SM Megamall played host to a momentous occasion last night, August 6, as it hosted the premiere of a film that Pinoy anime fans have been eagerly waiting for: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.
It was the first time that a Japanese film received the red carpet premiere treatment in the Philippines, so to make the ceremony more epic, the cast of the film was present to greet a rabid crowd of Samurai X fans.
Specifically, these guys:
The first Japanese dude is director Keishi Ohtomo, below him are the real-life Battousai The Slasher, the cutest dojo instructor ever Kaoru Kamiya, and the brash, impulsive, Sanosuke—played by Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, and Munetaka Aoki, respectively.
Like their on-screen characters, Takeru was cool, calm, and mysterious; Emi was the epitome of kawaii, and made us think about immigrating to Japan again; and Aoki was, well, brash and impulsive, oftentimes getting the crowd wild by yelling, "Mahal ko kayo!" Also, he paired his flashy suit with slippers, which gave him extra cool points in our eyes. What a hero, that guy.
The feverish reception they received last night only rose further as the actors signed autographs for the fans, and showed genuine appreciation for the overwhelmingly positive response from their Philippine following.
Later that night, all that hype would be fully justified with the film's screening, which was marked by collective wooting, awws, and whoas from a truly dedicated fanbase. When the film officially opens on August 20 (mark that date, mga batang '90s!), we're betting that screenings would be no different!
Why? Here are eight reasons we came up with after watching Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, with minimal spoilers!
1) The blink-and-you'll-miss-it action scenes
The first film had amazing fight scenes, but Kyoto Inferno definitely tops those. The up-close camera work brought an in-your-face intensity. The tornado-like choreography took our breath away. The high-flying scenes and the lightning-fast running reminded us of old-school Chinese martial arts films...in fast forward.
It was fast, furious, and frenetic. By the time the movie ended (it's a long movie at around two hours and 30 minutes), we could only wish to see more in the follow-up, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, showing on September 24.
Here, have a taste:
2) The faithful character rendition
If you were a fan of the anime, you will love just how faithful the film sticks to its source material in terms of characterization.
The Kyoto Fire arc is the series' most popular storyline, and produced some of its best characters. To keep the surprise level at a maximum, and to ensure that you get that "Uy, si ano yan ah!" reaction, we won't reveal the list of characters who will make a big appearance in the adaptation.
But know this: All the actors did a fine, fine job in translating an anime character into a real-life one. From the gestures to the costumes, the film hits the nail on the head. And given the multitude of characters being injected into the story, the film was masterful in giving each important character their chance to make their mark on the audience.
That said, guess who this guy is:
3) Hollywood-level production values
With the first film having broken the box office record in Japan with ticket sales of $540,000, Kyoto Fire had a lot to live up to. Simply put, it had to be bigger and more epic, for the lack of a better term.
And we're glad to report that it surpasses those expectations. The polish we noticed in the overall production had the feel of a big-budget Hollywood flick. The film was part period piece, part superhero film, draped in fantastical costumes, and shot against a bewilderingly diverse backdrop of the Japan of old—occasionally allowing itself to simply go all-out in its biggest scenes.