki is as Epic as the anime itself though when listening to the soundtrack I felt that it was somewhat repetitive. As for the story, it was absolutely compelling from its action packed start to its ultra sad ending.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this so much was because of the action and romance that was brought together. The fight scenes are really fast paced and awesome. Whereas the first half, Trust, is more action based, the second half, Betrayal, focuses more on the romance part of the story. I loved the peacefulness of Episode 3. Some people, who are only looking for action, may have been disappointed by the lack of it in this episode. This is a drama, that involves action and romance. I feel that between the first two episodes and the last two episodes, a perfect balance was struck.
This is obviously a must see for anime fans. Fans of the Rurouni Kenshin series get to see Kenshin at his best, not to mention an appearance by Saitou. Even if, for whatever reasons, you do not enjoy Rurouni Kenshin, I must advise you not to pass on this sure to be timeless classic tale of Trust and Betrayal read more
Nov 12, 2012
Since then, I can't even count the number of times that I've rewatched these four episodes. In terms of sheer entertainment value provided vs. time spent watching, no other piece of animation has given me more than this OVA has. So while it's quite likely that my words will disappear like raindrops into the sea of adoration that seems to surround this production, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time here. I owe this show something, so in my eyes, this is the least I can do.
Those who have seen the Rurouni Kenshin television series are familiar with our protagonist: The kind-hearted man who was once a murderer of unparalleled skill and ruthlessness during the Bakumatsu. But this series begins in a time before all that, when Kenshin was a child, and shows the series of events that shaped him into a man. It glosses over the training he receives from his master and surrogate father Hiko Seijuro and quickly moves into his recruitment as an assassin within the Choshu clan, a group of revolutionaries working to bring about the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. I can't say too much, both for the sake of brevity and to avoid spoilers, but the plot is complexly woven, chock full of dramatic irony, and a pleasure to behold.
In terms of characterization, the OVA takes a far darker outlook than the television series did. Internal conflict of the highest quality abounds when Kenshin's experiences as the Hitokiri Battousai force him to reevaluate whether the philosophies he's held onto since his childhood are valid. It's a classic battle of idealism against realism: The young Kenshin wants to end the suffering of others and protect them all with his own hands, but the more murderous justice he dishes out, the more he realizes that his desired ends might not justify his means. The character grows and matures as the OVA progresses, giving true depth to the sincere young man who once wore the stony mask of the great manslayer.
Kenshin isn't the only interesting character in the cast, though. He's joined by Tomoe, a young woman whose background is revealed piece by piece as the series progresses, and by the time the credits roll on episode four, she's been made into a character almost as richly developed as Kenshin himself. And, of course, there are the two Shinsengumi officers who were Kenshin's greatest rivals--men not unlike Kenshin, bearing no grudges, driven only by the volition of their own ideals and beliefs. I can't mention everybody, but whether it's plot related, philisophically motivated, or just to provide a nifty tie-in to the television series, rest assured that every character in Trust and Betrayal's extensive cast serves a distinct purpose.
Visually, this OVA looks gorgeous. Backgrounds, whether they're snow-covered forests or the deep green and blue expanses of Japanese fields and lakes, are spectacularly rendered with an attention to detail that's all but flawless. The streets of Kyoto, partially lit by the moon, become an eerie maze of bars and back alleys which Kenshin drifts through like an ephemeral revenant. The OVA forsakes the angular character designs of the television series in favor of rounded facial designs that are decidedly more human-looking, and it benefits greatly from this touch of realism.
Th animation is fluid and smooth. Fight scenes play out with a sort of brutal poetry that's quite lovely and compelling to watch. Swords, reflecting sunlight, ascribe iridescent blue half-moons in the air before striking their targets. Deep, crimson blood splashes on white clothing with sickeningly beautiful results. Every motion seems to be perfectly choreographed, perfectly thought out, and carried through with intense precision and skill.
In every aspect of its production, this OVA surpasses "average" by leaps and bounds, but I have to say, the music is what really makes this such a cohesive and strong piece of work. Numerous orchestral numbers, complete with a flute and powerful percussion, form the bulk of the soundtrack for this series, and it just seems like whatever is going on, the music complements it. Wistful, soft songs play as Kenshin and Tomoe discuss the sad life of an assassin; traditional patriotic-sounding songs highlight moments of action. The track that is, in my opinion, the best on the soundtrack plays during the last five minutes of the OVA's final episode. I can't put into words just how good the timing is: The song explodes with a great booming of drums just as two warriors cross swords in a long-awaited duel, and if I said I didn't get chills the first time I watched this scene unfold, it'd be a damned lie.
When every element that I've described combines, the result is something amazing. There's a quality hanging about this OVA that I can't quite capture, but I think the closest I can come in a word is "legendary." This OVA feels like it's really describing a man who would be in the history books, in paintings, a man whose name would be whispered around campfires generations later. A man who, with his sword and what he stood for, wove his name into the fabric of time forever. Although we're aware that the story is fiction, it doesn't feel that way as we watch, and this is a great achievement of writing: To tell a lie so artfully that it seems like a truth. Trust and Betrayal is a beautiful, symbolically rich creation that accomplishes this in spades. read more
Oct 24, 2011
"Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuikuhen" is one such anime.
I originally watched "Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen" without watching the main series. I was drawn to the OVA's by its stella ratings, but was too daunted by the length of the main series to watch that. Eventually, I grew out of my allergy for long series and watched the 95 episodes of "Rurouni Kenshin". Coming back to this afterwards, I wished I wasn't so hasty to watch it before - as good as it was first time round, it's much more meaningful after the series, and it would have been great to experience this stunning piece of work to its full potential on the first watch.
[Note: For the remainder of this review, I'll be assuming that, unlike me, you were sensible enough to have already watched the series before coming to this, so there might be some references to the series in this review]
"Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen" (or just "Tsuiokuhen" for short,) is the story of how Kenshin became a swordsman, how he took part in the revolutions, and how he came to get his cross shaped scar. It's the chronicling of the making of the manslayer before his later years as a pacifist, and of his first love that was hinted at in the series.
Stylistically, "Tsuiokuhen" is a compeletly different beast from the main serie: gone are all the comedy elements - this OVA is deadly serious, and not for the faint hearted. It opens with a brutal, shocking prologue involving a bandits' attack on slave wagon. Men and women are cut down alike, swords are put through throats, and blood sprays in abundance. The violence is graphic, but not gratuitous.
Admidst the slaughter, it's hard not to notice the beauty of the artwork and the fluidity of the animation. The realistically designed characters reflects the serious tone, with no super deformity nor traditional big-eyes-small-mouth style in sight. Visually, "Tsuiokuhen" is just incredible.
Contrary to the impression given by the prologue, "Tsuiokuhen" is not at all heavy on action. The mood in this anime is often subdued (in fact I found some of the voice acting to be a little flat), and there are plenty of quiet moments, such as Kenshin's brief stint at living a peaceful life in the countryside, that acts as a counter balance against the action. The story also contains a lot of political elements as it describes the power struggles that went on prior to the revolution. There are plenty of references, linking together a great number of events, a lot of them real historical ones relevant to the Kenshin story. It can be quite thrilling to see some of these events click into place, and it always excites me to see cameos from significant characters from the series such as Hajime Saito (who, unfortunately, doesn't look as wolfish as he does in the series), but some of it went over my head. My knowledge of of Japanese history is extremely limited, and a portion of the political backstory involving real historical figures that are less directly related to the Kenshin felt a little redundant and confusing.
What really matters is the backstory of Kenshin himself. This short OVA series covers the key parts of Kenshin's early life; their importance in shaping young Kenshin's character and their influences on the choices he makes later in life cannot be overstated, but you'll need to have watched the main series to fully appreciate it. "Tsuikohen" is easily strong enough to be watched as a standalone, but without watching the main series, you won't know just how the young, brooding Kenshin contrasts against his more open, cheerful future self; nor will you pick up the deft touches added here and there that adds plenty of meaning and depth for those who've seen the series, such the hints on the consequences of Kenshin's actions.
Everything comes together in an epic finale in the last episode, concluding a tale of love and vengeance, trust and betrayal in spectacular fashion. If I have any nitpicking to do, it would be that the gauntlet that Kenshin was made to go through seems a little too contrived and shounen in style for a show with such mature vibes. I doubt many people will give a monkey's toss about that, however, as the polished action and the torrent of emotions peak simultaneously to create a breathtaking climax.
Fast paced action, achingly beautiful romance drama, depth of character and story, "Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen" has it all (apart from comedy). Just make sure you watch the "Rurouni Kenshin" main series up to the end of the "Legend of Kyoto" arc if you want to appreciate this OVA to its fullest. Believe me, it's worth the effort (and the series ain't half bad either). read more
Jan 5, 2008
Jan 6, 2008
This is set during the Bakumatsu when Kenshin is a young assassin on the razor's edge of insanity. Every night, he spills blood in the hopes of bringing in the new era of peace for the people of Japan. Every night, his soul dies a bit more.
One night, he crosses swords with a young Shogunate swordsman who is able to wound him on the cheek before Kenshin does him in. As the young swordsman dies, he cries out the name of his beloved fiance.
One month later, Kenshin meets a mysterious woman in the rain. She passes out in his arms and he brings her to the Kohagiya to live. Little by little, Kenshin and Tomoe fall in love with each other.
Ultimately, circumstances force them to flee to Otsu where they pose as apothecaries. Kenshin finds a measure of peace for his embattled soul in the countryside. All too soon, the realities of war are thrust back upon them.
Will Kenshin and Tomoe find happiness, or will a deadly secret tear them apart forever? read more
Feb 19, 2012
Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen is my absolute favorite anime piece. In all time. Honestly, there's no amount of words that could ever aptly cover how beautiful, moving, and incredible this piece of work is.
The story is tragic, yet moving. It's totally worth the 10/10 score. It takes very little time for the story to pick up speed. You immediately get inside the head of the main characters and understand the emotions that they are going through. You feel pity for their losses, you feel joy for their successes. Nothing can ever compare to the totally unexpected and sad ending. I don't want to leave spoilers, but it's fantastic and if you have emotions, you will cry. I know I did.
The art is beauty in animation. The blood and gore effects are realistic, and not completely exaggerated like today's animes. The flowers falling from the trees are beautiful and lifelike. The only reason this gets a 9/10 is for the live action. Though it's well placed, it's cheesy and awkward. You find yourself chuckling at it because it really doesn't fit in.
The sound is pretty solid, too. The sounds of feudal japan are accurately brought into reality in this work of art. Nothing life changing, but incredible nonetheless.
The characters, oh lord, how they move you. The main characters, as I've previously stated, make you feel their emotions. You understand the feelings that they go through, you feel the stinging pain that they go through. Nothing can ever accurately tell you just how I felt when the twist ending occurred. It was seriously as if I was that character, going through what they went through.
In conclusion, straight 10/10, easy. My favorite anime OVA, and favorite anime ANYTHING in general. This 4 episode OVA was nothing short of life-changing, and you should stop reading this and go watch it right now. read more
Feb 12, 2008
Story- This was really beautiful and sad. The plot idea of an assassin who no longer likes being an assassin, though already done, was completely remastered and thought out in a unique fashion. I was completely enthralled from the beginning and wasn't completely sure where everything was going to turn out. I like the fact that they seemed to write this so that somebody who hasn't seen the show could understand and be emmersed. I could definitely see this as a stand alone.
Art- Sometimes I wasn't sure if I liked the style of this, or not. They used live shots for water and fire and I really did not like that. Possibly it is a personal preference thing.
Character- I loved the twists and complexities to each character. I did not think that anyone in this was predictable or banal.
Overall I think this was a fantastically done piece and I'm pretty sure this just got me interested in watching the actual show now. read more
May 2, 2008
The animation fits perfectly with the historical theme to Tsuiokuhen. I can honestly say that the style of art in Tsuiokuhen could not work with almost any other anime.Also, the more serious tones used in Tsuiokuhen are more fitting towards the the more serious story in this ova than the Kenshin tv seres.
I don't usually pay attention to the music happening during an anime but it was different for Tsuiokuhen. The historic Japanese style music gives every scene a greater emotion whether its action or tragedy. The Japanese voice acting is truly great and its one of the few anime that i can get through dubbed.
Even though the anime focuses on Kenshin and his story, the other characters are represented through there own ambitions and hardships. But Kenshin is represented very well as having the deepest and by far saddest past and personality that you will ever see.
The story stands above any other historical samurai anime because of its focus on the characters and there hardships rather than a greater plot that the characters are only involved in. I loved the story because i personally prefer an anime that is character driven and not plot driven.
As you can tell i really enjoyed this anime. I was also able to go back and watch it several times because of how powerful it is emotionally.
Mar 24, 2009
Tsuiokuhen is short, and almost inexcusable to watch if you've seen the main Kenshin anime. With only 4 episodes, it merely takes up a few hours to watch, and it's well worth the experience.
The OVA is separated into "acts". Acts I and II are based a lot around the politics of the era, as well as the fighting. I watched this subbed, and I found it difficult to keep the names of all the clans and such straight. So many different words were thrown at me out of nowhere, it really dampened the story for me, even though it was still good. The action however, is absolutely tremendous. All the actions scenes are amazingly crisp and gory, it's jaw-dropping to watch, with the only flaw maybe being that it's a bit too dark for some of these scenes.
Act III is the act that really chronicles how Kenshin changed into the man he ended up being in the anime. This was my favorite act, it had a lot of character development, and was a really strong act overall.
Act IV concludes everything. It's sad and emotional... but not quite on the level I was expecting after all the build up. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I had hoped.
Tsuiokuhen is short and fun. I easily recommend it to anyone who has watched Kenshin, and to people who haven't as well. read more
Oct 26, 2008
Then this OAV was made.
The story follows him and his woman from afore--the wife that Kaoru had to compete with. We see Kenshin's marriage and relationship with this woman. And what an awful thing it was; I was so glad that this wasn't part of the original story.
The art was a mixture of good and awful. The art and animation was good, but then there was this horrible incorporation of live action stuff. Good God, was it ever cheesy. I laughed, LAUGHED, during the supposedly romantic scenes. Thanks a lot, animators. The only saving point was the blood and fight scenes.
The sound was unimpressive.
I'm sorry, for the two characters this anime was focussed on, they were bland and boring. I can't believe I'm saying this. I
No one would have watched this if it wasn't Rurouni Kenshin. This was a poor OAV, and I can't believe this has been heralded as the greatest thing to happen to anime. I thought it was marvellously unfabulous. read more
Jan 6, 2009
Theres really not much to say about this OAV, if you liked rurouni kenshin and your interested in more of the background story then its worth a watch. If you like blood and the classic samurai battles then you should also get a kick out of it. It isn't the easiest short series to find but its worth the trouble.
Overall I think it had a very old fashion feel to it with lots of interesting scenarios. The expressions of the characters help put the viewer in the shoes of the characters and makes it seem more like a ride than watching a show. read more
Apr 23, 2011
I wish I could have seen this movie before the TV series. This is a wonderful start to a long story. The story is so in depth with it's characters. You cant get help but get sucked in. Action & Romance! The 2 main things i look for in a anime. This hit it right on the dot. The action bloody but not to the point of overkill. Then the romance. Not some clueless shy boy that never gets the girl. It a true heartfelt romance story that progresses nicely.
If you have seen the tv series yet. I suggest starting off with this movie first. The tv series goes on to the after math of the move. A whole 95 Episodes!! 95! I know right.
But the story goes even more in-depth. And yes after the 95 are up they finish it up with Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen. The ending of a great story that brought tears to my eyes.
If you haven't see the series or even if you have and haven't seen this movie then your missing out...So check it out! read more
May 4, 2009