Sunday, 9 December 2012

Rurouni Kenshin!

   For fans of Japanese anime, you'd be happy to know that the movie adaptation of "Samurai X" has now reached our fair shores. My first outing with the YA Care Group, that we recently joined, was to catch "Rurouni Kenshin". For the uninitiated, it is the classical tale of the wondering former assassin-with-a-conscience. Although the plot is rather cliche, certain story details do give one cause to stop and ponder.
   Is it right for human lives be sacrificed in the interest of the greater good? Who defines this greater "good"? After all, history is written by the victors. Can the proverbial leopard change it's spots? In this case, would a former killer always be a killer inside? Kenshin carries a katana with a "reversed" blade (cutting-edge facing himself) as his pledge never to kill again. And indeed he defeats all his foes without killing a single one. Why carry a sword even, if you've vowed not to kill?
Look at me! I'm way cooler than Wong Fei Hong!
   I see this movie as a reflection of the subconscious condition of the post-WWII Japanese generation. The once mighty Imperial Japanese army had been relegated to a mere "self-defence force" by Article 9 of the new Constitution. Similar to the movie, a "new age" had begun, an age of economic prosperity as Japan gave up its martial legacy. Yet shimmering just beneath the surface, Japanese pride and nationalism lurks. There is now talk of reinterpreting Article 9 or even changing the Constitution. But like Kenshin, can the new Japan truly give up it's military ambitions and take up arms only if necessary? What is "necessary" then? Will a new militarily and economically powerful Japan be able to restrain itself in the face of growing Chinese territorial ambitions? Even Kenshin almost reverted to killing his last opponent. Does Japan have a "Kaoru" to restrain it? Only time will tell. Indeed it seems that art does at times imitate life.
   Fans of "Samurai X" would be appeased to know that the movie holds close to the original anime - down to the villains. If you've just been introduced, fear not. The movie doesn't require you to have prior knowledge. Philosophy aside, it is worth watching on its own, even if only for the special fighting effects (good enough to rival "Once Upon a Time in China"s Wong Fei Hong). There's also enough eye-candy for both genders. My only grouse is that there's no kissing. ;)
   In conclusion, it is a movie worth catching. What made it even better was the company.

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