The Rurouni Kenshin movie franchise is based on a best-selling manga comic series by Nobuhiro Watsuki, which was originally published from 1994 to 1999.
A semi-historical action-adventure story about a 19th-century Japanese swordsman who gives up killing, the comics sold 5.8 million copies, were translated into 20 languages and inspired a 95-episode TV anime series which aired on Japan's Fuji network from 1996 to 1998 in Japan.
This anime was also broadcast in South-east Asia, as were other movie- length features such as Samurai X: The Motion Picture, back in the Noughties, resulting in a regional fanbase made up mainly of 20somethings and 30somethings.
Rurouni Kenshin (2012) and this year's Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (opening in October) are the first live-action adaptations of the manga, and have been keenly anticipated by fans.
In Singapore, about a dozen cosplayers dressed up in handmade costumes for the sneak preview last Saturday at GV VivoCity. Dressed in the red robe and hakama pants of the titular character, Himura Kenshin, teacher Jaslyne Chia, 36, said she watched the anime and enjoyed the manga as a child and was excited about the movie.
"I watched it for the fight scenes and because I like the main character. I'm happy to see that the movies really do the character justice."
Indeed, Watsuki, the original creator, said in a press statement: "Because there was too much in Kyoto Inferno to fit into one movie, I was ready for huge cuts and big changes, so I'd made up my mind right from the start, from the first movie, to respect the opinion of director Keishi Otomo. But the script has got everything into it very nicely. The movie is very close to the original, so I hope that audiences will feel very close to it."
This article was first published on Aug 27, 2014.
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