About the review:
This review was written by me some time ago, i.e. before I was a member on MyAnimeList. Therefore, I have no score on Enjoyment and you wont find any section called Enjoyment in this review. I think you will do fine without it, though. ^^
Since the Rurouni Kenshin movie is produced in the middle of the production of the Rurouni Kenshin series (henceforth referred to as "the series"). I usually watch related series/movies in chronological order, so I wasn't sure when to watch it, but I decided it would probably be best watch it after I had completed the series.
This movie is not what I would consider an actual sequel to the series, despite taking place two years after the end of the storyline of the series. The movie is not depending on the series, so it is fully possible to watch it without having watched the series in it's entirety.
The first minutes of the movie shows a fighting scene from the Bakumatsu where Kenshin fights and eventually kills Takatsuki Gentatsu.
Following the intro and titles, Kenshin meets Takimi Shigure, friend of the late Gentatsu. Since the day of Gentatsu's death, Takimi has taken care of his sister, now 18 years.
As the synopsis states: "Takimi blames himself foolishly for his friend’s death, and vows to take revenge upon this corrupt Meiji government who wasted Gentatsu's sacrifice".
So, as the majority of the enemies in the series, Takimi plans to overthrow the government and Kenshin tries to stop him.
Is this story like the multitude of poor arcs in the series? No. Actually, I'd consider it as one of the better ones, if it was a part of the series. Once again, you will experience some good moments with an enemy doing what he believes is right, not realizing the consequences of his actions.
Like the series, this movie is made by Gallop, sharing the same style of animation, though with some minor differences. Focus is put on aesthetics instead of realism. The Rurouni Kenshin movie is animated like many action movies are filmed, with interesting cuts, angles and perspectives. It's as if the creators tries to make the fights awesome, in that way that any 12 year old boy would think "Woow! I want to be a samurai!!" when watching.
I don't think that it's very bad, but I'm not sure sacrificing realism is necessary — just look at Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen.
As for the differences between the movie and the series in terms of animation, I notice a somewhat different character design and generally stronger colours. As an examle, the blood in the first scene is almost self-luminous. The strong colours further increase the aesthetics and decrease the realism.
Some might like it this way. I don't dislike it, but I don't really like it either.
The sound effects are the same as in the main series, with the weird cutting-flesh sounds and the sound for clashing blades resembling that of a tuning-fork. The sound effects gives a very synthetic impression. In what way is it supposed to represent the real world? I don't like it at all.
What saves the sound section from disaster is the music. The music lifts the series, and helps creating emotional moments. The opening song isn't really that wonderful, but the rest of the soundtrack is very nice. At the emotional peak of the series I almost, almost, shed a few tears. Almost.
As I stated in the story section, I get a feeling of understanding for Takimi Shigure. That is the case with quite a few of the characters. I don't want to repeat myself, but the depiction of people that aren't really bad, only making wrong choices, is very convincing.
I can't find anything in particular to complain about. Takimi Shigure develops in the movie and that's good, but he may be the only one. In any case, this is a movie, hence not giving that much place for character delevopment. All in all, I'm satisfied.
I get the impression that The Rurouni Kenshin movie, not being a sequel, is not really made for the fans of the series. The opening and first scenes hints that the movie is made more like a short version of the story made to attract Kenshin fans that haven't watched the series — or completely new fans for that matter.
Like the series, the movie seem to sacrifice much of the realism (in both story, animation and sound), trying to give a more aesthetic and cool impression.
The final line is that the movieis much like the series — the good parts, that is. If you like the Rurouni Kenshin series, you will enjoy the Rurouni Kenshin movie (also, there's a good chance you will even if you haven't watched the series).