‘Kenshin Himura’ in the flesh

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Behind the scene with the film’s director, Keishi Otomo, who also visits Manila together with two more actors, Emi Takei and Munetaka Aoki

Behind the scene with the film’s director, Keishi Otomo, who also visits Manila together with two more actors, Emi Takei and Munetaka Aoki

Before the first Rurouni Kenshin movie was screened worldwide between 2012 to 2013, the Japanese live action film based on manga (Japanese comics) already a had following in the Philippines. Many Filipinos are therefore quite familiar with Kenshin Himura, the story’s protagonist, through the hit anime series Samurai X.

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Recognizing the genre’s ever-growing Filipino fans, Warner Bros. Pictures is flying in director Keishi Otomo and main stars Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki and Takeru Satoh a.k.a. Kenshin Himura to Manila today.

The four Japanese artists will grace the red carpet premiere of the film’s second sequel, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno tonight at the SM Megamall Cinema in Mandaluyong City. The highly anticipated event marks the first time a Japanese film will hold its Asian premiere in Manila.

William Ireton, president and representative director of Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., and Francis Soliven, general manager of Warner Bros. Philippines were the bearers of this good news for Filipino manga fans.

“We are thrilled to bring director Keishi Otomo and castmembers Takeru Satoh, Emi Takei and Munetaka Aoki to Manila so they can personally thank and engage with the loyal fans of Rurouni Kenshin. The Philippines is a very important market for the franchise as proven by the outstanding box-office success in Manila of the first `Rurouni Kenshin’ film in 2013,” said Ireton.

For his part, Soliven said, “Moviegoers in the Philippines have helped create a wave of anticipation and excitement for the Rurouni Kenshin sequels and this talent visit is a much welcome recognition of the fans’ ardent support.”

Kyoto Inferno, which is set to premiere across the Philippines on August 20, is the first of two sequels to the 2013 blockbuster. The second titled The Legend Ends opens on September 24.

Based on the Kyoto arc of the popular manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki, the films follow the story of Kenshin Himura (Satoh), a legendary swordsman in the wars accompanying the turbulent fall of Japan’s Shogunate in the 19th century. Once feared as “Battosai the Killer,” he adopted a peaceful life since the arrival of the “new age.”

Besides the red carpet premiere, a “Cultural Friendship Ambassador Ceremony” featuring the Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno director and cast is set on Thursday, with its venue yet to be announced.

Makati Councilor Mayeth Casal-Uy will formally appoint director Otomo and actors Satoh, Takei and Aoki as “Cultural Friendship Ambassadors” for linking Japanese and Filipino cultures with their work and welcome visit.

The newly named Cultural Friendship Ambassadors will then present a ceremonial gift (a yukata or a casual summer kimono) to Councilor Casal-Uy.

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