Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 20-May-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of-(131:08)
Theatrical Trailer-Trailers and TV Spots
Featurette-Event Footage (32:09)
Interviews-Cast-(35:41)
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 2
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 134:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Keishi Ohtomo
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Emi Takei
Takeru Satoh
Fujiwara Tatsuya
Yū Aoi
Yōsuke Eguchi
Munetaka Aoki
Yusuke Iseya
Min Tanaka
Ryunosuke Kamiki
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Naoki Sato


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     At the end of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno the once deadly assassin Kenshin Himura (Satoh Takeru), aka Battosai, and Kaoru (Takei Emi) have gone overboard in a storm from the Ironclad warship of Shishio Makoto (Fujiwara Tatsuya). His attack upon Kyoto was only a feint and now Shishio, his ship and his men are on the way to Tokyo to overthrow the government and bring an era of chaos and savagery back to Japan. Kenshin survives (otherwise, of course, there would be no film) and is reunited with his master and teacher Seijuro (Fukuyama Masaharu. There Kenshin seeks to learn his master’s ultimate fighting technique that would give him a chance of defeating Shishio’s baby faced lieutenant Sojiro ( Kamiki Ryunosuke) and Shishio himself, but Seijuro is also keen on Kenshin learning something vital about himself before the final challenge.

     To buy time until they can prepare defences against the Ironclad, the government agrees with Shishio’s demand to declare Kenshin an outlaw. But the police forces led by Saito (Eguchi Yosuke), an old enemy of Battosai turned police officer, are not the only ones searching for Kenshin. His friends the urchin Yahiko (Tanaka Taketo) and street fighter Sanosuke (Aoki Munetaka) are still waiting in Kyoto with female martial artist Misao (Tsuchiya Tao) and the “Watchers” while Kenshin is still being sought by Aoshi Shinomori (Iseya Yusuke), who intends to kill him. When Kenshin is captured by the police and brought to Shishio for execution the legend of Battosai will end, one way or the other, in the explosive climax.

     The adventures of Kenshin Himura were first chronicled in a manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki, then in an anime series, an animated feature film, 2 series of OVAs, novels, numerous video games and a live action film Rurouni Kenshin. That film was so successful two sequels were made simultaneously. The first of the two was Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno which I reviewed on this site here. This conclusion to the trilogy is titled Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (Ruroni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo-hen).

     Fans of the series will know what to expect from Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends and director Keishi Ohtomo does not disappoint for the film continues the very high standards of its predecessors. This trilogy of Rurouni Kenshin live action films have featured some of the most exhilarating action sequences ever put to film, which is saying something, for they forgo CGI enhancements in the main for wire work and the old fashioned athleticism of the actors. The films also do not feature in-close, jerky hand held cameras or quick cutting to hide the lack of fighting prowess, but instead feature long takes showing the skills of Satoh Takeru, who is fabulous, although mention must also be made of Kamiki Ryunosuke, Eguchi Yosuke and especially Fujiwara Tatsuya, who must have found it hard to move, let alone fight, in his bandages! The action sequences include a number of one-on-one duels using swords and other weapons, hand to hand combat plus the massive climax on board the Ironclad with fire, explosions, canons and swords.

     Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is action filmmaking of the highest order. What continues to set the Rurouni Kenshin series apart is that it is far more than spectacular action sequences; it deals with the end of the samurai era and poses questions about the use of violence to protect society and to deliver justice and about the nature of humanity itself. A fabulous, fabulous series of films comes to a satisfying conclusion.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends has been shot using Red Epic digital cameras. The result is spectacular. While sometimes the film has a softer, diffused look, detail is always superb. The colours including greens, blues and reds are deep and vibrant. Blacks are rock solid throughout and shadow detail excellent. Skin tones are natural, without that yellowish digital tinge, brightness and contrast consistent.

     Other than slight ghosting with movement in front of mottled surfaces print is artefact free.

     English subtitles are provided in a clear yellow font in American English. I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

     Audio is Japanese DTS-MA HD 5.1.

     The dialogue is clear. The rest of the sound stage is a constant barrage of music and sound: gunshots and canons, explosions, thunder and the wind, swords and other weapons reverberate around the sound stage. Outside of the action sequences there is frequent ambient sound, such as footsteps, crowd noises and music. The subwoofer provides good support to the rumble of the Ironclad’s engines, canon fire, thunder and explosions.

     The wonderful music by Naoki Sato, who also scored Space Battleship Yamato (2010), is epic and expansive, but at other times can be sad and evocative, suiting the mods of the film.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Making Of (131:08)

     Running over two hours this is essentially a video diary covering the principal photography of both Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends from June 2013 to wrap in December 2013. The feature is held together by text on screen and a narration and is an intriguing on set look at the cast and crew at rest and filming stunts and sequences in the 8 or 9 different locations used in the two films. It includes accidents, preparation for stunts, coping with the rain (many times) and the thoughts of most of the main cast members filmed on set, although these interviews are not overdone. As this featurette does not include film footage, it is a genuine, interesting and extensive on set look at a major film production.

Trailers and TV Spots (2:08)

     One trailer (1:25) and three TV spots (0:45).

Event Footage (32:09)

    Footage of media and promotional events attended by the director and various cast members including red carpet events, premiers in various locations over Japan (plus one in the Philippines), pre and post screenings, TV studio promotions, release events and cinema visits between June and September 2014. I don’t see any value in footage of these events as it is all thank yous and little else but it does show how hard the director and main star Satoh work, on one day attending, I think, 10 cinema events.

Cast Interviews (35:41)

    Cast members (individually) answer rather inane questions shown in a white text on screen. These interviews were recorded after the release of Kyoto Inferno but before The Legend Ends and are really promotions for that film without any information about the actual shooting of either film. There are questions about how they prepared for the role, the character, relationships, favourite scenes, what they thought about Kyoto Inferno and what The Legend Ends may bring. Interviewees are

More from Eastern Eye (3:58)

    Trailers for other films from Madman: The Suspect and The Protector 2.

R4 vs R1

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

     There are a couple of Region A Japanese Blu-ray releases of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends including a Deluxe Edition, but neither are English friendly. There is a Region A Hong Kong Blu-ray with English subtitles, but seems to be without extras and no current US version. Why go past our release?

Summary

     Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is a fitting conclusion to the live action trilogy. It is an action packed, spectacular film, with great sets, characters you care about and a wonderful villain, but still manages to raise moral issues. Fans will need no urging to see Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. If you are a fan of Asian action cinema and have not caught up with Rurouni Kenshin, you have a treat in store; just start from the beginning!

     The video is spectacular, the audio excellent. The extras, especially the making of, add to what is an essential Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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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