Live-action period drama Rurouni Kenshin Saishuushou The Final will premiere in Japan on April 23, 2021, and its sequel Rurouni Kenshin Saishuushou The Beginning will start screening on June 4 of the same year. Just yesterday, Warner Bros. Japan unveiled the date for the openings in a teaser featuring famed action star Takeru Satoh, who will reprise his role as Kenshin Himura.
Satoh will not be the only actor to return for this sequel to the Rurouni Kenshin live-action universe; Emi Takei comes back as Karou Kamiya, along with Munetaka Aoki and Yuu Aoi as Sanosuke Sagara and Megumi Takani respectively. Additional returning cast members include Yusuke Iseya, Yousuke Eguchi, and Tao Tsuchiya. And Keishi Otomo has taken up the director’s mantle once again.
Based on information released thus far, Saishuushou The Final features Yukishiro Enishi — played by Mackenyu — as the antagonist. A brilliant swordsman involved with a Chinese black market arms dealership, Enishi will prove a grave danger to Kenshin. The teaser emphasizes this by showing lightning-paced shots of the two archenemies squaring off against each other:
Saishuushou The Final and its follow-up sibling reportedly conclude the story of a live-action movie series that spans five films. It adapts the manga’s “Jinchuu” arc — which covers some of the last chapters of the Rurouni Kenshin manga — where Kenshin contends with ghosts of his past in the form of his brother-in-law Enishi. Fifteen years ago, Kenshin killed Enishi’s beloved sister Yukishiro Tomoe, prompting Enishi’s hair to grow white and Enishi himself to nurse an intense desire for revenge.
In the manga, Enishi and Kenshin fight toe-to-toe, with Enishi displaying an aggressive and brutal foil to Kenshin’s speedy fighting style. The live-action teaser alludes to this; it shows a very fit and muscular-looking Enishi engaging Kenshin with leaps and kicks. As the previous live-action films never skimped on their invigorating fight sequences, fans can look forward to an intense confrontation between the two swordsmen.
In fact, high-quality action has always been a hallmark of these films, with Takeru Satoh performing a good chunk of his own stunts. In an interview in 2014, director Keishi Otomo reflected on how Satoh and Tatsuya Fujiwara — who played the antagonist of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends — exhausted themselves shooting their “epic” final fight scene and fell asleep in the changing rooms. Warner Bros. Japan has also released a clip of Satoh performing multiple takes where he ran across a sloped rooftop and leapt down onto the ground in a feat of dexterity:
This effort has paid off very well so far, resulting in many sizzling-hot action sequences that include Kenshin wall-running to get around his opponent’s guard, and utilizing throws, spins, and backflips — all the while elegantly outplaying enemies with his reverse-blade katana, a sword where the traditional cutting edge is blunt to keep its user from slashing his enemies. Saishuushou The Final, and Saishuushou The Beginning soon after, look to continue this trend.