Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #09: Heart of the Sword -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #09: Heart of the Sword

By Lawrence Chu     February 18, 2002
Release Date: August 14, 2001

The Review!
Content: Continuing our journey to Kyoto, this disc focuses mostly on Kenshin and Sanosuke's travels (although there's a brief, minute-long sequence just so that Kaoru and Yahiko's VAs get their paycheck). We've got two major action sequences here during Kenshin's faceoff with his successor, Makoto Shishio, and some character development in the form of Sanosuke's past and what drives him. Then, we make it to Kyoto, where we meet the rest of Misao's "family," including her godfather Okina and some helping hands, and we visit the home of one of Kenshin's fallen comrades. But, of course, Shishio is watching...

(Note: Primary listening track is Japanese.)
The good: Everything's as crystal clear as ever. Good directionality, good sound effects, good English dubbing (with one exception). Remember that deviousness I wanted to hear from David Lucas' Shishio? He's got it now, and he almost sounds dead-on like his Japanese counterpart. And Iori (NOT Yagami) sounds incredibly cute in both sound versions.
The bad: Ow. Cho's Texas Country Hick accent is just...ow. Ow, ow, ow. I know he's supposed to be from Osaka, but c'mon! You can do better than THAT! It's like Wolfwood on crack! It probably IS Wolfwood on crack! OW.
The ugly: A couple of awkward pauses for lipsyncing, but the Country Hick accent is about as ugly as it gets. Ow.

The good: High on resolution, low on rainbows. Fluid animation...
The bad: ...with the exception of, I believe, two parts where the disc kinda...what's the word? Flummoxes? I don't know if it's just that I got a bad disc, since nobody else has mentioned it yet. One happens while Saito is talking about Sojiro (I think), and I remember the other being there, though I don't remember what it was, exactly.
The ugly: Hm...nah.

The good: Blue-on-grey works quite well for a color scheme. Lots of nummy bishounen for the gals. Shishio, Kenshin, Sano, Sojiro, and...uh...Cho. I suppose you could call Cho a bishounen.
The bad: We guys only get Yumi, and it's just her face!...ah, well. At least it's a nice face. :P
The ugly: The only possible note of miscellany is that it's time for MB to update their "Also look for:" on the back of the insert to include the first Kyoto DVD, "Shadow of the Wolf," instead of "The Shadow Elite." Maybe add "Elf Princess Rane" in there, as well.

The good: Knowing that the menu selection is going to be like this from here until the end of Kyoto, I'm beginning to accept the fact that the menus in the extras/settings panels are going to be written vertically from here on out. After all, it's the one mild pet peeve I have in an otherwise flawless menu.
The bad: The little opening clip didn't have much in the way of animation, but oh well.
The ugly: Now that I've gotten over the vertical thing, there's nothing to list here.

The good: Liner notes, outtakes, creditless ED.
The bad: No creditless OP. In some ways, this is good, because it means we've got something to anticipate for the next disc, since this opening rocks.
The ugly: Not really ugly, but who in the world thought up a TWO-AND-A-HALF-MINUTE CLOSING SEQUENCE?! @_@

Subtitles: A number of typos that I don't care to repeat nor do I remember specifically here.

Overall: If you're looking for action and/or character development, this one's got it. Also has a fair amount of the comedy we've come to enjoy. ^_^ If you're buying Kenshin, might as well keep up the purchasing momentum.

Review Equipment
Review Equipment:
Dell Dimension XPS/350, RealMagic Hollywood PlusReview Equipment:
Dell Dimension XPS/350, RealMagic Hollywood Plus


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