The story and suspense continues in this second OAV episode of Rurouni Kenshin and the look at Kenshin's past. While the first episode concentrated on introducing the characters and story for the OAV series, this second episode begins to explore Kenshin's and Tomoe's characters. With so many questions and pointed comments on Tomoe's part, her presence is a source of mild embarassment and unease for young Kenshin.
And it is Tomoe's character and her very questions and comments to Kenshin which makes viewers and Kenshin pause and question not just the morality of killing, but also its efficacy in bringing about the changes that were wanted during this period. So many questions and moral dilemmas are brought up at least marginally and in some ways it is a shame that the individual episodes are so short given the amount of story and material covered in each. Yet, at the same time, not so much is covered that viewers are left outside or struggling to follow the storyline. Rather, while very full, we are left with a strong feeling of curiosity and wanting to know what will happen next as the series unfolds.
Looking at this second episode the animation continues to be an interesting mix between standard animation and rotoscoping. Even so, the rotoscoped images are generally done well such that it does not clash with the animated scenes. The voice acting in this second episode continues to be very low key and yet carries so much of the atmosphere. All in all a solid effort by the voice cast. The music also continues to be very interesting and enhances the scenes well. Being both highly suspenseful and very depressed it helps carry the overall feel and atmosphere of the episode. The one thing that does annoy me is the mixing levels between music and vocal tracks. With so much of the dialogue being so very quiet, it can get lost in the music in certain scenes. But this tends to be a peeve of mine, especially in theatrical features.
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects not only in the OAVs but overall for Kenshin is how much of the events are actually pulled from real events and real people compared to how much was imagined and embellished by Watsuki. And it is this interweaving of fact and fiction in the story of the assassin which makes the whole series so fascinating and draws viewers into wanting to learn more of the history of this unsettled period.
- JYN, 2001.10.15