The Promise That Was Kept: Kakashi,Obito and Minato

Minato stopping Kakashi before he’s able to kill Obito

Awww. Minato and his students Kakashi and Obito. ūüė• My impression upon seeing this photo from Naruto Shippuden Ep. 387 – The Promise That Was Kept.

Just watched the episode and wow, what a moment among the three of them. So many feels. Indeed my favorite scene of this episode and definitely one of my favorite episodes now.

It starts with Naruto offering his hand to Obito. At some point, Obito was about to shake hands with Naruto but suddenly changed his mind and strangled Naruto. Naruto punched him hard to free himself. And when Obito stood up, he saw his younger self in Naruto and recalls a day with Minato, Kakashi and Rin as if experiencing it again.

While still seeing his past, his younger self tells him that Rin won’t even turn to look at the present Obito and drags him. Snapping into the present, his younger self turns into Naruto. This is the perfect exploration of Obito being haunted by his past, despite his efforts to forget all those memories.

Obito talking to Kakashi, telling him that he has nothing left in his hole heart.

Sasuke was about to charge against Obito after all the tailed beasts were extracted from him, but stopped when Kakashi appeared. Kakashi says,”I was once his classmate and friend. So please let me take responsibility for him.” He was about to stab Obito when Minato stopped him.

That moment when he stopped Kakashi from stabbing Obito, proved how much he loves this two. He says, “Obito, when we had that chakra tug-of-war just now, I got to see inside your heart. It seems like my son nagged and lectured you quite a bit. I think he might have gotten that from his mother.” Naruto was slightly embarrassed when his dad Minato said he got his talk-no-jutsu from his mother Kushina. Well it’s true anyway. Then while talking to Obito he turns to Kakashi, “But that duty falls on you. I think the one who truly understands Obito and should talk to him is you, his friend, Kakashi.” He looks at Naruto and says, “Isn’t that right, Naruto?”

Naruto and Sasuke

Naruto and Sasuke

And Naruto realizes what he has been doing all this time for Sasuke. He looks at Sasuke with that serious realization, how he had never given up his hopes for Sasuke, how he never managed to hate and severe his ties, or simply abandon and forget about Sasuke – his only best friend, close to him like a brother. Just as Naruto and Sasuke are the same, Kakashi and Obito are the same as well. So it only makes sense that Kakashi, the one in a more logical state of mind should be the one talking Obito out.

On a side note, it warms my heart and makes me smile to see how Naruto and Sasuke are fighting together for the same goal, at how finally they’re on the same page and Sasuke finally accepts and understands what Naruto has been trying to tell him all this time.¬†„Éĺ(@^‚ĖĹ^@)„Éé

I feel like I’m drowning watching this moment, being drowned by feels. This episode is full of brotherly and mentor-student love.

Minato is just so forgiving, he couldn’t even bring himself to hate Obito for what he did that made Naruto an orphan and everything else. He could have let Kakashi kill Obito right there, but he knew it would also hurt Kakashi to do it, just as when he had to do it with Rin. ¬†Instead of hating Obito for everything, but first and foremost for destroying what could have been his wonderful family; he is saddened by what his student had become. He feels disappointed at himself, for his shortcomings for not being able to guide him better. Had he been there for him, he would not have turned out this way.¬†

Naruto meets Kushina, his mom.

In the same sense that Naruto managed to put aside his personal emotions, as he was able to put out his hand to reach out to Obito. He’s a stronger young man now, he understands Obito, despite that one fact that Obito was the reason he lost his parents on the day he was born.¬†

Kushina telling Minato of the baby news. This is the sweetest ever. I just love how they’re both overjoyed.

It’s just natural for him to be angry or even hate Obito for it. It’s how humans fundamentally are. Obito not only destroyed Naruto’s chance of a family, to grow up with his parents; he also damaged Minato and Kushina’s chance to be there for Naruto. A perfect revenge it may seem.¬†

Naruto meets Minato for the first time and finds out The Fourth Hokage is his dad

I recall that episode when Naruto was so angry with Pain (Nagato) during his battle with him for killing Jiraiya. That anger was one of the strong catalyst that caused him to lose it and have Kurama gain control over his entire body. He was entirely losing himself to Kurama, he was at the brink of hopelessness until Minato appeared before him in his psyche. Eventually, he learned of Pain’s true nature and his reasons for being what he is.

He¬†had learned a lot from that event to not let his hate/anger overcome him this time with Obito. I think it’s also one of the things he had gotten from his dad Minato, as Minato is naturally like that and after Minato shedding some light to Naruto about the cycle of love and hate that drives the whole shinobi system.

Team Minato – Minato, the Fourth Hokage and his students Kakashi, Obito and Rin

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“I think you were younger than Naruto is now. Do you remember? All the missions that the four of us went on. As a medic nin, Rin did her utmost to protect you two. She would never have wished for a situation like this.” Kakashi drops his hand holding the kunai and Minato let go of his arm. “But what caused this is my responsibility.” Then we see the flashback of that fateful Kannabi Bridge battle.

“It’s no coincidence that I, who should be dead is standing before you two like this. Perhaps it was Rin who made it happen. Her way of scolding me for failing as your teacher. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect Rin.”

Team Minato on their mission at Kannabi Bridge

I seriously do not agree about the idea of Minato taking all the responsibility. Yes, he was responsible for them, they were his students but at the same time, there’s just simply no way he could have controlled or be responsible of everything. It wasn’t his fault Rin died. Kakashi understood that. If only Obito had a more open mind back then, if he tried to find the real answers from Minato and Kakashi; Minato and Kushina would still be alive.

“Rin was my only light and hope. After I lost Rin, the world as I saw it, changed. It became a pitch black hell. There was no hope in this world. Even with my Sharingan, I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing to see,” says Obito.

Kakashi killing Rin

Minato and Kushina’s sacrifice for Naruto and the village

Somehow, I kinda feel bad for Obito cause all this time he allowed himself to be engulfed by so much darkness and hate after losing Rin and be used for that. But Kakashi was no different either; he thought he lost Obito, he lost Rin and even had to do it himself and eventually he lost his sensei Minato. It was equally as hard or even more difficult for Kakashi to deal with all that.

Obito giving his Sharingan to Kakashi as his gift to him for being a jounin.

And as Kakashi tells Obito that he himself went through the same experience as him, it brings both of them back to that moment when Obito gave Kakashi one of his Sharingan. Kakashi tells him that he tried his best to see the world through Obito’s eye and that as long as he had Obito’s Sharingan and words, he could see it. To which Obito answers,”And what you saw is Naruto?”

Obito is still unconvinced at how Naruto’s path would be successful than his. But Kakashi instead believes more on Naruto’s strong perseverance on his dreams and reality. And his natural talent for drawing people closer to him, making them give their full support to reach his goal more than his chances of failing.

But I am glad Minato is there, if not, Kakashi would have really finished Obito for good and it would leave Kakashi deeply scarred again. Had Obito died here, he would die still deep in his darkness, full of hate and still not realizing his mistakes. Rin would not be happy to welcome him when they meet again.

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‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends’ Review: The Introspection

“If you don’t know what is lacking in you, you can’t win. And if you are lucky and you do win, you can’t overcome the “hitokiri” who lodges inside of you. All your life you will suffer, you will grieve alone. You will kill again,” says Kenshin’s master Hiko Seijuro during their last training as he teaches Kenshin the¬†Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki – Hiten Mitsurugi’s ultimate technique.

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I saw the movie  this Thursday, Sept. 25 at Gateway Cinema and while watching, I was already coming up with thoughts about the second sequel and last installment of the RuroKen trilogy.

The Master and the Apprentice 

“The Legend Ends” continues the last sequence in “Kyoto Inferno” when Kenshin was seen by the seaside unconscious, when a mysterious man arrives and takes him away. We then see Kenshin in his sleep dreaming about that time when he met his master and mentor Hiko Seijuro (Fukuyama Masaharu). He was digging graves for the slaves who took care of him as a child and the bandits who almost killed him before Hiko rescued him, took him under his wing to train as a swordsman¬†and giving him a new name¬†“Kenshin,” which means in Japanese¬†Ť¨ô (ken) “modest” and šŅ° (shin) “truth.”

He wakes up to find out that his master has rescued him once again.

Fans can recall that Kenshin went to see Hiko himself and not like in the film. The film did better on this though, as it shows that fate made them meet each other again in the right time when Kenshin needs guidance. In the anime, Kaoru and Yahiko followed him to Hiko’s place, so this is where Kaoru and Kenshin met each other after he left Tokyo; whereas in Kyoto Inferno, Kaoru and Yahiko saw¬†Kenshin again in a fight with Cho to save the grandson of Arai Shakku – the maker of his Sakabatou.

I’m happy to see Fukuyama Masaharu again (after Eiga Sai’s “Like Father Like Son”) in ruffled long hair, period clothes and as Kenshin’s sarcastic master Hiko Seijuro. One particular scene I would have wanted to be longer was during Kenshin’s training with him to learn the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki. When finally Kenshin realizes what is lacking in him, and that answer is the key to gaining and using the ultimate technique in its best form. When Hiko (Fukuyama Masaharu) said,”If you understand what that means, come at me.” And then the scene is over.¬†

During a conversation between the master and the apprentice, Hiko asked him about the scars. At first I was like, oh he’s finally going to say something about it, but no he did not. He only said that the first scar started him drinking but all he could taste was blood. God, he didn’t even mention who gave¬†that to him, nor the second scar. It was the shortest teaser of all about the origins of the scars. If you’ve seen the first Rurouni Kenshin film and¬†Kyoto Inferno, Tomoe was seen in a flashback from that rainy scene and again here with The Legend Ends. This is why they should explore the Kenshin-Tomoe story.

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His famous words to Kenshin are something I find very valuable to make Kenshin fight not just for others but for himself. “Your own life is worth as much as any other. If you sacrifice yourself for others, they will not be happy. That life is not yours to throw away.” He’s saying that sacrificing one’s self for others may not entirely be a good thing, because those people who are important to Kenshin for instance will always feel guilty about his sacrifice and will not be able to move on peacefully with their lives.

Hiko Seijuro (Fukuyama Masaharu) as Kenshin (Sato Takeru) challenges him during a training.

Aoshi’s Wake-up Call¬†

My favorite among all the fight scenes is definitely Aoshi vs Kenshin. This one was hands down exceptionally performed by Iseya Yusuke (Aoshi) and Sato Takeru. Specially noteworthy is Aoshi’s double kodachi technique that looks really difficult (from an audience perspective) to handle but because Iseya is such a talented actor, he pulled it off excellently. It always leaves me in awe whenever he displays his double kodachi, as also seen in Kyoto Inferno vs Okina. It’s simply so well choreographed, and how the two actors complement each other with their movements is like watching them dance so gracefully. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling though whenever Iseya is on screen and adoring his beautiful nose, forgive me for my fangirling fit even as I write this review.

After defeating Aoshi (It pains me to see my gorgeous Aoshi hurting and beaten though), Kenshin says, “Whatever the past has inflicted on you and how heavy the burden you’re ¬†carrying, I do not know. But if you ignore what is in plain sight, if you ignore what really matters, you can’t win.”

With this, Kenshin was able to clear Aoshi’s head of his clouded judgment and ideals. Aoshi then wakes up to find himself inside the Aoiya with Misao watching over him. At first he responds to her concern the usual way and that he doesn’t need her pity, even allowing her to take revenge for Elder. Misao answers him, “You will oblige me by staying alive. For Elder. For the rest of the Oniwabanshu.” It’s the ¬†wake-up call moment and quite a dramatic one as well for Aoshi, as he was teary-eyed when he heard Misao say that to him before leaving him alone.

Aoshi (Iseya Yusuke) finally finds Kenshin to get his long-awaited fight for the strongest.

Aoshi (Iseya Yusuke) finally finds Kenshin to get his long-awaited fight for the strongest.

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The Oniwabanshu Leader Aoshi (Iseya Yusuke) attacks Kenshin with his double kodachi.

Overshadowed РThe Juppongatana 

The Juppongatana is¬†an important aspect of the Kyoto Arc, but it didn’t happen for the live action sequels. The part where they attacked Kyoto and Aoiya was supposed to be in “Kyoto Inferno,” but there was no sign of any of the Juppongatana members during this part in the movie. They should have been given importance of some sort starting with Kyoto Inferno. It looked like they were just there as decorations. And same goes for The Legend Ends, I can clearly recall how Saito found a match with the Juppongatana’s Usui in the anime in a fight with him that got Saito injured quite badly. In The Legend Ends, Saito just defeated Usui with one strike. Usui isn’t an easy foe to begin with. ¬†At least, the Sano and Anji fight got its share in the film that was quite amusing and funny.

The Juppongatana

The Juppongatana

The blind swordsman Uonuma Usui (Mitsu Murata) who should have gave Saito a beating.

The blind swordsman Uonuma Usui (Mitsu Murata) who should have given Saito a beating.

Saito getting wounded in Usui's first attack

Saito getting wounded in Usui’s first attack

Survival of the Fittest 

And of course, the continuation of Kenshin vs Soujiro in Kyoto Inferno. Unfortunately, I was more impressed with their sequence in Kyoto Inferno than here in The Legend Ends. In the anime, Kenshin striked Soujiro that sent him flying over, but in the film he just broke his sword. Somehow, the fight didn’t feel as important as it should be just like in the anime. On the contrary,¬†I have to give credit for Kamiki Ryonosuke’s performance with Soujiro’s psychotic fit of rage when he loses the fight.

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Soujiro starting to lose his cool

Soujiro in his psychotic fit of rage

Soujiro in his psychotic fit of rage

I was slightly disappointed too with the final battle, although I already know from the trailer that it will be inside the battleship. For me, it was quite a shame that they decided to have it indoor unlike the anime that is something like a rooftop in Shishio’s hideout. In the anime, Kenshin lost consciousness when Shishio tricked him with a gunpowder. This is when Saito takes over but fails to overcome Shishio, then comes Sano and finally Aoshi.¬†It was actually Aoshi alone who managed to put up with Shishio while waiting for Kenshin to regain consciousness¬†and not really be completely overthrown by Shishio. I was impressed with the fire effect of Shishio’s sword though.

Kenshin, Aoshi, Saito and Sano simultaneously attacking Shishio

The final one on one battle of Kenshin and Shishio in the anime.

The final one on one battle of Kenshin and Shishio in the anime.

In the anime, Kenshin was almost dead when he collapsed. When he stood up all of a sudden in the middle of Aoshi vs Shishio; there’s this jaw-dropping moment wherein Kenshin is like pulling energies from his surroundings. The leaves around him started to float and then ripped into pieces with a reverberating sound, as if feeling the immense power coming from Kenshin. As Aoshi says in the anime,”The leaves are resonating with Battousai’s swordsman spirit.” ¬†Of course in the film, they didn’t do that cause it was indoor. And the set on this part of the movie was just too crammed with so many things around them.

Kenshin in the film wasn’t in the same state as Kenshin in the anime during the Shishio fight. Kenshin in the anime was seriously injured, so the words of Hiko to him “the will to live” was his greatest driving force to stand up. This is something that was lacking in the film, as he wasn’t really that injured. Shishio’s gunpowder attack wasn’t there that could have injured Kenshin badly in the film.

Ep. 58 when Kenshin is knocked down and lost consciousness

Ep. 58 when Kenshin is knocked down and lost consciousness

Ep. 59 – Kenshin stands up

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Aoshi assuring Kenshin that not one of them has given up the fight

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Kenshin and his powerful swordsman spirit ripping the leaves violently as if controlling the air

I wouldn’t really call it a final battle between Kenshin and Shishio just like the anime. When Kenshin continues the battle before Shishio started burning; Aoshi, Saito and Sano didn’t get into the fight anymore and just let the two be. In the movie, when Kenshin reappeared, the rest that followed was him with Saito, Aoshi and Sano simultaneously attacking Shishio. Yes, Kenshin and Shishio still had their one on one fight when the three stopped attacking but it was too short. Kenshin did use the ultimate technique as his last strike against Shishio that hit¬†him¬†badly, but still I can’t say that Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki was able to get its well-deserved limelight in the fight. I watched the movie the second time Sept. 29, and I noticed he used his right leg when he stepped forward, which was supposed to be his left because this is why the technique is dangerous as he could cut himself by doing the technique.

Breathtaking Cinematography 

Kaoru contemplating by the seaside after regaining consciousness

Kaoru contemplating by the seaside after regaining consciousness

Another noteworthy aspect¬†in the film is how it was beautifully shot. A fine and first-rate Japanese film photography. Hiko and Kenshin’s scene in the bamboo forest felt really cooling and relaxing to the eyes, as if you are in one with nature. So is Kaoru’s retrospective moment by the seaside, with her hair down and being swept by the wind while she looks at a far distance. ¬†There’s also Kenshin’s night time brooding scene as he tries to figure out what is lacking in him before he gets granted the Hiten Mitsurugi style’s ultimate technique, and Kenshin traveling by a boat as he journeys to Tokyo.

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And yes, how could I forget that flashback when he was supposed to be executed in public. Hoji recited the names of Kenshin’s victims, including¬†Kiyosato Akira, Kyoto Police Force and then the flashback of him brutally killing Kiyosato who was then engaged to be married to Yukishiro Tomoe. The next scene showed Kenshin holding an umbrella during a dark rainy day, looking somehow saddened as he watches Tomoe breakdown in tears upon seeing Kiyosato. This scene was so¬†grim and heartbreaking, although I couldn’t particularly point the exact feelings of Kenshin while he watches the result of his own doing. I think it was because it’s the first time Kenshin actually witnessed how an assassination by him affects the people they hold dear.

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These particular scenes all point to the reason why I titled this review Introspection, because most of the main characters had to go through this phase to realize something important (for Kenshin and Kaoru) or to clear his clouded judgment and wrong ideals (for Aoshi).

Brilliant Performances and Fine Film Making 

I have also always love the costume and production design, locations and sets ever since the first Kenshin film. I particularly like how I really feel being in the Meiji era through the film and how effective everything in the film collaborates together to create that authentic experience.

I have always admired Japanese, Korean and some Chinese/HongKong films. Most films, though not all, are balanced in commercial factor and art film factor. When they make movies, they don’t really create just a blockbuster film that’s purely for profits, they provide pure, honest and authentic form of entertainment. They’re never the Hollywood type that when you say blockbuster, it’s all about actions, explosions, spectacles, massive CGI, the most typical of all typical and very poor plot, and simply purely intended to make money at the box office and nothing else more.

The Rurouni Kenshin trilogy effectively achieves its authentic and epic scale from good art of film making and compelling performances from its cast.

Shinomori Aoshi (Iseya Yusuke) in Kyoto Inferno in a scene with Tanaka Min

Shinomori Aoshi (Iseya Yusuke) in Kyoto Inferno in a scene with Tanaka Min

Another highly commendable aspect of the film is its cast. It is one of the greatest casting ever for me. From the mannerisms, expressions, behavior, angst, the aura, style, personality; everyone in the cast was perfect for their respective roles. I have more good words for Fujiwara Tatsuya this time as Shishio than when he played the role of Light in Death Note, although I did have apprehensions about his casting when I heard about it. He was simply overshadowed by Matsuyama Kenichi as L in Death Note.

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One of my favorite characters Shinomori Aoshi is of course efficiently performed by the multi-hyphenate actor Iseya Yusuke in both sequels. An actor of his stature, it’s not so surprising that he’s excellent as he always is in his movies. He said about his training for Aoshi, “When I got the part, the first thing I had to do was to retrain myself. The two-sword technique is very difficult, and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, which was very frustrating, but I was reminded that frustration can be a very stimulating experience.” His role as Aoshi is another huge feat for Iseya-san, something that can be likened to his difficult role as Rikiishi Toru in Ashita no Joe.

Aoshi as he continues to find Kenshin to settle the score

Aoshi as he continues to find Kenshin to settle the score

Exploring More of the Series 

For a last installment, it’s still not enough. I hope they’d consider exploring more areas of the manga/anime series that are worthy to be adapted into live action films. But among anything else, most important is the OVA Trust and Betrayal that chronicles Kenshin in his battousai days during the Bakumatsu era, when he encounters and kills Kiyosato who gave him his first scar and meeting Yukishiro Tomoe who made the second scar. It’s a highly important part of Kenshin’s development and backstory, and influential from his battousai days to his wandering days.

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To cap of this very long review, I really love this particular part in the film but I won’t elaborate anymore what transpired here. Go watch the movie now!

Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer

Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer downloads are done and now I’m all ready to watch these two.

Great thing I found the subbed and not dubbed. I browsed the two movies last night and damn the visual effects are awesome. It’s a combination of¬†sci-fi with game survival concept.

At first I thought they were in some kind of another dimension like The Matrix after disappering from various scenes of accidents but it’s not, they’re still in Tokyo stuck in an apartment with that black sphere. They have to gain points by killing aliens who’ve been hiding in Tokyo for them to be released and live their normal lives again.

It’s really violent just basing from the first few scenes of part I. As for the value of the story, I have yet to find that out when I watch them in full.

Oh and Kenichi won an award for this as Kato. :))