ruroni-kenshin-manila-headtitle




I am a Rurouni Kenshin fangirl. I watched it in three languages, in any media format available. I knew its theme songs’ lyrics by heart, even before I learned Japanese. I rummaged for manga in Book-off and ordered doujinshi online. I may or may not have an archived Tripod fansite dedicated to my favorite characters.
In other words, I was just like every other person angling for an invite to the Rurouni Kenshin Asian premiere and press tour. Except that I got lucky and was able to attend these events—and when I say lucky, what I actually mean is that I browbeat a friend into letting me take over coverage.
I had to often remind myself to take notes and secure pictures instead of just squeeing with delight. It took me a week to get this list done because, honestly, how can one distill 15 years of fandom into 8 bullet points? There’s comprehensive coverage of Rurouni Kenshin in Manila out there, I’ve read it myself, but these are the moments that warm the cockles of my fangirling heart:





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo8





At the premiere, members of the production team were handing out flyers featuring Kumamon, Japan’s most popular regional mascot and global internet meme, dressed up in Kenshin’s ubiquitous red and white hakama. As it turns out, Kumamoto Prefecture hosted 3 of the movie’s more than 30 location shoots, including the historic Manda Coal Mine used for the stunning opening sequence. This clever promotional tie-up—in Japan, they even have limited edition movie Kumamon mobile phone charms—ensures that Kumamato Prefecture becomes a must-visit destination for Ruroruni Kenshin fans.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo7
(photo c/o Glenmarc Antonio and Happy Hariography)




The Philippines has a robust cosplay community, with cosplayers occasionally portraying a Rurouni Kenshin character or two. But it wasn’t until Warner Bros. Philippines announced that Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno would be screened in Manila that a dedicated Rurouni Kenshin cosplay group was formed. And boy did the Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Cosplay Group deliver!
Featuring the original Kenshin-gumi, Misao and Aoshi of the Oniwabanshu, and Kyoto Inferno’s big bad: Shishio and select members of his Juppongatana crew. They entertained crowds at the SM Megamall red carpet event and the public press conference at the Glorietta Activity Center, where they were performed with the Philippine All Stars and Shinkendo Philippines. They even impressed the visiting Fuji TV news crew with the quality of their cosplay.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo6





Japanese fan culture is a lot more restrained than our local fan culture. In Japan, fans are expected to keep a respectful distance from their idols, and have to content themselves with applauding and admiring from afar. So Pinoy fans received an unexpected treat when Rurouni Kenshin stars Takeru Satoh (Kenshin Himura), Emi Takei (Kaoru Kamiya), and Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke Sagara) stopped to sign autographs on the red carpet. The lucky fans who got up close even got high fives and hugs!





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo5
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




Those of us who remember Satoh from his Princess Princess and Kamen Rider Den-O days know how much his personal style has evolved. These days, he rocks a slick monochrome palette: cropped bottoms and lace-up shoes, statement top, and the ubiquitous scarf. Satoh loves a stylish scarf, so when he received an ikat-weave when he and the rest of the Rurouni Kenshin guests were named cultural ambassadors by the Makati City council, he promptly took off his scarf and tried on the new one. He ended up wearing it for the rest of the day.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo4





Aoki was a revelation. The first Rurouni Kenshin installment proved that he made an amazing onscreen Sano, but who knew he channeled Sano in real life as well? From his flashy suits and traditional slippers combo (totally what a modern day Sano would wear) to his effusive greetings and crowd-pleasing antics, Aoki was Sanosuke Sagara personified. Plus, anyone who makes an effort to answer questions in English and find the perfect Filipino word to describe his character (ASTIG!),earns points in any fan’s book. “I am very happy to be here. Mahal ko kayo,” said Aoki; and if the deafening screams are any indication, Pinoy fans love him back.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo3
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




If Aoki bowls you over with charm, Satoh impresses with his gracious response to fans. He answers questions, even when the signal is given for the Q&A to be cut short, and when the question proves controversial, he musters a neutral response with a smile. At the public presscon one blogger asked whom he considered to be Kenshin’s great love: Kaoru, the movie’s female lead, or Tomoe, a presence only teased in the flashbacks? Surprised by the question and by the crowd’s boisterous response, Satoh shakes his head in embarrassment and says, diplomatically, “I‘m sorry. I cannot answer that question,” thus preventing the Great Rurouni Kenshin Shipping War of 2014.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo2





Another controversial question fielded to the stars and director Keishi Otomo, who was also present at the press con, was whether they would be amenable to a Hollywood remake of Rurouni Kenshin? Amidst the crowd’s boos, and Satoh and Aoki stating that their response mirrors that of the fans, Otomo proudly declares, “I would tell them to go ahead and try it. I dare you.” Otomo is well within his rights to boast—he studied scriptwriting and directing in LA before returning to direct critically acclaimed dramas for NHK, including the 2010 historical drama Ryomaden, which includes Satoh and Aoki in its cast.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo1
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno’s official tagline sounds like a call to action, and the overwhelming response of Pinoy fans had its stars hoping for a repeat performance in Manila. “I am truly surprised that this is the first time that a Japanese movie has done this in the Philippines, and I hope that Rurouni Kenshin will pave the way for more Japanese movies (to be screened in the Philippines),” said Satoh. “It’s really been fun being in the Philippines, and beyond my imagination that all of you are here[…] I’m looking forward to meeting all of you again.”
See how people reacted at the press conference held with the cast.
What do you think about this movie? Are you excited to catch it? Share in the Comments Section below.




ruroni-kenshin-manila-headtitle




I am a Rurouni Kenshin fangirl. I watched it in three languages, in any media format available. I knew its theme songs’ lyrics by heart, even before I learned Japanese. I rummaged for manga in Book-off and ordered doujinshi online. I may or may not have an archived Tripod fansite dedicated to my favorite characters.
In other words, I was just like every other person angling for an invite to the Rurouni Kenshin Asian premiere and press tour. Except that I got lucky and was able to attend these events—and when I say lucky, what I actually mean is that I browbeat a friend into letting me take over coverage.
I had to often remind myself to take notes and secure pictures instead of just squeeing with delight. It took me a week to get this list done because, honestly, how can one distill 15 years of fandom into 8 bullet points? There’s comprehensive coverage of Rurouni Kenshin in Manila out there, I’ve read it myself, but these are the moments that warm the cockles of my fangirling heart:





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo8





At the premiere, members of the production team were handing out flyers featuring Kumamon, Japan’s most popular regional mascot and global internet meme, dressed up in Kenshin’s ubiquitous red and white hakama. As it turns out, Kumamoto Prefecture hosted 3 of the movie’s more than 30 location shoots, including the historic Manda Coal Mine used for the stunning opening sequence. This clever promotional tie-up—in Japan, they even have limited edition movie Kumamon mobile phone charms—ensures that Kumamato Prefecture becomes a must-visit destination for Ruroruni Kenshin fans.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo7
(photo c/o Glenmarc Antonio and Happy Hariography)




The Philippines has a robust cosplay community, with cosplayers occasionally portraying a Rurouni Kenshin character or two. But it wasn’t until Warner Bros. Philippines announced that Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno would be screened in Manila that a dedicated Rurouni Kenshin cosplay group was formed. And boy did the Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Cosplay Group deliver!
Featuring the original Kenshin-gumi, Misao and Aoshi of the Oniwabanshu, and Kyoto Inferno’s big bad: Shishio and select members of his Juppongatana crew. They entertained crowds at the SM Megamall red carpet event and the public press conference at the Glorietta Activity Center, where they were performed with the Philippine All Stars and Shinkendo Philippines. They even impressed the visiting Fuji TV news crew with the quality of their cosplay.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo6





Japanese fan culture is a lot more restrained than our local fan culture. In Japan, fans are expected to keep a respectful distance from their idols, and have to content themselves with applauding and admiring from afar. So Pinoy fans received an unexpected treat when Rurouni Kenshin stars Takeru Satoh (Kenshin Himura), Emi Takei (Kaoru Kamiya), and Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke Sagara) stopped to sign autographs on the red carpet. The lucky fans who got up close even got high fives and hugs!





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo5
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




Those of us who remember Satoh from his Princess Princess and Kamen Rider Den-O days know how much his personal style has evolved. These days, he rocks a slick monochrome palette: cropped bottoms and lace-up shoes, statement top, and the ubiquitous scarf. Satoh loves a stylish scarf, so when he received an ikat-weave when he and the rest of the Rurouni Kenshin guests were named cultural ambassadors by the Makati City council, he promptly took off his scarf and tried on the new one. He ended up wearing it for the rest of the day.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo4





Aoki was a revelation. The first Rurouni Kenshin installment proved that he made an amazing onscreen Sano, but who knew he channeled Sano in real life as well? From his flashy suits and traditional slippers combo (totally what a modern day Sano would wear) to his effusive greetings and crowd-pleasing antics, Aoki was Sanosuke Sagara personified. Plus, anyone who makes an effort to answer questions in English and find the perfect Filipino word to describe his character (ASTIG!),earns points in any fan’s book. “I am very happy to be here. Mahal ko kayo,” said Aoki; and if the deafening screams are any indication, Pinoy fans love him back.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo3
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




If Aoki bowls you over with charm, Satoh impresses with his gracious response to fans. He answers questions, even when the signal is given for the Q&A to be cut short, and when the question proves controversial, he musters a neutral response with a smile. At the public presscon one blogger asked whom he considered to be Kenshin’s great love: Kaoru, the movie’s female lead, or Tomoe, a presence only teased in the flashbacks? Surprised by the question and by the crowd’s boisterous response, Satoh shakes his head in embarrassment and says, diplomatically, “I‘m sorry. I cannot answer that question,” thus preventing the Great Rurouni Kenshin Shipping War of 2014.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo2





Another controversial question fielded to the stars and director Keishi Otomo, who was also present at the press con, was whether they would be amenable to a Hollywood remake of Rurouni Kenshin? Amidst the crowd’s boos, and Satoh and Aoki stating that their response mirrors that of the fans, Otomo proudly declares, “I would tell them to go ahead and try it. I dare you.” Otomo is well within his rights to boast—he studied scriptwriting and directing in LA before returning to direct critically acclaimed dramas for NHK, including the 2010 historical drama Ryomaden, which includes Satoh and Aoki in its cast.





ruroni-kenshin-manila-photo1
(photo by Lyra Pandy)




Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno’s official tagline sounds like a call to action, and the overwhelming response of Pinoy fans had its stars hoping for a repeat performance in Manila. “I am truly surprised that this is the first time that a Japanese movie has done this in the Philippines, and I hope that Rurouni Kenshin will pave the way for more Japanese movies (to be screened in the Philippines),” said Satoh. “It’s really been fun being in the Philippines, and beyond my imagination that all of you are here[…] I’m looking forward to meeting all of you again.”
See how people reacted at the press conference held with the cast.
What do you think about this movie? Are you excited to catch it? Share in the Comments Section below.

Patricia Calzo Vega

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