‘Rurouni Kenshin’ director explains movie twists and turns [SPOILER ALERT]

Wyatt Ong

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‘Rurouni Kenshin’ director explains movie twists and turns [SPOILER ALERT]
Among many, three 'Kyoto Inferno' scenes in particular are different (or absent) from the anime, so we asked director Keishi Otomo your burning queston: WHY?!

MANILA, Philippines – The sequel to 2012’s Rurouni Kenshin movie comes with its own set of shockers, so when director Keishi Otomo was in town with lead actors Takeru Satoh and Munetaka Aoki, we just had to ask him about it. 

The previously unseen video below shows Otomo answering Rappler’s questions about 3 key scenes in the film that are different (or absent!) from the original anime. 

Click the orange button below to enter the Zone of Spoilers and get fresh insights about why the film turned out the way it did.  

There are several changes from the anime in the Rurouni Kenshin film adaptation, but this interview focuses on 3 key scenes.  

1. Meet the Bakkyusai 

The first is the Bakkyusai scene, which, though not exactly central to the plot, is a cheeky nod to the fans while going completely meta. 

The scene, near the beginning of the film, shows a slice of Kenshin’s new, peaceful life. Kenshin and friends attend a show featuring none other than Bakkyusai the killer, sporting bright red hair and a scar on his cheek. The people in the crowd enjoy it – perhaps no one more than Kenshin’s buddies, who alone know that the subject of that lore is in the room. 

There’s even a nod to one of Kenshin’s signature moves, clumsily (and hilariously) replicated by the performer onstage. 

But director Otomo says that the scene was created in order to foreshadow Kenshin’s journey back to reconnect with the deadly Battousai within – though of course via a scene that is “still entertaining, but still real.” 

2. Sorry, no fireflies 

When Rappler asked fans what scene they were most excited to see in the movie during the Rurouni Kenshin live blog, the firefly scene was hands down the top answer.  

In the anime, when Kenshin makes the decision to accept the mission to eliminate Makoto Shishio, he says a formal goodbye only to one person: his friend (and love?) Kaoru Kamiya. 

It’s all done in very dramatic fashion. Fireflies slowly light up the screen. A pensive, oddly peaceful Kenshin startles Kaoru. Kenshin tells Kaoru that he’s leaving, and reaches out to hold her for a good 30 seconds.

“I am a wanderer,” he says. “I must be wandering again. Farewell.”  

It’s pivotal, heartbreaking – okay, let’s be real – devastating for Kaoru (and all the fans who ‘ship them). 

But in the film, it’s daytime when Kenshin says goodbye. There are no fireflies, although yes, fans will get to see the big embrace.  

“When the movie starts, there’s not really a lot of time that passed from the last part, so their love is not yet really there, it’s just a very new thing…Which is why, of course as a director, I want you know dramatic scenes, those emotional scenes…that is also something I also like to create,” says Mr. Otomo. 

“But I feel that if you go through the arc of the movie, it doesn’t – it’s not consistent with how the actual movie situation is, and of course, I had to be true to the movie, which is why I did not – I chose not to get into a very dramatic scene for that.” 

Bonus: Watch Takeru Satoh’s (who plays Kenshin Himura) reaction to the fireflies question at the 2:39 mark 

3. The big twist 

In the anime, there’s a big scene on the large vessel called the Purgatory, which Kenshin, Sano, and Saito destroy.  

The vessel makes an appearance in the film – but this time, Kaoru is there, kidnapped and brought to the ship to torment a panicking Kenshin. She’s kicked into the water, and Kenshin dives in after her…then washes up on shore, where he’s rescued by a mysterious man. 

The man, of course, is presumably Hiko Seijuro, the master who taught Kenshin the art of swordsmanship. 

The decision to have Kaoru taken away from Kenshin is yet another blow for our hero, says Otomo. “And so, for her to be taken away from him, or be kidnapped for him, that is something that is worth fighting for,” he tells Rappler. “That is something that brings out something within Kenshin that would move him to do something about it, because he can’t lose that.”

Aside from these scenes, there are several other changes from the anime – though fans will still have plenty to cheer for. Many of the other iconic scenes, down to the exact lines of dialogue, were recreated in this film, and there are also many parallels to the first. 

The film took 6 months to shoot, required over 5,000 extras, was shot in 30 locations and needed a crew of over 100 people, according to the film’s production notes. But despite all this, Kenshin Himura, as well as the demon Battousai within, remains the heart of the story. 


This is the part 2 of our 3-on-1 interview with Keishi Otomo, Takeru Satoh, and Munetaka Aoki. Click here to watch Part 1, which is spoiler-free. What do you think, Kenshin fans? Discuss!

UPDATE: Part 2 of the sequel, called Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, will be shown starting September 24. The latest teaser poster, which shows Kenshin washed up in the sand, has been released. Feast your eyes on this and tune in to Rappler for more Rurouni coverage! 


All photos courtesy of Warner Bros

More Rurouni Kenshin on Rappler: 

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