Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Movie Review

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Fan Service, Manga, Movies, My Stuff on September 29th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Rurouni Kenshin ends with style.

And here it is. Just a few weeks after Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno hit theaters in Manila, the third flick of Kenshin ‘Battousai’ Himura (played by the androgynous Takeru Sato) arrived, finishing the story of the Japanese swordsman with the cross-shaped scar. Of course, being a fan of the anime, I really didn’t buy into the ‘cliffhanger’ of Episode 2- Kaoru and Kenshin both thrown into storm-tossed seas? Meh. Kaoru missing? As if. This was all setup for the Final Battle you just knew was inevitable, and all that matters really was that it would kick ass like no other. Perhaps with that in mind, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends pretty much throws in all the action into this sequel’s second half (or final third) in its two-hour running time.

Now, if you’re watching RKTLE, it is assumed you have watched at least the 2nd flick, if not both preceding movies. This means pretty much you are invested into director Keishi Otomo’s film adaptation (or are with someone who is). The movie eases into the flow right from the end moments of the prequel- really, you can watch the two movies back-to-back. Kenshin, who jumped into the roiling seas to rescue his lady love, Kaori Kamiya (Emi Takei), who was kicked off the decks of the Rengoku by the baddies. Unfortunately, he fails to find her, himself only barely surviving and getting washed up on a beach the morning after. Serendipitously, he is found by the one person in the world that matters- his Master and teacher in the Hiten Mitsurugi Style of Swordsmanship, Seijuro Hiko (Masaharu Fukuyama). After he awakens (three days later), Kenshin pleads with his master to teach him the Final Technique of Hiten Mitsurugi, in order to defeat Shishio.

What happens next is- well, little in the course of about an hour or so, as Kenshin spends what seems to be an eternity getting beat up by Seijuro’s tough love training. Meanwhile, the rest of the Kenshingumi (Sanosuke Sagara, Yahiko Myoujin, Megumi and the Aoiya Ninja) are at a loss with their two leads missing. Shishio and his minions are chilling on their giant battleship, shelling a town and extorting the Japanese government into declaring Kenshin culpable for his past crimes and sentencing the Rurouni to a public execution. Because, well, reasons. This never happened in the anime or manga (heck, why would Shishio bother? Oh well) but I guess it gives the many dozens of actors playing policemen more action to do. Heheh.

Once Kenshin finally emerges from his training sabbatical, things begin to pick up. Everyone converges for the final third, which gives way to a seemingly non-stop all-action final battle extravaganza which gladly makes all the wait worth it. The bloody brilliant confrontation between Shishio and… well, EVERYONE is freakin’ cool and caps off this flick with style.

There are, of course, many points that fans may grip with. With a finale that has so many characters, it is almost a given that there will be shortcuts. Whereas the 2nd movie snuck in two major battles with two of Shishio’s fearsome ‘Ten Swords’ (Juppongatana) henchmen, The Legend Ends is barely able to match that- aside from the given rematch between Kenshin and Sojiro Seta (which I found quite satisfying though Ryunosuke Kamiki eventually acting like he had a brain tumor was kinda a bit over), we only see about to other of the Ten Swords in action- blind swordsman Usui, who was a considerable baddie in the anime and manga is only given a couple of kinda-scenes, but at least he gets offed by the same guy.
Then there’s the fight between Sanosuke and Anji, which fills in at least the quota for Sano to show some funny action. But everyone else- blink and you’ll miss some of the Ten Swords being led away by the cops at the end.

But then, this is all about the Battle between Shishio and Kenshin, and this is the heart of the movie- it’s a long and knockdown, drag-out bloody to the hilt battle that starts off one-on-one then moves to two on one and finally FOUR on one before it boils down to the last moment. The most impressive parts are whenever Shishio swings his fiery sword though, with Kenshin’s signature Amakakeru being slightly expected, but the end was impressive nevertheless.

The cast is still in fine form, but I award the best performances to Tatsuya Fujiwara’s Shishio who just screams badassand stands up favorably to his manga and anime incarnations, down to the final, evil death laugh. The best villains don’t fade away, they BURN away.

That all said, I guess Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is yet another third part of a trilogy that is sadly inferior to the second flick (Kyoto Inferno is the best-paced with the most consistent action). A bit of a top-heavy gargantuan, The Legend Ends impresses with a bombastic finale, but it was more of the enemy kicking ass and didn’t have enough of the good guy ‘Yes!’ moments that would have made this more crowd-pleasing. And No Kamatari in action, dammit!

Still, if you watched the first and second parts, this is a no-brainer watch, and I say you need to watch it in a theater full of like-minded Kenshin fans. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is now showing in Metro Manila theaters.

Tekken 7: Savate Fighting Style?

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, Tekken, Tekken 7 on September 23rd, 2014 by thelonegamer

Action from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

We’ve all heard about the upcoming new female character Catalina for Tekken 7. She’s going to be a sassy, vocal combatant, prone to taunting her opponent. She’s going to be noob-friendly. AND by the way, she practices a martial art called Savate. Savate is a French kickboxing style that emphasizes the use of the feet- which is different from Muay Thai which uses also the shins and knees.

So how does Savate look in action? You can probably find a lot of clips online to show this, but I think one cool clip can be seen in the Marvel Comics’ sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At the start of the movie, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) battles an acrobatic, high-kicking Georges Batroc (Georges St.Pierre) AKA Batroc the Leaper, who should be using Savate. Pretty cool stuff, I have to say. Will Catalina be as slick as that? Well, as Cap says, ‘Let’s see.’

Tekken 7 New Character Unveiled at TGS2014

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken 7 on September 20th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Sassy Catalina is another new character set for Tekken 7.

News about the upcoming beat ‘em up sequel, Tekken 7, has been rare, but at least the recent tidbits were at least of more substance than the game’s lackluster showing early on. Since then, we’ve seen Harada show off an Arab character (who may or may not make it into the roster), and just this past week we’ve been told that the game will finally make its first appearance at Location Tests in Japan in early October.

During the Madcatz Stream at the TGS 2014 just today, Harada revealed the sketch above of another new character, who will supposedly be available and playable during the Location Testing. This new character is Catalina, a female fighter from South or Central America. She is apparently very vocal during combat, perhaps taunting her opponent a lot (which may make her pretty irritating). Her fighting style is Savate, which is a French martial art that emphasizes a lot of kicks. She will also be a very beginner-friendly character. I am thinking- will she be kinda like a Latina Lili? Some have also pointed out that she resembles Christie Monteiro a lot (in appearance), but the fighting style should make them easily distinguishable.

According to Harada and Michael Murray during the Stream, Tekken 7 will be going back to ‘the roots’ of Tekken- what this may mean is a more simple gameplay system, which will probably do away with the complexities added during Tekken Tag 2 (and perhaps even Tekken 6). The game is still heavy in development, but at least a playable build will be seen in a couple of weeks time.

More on this as it happens- supposedly Harada will be listening to fan requests and questions over at his Twitter, so hit him up if you have something to say about this upcoming sequel.

Killer Instinct Season 2 ‘Maya’ Trailer and New Character Reveal

Posted in Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Killer Instinct, Xbox One on September 18th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Maya and the all-new character revealed at TGS!

I thought it was still about a day away but nope- the long-awaited debut trailer showing off Killer Instinct Season 2′s femme fatale, Maya, has just debuted over at the ongoing Tokyo Game Show 2014. The spot is similar to previous debut spots for characters in KI, showing off their moves and stage. Maya is certainly a tall one, and she translates well into the game from her concept art (which was all we had to go on for quite a long time).

Shown off was Maya’s dual-wielding dagger style, which I have to say went and looked as I thought it would. She certainly fits in with the whole combo-heavy style of game. Have to say though, along with the stage, I really, really wish she still had her classic (or even an updated) Jungle Girl look- the armored thing just isn’t working for me- hoping the Customizations or her Retro Outfit are accessible sooner rather than later.

Also included in the video debut was a short intro for KI’s first all-new character- who appears to be an ancient Mummy. Okay, we already have a Skeleton Warrior, why a Mummy? Is this Darkstalkers or something? Eeh. Hoping this guy is interesting but I don’t really like him off the bat.

Maya will be available in KI’s Season 2 starting October 15, 2014 on your Xbox One’s via XBox Live.

TGS 2014: Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN Epicness!

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, PS3, PS4 on September 18th, 2014 by thelonegamer

It’s all about EPIC trailer goodness!!!

ArcSystemWorks’ anime-styled beat ‘em up Guilty Gear Xrd Sign is coming this holiday season, and I am really wanting this game so bad. It’s GORGEOUS as heck- literally an awesome anime action extravaganza you play, and it is looking freakin’ amazing. Aside from the expanded story mode, the game will come with at least two console-exclusive characters- Sin Kiske (son of protagonist Ky) and the recently-introduced Elphelt. For their TGS showing, Arc showed off a new ‘Epic’ trailer which shows off scenes from the Story Mode (which is really my prime mode to play) and 10 minutes of raw gameplay showing off the console newcomers.

The game is set for release on PS3 and PS4 in early December in Japan- hoping it comes earlier for us Gaijin! We’ll see. My body is ready… say the word, GGXrd, and I’ll buy a PS4. Haha!

The Devs show off Sin and Elphelt gameplay.

The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

Posted in Anime, Movies, My Stuff on September 9th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Now when do we get our live-action Revenge Arc?

When I saw the first Rurouni Kenshin live-action flick a couple of years ago, I was satisfied and inwardly pleased- but I honestly didn’t expect a sequel. Well lo and behold, two years later, we will not be getting a sequel but TWO sequels, in the form of a two-part epic adapting the series’ most beloved story arc (both in the manga and in the anime series).

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno starts off the tale strong, with a small army of Japanese Meiji-Era police on the prowl to capture a notorious criminal named Makoto Shishio (an unrecognizable Tatsuya Fujiwara or Nanahara for you Battle Royale fans). Though led by the cigarette-smoking former samurai Saito Hajime (Yosuke Eguchi), the police are pretty much massacred and Saito left all by his lonesome to chat with Shishio, who makes an impressive and suitably demonic first appearance, surrounded by hanging bodies of dying constables and backed by his own cultish group of chanting monks and blade-twirling henchmen.

The ball is soon thrown to our man, Kenshin Himura (Takeru Sato), our androgynous, gentleman retired-super assassin, who has been living the quiet life in the Kamiya Dojo with Kaoru Kamiya (Emi Takei). With every police detachment sent to apprehend Shishio being wiped out, the government’s head, Home Minister Okubo (Kazufumi Miyazawa) turns to the legendary Battousai. It turns out that Shishio was Kenshin’s replacement after he turned Rurouni. Though Kenshin is advised by everyone he cares about to refuse the mission, events soon take it out of their control (and of course we wouldn’t have much of a movie then would we?).

The first chapter of the Shishio Saga adaptation includes Kenshin’s acceptance of the quest to rid the land of his successor, his first journey into Shishio’s occupied territories and his meetings with several important allies and villains- including Makimachi Misao (Tao Tsuchiya), a feisty young kunoichi or ninja, and the staff of the Aoiya Inn in Kyoto- all former Shogunate Ninja, and Cho the Sword Hunter (Ryosuke Miura), the first of Shishio’s minions he fights. Also lurking in the sidelines (but thankfully having the direction sense of Ranma 1/2′s Ryouga) is Aoshi Shinomori (Yusuke Iseya), another former ninja-turned swordsman looking to challenge the Battousai.

I have to say that this is a very Japanese film in style, flavor and feel- anyone not familiar with the source material may feel a bit out of it- particularly because the flick doesn’t explain much… it just assumes you have watched the first film at least, or are a fan of the anime/manga. Which is FINE since otherwise, you wouldn’t be watching. Heh.

At more than two hours, this costumed, period epic and anime adaptation will surely please Rurouni Kenshin fans and those who enjoyed the first film- it pretty much is an improvement on everything- the story pacing is faster (but still a bit leisurely), the action a lot better and visually more punchy (the high points being the fight between Kenshin and Sojiro, the village battle and of course, the Kyoto finale) and the costumed characters even more anime-ish (and in this case that’s a plus) from Shishio’s bandaged, mummy-like visage to Cho’s blonde coifs that would make Paul Phoenix and Guile bristle with jealousy. You just gotta love it.

Of course, the film ends with a MAMMOTH cliffhanger, but thankfully we don’t have to wait too long- Part 2, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, is set to arrive here in Manila on September 24.

I feel so lucky that RK is so beloved here in the Philippines we Pinoys get a special release so soon after Japan. Heheh. Till then, I may find myself rewatching the anime over and over till late September. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see Kenshin finally, FINALLY, do THE stance. Heheh. Can’t. Freakin’. Wait.