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volume 3 issue 6

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Rurouni Kenshin: Sei Sou Hen Vol.2
Japanese DVD 30 minutes
Sony Entertainment
The second episode of the Sei Sou Hen ends the Kenshin series in a beautiful, artistic form.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Rurouni Kenshin: Sei Sou Hen Vol.2
By Ridwan Khan

Currently only available as an import or as fansubbed, the second episode of Sei Sou Hen has already garnered quite a bit of attention on the fanboy message boards already. There are some (mostly fans of the TV series) that despise the latest (and last) edition to the Kenshin saga. Not wanting to add to the flame wars or spoil the details of the last episode, I'll, for the most part, keep my mouth shut; it's probably for each Kenshin fan to decide for his or herself.

The animation of the second episode is solid - in the style of the OAV episodes but still several years better than the first OAV series. The music is exquisite, beautiful, slow and heartfelt, much like Sei Sou Hen itself. For those of you who haven't seen episode I, Kaoru was captured by Enishi at the end of that episode. Episode II starts out with Kenshin's fight for Kaoru and moves from there to China, the last stomping ground of the old patriot. This episode ties up the animated loose ends for the series (the manga finished up a while ago). There arguments that the episode's fights in this particular episode were not as good (especially considering how hyped the Enishi fight has been); though this is true, it misses the point - this particular episode is not about Kenshin's fights (well, the physical ones, anyway). Like the first OAV series, Sei Sou Hen, this episode in particular, concentrates on the theme of love.

As the episode starts, Kaoru is locked away on Enishi's tiny island, awaiting Kenshin to rescue her, which of course, precipitates the fight between Kenshin and Enishi. In the course of the second episode Kenshin the audience finds out that Kenshin is battling a new enemy, far more deadly than Enishi or Shishio - tuberculosis. The remaining half of the series deals with Kaoru's gradual understanding of the love between herself and Kenshin. Despite another long awaited battle, between Yakhito and Kenji, the episode winds down to a slow, beautiful, and artistic end.

As I mentioned before, episode II of Sei Sou Hen is going to be one of those series that fans polarize over. It is very different in character from the TV series and even the first OAV, which might alienate many fans. Sei Sou Hen combines the bright colors of the TV series with the style, pacing, and music that are reminiscent of the original OAV series. Additionally, many fans do not want the series to end - but after fighting Enishi, what is left for Japan's patriot? As for my opinion the, Sei Sou Hen is a beautiful, artistic end to the series, though it is not good as the original OAV.

Despite the unsettling implications of the episode's setting (Kenshin's business in China was helping the war effort, events that precipitate World War II), the second episode of Sei Sou Hen is an artistic end to the Kenshin series. Whether or not it will meet successes with the American fans it was created for is another question entirely.

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