RuroKen Asian Premiere in Manila

Day 1 – Aug. 6, SM Megamall

Samurai X, as it is known outside Japan has always been one of my favorite anime series’ ever.  I was repeatedly watching it on the telly, it was Channel 2 or Studio 23 and never got tired of it. It’s definitely a huge part of my growing up years, when I was having big crushes to anime characters although until now, I still love “bishounen” anime guys and always had this wish that they’re real. So when I saw the trailer of the live action adaptation back in 2012, I was so thrilled that finally a live action and when I finally got to see it, it went beyond my expectation.

And two years later, the cast made a visit to Manila. With the upcoming release of the film, I am so specially excited to see Iseya Yusuke as the live action counterpart of Shinomori Aoshi. Squeal!

Iseya Yusuke and Shinonori Aoshi

It’s a very first in Manila for something like this to happen here. It’s a common knowledge that movies don’t have premieres here, wherein foreign actors come over to have a red carpet procession for their movies, a press conference and the like. It just doesn’t happen. So when the news about the cast: Sato Takeru, Takei Emi and Aoki Munetaka with director Otomo Keishi coming over for the Manila premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno was announced, it definitely sent everyone into a huge frenzy, including me.

I’m not a big fan of Sato Takeru in any way, as I like his best friend Miura Haruma. But because I’m a big fan of the whole Rurouni Kenshin, it didn’t matter to me at all. And besides, this doesn’t happen most of the time. It’s really one of those things that I should not miss.

I didn’t win passes so I wasn’t able to see the movie during the premiere this Wednesday at SM Megamall. And as the fangirl that I am, I just went to the event by myself. It took 3 1/2 hours of waiting and standing before I could see them in person.

It was really nice of them as they signed autographs at the red carpet, on their way to the stage and with interviews on the side.

Here they are signing at the red carpet.

I find Sato Takeru cute, serious and mature-looking. When he was introduced, he said, “Kumusta? Ako po si Takeru Sato. Masaya ako nagkita tayo.” His Tagalog speaking voice was probably the cutest Japanese sounding Tagalog to me.

See the video below to see them speaking Tagalog:

Munetaka Aoki was the most energetic one. I just love his energy and being the first one to speak in Tagalog was such a nice gesture for me. He greeted the crowd with a roaring “Magandang gabi po!” and said “Salamat po” when they screamed “Sano,” which is his character’s name.

And of course the only lass among the lads, Takei Emi looks like a sweet person and a simple beauty. She really does strike a resemblance to Kathryn Bernardo.

The event ended with a photo call before they left for the start of the movie premiere.

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I was just so happy when I managed to capture this scene of Iseya-san from the trailer. ^_^

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Day 2 – Aug. 7, Glorietta

The next day was another long waiting time for me. Thankfully, I was with Myleen who went at Glorietta earlier than me to queue for the movie tickets while I went to buy books for us. Unlike the event at SM Megamall, this time fans were able to actually buy passes to get inside the event center by buying a movie ticket and anything that’s worth P500 in any Glorietta shop. We opted for the bookstore, as we wanted to be sure we were buying what we really wanted. I ended up buying Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6 Big Edition, which is a compilation of Vol. 16-18 and Mitch Albom’s First Phone Call from Heaven for Myleen.

Our passes and movie tickets!

And so there, thankfully we made it before the passes ran out. Unlike Wednesday’s Megamall event, the event place is bigger and because there were seats for the press and VIPs, the standing area was a bit far from the stage.

The event opened with a special performance with the music of ONE OK ROCK’s Mighty Long Fall, which is the movie’s main soundtrack.

The cast and the director being introduced by Sam Oh.

There was so much energy at the event, from the crowd and most especially from Munetaka-san who’s always as cheerful as ever, again in his very cute slippers. Sam Oh, who was the MC for the night even commented that he’s exactly like his character Sanosuke. He also mentioned that one of his injuries was when he lost a tooth from all the hitting,  but saying that it’s okay because he’s Sanosuke elicited loud cheers from the crowd.

Press con proper with the Philippine press members.

Takeru on the other hand was as serious as he was yesterday, but I did see him laughing and smiling during the press con. I noticed he has very big eyes as if he’s always wide-eyed but that’s cute though. I think one of the best things he mentioned was about his personal connection to Kenshin.

“In my case, in my daily life, in what I do; I always ask myself if I’m not sure of my decision, if it was Kenshin what would he decide to do? He is like a mentor to me, someone I respect and look up to.”

Munetaka-san also gave a good answer about the significant role of Sanosuke to Kenshin. “As for the role of Kenshin, likewise; Sanosuke’s role is to protect, to support his character so he will be able to commit to his dedication.”

Before the press con ended, there was this question about the values the movie could impart to viewers who are not familiar with the story. I find it commendable how Takeru answered the question with this:

“People would say to just forget the past and move on. But in my case, I feel how Kenshin is, how he still lets his past influence his life. I feel that it’s also very admirable that he still remembers and looks back to his past and tries to live a better life based on that past. And for me, hopefully everyone could also learn that way of looking at the past, living and moving forward.”

Director Otomo also said almost the same thing, but with a special reference to Kenshin’s Sakabatou.

“I admire Kenshin because he’s carrying his Sakabatou all the time and that’s a constant reminder of his past, so for him to always have it with him, that dark past and use that as a reminder as he moves forward with his life is very admirable.”

There was also a mini-exhibition with the display of an actual Kenshin and Sanosuke costumes, as well as display photos of some of the movie’s locations in Kumamoto.

Prior to the press con, the cast was also awarded by the Makati City Council as cultural friendship ambassadors for bridging the Japanese and Filipino culture through Rurouni Kenshin and its distinctly Japanese way of of portraying cultural traditions during the Meiji period.

It was a great experience for everyone to have these special events for the Rurouni Kenshin:Kyoto Inferno premiere. I can see that the director and the cast had a wonderful time with their stay and meeting the fans.  I hope this is just the start of more Japanese movies to be screened regularly in cinemas, just like what Takeru said.

The event ended with a positive message from Takeru.

“I hope that Rurouni Kenshin will pave the way for more Japanese movies in the Philippines, with that I hope I can come back again. For this to happen, I need all of your help. Tell your friends, tell everybody about the movie. Looking forward to meeting all of you again. Thank you so much for coming today.”

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More photos from the costume exhibition.

And that is me. I really had to pose near Iseya-san. ^_^

Kumamon! A postcard with descriptions of the places in Kumamoto, the main location of the movie.

Myleen with the cosplayers

RuroKen Big Edition Vol. 6. It’s pretty heavy, I don’t think I can carry this anywhere. I’m thinking of completing the manga. This is the most expensive I’ve ever spent on a manga. It’s even more expensive than a hardbound novel. At least it’s got 3 volumes inside than buying the per volume manga.

Kyoto Inferno opens in theaters mainly SM Cinemas and Ayala Cinemas this August 20, followed by The Legend Ends on September 24.

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