Rurouni Kenshin: The Remembrance Anime Review
るるうに剣心 - 明治剣客浪漫譚 - 追憶編
Rurouni Kenshin - Meiji Kenkaku Roman-tan - Tsuioku Hen
Wandering Kenshin - Romantic Tale of a Meiji Swordsman - Reminiscence Chapter
US Release By
Historical Action Romance
4 30-minute episodes
1999-02-20 - 1999-09-22
In 1864, Japan is a country divided by civil war. The Ishen Shishi revolutionaries and the Shinsengumi supporters of the Tokugawa Shogunate clash openly in the streets and blood flows more freely than sake. As the struggle becomes more ferocious, the revolutionary Choshu clan employs its most deadly weapon--a single youth. Orphaned by cholera, sold into slavery as a boy, baptized with the blood of those he cared for, trained in the swordsmanship of Hiten Mitsurugi, he is a warrior without peer--an assassin with the mind of a killer and the heart of a child. He will become legend as the Hitokiri Battousai, but his true name is Kenshin Himura.
On the streets of Kyoto one night, Kenshin meets a beautiful young woman called Tomoe. As they come to know each other it seems that she alone may be able to penetrate the barriers that the young assassin has thrown up around his heart. But when a disaster forces them to flee Kyoto and go into hiding, their feelings for each other may become Kenshin's destruction in this bloodstained saga of trust and betrayal.
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This OAV prequel to the popular Rurouni Kenshin TV series tells the complete, tragic story of Kenshin's days as the most feared killer in Japan. If you haven't seen the TV series, fear not--it is darker, more reserved, and easily stands alone, although it will spoil parts of the TV series' plot.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Remembrance is a tale of both worldly strife and inner turmoil, told subtly through symbolism and gesture as much as dialogue. The depth of its characters is remarkable, as is the way in which their thoughts and personalities are illustrated. By turns exciting, dramatic, romantic, and tragic, it's dark, violent themes and nihilistic tone are given life through gorgeous animation, thrilling action, detailed art, and realistic period settings.
This OAV is, simply put, flawless. Both as a meaningful prologue to a TV series that is not its equal, or as a powerful and rich drama that stands fully on its own, this gripping series is artistic, moving, and engrossing--as close to perfect as it is realistically possible for anime to be.
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Rurouni Kenshin: the Remembrance is the video prequel to the popular TV series of the same (abridged) name. Everyone who has seen the series knows Kenshin as the peerless swordsman who was once a famous assassin and has now sworn never to kill. Once you get far enough into the series you even learn some things about his past. But it is only in this OAV that you get the complete, tragic story of Kenshin's days as the most feared killer in Japan.
As a result of this, and indeed as a result of its status as an OAV, the Rurouni Kenshin OAV (more widely known as Samurai X, although not here) is different from the Rurouni Kenshin TV series in almost every way imaginable. The most notable and significant difference is in the tone of the content. Because the OAV deals with Kenshin's time as a merciless assassin it would obviously be very violent; the oath against killing has to go. This series is dark where the TV series is funny and grim where the TV series is warming. Where the TV series is meant to entertain, the OAV is meant to enthrall. The nihilistic tone is set with the first words spoken by Hiko: "They are afflicted." Even the character designs are different--Kenshin has hair that is different in both style and even in colour (a darker brown than in the TV series), dresses in darker clothing, his eyes are more realistically proportioned and have a hard, deadly look to them. The rest of the animation is different: there is none of the semi-SD which was in the series--it was lost with the rest of the humour--and the animation is sharper and more detailed. To complement these differences, you can watch the Rurouni Kenshin OAV without having seen so much as a single episode of Kenshin--I myself had only seen one and it was totally unnecessary. Although the story of the OAV does spoil parts of the TV series' plot it isn't really important as the OAV is better than the TV series anyway.
Rurouni Kenshin OAV is divided into four episodes. The first two comprise the 'Kyoto' arc, the second two the 'Otsu' arc. Each episode is different in content--the first establishes Kenshin's character and background, the second covers the political aspects of the story, the third is about Kenshin and Tomoe together and the fourth contains the stunning climax and what comes after; the series continues well beyond where a lesser one would stop in order to provide a proper, conclusive and satisfying ending. The pace of the story constantly changes over the four episodes but it is so skillfully constructed that these changes in tempo never disrupt the narrative in the slightest. The story is fantastically engaging, if difficult for people unfamiliar with Japanese history to follow--I would not recommend this anime to non-hardcore fans simply on the grounds of it being too Japanese. It is driven by its characters more than by its action, although not in the usual sense. This story revolves around two characters--obviously Kenshin and Tomoe--but the way they are handled is completely unique.
The characters are not defined by their personalities, but by a series of abstract concepts--their actions (the way Kenshin sleeps), their possessions (Tomoe's dagger), even the taste of sake. Kenshin's internal struggle is truly internal--the only manifestation of it is the child's spinning top he owns, the only remaining vestige of his mangled childhood. The aforementioned sake is especially important--it is the measure of happiness and contentment, the presence of or lack of which is one of the most important themes in the series. Minor things like these tell the viewer so much about what these characters are feeling, because the characters themselves keep their emotions under tight control, Kenshin especially. Despite this, you can really see how realistic the characters are; although they are not "everyday people", they are extremely human.
The plot of the Rurouni Kenshin OAV concerns matters both worldly and personal. The political wrangling and the shadow war between the radicals and the conservatives is a severe test of brainpower, especially since so much viewer knowledge is just assumed and so much Japanese is not translated--the "kihei-tai" are never clearly explained, and the viewer must work out for themselves that it is a private, secret army. The Australian, and most likely the American DVDs have historical notes on them which make it all much clearer, but you must still be familiar with the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Shinsengumi to have much chance at understanding what is going on. This part of the story is very interesting and creates a lot of suspense, but the true core of the story lies elsewhere.
At the heart of the story is Kenshin himself--a young man who I described above as having the mind of a killer and the heart of a child. Kenshin's character seems straightforward enough--he can cause an entire room of men to fall silent simply by picking up his sword, he keeps a stack of books in his room simply because they're good to sleep against, and kills his targets without either mercy or hatred. His first appearance (as an adult) paints him immediately as a ruthless, merciless killer rather than a hero. But we can see what is very nearly another character within him--he plays with a child's spinning top when alone, we know that his ideals and his happiness do not overlap and later we can even see what it is that Kenshin needs to be happy. In truth, Kenshin is a very carefully constructed character, each facet of his personality intended to create a realistic young man who could have really existed (Kenshin was, in fact, based on a real historical figure, a famous and ruthless killer of almost feminine appearance called Gensai Kawakami). The final question is whether Kenshin, having decided to devote his life to killing for the greater good, can still be saved--is a man still a human when he becomes a killer?
The other important character in the series is Tomoe Yukishiro, the woman Kenshin meets and falls in love with. Tomoe is a character every bit as tragic and complicated as Kenshin himself--even the stupidest viewer can work out within ten minutes of the start that it is her fiancé that Kenshin cuts down, but we see her become close to Kenshin. Does she know who Kenshin is and what he has done? Does she hate him for it? None of this shows in her character during the first two episodes, although surprisingly she does not appear properly as a real character until the beginning of the second. Her control over her emotions is almost as strong as Kenshin's and when she does let them show it creates an extremely strong dramatic effect. Through a combination of her fantastic character design, her delicate bearing and her unique vulnerability, the creators managed to make Tomoe possibly the most beautiful woman ever to appear in an anime. Her character is perfectly suited for this series; she is appropriately compared with the iris by the innkeeper--a beautiful flower which stands out more in the rain--even a rain of blood.
The other characters in the series are all supporting characters. With the exception of Katsura, leader of the Choshu clan and Hiko, Kenshin's master, none of the others are nearly as well filled out as the two leads, in order not to distract the viewer from them. However, the characters are crafted in a way which says that, rather than having no depth to their character, their depth is present but unnecessary for this story. Characters such as Enishi and Iizuka have their stories, but since this is not their series, they keep them to themselves. One minor disappointment was Okita and his master Saitou. These two were present in the series to provide a perspective for the other side, that of Kenshin's opponents in the conflict. But their characters were never sufficiently fleshed out and Okita never attained the status of Kenshin's counterpart. Apart from these, virtually every character in the series was interesting and, more significantly, realistic.
Rurouni Kenshin: the Remembrance was directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and this piece alone should be sufficient to rank him as one of the greatest directors of the '90s. The directing is more than solid--it takes what could have been a good samurai story and turns it into a work of art. Under Furuhashi's skillful direction blood from one of Kenshin's victims drips across the full moon, Kenshin's eyes glow like a demon's in the light of an explosion, tears of blood fall from Kenshin's face and a firefly casts eerie lights as it dances along the length of a drawn katana. At several points in the third episode live action shots are merged with the animation--real water, fire, a shot looking up at some trees while walking down a path, even live-action snow. There are even live action swords flashing in the darkness at the end of the fourth episode. Other attempts at using live action in anime often ended up looking cheesy (Venus Wars) but here the effect looks very impressive, almost fitting in. Flashbacks and cuts to past events are incorporated seamlessly into the action--a bucket of water over the head brings back memories of training by a waterfall. There are a number of visual non-sequiturs as the picture cuts to something completely unrelated--a torii arch on water, for example--but these complement the scene unfolding at the time. The most impressive visual effect is the use of blood. In the first episode whenever Kenshin kills, his wound reopens, as it does during the climax of the series. Blood mixes with water, marks clothing, drips across the moon and stains the snow, a constant reminder of the life of violence Kenshin has chosen. Artistically and stylistically the Rurouni Kenshin OAV is the most awesome anime I have ever seen, surpassing even Adolescence of Utena and Jin-Roh.
The animation in the OAV is gorgeous--beautiful, highly detailed backgrounds and unique-looking, finely constructed characters wearing authentic period clothing. The budget for the series must have been very impressive, because the quality of the animation surpasses Macross Plus, previously my standard for OAV animation, and even stands up to more recent series like R.O.D. An unknown amount of CGA is used, most notably to animate Kenshin's spinning top. It is used so successfully that it is hard to detect it even here and impossible anywhere else, which is why it constitutes an unknown amount. Great pains have been taken to make this anime look exceptionally realistic and it definitely shows--Rurouni Kenshin: the Remembrance is visually stunning. This also applies to the fantastic action scenes, of which there are many. For the most part, this is Japanese sword fighting at its most realistic--swift, brutal and deadly. There are one or two slightly unrealistic seconds, such as at the beginning when Hiko makes the bandit chief vanish in an eruption of blood, but these are rare and the duels which eventuate between characters are simply jaw-dropping, especially the deadly beauty of Kenshin's swordplay. Those who had any doubts about Kenshin's skill may lay them to rest; in a fight in the second episode, he cuts down five opponents in less than ten seconds and comes away without a scratch. Even the more low-key battles like the fights between Kenshin and the Niwaban-Shu ninja in parts one and four are extremely tense and gripping.
Not all the action scenes in the series are executed the same way or with the same style. Kenshin's assassination missions are brief and very brutal, although we only get to see the first one in any detail. The larger battle between the Nibu wolves and the Choshu loyalists in the second part are similarly realistic--duels with katanas in feudal Japan rarely lasted longer than a few seconds and the loser virtually always died. The climatic battles in part four are not quite as fast and have more emotion and the final duel is impressive; although Kenshin is fighting for his life, it is Tomoe who faces the real battle. Finally, the duels between Kenshin and first Okita then Saitou are different again--violent, swirling, confusing battles, the first fast and explosive, the second condensed into a series of blurring images and stills, the only way they could fairly animate a duel between two swordsmen of that caliber. The action in Rurouni Kenshin OAV is, by its very nature, exceptionally violent. The opening massacre is of near-unmatched brutality and throughout the series skulls are split, throats pierced and bodies cleft in two. The series does not revel in its violence as other anime, such as Ninja Scroll do and it never glorifies killing. Although the blood is copious--it would be unrealistic otherwise--the bloodshed is never overplayed and does not deserve the description 'gore'. The action scenes perfectly fit in with the other parts of the anime to give this engaging story thrilling action to complement it.
The story of Rurouni Kenshin is brilliant, at times thrillingly tense, warmly romantic, or bleakly gripping. It operates on several levels at once--Kenshin's and Tomoe's stories, the bigger picture of the revolution, both on the small scale in Kyoto and the large scale throughout Japan and the efforts of the shogunate forces to contain and destroy it, seen from their own point of view. This plot is hampered only by a difficult historical learning curve. As I mentioned before, virtually no explanation is given about the historical period, the factions, or their motives--why Kenshin kills his victims, what kind of "new world" Katsura and the Choshu clan are trying to usher in, and who or what the Nibu wolves, the Shinsen Gumi or the Kihei-Tai are. Some things can be worked out--the Kihei-Tai are obviously a private army and the Nibu wolves appear to be a clan loyal to the Shogunate--but this was assumed to be common knowledge for Japanese viewers and doesn't do any favours for non-Japanese. Regardless, this is intelligent and fascinating material and is historical as well--although the story of Rurouni Kenshin is fictional, it is based on historical accounts. In fact, not only is Kenshin based on a real historical figure, but Kogoro Katsura actually was a real man--an isolationist leader of the powerful Choshu clan in the 1860s, as was the master he spoke of, Yoshida Shoin, who taught imperial loyalist philosophy to Choshu samurai. Some of the major events in the anime also really happened, although some appear to have become a little confused (the battle in the climax of the second episode appears to be a combination of the coup d'etat of 1863 and the Ikedaya and Hamaguri Gomon incidents of 1864) and I found no reference to the Kyoto fire.
However, the Rurouni Kenshin OAV is not really about politics and revolutions--it is primarily about two people, a young man and a young woman, falling in love. The execution of this romance is beautiful. It is slow, developing not in stages, but all throughout chapters two and three and culminating in the awesomely powerful and moving finale in chapter four. It is also different from just about any other romance you would care to name in how it is expressed. Most of the standard components of an anime relationship are missing, replaced by a romance which is told in subtle glances, simple questions and answers and harmless actions. Things such as when Kenshin buys the mirror for Tomoe, when she leaves her dagger behind, when she puts her coat around him as he sleeps--these things are all outward expressions of the feelings that grow between them throughout the series. The beginning of their relationship is very interesting--Tomoe is possessed by a fascination with Kenshin--as can be seen in the scene when she wakes him in chapter 2--while Kenshin's decision to save Tomoe rather than kill her upon their first meeting was more reflex than anything else. In the scene near the end of the third episode, when Tomoe falls in the snow, Kenshin does not need to carry her, merely to offer his hand. He swears undying love to Tomoe simply by stating that he will protect her. And the scene which follows is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen in my career of watching beautiful anime.
The finale of the series is outright stunning. The climax is executed first with a series of dreamlike, almost silent battles and then with a fight which is so effective that it is almost painful to watch. Indeed, watching Kenshin fight so poorly is one of the hardest parts of the series--not because it is bad in any way, but because it tells us that everything is wrong and Kenshin is dying. But, as I mentioned before, the final battle is Tomoe's, as she must choose whether to honour the dead or save the living. The ending of the scene melts sight as Kenshin accepts the responsibility of atonement. It is not until then that you realize the true meaning of Kenshin's scar--his cross to bear. The aftermath was carefully designed to finish telling the story--the series is, after all, larger than one man, or even one couple--without disrupting the mood and is executed perfectly. Fans may have been expecting some big dramatic deal where Kenshin swears an oath never to kill or breaks his sword, but such a thing is not only unnecessary but unrealistic. Instead, we see the true forging of the legend of Hitokiri Battousai and the ending of this chapter of Kenshin's life. This ties up all the loose ends while simultaneously managing to strengthen the mood established in the climax--this is one of the few scenes in all of anime ever to make me cry. The ending is empty but powerful, cyclical and utterly appropriate--perfection.
Rurouni Kenshin's audio is extremely noteworthy. The music is all orchestral, with a lot of woodwind. It is very powerful, although not in the same way as soundtracks in anime such as Princess Mononoke. It conveys the sense of danger and instability which permeates the series. In many places it can actually stand in for dialogue, especially in the third and fourth chapters, while in other parts silence speaks just as effectively. The music during the action scenes is also excellent, not pulse-racing stuff, but strong, violent music which underlines the violence on the screen. An excellent soundtrack. The voice acting and translation...
The voice acting and translation is so important that it needs a paragraph to itself. In a lot of anime, dub or sub is a no-brainer in favour of the subs, but never has it been so much an issue as in the Rurouni Kenshin OAV. Both versions possess quality voice casts, although my preference lies firmly with the Japanese actors. Not all of the voices were chosen to copy their Japanese counterparts, most notably that of Kenshin himself. Mayo Suzukaze's voice is soft, calm and emotionless, even as Kenshin tells his mark of his oncoming death. The voice is so appropriate that it is almost impossible to remember that it belongs to a human instead of an anime character--it makes Kenshin seem alive. In the dub, Kenshin is voiced by J. Shannon Weaver who also voices Okita. His voice is pitched fairly lower that the Japanese voice and he has a slight, but noticeable American accent, unforgivable in period piece characters. He delivers his lines much more harshly than in the Japanese version, a recurring theme I'd noticed all throughout the dub. Regardless, he still does an excellent job providing Kenshin's English voice since he managed to get the tone right (although the less said about his voice for Okita the better). Both Junko Iwao and Rebecca Davis do excellent jobs on Tomoe, although the Japanese actress comes out on top again, this time due mainly to the "Japanese-ness" of the anime. Some of the dub voices--Katsura, Saitou, Hiko and Tatsumi--are absolutely spot on. On the other hand, some are, regretfully, rather sub-standard, especially Enishi, Katagai and the aforementioned Okita. It all evens out into a dub which should be quite acceptable to your ears. The fact that several lines in the sub are, for some unknown technical reason, inaudible also adds to the value of the dub. However, the most important differences between dub and sub aren't in the voices, but what they're saying.
Initially, the differences in translation between dub and sub don't seem too significant. The sub is a virtually literal translation of the original Japanese. In the dub, on the other hand, they took a little more artistic license. A lot of lines have been changed, but you don't realize how big the difference is (massive) until you've a) watched it in English with the subtitles left on and b) thought about it really hard. For example, during Kenshin's first appearance, Jubei Shigekura asks "You think you can change the world with the cut of your sword?" in the sub. In the dub however, the line has been removed completely, replaced by "It's only a boy with a grudge against those in power." These losses are bad enough, but there are many more which actually change the plot, some significantly, some subtly. For example, in the sub, Kenshin says "I will kill." In the dub, the line is "I will murder." The Japanese word for 'kill' is the same as the word for 'murder', but in English the exact meaning is considerably different, especially in the context of Rurouni Kenshin. Other characters have had a lot of their dialogue changed; changes in Iizuka's dialogue casts a completely different light on his motives and in the dub his last words are outright cheesy. A lot of lines have been rephrased to make them more confrontational--when asked to escort Katsura to the meeting in the first chapter, Kenshin says "No, thank you," in the sub, but he says "I will not go," in the dub. To follow this up, Katagai calls Kenshin "slave" in the dub. Saitou's dialogue has also been rewritten; he is openly contemptuous of Okita in the dub, something totally absent in the original. Characters never use each others' last names as well--Kenshin Himura is just Kenshin, Tomoe Yukishiro is just Tomoe and so on. But the biggest change is Tatsumi, the shogunate general. Almost ever single one of his lines has been rephrased, reshuffled or rewritten. His last words are an extremely interesting case; they're almost ludicrous in the sub, while in the dub they're very appropriate to the context. However, in the dub they challenge the heart of the scene through his use of the word "weakness." The story is so finely balanced, that a few poorly chosen words can completely change what is being said. The worst case of this is in Katsura's final conversation with Kenshin. Kenshin's words here critically change his character and everything that comes after--the motivation for his decision and what he intends to do afterwards. The difference is obvious to anyone who has seen the TV series and there is no question as to which version is more accurate.
However, the dub also has many redeeming features. Even where it doesn't follow the sub with 100% accuracy, the dialogue is still very good. In many places, especially when Hiko is speaking, the words have been elaborated to make them more grand, or made less literal, making them more easily understandable to an English audience. For example, at one point in the first episode (in a flashback) Katsura asks Takasugi who Kenshin is when he sees him on the training field. In the sub, Takasugi replies enigmatically "The 'ki' in 'kihei-tai' is the same as the 'ki' in 'kibatsu'," a statement which means nothing to a viewer who doesn't understand the meaning of either word. In the dub, he says "Meet the chief phantom of our ghostly army," a line which makes much more sense. The dub also makes a better attempt to explain some things which are left out in the sub--in the sub, Kenshin reports that he was attacked by a Niwaban-Shu, but only in the dub does he specify that it was a ninja (if we couldn't guess). More importantly, it is only in the dub that Tomoe makes clear exactly what "kind of woman" she is when she "confesses" to Kenshin in chapter three (a "damaged one"). Kenshin's last words to Tomoe are very different, but just as heartrending. Even at points where the dub is horrifically inaccurate, the dialogue is still usually extremely good--if you don't compare them, the English dub is actually very well executed. However, for the discerning fan who really cares about accuracy, the sub is definitely the way to go. The best choice is to get the bilingual DVD, so you can enjoy both, but if you must get VHS, make it the sub.
I am usually very casual with my adjectives, but one word I never use lightly is "flawless." To be flawless an anime must have a fantastically engrossing story with no holes, animation which virtually cannot be improved upon, characters who you can really care about, action which is always thrilling in every scene, clever directing which makes it truly memorable, and absolutely no complaints worth mentioning, because flawless is as close to perfect as it is realistically possible for an anime to be.
Rurouni Kenshin: the Remembrance is flawless.
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The Hakkenden or Dagger of Kamui are the only things I can think of with a similar tone and content. May also appeal to fans of the TV series, if only for reasons of character loyalty.
Notes and Trivia
If you're interested, here is some further information on the Tokugawa shogunate and this period of history.
There were a few details that I thought needed to be mentioned, yet couldn't work into the review:
In the sub, when Iizuka says to Kenshin "You are truly a born killer, boy" he calls Kenshin "hitokiri battousai" in Japanese. Another time, Enishi, calling Kenshin an assassin, refers to him as "battousai" again. I can't help but wonder exactly what it means.
Effective as it was, the field of crosses raised one question: why are crosses being placed above graves in the period of the Tokugawa shogunate? Christianity had been outlawed.
US DVD Review
The Australian DVDs are good quality. Picture and sound are virtually perfect and there is a good selection of extras. These include two sets of character profiles to describe the characters at different points in the series, a very helpful set of historical background notes and some notes on the translation by Lowell Bartholemee (who also provided the English voice of Iizuka). There's also the usual options--dub or sub, scene selection and a few previews. The nicest feature of all isn't actually on the DVD--the covers of the cases can be taken out and put in backwards to get different (and frankly, much better) cover pictures, which also have the title in Japanese. I can't say anything about the American DVDs.
Falls into the 16-up category on account of strong violent content.
Violence: 4 - Brutal, realistic and uncompromising, but justifiable and not excessive.
Nudity: 1 - A bit of partial in one scene, but nothing of any note.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - A powerful, slow and pure romance.
Language: 1 - Nothing notable.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Kenshin Himura: Mayo Suzukaze
Tomoe Yukishiro: Junko Iwao
Kogoro Katsura: Tomokazu Seki
Shinsaku Takasugi: Wataru Takagi
Seijuro Hiko: Shuichi Ikeda
Iizuka: Ryusei Nakao
Enishi Yukishiro: Nozoma Sasaki
Tatsumi: Minori Uchida
Hajime Saitou: Hirotaka Suzuoki
Soushi Okita: Yoko Ogai
Akira Kiyosato: Tetsuya Iwanaga
Shinta: Masami Suzuki
Kaizuka: Mitsuaki Hoshino
English Dub Cast
Kenshin: J. Shannon Weaver
Tomoe: Rebecca Davis
Katsura: Corey M. Gagne
Takasugi: Jason B. Phelps
Hiko: Joe York
Iizuka: Lowell Bartholemee
Enishi: Brian Gaston
Katagai: Douglas Taylor
Tatsumi: John Paul Shepher
Saitou: Ken Webster
Okita: J. Shannon Weaver
Kiyosato: Ray Clayton
Ikumatsu: Lara Toner
Shinta: Katherine Catmull
Hijikata: John Bull
Kondo: Jose Brown
Landlady: Lainie Frasier
Soudou: Mallard Fillmore
Kasumi: Christa Kimlicko Jones
Kumi: Martinique Duchene
Etoro: Ellie McBride
Urara: Lyndi Lou Williams
Kotsu: Kathrine Catmull
Shigekura: Smokey Delange
Flower Vendor: Martinique Duchene
Available in North America from Section 23 on bilingual DVD, in a "Director's Cut Collection" set that also includes the two episodes of the "Remembrance" OAV series. Was previously available from ADV on two individual bilingual DVDs under the title "Samurai X," both as separate "Trust" and "Betrayal" volumes and a "Director's Cut" set of all four episodes. Was also available on two subtitled or dubbed VHS volumes.