The Anime Cafe - Your complete source for anime reviews


[ go to homepage ]
[ what's new - editorials, calendar, to-do list, news articles, mailbag and archives ]
[ episode-by-episode anime reviews, how we review ]
[ a parent's guide to anime, title list, titles by category ]
[ the anime encyclopædia ]
[ café trivia - anime trivia ]
[ anime humour, the laws of anime, light articles, etc ]
[ serious articles, essays, anime guides, etc. ]
[ message forum for the discussion of anime, manga, reviews, etc. ]
[ faq about the café and contributors, awards given to the café, etc. ]
[ feedback forms, error reports, or e-mail the café ]
[ links to other resources on the internet ]
[ site map ]


[ café reviews ]

Rurouni Kenshin logo

Rurouni Kenshin
(Samurai X)

Episode 2: Mayoi Neko

Copyright: Fuji Television Network Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
Length: 30 minutes
Genre: Historic Drama / Romance
Rating: M, Recommended for Mature Audiences
Format: Original Japanese (VHS, LD, DVD), English Sub / Dub

Original Story: Watsuki Nobuhiro Screenplay by: Director: Music:


Kenshin LD OAV 1 jacket

A traitor is in the midst of the Ishinshishi group in Kyoto. Kenshin finds that his assassination assignments are dotted with assassins waiting for him in the dark. More importantly however, is that Kenshin is very much an assassin on edge. Unable to sleep except when sitting with his sword and unknowing of what he works to protect or what exactly he fights for. His spirit is made uneasy by Tomoe's presence.

An important meeting's time and location is leaked to the Shinsengumi and rumour has it that Katsura himself will be at the meeting and would make quite the target for the Shinsengumi. With a mole in their midst, Bakumatsu Kyoto has become too dangerous for Katsura and Kenshin. And so Kenshin and Tomoe leave Kyoto for the safety of Otsu...

capsule review:

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

café rating (original japanese):


4 stars

[4 / 5] - Character development of Tomoe's and Kenshin's characters are central to this episode in a plot of betrayal. Mystery and suspense continues to be the mainstay.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Solid direction keeps viewers attention fixed as the story unfolds in a very suspenseful manner.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - So very low key and quiet yet very well portrayed. This is not a high action anime, but a human drama story in the midst of civil war.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Again very good and interesting with a lot of rotoscoping as well. There is a good amount of emphasis on the imagery and animation as there is on the actual story itself.


5 stars
[5 / 5] - Music continues to be excellent and heightens the tension of the episode.


[ N/A ] - Based on the original Japanese release

Overall Rating:

4 stars
[4 / 5] - Highly interesting and entertaining. While having a very depressed atmosphere, this series has a lot of good suspense and drama as it looks at Kenshin's earlier years as an assassin for the Ishinshishi.

[ home ] [ what's new ] [ café contest ] [ café reviews ] [ parent's guide ] [ encyclopædia ]
[ café trivia ] [ café latté ] [ café espresso ] [ about the café ] [ feedback ] [ links ] [ site map ]

© 1997-2001. All rights reserved. The Animé Café logo and the Crystal Kyoko award are original creations of the Animé Café. Please do not use any of the materials on this site without the expressed written permission of the Animé Café.

Page last modified 2001.10.15