Rurouni Kenshin-New Kyoto Arc (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 19-Jun-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Trailer-x 4 for other anime
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 93:22 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuhiro Furuhashi

Madman Entertainment
Starring Tomo Sakurai
Meg Bauman-Shideler
Mayo Suzukaze
J. Shannon Weaver
Masanori Ikeda
David Wald
Ken Narita
John Swasey
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Noriyuki Sakurai

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     After the Battle of Toba-Fushimi when the Emperor’s forces are successful and the Meiji Restoration began, the deadly assassin Battosai vowed never to kill again and, calling himself Kenshin Himura, he wanders Japan aiding people who could not protect themselves. He carries a sword, but the sharp edge is on the inside, the outside is blunt so that he can maintain his vow not to kill.

     Rurouni Kenshin was first a manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki that commenced in 1994 and ran until 1999 completing 28 volumes. From 1996 to 1998 an anime series aired on Japanese TV and various DVD releases of that series are still available. The adventures of Kenshin have also been chronicled in an animated feature film, 2 series of OVAs, (which appeared under the title of Samurai X in the US), novels, numerous video games and a live action feature. To mark the 15th anniversary of the anime series, the creators have remade the anime’s Kyoto arc (from the second set) as the two part OVA Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc. The main difference is that the story is now partly told from the perspective of the 16 year old female ninja Misao.

     Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc is certainly not intended for those who have little or no understanding of the manga or anime, for it provides little or no background to the characters and introduces a bewildering range of people in the course of its first episode Cage of Flames without explanation about who they are. The main storylines concern Misao (voiced by Tomo Sakurai / Meg Bauman-Shideler), who is looking for Kenshin (Mayo Suzukaze / J. Shannon Weaver) because she believes he can lead her to her missing master Aoshi, while in Kyoto Makoto Shishio (Masanori Ikeda / David Wald) is plotting to destroy the Meiji. Shishio had been an assassin like Kenshin, but at the end of the Boshin War he was supposedly killed and set on fire by loyalist forces. Now, encased in mummy-like bandages, he gathers a group of assassins and plots his revenge, against those who he feels betrayed him, including the destruction of Kyoto by fire. In his way is policeman Hajime Saito (Ken Narita / John Swasey) who enlists Kenshin to help. Also thrown into the mix in more or less bit parts are others from the Kenshin stories including Kaoru, Yahiko, Sanosuke, Seijuro Hiko and Anji.

     This profusion of characters does tend to throw the story all over the place, with for example Kaoru and Yahiko just turning up; if you had no idea who they were, this would not tell you. The second episode Warble of Light is more focussed, but during the finale battle between Kenshin and Shishio it keeps cutting back and forwards between two other fights as well in a rather messy manner, leaving the main conflict feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

     Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc is quite talky, with Buddhist and Shinto philosophy and a bit of Nietzsche thrown in from Shishio. When the action kicks in it is not too bad, however, it must be said that the anime throughout looks absolutely stunning with sharp lines and gorgeous lush and vibrant yellows, blues, reds and green. It is very beautiful but I suspect that this remake is for fans only as no-one new to the world of Kenshin would have much idea about who is who or what is going on.

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Transfer Quality


     Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG 4 AVC code.

     As noted, this is a glorious print. The lines are sharp and detailed, the colours are gorgeous. The yellows, blues, reds and green are beautiful. Fans of the series have apparently commented that this does not look like the original series, but all I can say is that this one looks spectacular. Blacks are excellent.

     I did not notice any marks, dirt or similar artefacts.

     It is anime but even so lip synchronisation is very, very approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles in a yellow font that had the occasional minor error. They were easy to read. The subtitles cannot be changed on the go. Instead, you must select “Japanese with English subtitles” from the main menu. You cannot change the audio from Japanese to English with the remote while the film plays, and in this way retain the subtitles with the English dialogue.

     Note: I had an issue with this Blu-ray using my usual player, a Sony S580: when selecting “Japanese with English subtitles” while the white text explaining certain terms appeared, the English subtitles did not. This did not happen with my older Sony S350, the PS3, or the computer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is a choice of Japanese or English DTS HD- MA 5.1. Both are good, although to my mind the Japanese track was slightly more aggressive sound.

     Both the Japanese and English dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The surrounds and rears are used predominately for the music score although other ambient sounds occur including insects. The sub-woofer added bass to the music, but did not seem to add much to the explosions at the end for example.

     The score by Noriyuki Sakurai was quite loud in the audio mix, and to my mind often drew attention to itself, sometimes in a way that felt not necessarily appropriate to what was being shown. But that might just be me.

    A loud and aggressive sound mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Trailers (7:58)

     Trailers for The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Eden of the East Movie 1, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Tales of Vesperia The First Strike and Bleach the Movie 4 – Hell Verse.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Region B release of Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc is identical to the Region A US release. There are various Region A Japanese releases, including single episode Blu-rays, but none are English friendly.


     Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc is a remake of one of the more popular story arcs from the anime. It looks beautiful, but I suspect that this remake is for fans only, as no-one new to the world of Kenshin would have much idea about who is who.

     The video is beautiful, the audio good. Extras are only trailers for other releases.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, December 13, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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