Live-Action Rurouni Kenshin 'Final Chapter' Films Delayed to Spring 2021 Due to COVID-19
posted on by Egan Loo
The official website for the 'final chapter' films in the live-action film series based on Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin manga announced on Wednesday that the films have been delayed until the Golden Week holiday period next spring due to the situation in Japan caused by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final and Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Beginning were originally slated for July 3 and August 7, but will now open one after another during the holiday period that runs from late April to early May.
Director Keishi Ōtomo noted that the studio shut down after the government declared a state of emergency, so the entire production came to a halt. As a result, the staff could not do post-production work, prepare for the the films' release, and other tasks. With the new release date, Ōtomo aims to raise the level of quality even more than before.
The advance MoviTicke Card passes for the films are already on sale, but sales will stop on Friday, May 29. The website will announce when sales will resume later. People who already bought the MoviTicke Cards can still use them when the films start playing.
Riku Ōnishi is the only new cast member (seen third from left in image below) among the five main cast members, replacing Kaito Ōyagi as Yahiko Myojin. The returning cast includes Takeru Satoh as Kenshin Himura, Emi Takei as Kaoru Kamiya, Munetaka Aoki as Sanosuke Sagara, and Yū Aoi as Megumi Takani. Yosuke Eguchi will also return as Hajime Saitō.
Mackenyu will play antagonist Enishi Yukishiro in the films. Enishi operates a black market arms company on the Chinese mainland, and manipulated Shishio through the sale of weapons and a warship to him.
Kasumi Arimura will play the character Tomoe Yukishiro in the films. Tomoe was Kenshin's wife during his days as the assassin Battōsai, and her story ties into Kenshin's iconic X-shaped scar. Kenshin and Tomoe's relationship was previously portrayed in the Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal original video anime (OVA) project.
Yusuke Iseya (first image below) and Tao Tsuchiya (second image) will reprise their roles from previous film as Aoshi Shinomori and Misao Makimachi, respectively. The rock band ONE OK ROCK will return as the theme song artists.
Keishi Ōtomo is returning to direct the films.
Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final will center on the story from the manga's "Jinchū" arc, which features Kenshin's conflict with the mysterious weapons dealer Enishi. Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Beginning will tell the story of how Kenshin got his cross-shaped scar.
Principal photography for the films ended on June 7 last year. Filming began in November 2018, and eventually the seven-month production shot in 43 locations, including in Kyoto, Nara, Shiga, Mie, Hyōgo, Kumamoto, Hiroshima, Tochigi, Saitama, Shizuoka, Osaka, and Nagano Prefectures.
The first live-action Rurouni Kenshin film opened in 2012 in Japan, while the first two sequels opened in August and September 2014. The films collectively grossed more that US$160 million internationally. Funimation screened all three films in United States theaters in August, September, and October 2016, respectively.
Watsuki's manga ran from 1994 to 1999 in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. A television anime series aired in Japan from 1996 to 1998 and spawned several anime video projects and an anime film. Viz Media published the original manga and the two-volume Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration reboot manga in North America, while Media Blasters released the television anime. ADV Films released the two Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal and Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection video anime projects and the Rurouni Kenshin: The Motion Picture anime film on DVD, and Aniplex later released the three titles on Blu-ray Disc. Sentai Filmworks released the more recent Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc video anime series on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.
The Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal and Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection video anime projects adapted the same story arcs from the manga as the two upcoming live-action films will.