a.k.a. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Ishin Shishi no Requiem
Himura Kenshin and his friends decide to take a vacation in Yokohama. During their sightseeing, Kenshin encounters a chivalrous samurai named Shigure Takimi who puts down a disturbance in town. Back at the ranch, the two avail to their colleagues how noble and kind the other is. Kenshin secretly has his suspicions, however, and rightfully so. Shigure is amassing an army to lead a new revolution against the corrupt Meiji government. He is not motivated by blind ambition, but instead by vengeance for a fallen comrade. It’s up to Kenshin to prevent another war and more bloodshed.
summary by Kain
Highs: Interesting new characters; nice orchestral pieces
Lows: Music overwhelms; substandard animation; off-the-rack plot
Years from now, when someone is cataloging the history of anime, Rurouni Kenshin will go down as one of the more influential and pivotal of the 1990s (with undeniable help from Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen). No thanks to this movie.
Here is most peoples’ irritation with this anime, and I share their sentiment: for an anime movie, the animation is just poor. In fact, I could only spot two occasions when the animation and action were up to the standards that should have been met throughout: the opening fight between Kenshin and Gentatsu, and the final fight between Kenshin and Shigure (c’mon, this is hardly a spoiler. The plot is so predictable and unimaginative that I’ve seen better in some of the filler episodes from the television series).
That is the problem with Requiem for the Ishin Patriots: it works like an episode but is stretched to a movie format. There’s simply not enough script to go around for everyone; Sanosuke, Kaoru, Yahiko and (gulp!) Saitoh are merely props. On the flipside of that coin, Shigure is a fascinating person and I would have liked to have seen more of his story in the series. Some of the dramatic songs are beautiful and would make a nice addition to any OST collection, but Requiem for the Ishin Patriots simply is too much in love with the music to the point that it must play in nearly every scene. I’m a big fan of long, comfortable silences.
It’s no Tsuiokuhen, but then again it’s no Seisouhen, either. Sometimes the middle ground is just good enough.
Highs: Colorful art; all of my favorite characters are here; action packed
Lows: Shallow plot; shallow characters; poor animation
A successful series like Rurouni Kenshin just wouldn’t be complete without a movie, and to top it off have it be made by the same company that did the wildly successful OVA Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen. This movie had the potential to be just as good, but it just was approached all wrong.
The first thing I noticed was this movie was made so that even if one hadn’t seen the television series, he could still watch this movie to its full enjoyment. For those that have seen Rurouni Kenshin, like myself, this poses a problem; you only get a glimpse of the personality of each character, almost like a preview. In fact, while watching Requiem for the Ishin Patriots, I often felt like I was watching a trailer to the series. It’s an hour and a half long trailer with a story tailored around giving each character a little screen time to do their thing. Very little thought was even put into the story; to put it bluntly the plot was boring and predictable.
Setting the story aside, I must say that I really liked the art in Requiem for the Ishin Patriots; it felt like the art in the television series, but with brighter colors. Instead of going for realism like the OVAs, the creators went for a traditional anime feel. It really worked, too. I can’t say the same about the animation, however, which was extremely poor. The music was good, but not really anything too special or memorable. On the other hand, I was happy that the original seiyuu cast was used.
OK, so the story is dull, the characters are dull, the animation is dull, and, frankly, most everything about Requiem for the Ishin Patriots is dull… and yet, I can still honestly say that I had fun watching this movie. It’s no Tsuiokuhen, but it’s worth your time, so whether or not you have seen the television show, if you feel inclined to watch this movie, I say go for it.
Requiem for the Ishin Patriots can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.