Note to viewers: do not watch Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno unless you have immediate access to Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends.

Trust me on this.

Kyoto Inferno is only half of the story, and ends on the sort of cliffhanger that makes some people throw books across the room in frustration[1].

In terms of the story itself, Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends are essentially the 35 episodes of the anime’s Kyoto arc ruthlessly edited down to fit two movies. I estimate that this is about a 60% reduction in the running time[2].

Mind you the Kyoto arc of the anime probably needs that much editing. I do remember nearly dropping the series because half-opponent of the week is not my favourite thing in anime.

In this case the editing worked well. Between them Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends have a tight, well-paced, story that rarely lets up on the action, and delivers a suitably epic finale. Well, The Legend Ends delivers a suitably epic finale. 🙂

The action sequences are at least as well choreographed as the first film, and the cast continue to deliver solid performances.

Tekeru Satoh’s performance as Kenshin remains superb, and I shudder to think how hard he had to work for those action sequences.

I did like seeing Emi Takei as Kaoru get a few decent action sequences of her own, if not as spectacularly so as Takeru Satoh’s scenes.

There’s less room for humour in these films so Munetaka Aoki’s Sanosuke is a bit grittier, and a lot bloodier in these films, but still boisterous, rowdy, and a lot of fun to watch.

The other supporting characters – Megumi, Yahiko, Saito, Aoshi, Misao, etc – are well represented and handled within the story.

The Rurouni Kenshin trilogy is a solid anime to live action adaptation series, if you liked the first one you’ll love how the Kyoto arc is handled here.

Just make sure you have The Legend Ends handy before you watch Kyoto Inferno.

[1] I’ve never actually done that, but I understand wanting to do so.

[2] Assuming 20 minutes of “story” per episode once you cut the OP/ED gives 700 minutes. The two movies have a total run time of 274 minutes.