Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno North American Premiere at LA EigaFest 2014

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Jonathan and I had the great pleasure of attending the North American Premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno at LA EigaFest, the annual Japanese Film Festival hosted by the Japan Film Society at the Egyptain Theater in Hollywood, California this past weekend.
We were among the lucky few who were able to attend the North American red carpet premiere of the first Rurouni Kenshin movie two years ago, so it was amazing to be back for the long awaited sequel.
Last year was filled with Hollywood frills excitement, with the film director and select talent gracing the red carpet amongst a sea of flashing lights and press lenses. Along with the films guests, the carpet was graced by many guest actors, directors and screenwriters from various films featured at LA EigaFest 2012 – with a special guest appearance of George Takei! There was also a pretty bitchin’ after party which, although cold and rainy, was just the right mixture of cozy and posh. Here are some shots from LA EigaFest 2012:

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A lot has happened in the Freeman family over the last two years, so when fate found us back in California for LA EigaFest 2014 and the sequel of Rurouni Kenshin, I knew I had to pester, poke and provoke the folks at EigaFest till the tickets to this year’s premiere were mine. I ended up button mashing and helping the site crash in the mad rush for tickets (sorry EigaFest website!) but finally, tickets were ours! Mwahaha!
While this year’s Kenshin premiere did not include a red carpet brouhaha, it was every bit as exciting and action packed of an evening. We arrived to a line stretching all the way down the block and around the corner, just to get into the Egyptian Theater courtyard. Once we finally made it into the theater, there was a bit of a mix up with our tickets. I’m guessing during the mad rush for tickets, there was computer glitch and some seats were double sold. We ended up standing in an aisle, hovering over our already occupied seats, while staff rushed around trying to remedy the situation.
We were standing in the aisle, munching on the complimentary Pocky till the previews started, when the staff (who were being abundantly professional and gracious) rushed us to our new seats. We basically ended up being seated with the reserved guest seating, with far better views. If only these kinds of problems happened to me more often!
After the movie (more on that below) we shuffled out to the after party in the courtyard, where we enjoyed the open bar hosted by and featuring drinks from LA EigaFest sponsors Sapporo Premium Beer and Ozeki Sake. Cocktail tables tastefully littered the courtyard while a DJ cranked out music, and GC Photobooth hosted a quirky fun photo booth along the red carpet backdrop for some fun and free photos.
All in all, it was a pretty freaking fantastic night!

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Now! On to my thoughts about the movie!

For those of you who don’t know, Rurouni Kenshin is a HUGELY popular manga and anime series that has fans worldwide. The story was brought to life by director Keishi Otomo in a live action movie that won over skeptics and hardcore fans (myself included) and became a blockbuster summer hit in Japan and many other countries in 2012.
The long awaited sequel, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno – also directed by the talented Keishi Otomo – again featured the up and coming star cast, including anime look alikes Takeru Satoh, Emi Takei, Yu Aoi and Tatsuya Fujiwari. I am really really hard on sequels, so I really didn’t expect to love this film as much as I did the first.
BUT!! This film completely won me over. It floored me. It somehow, unbelievably, impossibly was AS GOOD AS and in some ways BETTER THAN the first.

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The casting was again spot on, with costume design that deserves to win awards. It looks as though the characters in the anime just sprang to life in the most realistic and non-cheesy way. Over the top anime garb melts seamlessly and non-jarringly into a Meiji Era world. I seriously never thought that the cast and crew could stay so true to the original anime character sketches and still have the characters and set looking like a convincing, historically accurate samurai movie.
The set design is just as jaw droppingly flawless as the cast and costumes. The imagery comes across as something that Big Hollywood invested in, whether it is scenery of a bustling East meets West old world Kyoto or the quiet and quaint imagery of the Kamiya Dojo.
And the choreography! OMG OMG OMG. I can’t even begin to describe. In a genre that is rife with action, and the advent of the superhero action packed and CG riddled summer blockbuster, this REAL action, REAL stunt and REAL swordplay movie is simply mind blowing. You really have to see it to believe it. Seriously having trouble describing the fight scenes, since everything I start to type is coming out as fangirl gibberish. Lol!

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I was extremely impressed with the degree of original storyline they were able to include in the film. Story nuances and character background that I frankly did not think would be relevant enough to squeeze into the movie length, the scriptwriters somehow managed to do, without the story feeling forced or rushed. And it’s done so organically that non-fans would be able to easily follow along without getting lost.
And, of course, the acting and the musical score was phenomenal. This movie is a Kenshin fans dream come true. I CANNOT wait for the final movie, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. Bring it to LA EigaFest 2015, onegaishimasu?!

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Are you a Kenshin fan? Have you seen the live action movies? Post your thoughts below!!

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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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