Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning review – this film has it all

By Romey Norton
Published: July 30, 2021
Netflix film Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning


Full of fighting, romance, inner conflicts, tragedy, this film has it all. 

This review of the Netflix film Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning does not contain spoilers.

As someone new to this genre, I am grateful for what a fantastic film this is, introducing me to this world. Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, is the final film in the live-action series. It follows Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, a film that has just been released on Netflix earlier this year. A little close together for two films to be released, but this just means you have plenty to watch and aren’t left waiting. 

This film’s story focuses on Kenshin Himura’s (played by Takeru Satoh) past as the assassin Hitokiri Battosai, and his relationship with Tomoe Yukishiro (played by Kasumi Arimura). For the bigger fanbase, it will tell the story of how he received his iconic cross-shaped scar. The film brings the tale of Kenshin and Tomoe’s tragic romance into the live-action world. Both characters are broken people, driven by their consuming goals.

Personally, I think this film is one of the best live-action adaptations of a manga/anime out there, even though I have only watched a few, this film really stands out. If you’re perhaps not a massive fan already, exploring different genres, or wanting something new to watch, this is a great film to get yourself stuck into. This film is a prequel, so you don’t need to know anything about Ruroni Kenshin to understand what is going on. Full of fighting, romance, inner conflicts, tragedy, this film has it all. 

I really enjoyed the visuals of Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning. They are stunning. The darkened colors chosen give the film darkness and grittiness which compliments the storyline so well. There are not the usual vibrant, dramatic colors that you see in similar films. Other than Tomoe, she is the brightest character, extenuating her beauty, making her stand out to Kenshin.

This film is bloody and it’s violent. There are no over-the-top wire-fu or insane acrobatics, which stereotypically, I was expecting. Instead, we have intense, well-choreographed sword fights. Although Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning classifies itself as an action film, the storyline is a little too slow for me, to be classified as action. Much more leaned towards a romantic tragedy. However, the storyline is well written and the acting is of a high standard. Their relationship is a slow but complex one. I enjoy the fact that it shows that love doesn’t replace or fix anger and hate. In fact, finding love in one another is the great tragedy of their love. There is a great plot twist so watch out for that one. 

Regardless of whether you’ve seen the other films in the series or not, with classic Shakespearean proportions and impressive sword fighting, I highly recommend this film. One final thought/opinion: everyone’s hair is amazing.

What did you think of the Netflix film Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning? Comment below.

Movie Reviews, Netflix