First and foremost my goal is to write a review about a movie, not an anime. Many people consider this one of the greatest anime ever made but it kind of saddens me that people only treat it as an anime and recommend fans of anime to watch it. I see Kenshin OVA Trust/Betrayal as a movie and recommend every movie fan to watch it.
If you are looking for a summary, read somewhere else. If you are trying to find out why this is a great movie, I will try my best to convince you.
Kenshin OVA is a character driven movie with excellent character development. The two main characters, Kenshin and Tomoe, have humane and non exaggerated personalities, they are conflicted with their emotions, and they grow and change. I guess what I am trying to say is that the two main characters are not cliché.
The stories' setting takes place during the late 1800's in Japan, where a civil war is taking place, where the samurai era is coming to an end, and the shogunate is fighting to keep its place. People who don't know Japanese history of that time period probably going to get a bit confused, but the historical setting provided the movie more depth and political intrigue. Like the current trend of war movies, the historic conflicts are not presented in black and white, but rather shades of gray.
The action sequence is something to behold of. It is violent, gruesome, bloody, but does not feel gratuitous, due to the mood and setting the animators have created. The sword fights short, but quick, intense, believable (realistic), and original in presentation. Far better than any live action choreography.
Finally there are many subtle touches that makes the movie feel more like a work of art, rather animated violence. The animators are created a lot of scenes with nature. Whether it is the subtleness of snow flake or sakura leaves falling, or the glistening of the lake from the sun, the animators created a world of beauty. On top of that, the soundtrack just masterfully sets up the mood of the scene. The soundtrack is haunting, kinetic during battle, and subtle and poignant. Most importantly the soundtrack is memorable.
Kenshin OVA Trust/Betrayal is on the top tier of anime, however if the movie had gotten greater exposure, it would belong in the top tier of movies.
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