travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Rurouni Kenshin: Press Conference: How My Heart Was Stolen By the Kenshin-gumi

August 8, 2014

It was a surprise to know that some of my friends are fans of  Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen (The Great Kyoto Fire). I only got to find out after I told them I missed the Asian Premiere held last Wednesday in SM Megamall. Most wanted to cry over a missed opportunity. 

Yesterday was another missed opportunity for me. I went to another event in Glorietta, and I could hear the roaring screams of fans from the public presscon of  Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen (The Great Kyoto Fire). My friend, Trishia has a story to share with you guys. Check out:

How My Heart Was Stolen By the Kenshin-gumi
by Trishia Mariano

Yesterday, August 8, a press conference was held at the Glorietta Activity Center as part of the Asia premier of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen (The Great Kyoto Fire), the first of two sequels of Rurouni Kenshin released on 2012. In attendance were Takeru Satoh who played the protagonist, Kenshin Himura, Munetaka Aoki who played one of Kenshin’s friend, Sanosuke Sagara and the renowed director, Keishi Otomo. 
Click Read More to see more pictures from Rurouni Kenshin press conference in Manila..

We were graced with performances of Philippines All Stars as they danced to the movie’s OST (Official Sountrack), “Mighty Long Fall” (by One OK Rock) and the members of Shinkendo Philippines who showcased their epic sword skills and of course the hosting of the smart and beautiful, Sam Oh.

For those who are not familiar with Rurouni Kenshin (“Kenshin the Wanderer”), it’s a Japanese anime and manga (Japanese comics). The anime was aired on in Philippines TV in the early 2000s and was known as Samurai X that told a story about Kenshin Himura, a former assassin during the Tokugawa Period who, after the war decided to turn back from his old killing ways and live his life as a wanderer. 

When I found out I will be covering the event, my heart just literally and figuratively skipped a beat. It was like I was reverted back into my highschool days (which was ages ago, okay? No need to compute ) when  I would rush to finish my homework to catch it on local TV and I set up our VHS player to record the episodes so my sister and I can have reruns over the weekend. It is a kind of anime that will get you mentally and emotionally involved with its characters because of their unique backgrounds, ideals and quirks. Despite the difference in the periods, you will definitely find a character that you can relate with when you watch the series. 

So meeting the cast and director that brought one of the anime you practically grew up with is truly a surreal experience that I can’t seem to organize my thoughts and feelings  (up to now!!! Seriously) so I came up with a list of these moments during the press con:

1. The mini exhibit where photos of outtakes and behind-the-scenes were displayed in a mini gallery with Kenshin and Sanosuke’s costumes on display. Even photos of Kumaton’s visit to the set where there!

2. When the cast was introduced, Takeru immediately melted the hearts of his Filipino fans by introducing himself and greeting everyone in Tagalog with his signature angelic smile that almost collapsed Glorietta. 

3. Munetaka has the energy and charisma of a rock star. He was all smiles, leaping, almost running from one side of the stage to another and punching his fist in the air  just to say hello to the crowd. It was like watching Sano bursting out of the TV or the page of the manga (Japanese comics)!
4. When someone asked “is there a living person today that is like Kenshin?”, Takeru said he hasn’t met anyone like that yet but Munetaka followed through by pointing to Takeru and said, “I know,  I know. That person is him” XD
5. When Takeru blew a flying kiss while the crowd was chanting “Sano!” and it was super effective! Sano chanting halted. Gomen, Munetaka-san. (Sorry, Mr. Munetaka) *peace*
6. The cast literally shed blood and sweat for the movie. When they were asked about what kind of injuries they got during filming, Takeru said he incurred so much injuries that he can’t narrow it down to one. Munetaka, however, was very comical and even admitted that he lost a tooth during filming. The crowd was reassured by his smile when he said “but I don’t mind! I am Sano! And.. its fixed” while pointing to his teeth.
7. Takeru was very expressive about how much they respected the director, Keishi Otomo. When asked about what his next career plans are, Takeru clearly stated that he doesn’t have anything planned out yet, however, one sure thing is that he wants to have another opportunity to work with Director Otomo. Then Munetaka-san reacted by saying “how about me?” and Takeru-san responded with, “of course!” 
8. When Director Otomo challenged Hollywood to try and make their version of the movie. Uhm Hollywood? Just please stick to Marvel, DC and Game of Thrones. 
9. During the Q&A portion, Takeru’s admiration towards Kenshin’s character was very evident.  When he was asked how he connected with his character, Takeru said that to him, Kenshin was more than a character that he played in a film – he was a mentor. That at times of doubt, he would ask himself what Kenshin would if he was in the same situation.  Munetaka-san, on other hand, identified with his character Sanosuke who was also passionate, reliable, protective and.. astig (awesome). And yes, he kept using the term astig throughout the event! Our dear Sano likes to show off his Tagalog skills. 
10. That moment when Takeru mentioned a very important lesson from Kenshin’s story:  instead of running away or forgetting the past, we must learn to look back, embrace it and live better life based on that past and move forward. 
11. Takeru and Munetaka’s appreciation for their fans. Takeru was allegedly wearing a scraf that was given by a fan during the red carpet and Munetaka kept using the word astig during the event – a word that one of the fans used to describe him and his character. 
12. That moment when Munetaka described Sano in the movie. Like Takeru, he really had a deep connection with his character and one of Sano’s role in the series that is to support and be protective of his friend Kenshin so he can fully commit himself to his goals.
13. Every time Munetaka would wave and rally the crowd the crowd and Takeru would smile. Okay that sound kind of stalker-y. *hides*
14. When Takeru said he “fell in love with the Philippines” and Munetaka added “Mahal Ko Kayo”
Like I said, it was surreal and truly overwhelming. Takeru and Munetaka really had so many similarities with their characters on and off cam. And like what Director Otomo said, their dedication and hard work translated into successful portrayals of the iconic characters.

As a fan, I am truly honored and grateful to given the opportunity to see them live.  A friend asked me how close I got near them and I said I just stayed in my seat and watched them from afar. It was truly humbling that out of all the countries with a huge following, they chose to hold a 2-day event here in the Philippines. Asking for an autograph, a selfie or a handshake would too much. I’d gladly give that up for other fans to enjoy. What’s more important for me now is to see the movie ASAP, see the epic battle scenes, the farewell scene and reflect on how the series’ lessons impacted my life as a person and as an otaku (anime and manga fan). They have definitely captured my otaku heart. And I don’t mind as well if don’t give it back.

Thank you again to Director Otomo, Takeru Satoh and Munetaka Aoki for sharing your time with us. We are forever honored and grateful for bringing Rurouni Kenshin to life. We will continue to support the series and your works! And finally, thank you to the team responsible for bringing them here! 

Thank you Trishia for covering and for sharing this story (beautiful pictures! My logo seems out of place in there!) I am not a fan of this.. probably because I did not know much about this story. But now I am interested. Plus, the lead actor sure look adorable. 🙂 Thank you to our friends in Warner Bros too for this opportunity!
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