The two 'final chapter' films in the live-action film series based on Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin manga took the top two spots at the Japanese box office this past weekend. Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Beginning, the second of the two films, sold 350,000 tickets for over 508 million yen (about US$4.7 million) in its opening weekend to claim the top spot. Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final, the first of the two films, ranked at #2 at the box office this past weekend.
Other franchises have opened two films in Japanese theaters one after another, such as 2006's Death Note, 2010 and 2011's SP, 2011's Gantz, 2012's We Were There, and 2016's Chihayafuru. However, Rurouni Kenshin is the first franchise to take the top two spots at the Japanese box office in the same weekend.
Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final opened on April 23. Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Beginning opened on Friday. The films were originally slated to open on July 3 and August 7 last year, but were delayed to this year due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final has earned a cumulative total of about 3.451 billion yen (about US$31.60 million) and has sold over 2.45 million tickets. The film ranked at #2 and earned 745 million yen (about US$6.9 million) in its opening weekend.
Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Final has an original story that differs from the story in the manga. The film centers 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 tells the story of how Kenshin got his cross-shaped scar. Kasumi Arimura plays 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.
Riku Ōnishi is the only new cast member 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 also returns as Hajime Saitō. Yusuke Iseya and Tao Tsuchiya reprise their roles from the previous film as Aoshi Shinomori and Misao Makimachi, respectively.
Mackenyu plays 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. Issei Takahashi, Nijirō Murakami, and Masanobu Andou play the characters Katsura Kogorō, Okita Sōji, and Takasugi Shinsaku, respectively, in the Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō The Beginning film.
Keishi Ōtomo returned to direct the films. The rock band ONE OK ROCK returned to perform the theme song "Renegade" for the films.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web