Nearing the screening date, I received a wonderful surprise from UP-AME.org.
They invited me to be a guest and cosplay competition judge for Swordplay, a Rurouni Kenshin fan event, and also to the special advanced screening days before the official screening date. I've often thought that if there is one cosplay I would like people to remember me by, it would be Kenshin. I was very honored and touched that they had thought of including me to a day celebrating a series that means so much to me, and a movie I had been looking forward to for ages.
My friends and I had decided since the news of the movie screening that we would watch in costume. I dressed up in my Hitokiri Battousai cosplay for the event. Miguel merkymerx helped me step up the detail of my scar makeup. I wanted it to look like it was freshly cut and still painful, the way it was during the Trust and Betrayal OVA. We still need more practice, but it was enough to make me wince at my reflection sometimes.
Propping up my sword beside me while I got ready as one of the judges for the cosplay competition.
This is actually not my proper sword for Hitokiri Battousai, but I couldn't bring metal props into the venue. This katana was crafted by AC Karumaru, and it's made of wood. It's for a different character I'll be cosplaying. Do you recognize whose sword it is?
I'm always happy to see Rurouni Kenshin cosplayers since it's not such a regular sight anymore, so it was great for them to have a RuroKen cosplay competition. Here are just some of the contestants that were photographed by my contacts on FB:
In the end, the two winners based on the scores from the panel of judges were...
First runner-up: Ken Lim as Sagara Sanosuke
He wowed the crowd with some cool moves, jumped off the stage and then tried to exit the wrong way. Even when he didn't mean it, he was in character, hahah!
And the champion is...
Arnel Serioso as battle-worn Shinsengumi captain Saito Hajime
As the judge who was in costume, they asked me to come up onstage and take pictures with the winner. It worked out really well since our cosplays are both from the Bakumatsu
A rare smile from Saito
Gatotsu vs. Battojutsu
A battle I would really like to see is between Saito and Battousai in the Bakumatsu, so I was happy we got to take some pictures together albeit quickly.
A momentary truce
I knew you secretly like me, Saito-san
After the cosplay competition, I had a bit of time to meet people and take pictures and stuff. This makes me look like an assassin who doesn't value discretion, hahah!
Me and Me, the ace of the Rurouni Kenshin quiz bee
The past and the present
Phone snapshot with Megumi-dono
I had a cheeseburger as a quick snack, which probably looked pretty funny.
The sauce I'm holding is our local McDonald's barbecue sauce. Next time you have a cheeseburger, get an additional order of BBQ sauce and dip your burger there. You'll thank me. Hahah!
Back to trying to stay in character
My scar looks painful
I was interviewed a couple of times
One of the reasons I enjoy cosplaying Kenshin is that he is height-appropriate for me. OTL
( Click here for more pictures from the Rurouni Kenshin event and movie premiere )
Thank you to UP AME for inviting me to be a guest and judge at the Swordplay event before the film, during which I was very happy to be around fellow RuroKen fans and celebrate our love for the series with RK music and games and cosplay! I had an amazing day!
Waiting for the movie to start! And getting trolled by Megumi, hahah
It was really funny and sweet how people treated me like I was actually starring in the movie, since I was dressed as Hitokiri Battousai. Before the film started, some people asked for pictures and introduced themselves and chatted with me for a while. And when the movie was done and we exited the theater, I was interviewed by a TV crew and asked, "So how did you find the movie that you starred in?" Hahah! Good times!
I'm also incredibly touched and honored by the countless messages I've been receiving from people who said that they kept remembering me while watching the film. Thank you!
Me and my beautiful premiere ticket <3
Here are my non-spoiler general impressions about it:
Subbed or dubbed?
Let's start with one concern everyone has had: It was SUBBED, not dubbed! Whoo!
The film was visually stunning. Practically every scene you could screencap and it would be a beautiful picture. I particularly loved the subtle ways they would light Kenshin's face. The locations were pretty much perfect. I got such strong feelings of nostalgia and belonging in the Kamiya Dojo.
I would like to shake the hands of the fight choreographers because the battles were AMAZING! The entire audience could not help collectively gasping and cheering at parts because they were so gripping, and at times had a dash of comic relief. I felt they had achieved the superhuman speed, strength and agility of these anime characters we have come to admire, yet kept a good level of realism to keep them from being entirely too cheesy. There is one nitpick I would like to make toward one scene for a certain character but I think I understand why they did it, and it is forgivable.
I initially had my doubts about casting, but after seeing the film, I feel they did justice to their roles. ESPECIALLY TAKERU SATO. Kenshin is probably my favorite character of all time, and I wasn't sure if any living soul would be able to portray him in a film to my liking. I was happy to be proven wrong. Takeru was BRILLIANT. He depicted both sides of Kenshin so well — the endearing pacifistic wanderer, and the swordsman who used to be Hitokiri Battousai. Several times he made us go "AWWWWW" out loud in the middle of battle scenes, in which he performed so well! Fight choreo prowess aside, his facial expressions were also spot on. I could not be happier!
The costumes and styling were also impeccable. They stayed true to feel of the original character designs but added some changes to make them more realistic. I kept ogling at the added details on Saito's police uniform (look out for that beautiful holster). Even the way they did Takeru's hair, I found it perfect, especially if you notice how it looks from the back. The way it's pulled back but those layers that frame his face stick out at the sides. It's really reminiscent of the way Kenshin was drawn in the manga and anime.
Understandably, they had to change parts of the plot to condense the story to fit into the time frame of a movie, but I thought they were able to do it in a way that doesn't take away from the original story. There are parts that could have been improved but hey, nothing is perfect! Overall, I felt it was an incredibly successful live action adaptation of a beloved series.
My only complaint is — and this is actually not negative — it left me wanting more! Because of the time constraint, not all the characters were fully showcased, but perhaps they'll get their turn to shine on the... wait for it... SEQUEL! There are talks of a sequel for the movie! Read about it HERE. Also in the article is news about the U.S. release!
So yes, I LOVED the movie and you guys should go see it while you can! It was only supposed to show in the Philippines until December 9, but SM Cinema heard the battle cries of Rurouni Kenshin fans! Movie screening extended!!! It will continue showing from today until December 18 in some areas! It's also now showing in some branches that didn't have it before! Click here for screening details!</s>
Meanwhile, I've started hunting for new fabric already
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