Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B
- 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. #15: The Firefly's Wish
By Chris Beveridge
March 17, 2002
Release Date: February 26, 2002
Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #15: The Firefly's Wish
What They Say
© Media Blasters
The first volume of Tales of the Meiji, the third arc of the Rurouni Kenshin story.
After returning from Kyoto, Kenshin, Sanosuke and the others are looking for a rest from the ghosts of the Revolution. Despite Yahiko being mistaken for a foreign prince and Sanosuke finding a treasure-hiding dog, peace prevails at the Kamiya dojo.
During this breather, Kenshin and Karou think back to the one moment they had together among the fireflies. Kenshin may still be haunted by the love he buried in the past, but now he has the chance for a wish for the future. The Review!
The first installment of the Meiji Tales is going to be interesting for a lot of people to see, as it's the first true post-Kyoto set of episodes and the first batch to really get away from the manga.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio track here is basically what we've seen in previous volumes with a good forward soundstage based track with some decent directionality here but nothing going to the rears. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noticed no dropouts or other distortions.Video:
The transfer for this volume is roughly on par with what we've seen in recent volumes as well, with most of the episodes looking good with accurate colors and no over saturation. Cross coloration does make a bit stronger of an appearance in some of these episodes than others, but that's something that varies so much between players and connections. Packaging:
To mark the change of arcs, the front cover artwork style has changed again, giving the cover something of a book-like look with the discs title along the left and the new Tales of the Meiji sublogo now appearing. The artwork an design look great, which I wasn't too sure about when I first saw the images, but after seeing the physical disc, I'm hooked on it. The back cover provides a nice brief summary of things and a few screenshots along with the usual things such as the discs features and episode numbers and titles. Menus:
With the new arc, the menus get a new look as well and the volumes that built up to the fiery end of Kyoto are now gone. Using the front cover artwork and overall design, the look here is fantastic with some of the music playing along. Selections are quick to access and moving around is pretty simple as things are logically and consistently laid out.Extras:
The only extras included this time around is another segment of dub outtakes and more useful liner notes for these episodes.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For many people, this is the cutoff point of their collection for Kenshin, as the end of the Kyoto arc marks the end of the good stories. Of course, often times these are the same people who have said that the episodes prior to the Kyoto arc are garbage as well and should be avoided, since Kenshin is a "wuss" there as well. Suffice to say, I continue to ignore this somewhat vocal contingent of Kenshin fans and simply take the shows as presented.
This first dabbling into post-Kyoto isn't bad by any means, if you were happy and enjoyed the pre-Kyoto episodes. Those looking for more Kyoto are of course going to be exceptionall disappointed. The show moves along with everyone now back in Tokyo and going about their daily lives, and having the lives of other intersect with them. Parts of the opening have everyone getting the dojo back in shape, such as having Sanosuke fix one of the walls where Saito ravaged it or having Yahiko clean everything else. Kenshin falls back into the tranquil lifestyle very quickly with his return to his laundry duties.
But there's things lurking around every corner to keep their lives hopping. There's one amusing episode that gives Sanosuke some of the center stage again as he ends up being befriended by a huge dog that's acquired a key to a hidden treasure. A mysterious group of warriors in fox masks had been hunting the government official who had the key, but in the midst of their battle, the key got picked up by the dog who promptly booked out of there. Sanosuke ends up finding the dog and the dog takes an instant liking to him and to the others, and ends up wrapping them up in its own troubles. With as much dark and tense episodes as we've had, something like this is sorely needed to balance things out.
Another good light episode that works well has Kaoru's friend realize that it's time for Kenshin to start getting on with the whole ring and engagement thing after they have an encounter in the city at a ring shop. With a special holiday for such things literally right around the corner, she makes good use of her social skills to manipulate everyone into place to get Kenshin to offer up the ring to her. The episode skits a lot of the issues with their relationship, but any chance for it to actually move forward somewhat is good to see. The only noticeable downturn in their relationship post-Kyoto is that both of them seem to have gotten a bit younger than they were during it, and some of the potential strength from their time together in Kyoto has been lost.
At most, this first batch of episodes gives me some amount of hope for some good short arcs and some interesting standalone stories about the cast to help continue to flesh them out for the remainder of the series. I've made it this far and I'm certainly not going to drop out on it now. With maybe a slight decrease in overall animation style, the show feels much like it did in the early episodes and we got a good kick out of those.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Dub Outtakes,Liner Notes
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.