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Samurai X: Reflection, known as Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen (星霜編 Time?) in Japan, is the second OVA series of the anime show Rurouni Kenshin. It is set both during and after the TV series and manga.

Plot

The OVA starts out as a montage of singular events surrounding the life of Kenshin Himura, told from the point of view of Kaoru Kamiya. Then the remainder of it involves Kenshin, who becomes tortured anew by the guilt of leading a happy life after such a destructive past. He makes the decision to wander again, and Kaoru strongly supports him, promising to welcome him home with a smile and their child. For fifteen years, he wanders, returning every once in a while.

However, this leads his son, Kenji Himura to hold resentment towards Kenshin for leaving them. Now in his adolescence, he leaves for Kyoto hoping to learn Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu from Seijuro Hiko, hoping to be as strong as his father, and create his own legend. Soon however, Yahiko Myojin tracks him down at the request of Kaoru. He wears the mark of evil on his back, too. Yahiko duels him to show him the delusions of achieving his father's greatness. Yahiko admits that he is a genius and has natural talent as a swordsman. However, he knew that neither passion, discipline, nor skill would make Kenji superior to his father. So, in a one final strike, Yahiko lets Kenji experience the full brunt of Kenshin's Sakabatou; allowing Kenji to experience the strength of his father's philosophy firsthand. Falling to his knee, Yahiko presented Kenji with the Sakabatō as a late genpuku gift, hoping that now he'd realize that Kenshin's strength lay not in his ability to kill, but in his appreciation of life, his devotion and self-sacrifice to those in need.

Meanwhile, Kenshin eventually becomes ravaged by an unknown disease that is much like leprosy (the writers have admitted there is no medical explanation for Kenshin's condition[citation needed]). To share his pain, Kaoru convinces Kenshin to infect her with the disease through sexual intercourse. Kenshin then leaves to go assist in the First Sino-Japanese War (primarily over control of Korea) as he had promised the Meiji Government, not fighting and killing, but instead helping people.

After the war's end, Sanosuke discovers a very ill Kenshin sometime after he had fallen overboard on a ship. Sanosuke arranges Kenshin's return to Tokyo by boat. Upon arriving, a bed-ridden Kaoru, almost on instinct, gets up to walk outside the dojo on the cherry blossom path, seeing her husband struggling with each step to meet her.

The two finally meet, and Kenshin collapses into her arms as he clutches her to him. Kenshin tells Kaoru that he returned for her, and Kaoru quietly greets him with his old name, Shinta, for he had asked it before he left the last time. Soon, they end up beneath a cherry blossom tree, where Kaoru tells him that they will invite everyone for a cherry blossom viewing, and continue to gather in the years to come. With the silence growing stronger, Kaoru realizes that Kenshin has died quietly in her arms. Upon brushing his hair off his left cheek, Kaoru notices Kenshin's scar has faded away, signifying an end to his life of pain and bloodshed and commencement to a life of peace. In the final scene before the credits, she holds his head in her arms and weeps.

After the credits finish rolling, there is a scene which shows Kenshin and Kaoru's son, Kenji, walking with a young girl, Chizuru, beneath the cherry blossoms, saying that they will live happily together.

Characters

Reception

Although Samurai X: Reflection was not written by Watsuki, he stated that he "checked in on the script."[1] Watsuki, unhappy with the result, said that "Kenshin went through so much crap and deserved a happy ending."[1]

Mike Crandol of Anime News Network gave different opinions about the OVA series. On one hand, Crandal said that the OVA series were some of the best animation ever to come out of Japan, rivaling the American masters in fluidity of motion and with a musical score to match. On the other hand Crandol says that fans of the original story will be disappointed as there are not many fight scenes and that the character Kenshin Himura is very different from his original version; for instance, he never uses his trademark idiomatic phrase "oro?", and it is thought he never gives a "true" smile.[2] Crandol also comments about a "tedious and depressing melodrama".[3]

Daryl Surat of Otaku USA said that audiences should not watch Reflection. Surat describes the first half of the work as retelling the television series "so frantically that you can't comprehend what you're seeing unless you already saw the story!" He added that the other half "very hurriedly" attempts to cover the final portion of the Rurouni Kenshin manga and "fails." Surat said that the ending has "nothing to do at all with anything Nobuhiro Watsuki wrote or approves of."[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Watsuki interview at AnimeOnDVD". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  2. Crandol, Mike. "Ruroni Kenshin second OAV series Seisouhen, part 1." Anime News Network. January 21, 2002. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
  3. Crandol, Mike. "Rurouni Kenshin second OAV series Seisouhen, part 2." Anime News Network. April 5, 2002. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
  4. Surat, Daryl. "Heart of Steel." Otaku USA. Volume 4, Number 1. August 2010. 36.
ro:Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen

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