In recent conversations about the Fall 2019 season of anime, my friend and I have assumed that things may become slightly sparser in terms of shows that we will want to watch when compared to the relative bounty of riches that we've had in previous seasons. However, the two of us were pleasantly surprised by the pilot episode of "No Guns Life" and so maybe there are a couple of more hopefuls out there.
As such yesterday, to fill up the time on our biweekly anime-and-food outing, he decided to put on the 2012 live-action version of "Rurouni Kenshin"（るろうに剣心）starring Takeru Sato（佐藤健）as Kenshin, Emi Takei（武井咲）as Kaoru and Koji Kikkawa（吉川晃司）as the evil Jin-e Udo. When my friend first told me what we were to see, even when he reassured me that this was a good flick, I couldn't help but roll my eyes due to my memories of failed anime/manga-turned-Hollywood versions. However, after 2 hours and change, I went out to dinner with my buddy feeling quite satisfied with the movie. Along with the battle scenes, the acting was more refreshingly toned down than what I had been expecting ruefully.
"Rurouni Kenshin" is one of those manga/anime projects that I had heard about over the years. I can't quite remember when and in what way, but I believe my buddy and his buddies did set up some sort of presentation of the animated movie, "Rurouni Kenshin ~ Ishin Shishi e no Chinkonka" (―維新志士への鎮魂歌...Requiem for the Ishin Patriots) which had originally released in December 1997. One reason that I remember is because of the theme song for that movie, "Niji" (Rainbow) by the rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel. I don't think that I had ever heard a rock theme for any sort of samurai drama, live-action or anime. My impression had been that it would usually be some urgent horns-and-string battle tune, often with a Latin bent. However, looking at the characters as they were portrayed in the manga and anime, and even seeing the live-action versions yesterday, I thought that Kenshin and a number of the other characters looked like punk rockers transported back to the time of the Meiji Restoration, so L'Arc-en-Ciel was the right choice.
"Niji" was released as the band's 7th single in October 1997 with vocalist hyde taking care of the lyrics and guitarist ken handling the music. Going Double Platinum and selling more than 700,000 copies, the single peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and became the 53rd-ranked single of the year. It is also a track on L'Arc-en-Ciel's 5th album "Heart" from February 1998 which hit the top spot on the album chart and ended up at No. 15 in the yearly rankings.