Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

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Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal
Rurouni Kenshin - Trust & Betrayal Blu-ray.jpg
Cover for Aniplex of America's Blu-ray Disc release, featuring Himura Kenshin and Yukishiro Tomoe.
追憶編
(Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen)
Genre Chanbara, Drama, Tragedy
Original video animation
Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi
Produced by Yoshinori Naruke
Kazuki Noguchi
Written by Masashi Sogo
Music by Taku Iwasaki
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by
Released February 20, 1999November 22, 1999
Runtime 29 minutes
Episodes 4 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal, known in Japan as Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen (追憶編 Recollection or Reminiscence?), is a 1999 original video animation series directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, screenplay-written by Masashi Sogo, scored by Taku Iwasaki, and animated by Studio Deen. Based on the Rurouni Kenshin manga written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki, Trust & Betrayal chronicles the story of Himura Kenshin as the Hitokiri Battōsai during the final years of the Bakumatsu era while also revealing the origins of his cross-shaped scar and exploring his relationship with a woman named Yukishiro Tomoe.

The OVA series was first licensed by ADV Films for VHS and DVD releases in North America and the United Kingdom, and by Madman Entertainment for releases in Australasia, under the title Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal. Trust & Betrayal was later collected into a two hour feature-length motion picture with new animated sequences and released theatrically in Japan. In 2003, this feature-length motion picture was eventually released in North America on DVD as a director's cut by ADV Films. After ADV Films' closure, Aniplex of America began licensing the OVA series for Blu-ray Disc releases in North America under its original Rurouni Kenshin title.

Since its release, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal has received universal critical acclaim from anime critics, with praise directed towards the story, animation, art, music and Japanese voice acting.

Plot[edit]

While a raid of bandits slay a group of travelers, a young boy named Shinta is saved from death by a passing swordsman. The swordsman, known as Hiko Seijūrō, is a master of the Hiten Mitsurugi, the strongest of all sword forms. Hiko takes Shinta as an apprentice and renames him "Kenshin", a name which he felt was more appropriate for a swordsman.

After years of training, Kenshin leaves his master, convinced that the only way to uphold the Hiten Mitsurugi's pledge to help the weak and innocent is to join the revolution poised to upend the Tokugawa shogunate. He joins the Choshu clan and soon works for their leader, Katsura Kogorō, as an assassin. Kenshin soon becomes a hardened killer, feared far and wide as the Hitokiri Battōsai. During a successful assassination, he kills a bodyguard named Kiyosato Akira. The encounter with Kiyosato leaves Kenshin with the first half of his cross-shaped scar. After killing a skilled assassin, Kenshin meets a woman named Yukishiro Tomoe, unaware of the fact that she is the fiancée of Kiyosato. Kenshin takes her to the inn where he and the men of the Choshu clan are residing. Katsura suspects a spy among the Choshu after Kenshin informs him of the assassin he killed.

After the Ikedaya affair, Katsura arranges for Kenshin and Tomoe to hide in the village of Otsu as husband and wife, so the two would not be suspected. After a few months, Tomoe's brother Enishi comes to visit and secretly reveals to his sister that the shogunate agents assigned to track down and kill Kenshin are close by, and that her revenge will be complete. Tomoe sends Enishi off, feeling ill at ease. It is here that Tomoe realizes that she has fallen in love with Kenshin. Kenshin, too, is in love with Tomoe. The next morning, Tomoe leaves the house and tries to deceive the shogunate men into giving up their pursuit of Kenshin and unsuccessfully attempts to kill their leader.

After Tomoe's disappearance, Kenshin is visited by a comrade who tells him that the spy was Tomoe and that she is meeting at that moment with her co-conspirators. He also reveals to Kenshin that she is the fiancée of Kiyosato, the man he killed. Kenshin, however, is unaware that it is this man who is the real spy. While heading to Tomoe's location, a heavily-shocked Kenshin faces and kills three of the four shogunate agents but becomes badly injured due to his traumatized state. While Kenshin is fighting with the last agent(a fist fighter), Tomoe steps in between the two to protect Kenshin from the killing punch. This allows Kenshin to kill the agent but, in doing so, unintentionally impales Tomoe also. Before her death, she gives him the second part of his cross-shaped wound.

Kenshin, blaming himself for Tomoe's death, swears to fight to bring about the age desired by Katsura, but after that to continue fighting to protect the innocent without killing again. Katsura informs Kenshin that he had a new assassin kill the real spy. As the Tokugawa shogunate is nearing its end, Kenshin has his first encounter with the Shinsengumi captains Okita Sōji and his future rival, Saitō Hajime. It is then revealed that once the Bakumatsu revolution had ended, the Hitokiri Battōsai had disappeared without a trace.

Cast[edit]

Character Japanese voice cast English voice cast
Himura Kenshin
Shinta
Mayo Suzukaze
Masami Suzuki
J. Shannon Weaver
Katherine Catmull
Yukishiro Tomoe Junko Iwao Rebecca Davis
Yukishiro Enishi Nozomu Sasaki Brian Gaston
Hiko Seijūrō Shūichi Ikeda Joe York
Katsura Kogorō Tomokazu Seki Corey M. Gagne
Takasugi Shinsaku Wataru Takagi Jason B. Phelps
Saitō Hajime Hirotaka Suzuoki Ken Webster
Okita Sōji Yōko Ogai J. Shannon Weaver
Kiyosato Akira Tetsuya Iwanaga Ray Clayton
Iizuka Ryūsei Nakao Lowell Bartholomee
Katagai Mitsuaki Hoshino Douglas Taylor
Tatsumi Minoru Uchida John Paul Shephard

Production[edit]

Daryl Surat of Otaku USA stated that this series uses a more "realistic" art style than the television series uses, and that the series has "graphic, bloody violence galore" beginning in the opening sequence.[1]

One of the major themes of Trust is understanding the repercussions and after-effects murder can have, something that Kenshin has yet to comprehend though others have tried to point it out to him.[2]

English translation[edit]

Although the English translation in the dubbed version is mostly faithful to the original Japanese, there were some major deviations, notably in the 3rd and 4th episodes.[original research?] The last portion of Tomoe's soliloquy, the shogunate agent's monologue, and Kenshin's words beside Tomoe's corpse were major segments that were significantly altered in the English translation. Below are some examples.

Original Japanese Literal translation English dub
Tomoe: Sonna onna wo anata ga mamoru to Tomoe: That is the woman you said you will protect (referring to herself who conspired to kill Kenshin). Tomoe: My heart has changed over the seasons, just as you've changed from an assassin to a husband.
Kenshin: Tomoe?
Tomoe: Hai.
Kenshin: Kimi no shiawase wo ore wa mamoru.
Kenshin: Tomoe?
Tomoe: Yes?
Kenshin: I will protect your happiness.
Kenshin: Tomoe?
Tomoe: Yes?
Kenshin: Will you marry me, really?
Kenshin:[3] Nanoni, kimi wa ore wo mamotte kureta. Konna ore wo ikashite kureta. Demo kimi wa mou, tsurai omoi wo shinakute mo iin da yo ne? Kurushimanakute iin da yo ne? Ore wa kono kurushimi wo seotta mama ikite tsugunai no michi wo sagasanakereba naranain da. Ore wo mamotte shinde ita hito to, ore ga ayameta hitobito no inochi ni mukuiru tame ni. Tsurai kedo, tabun daijoubu da to omou. Ima made mo sou datta shi, kimi ga oshiete kureta hito no nukumori no atatakasa wo oboete irareru no nara. Tabun, ore wa... Kenshin: Despite this, you protected me. You let me live. But now, isn't it good that it's not longer painful? You don't have to suffer anymore. I will continue to live, carrying this suffering. I need to find the road to atonement, to repay for the lives of the people who died protecting me and for the lives of those I killed. It will be painful, but I hope it will be all right. It has been like that until now. As long as I can remember the warmth of people that you taught me, maybe, I will... Kenshin: I must repay the people whose lives I destroyed. I'll do this to honor your memory. For now, I carry that burden with me as I carried your body back to our home. I will live honorably for you. You showed me how to live like a man. You encouraged a calm in my inner self. I didn't fully appreciate the value of other people until you taught me to see the value of my own life. You saved me. You were the first person to want me not for what I could do for them, but for what I really was as a human being, and for that I will always adore you, my love. I swear...

Reception[edit]

Trust & Betrayal's story, animation, art, music and Japanese voice acting have all been heavily praised by various critics and, consequently, the series itself has been widely acknowledged as a masterpiece and one of anime's crowning achievements.[4][5][6][7]

THEM Anime Reviews gave the entire OVA series a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars, with reviewer Tim Jones stating, "powerful, evocative, saddening, and heavily charged, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal is a series that goes far beyond its comic-book origins, testing the limits of not only its franchise, but the medium of original video animation as a storytelling device. And while it surpasses the original television series in many ways, it remains complementary and insightful to why Kenshin becomes the way he is. After all, nothing builds character quite so well as a stirring tragedy. It doesn't get much more tragic or stirring than this." He summarised the series as "dramatic, tragic, beautiful" and "a sterling example of Japanese animation at its finest".[4]

Trust & Betrayal has received significant praise from Anime News Network reviewers. Mike Crandol noted it as one of the greatest OVA series of all time, celebrating the new characters designs as well as the fights scenes which were also noted to be "terribly bloody" and beautiful at the same time.[5] In his review, Carl Kimlinger described the series as "stirring, devastating, smart, redemptive and pure perfection" and gave the series an 'A+' rating for the subbed version and an 'A' rating for the dub.[7] Bamboo Dong claimed that watching this series would benefit the viewer with a "stunning overall experience" before finishing off that "Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuioku Hen is a masterpiece, with dramatic visuals and beautiful animation".[6]

Animerica reviewer Rio Yañez praised Trust '​s "introspective take on violence" as well as its being "chock-full of insane samurai sword fights and free-flying appendages" while avoiding stereotypical freeze frame animation. While considering the violence "over the top", he felt it was well handled, avoiding being excessive or gratuitous, and that the action scenes were "well balanced by the lavish background paintings and designs". He did criticize ADV Film's English dub as "kung fu style dubbing", noting that the voice actors frequently mispronounced the Japanese names and left the voice track mildly confusing despite the English script's serious take of the material.[2]

Although DVD Talk reviewer Don Houston mentioned the OVAs were very violent for teenagers, he found the story and music to be "solid". The director's cut version received positive comments by how the four OVAs were arranged with Houston commenting it "seems more like a movie that stands alone, rather than just the precursor to a long lasting series."[8]

Daryl Surat of Otaku USA said that, despite what Dave Riley said, viewers should not watch the Trust & Betrayal series before watching other media, and that viewers should instead watch the television series before watching Trust & Betrayal. Surat explained that the OVA has "great moments" that a viewer unfamiliar with the television series would not "bat an eye toward."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Surat, Daryl. "Heart of Steel." Otaku USA. Volume 4, Number 1. August 2010. 36.
  2. ^ a b Yañez, Rio (November 2000). "Best of the West Reviews: Samurai X: Vol. 1 Trust". Animerica (San Francisco, California: Viz Media) 8 (10): 69. ISSN 1067-0831. OCLC 27130932. 
  3. ^ "Rurouni Kenshin OVA Script". 
  4. ^ a b Ross, Carlos. "Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Crandol, Mike (2003-05-18). "Samurai X Director's Cut - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  6. ^ a b Dong, Bamboo. "Rurouni Kenshin OAV - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  7. ^ a b Kimlinger, Carl. "Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal Blu-Ray - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  8. ^ Houston, Don (2003-05-20). "Samurai X - Trust & Betrayal (Director's Cut)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 

External links[edit]