All Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - Seisou-hen released episodes
Coming to "Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen" after "Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen", I had high expectations, as almost anyone would. Some of those were met, but perhaps more weren't.Lets start with the animation. With "Tsuiokuhen" looking so amazing, I knew it would be hard for "Seisouhen" to match it, yet alone top it. "Seisouhen" still managed to disappoint though, even with the scaled back expectations. The character design changed yet again - it's different from both the character designs of "Tsuiokuhen" as well as that from the "Rurouni Kenshin" main series, and I don't like it nearly as much as "Tsuiokuhen" ones. Also, being set many years after series had ended, a lot of the characters have aged, and the way the art tries to reflect this isn't the best."Seisouhen" doesn't have much in the way of story. It's more of a scenario where an old Kenshin, having given up the way of the sword, spends most of his time away from his home, tending to the sick as a way of atoning for his blood splattered past. The OVA actually revolves around Kaoru waiting for Kenshin to return to her, and while she waits, she recalls some of the experiences has shared with him.While the settings in "Seisouhen" isn't bad, it's diluted by tons of flashbacks in the first half of the anime. It's almost like a clip show of moments from the main series, and that feels to me like an excuse to redo some of the scenes. But since the new animation isn't that great to begin with, the flashbacks come across as a bit pointless. The way "Seisouhen" presented its story is also quite confusing in places, and I didn't get what happened early on.The biggest gripe I have with "Seisouhen" is with Kenshin's characterisation. The impression I get is that the makers tried too hard to create a humourless mood similar to "Tsuiokuhen", and in doing so destroyed the sense of progression with Kenshin's character. In "Tsuiokuhen", Kenshin is a brooding youth, mostly devoid of emotion; in "Seisouhen"... Kenshin is a brooding old man, mostly devoid of emotion; sandwiched in the middle, we have the "Rurouni Kenshin" series, in which Kenshin is a friendly, smiling man who's come a long way since his days as a moody manslayer. See the problem? While the humourless characterisation worked in the case of "Tsuiokuhen", in "Seisouhen" it made Kenshin go BACKWARDS in terms of emotional maturity, and nothing happened during the main series that could have caused the change to happen. If anything, the constant presence of Kaoru should have been helped Kenshin to make peace with himself to a certain extent. What made this worse is that the flashbacks in this OVA are basically events from the TV series but done in this new, serious style, featuring the brooding Kenshin. So, not only did "Seisouhen" do some backward character development, it also tried to destroy the existing character development. Talk about character UNdevelopment!But after some initial grumbling, I eventually managed to overlook its glaring inconsistency in character development. The reason for this is simple: the key moments in the show really hits home. What really makes the show is its deeply moving drama. What's more, it succeeds in drawing the Kenshin saga to a very emotional close, and if nothing else, that alone is worthy of the attention of Kenshin fans.
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