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Last Friday (7 May), Netflix Asia announced that Rurouni Kenshin: The Final and The Beginning will be released within this year, exclusively on Netflix in selected territories, including Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.
Rurouni Kenshin follows the story of wandering swordsman Kenshin Himura, portrayed by Takeru Satoh, during the early Meiji period in Japan. Before Kenshin roams around offering protection to those in need, he was a legendary assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai, which literally means sword-drawing man-slayer.
The first Rurouni Kenshin live-action film was released in 2012 and was well-received worldwide. The series subsequently released sequels Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends in 2014, which features Tatsuya Fujiwara — known for his role as Light Yagami or Kira in Death Note (2006) — as Makoto Shishio, the main antagonist.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final/The Beginning, which are the fourth and fifth film of the series, will see Takeru Satoh reprise his role as Kenshin. While other cast members like Emi Takei, Yu Aoi and Tao Tsuchiya will return as well, the latest films will welcome new characters to the story too. Specifically, there are three new cast members.
Issey Takahashi portrays Katsura Kogoro, who is pivotal in mentoring young Kenshin.
Nijiro Murakami portrays Okita Soji, the captain of the first Shinsengumi (special police force) unit, who fought Kenshin.
Last but not least, Masanobu Andou portrays Takasugi Shinsaku, best friend of Katsura Kogoro, who opposed the recruitment of young Kenshin as Hitokiri Battousai.
The Rurouni Kenshin movies were supposed to be released in theatres in Japan last summer, but owing to the pandemic, the releases were postponed to this year, on 23 April for The Final and 4 June for The Beginning. Although no specific date has been announced for their Netflix debut, judging from the Japan cinema release dates, it is likely that we will only see them in the later half of 2021.
Regardless, many eager fans would be more than happy to do a recap of the first three Rurouni Kenshin movies. Perhaps Netflix should look at offering these titles prior to Rurouni Kenshin: The Final/The Beginning!
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