Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: �19.99
- Running time: 85
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)
Samurai X: Reflection
By Paul Jacques
September 12, 2003
Release Date: September 22, 2003
Samurai X: Reflection
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
Known throughout Japan as the Hitokiri Battousai (sword bearing master assassin). Rurouni Kenshin is now a lost soul cursed to seek atonement for his bloody past. Even the peace that now exists as a result of Kenshin's sword brings him no solace, driving him to wander far from those he loves. His wife Kaoru, steadfastly awaits his return as she mourns his absence. Will Kenshin come home before she dies of grief? The Review!
This is the concluding part of the Rurouni Kenshin story, and we find out what is at the end of the path of atonement for Kenshin. If you have enjoyed the previous volumes then this is a must, but do not watch this if you haven't seen any Kenshin yet.Audio:
I listened in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0, and I heartily recommend the Japanese sound track. Both tracks were clear and no problems were encountered, just go with the Japanese track (you can thank me later).
The accompanying music is very melodic and perfectly suited to the story's mood. No opening tack as such, just the beautiful closing track called "the source of love" at the end of episode 1. Plus the incidental music, which is the really the Overture, is used for the closing of episode 2.Video:
The widescreen presentation is very, very, well done, not pixel out of place. And the animation style is just a joy to watch.Packaging:
The front cover has Kenshin on the front, and Kaoru on the back, with the box spine acting as a separator, the effect is to show that they are two halves of the same whole or a reflection of the same life. This same shot used as the printed cover of the disc.
The single sheet insert has the same Kenshin shot as the front cover on one side, with Kenshin and Kaoru on the other side.Menu:
The opening menu is the shot from the box cover, showing the two halves of Kenshin and Kaoru joined as one. On the left we have the Episode selection and on the right Scene Selection, Languages and Extras. The background to Extras appears to be Yahiko. All hotspots worked and no dead ends were encountered. Nothing animated or clever with these menus, but they are nice to look at none-the-less.Extras:
The Extras include; the Production sketches, which are interesting; a clean closing which is always nice (especially if you like the sea); the Actors Interviews being the real meat & potatoes, and as such are worth the effort to watch.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unusually for me, this review is short because the story is so well crafted and so skillfully spun, that I would be doing you a disservice by revealing too many plot elements. As such I beg your forgiveness at my brevity.
This series has come a long way, and whether you have watched the Samurai X OVA, or the TV series, the ending applies equally to both, as this volume covers the end of Kenshin's journey.
The story is set against the back drop of Japan coming out of the last feudal era (end of the 19th century) into the modern times of renewed western cultural influence. It is no coincidence that Kenshin's greatest (living) enemy has embraced the modern times, deliberately setting himself up as an opposite of Kenshin's traditional Japanese way of life- the new usurping the old! Japan is changing and Kenshin knows this.
The opening has Kenshin traveling back to Japan from the wars aboard a steam ship, but during a storm he is washed overboard and lost, presumed drowned. It is from this point that the story transfers to his wife Kaoru, and it is mostly from her point of view that we see Kenshin's life in flashback.
During these flashbacks we follow the sequence of events from Kenshin meeting Kaoru, through their trials together, falling in love, happy marriage and long partings. Alas, as a man seeking salvation he is driven to leave home and help others (frequently), at the expense of his long suffering family. This life of helping others has caused him to becoming estranged from his son Kenji, as well as leaving his wife Kaoru lonely (awaiting his return) and seriously ill. And I will leave the storyline there, as everything that transpires is related to those elements I mention above.
In summary- Beautiful to watch, excellent script, a few good sword fights, with a romantic ending that will play your heart strings like a virtuoso. This is a must have volume for anyone following the TV or OVA series.
PS Watch (and listen) to the final credits all the way to the end, there is an epilogue to be watched.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1 & 2.0,English Subtitles ,Clean closing animation ,Production sketches ,Interviews with the original Japanese voice cast
Primary equipment: JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment: 21" Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.