'Rurouni Kenshin' Japanese cast raves over Filipinos at global fan meet

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
'Rurouni Kenshin' Japanese cast raves over Filipinos at global fan meet
'Rurouni Kenshin' poster
Warner Bros. Pictures

MANILA, Philippines — The cast and director of "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" gave and received much love from Filipinos during the global fan meet yesterday. 

Two Filipinos were included in the video greetings for the cast while one of them was able to ask a question during the livestreaming of the event.

Lead stars Takeru Satoh, Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki and director Keishi Otomo even fondly recalled their brief stay in Manila for the red carpet premiere of "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno" in 2014.

'Without Rurouni Kenshin, I would not be here'

During the video greeting segment of the English-dubbed global fan session livestreamed on Warner Bros YouTube page, Angelie and Flash Antonio were among the many fans from as far as the United States and Canada who greeted the cast. Flash Antonio even had his toy and figure collection of the famous manga-turned-anime and greeted and thanked the cast in Filipino.

Angelie indulged the cast by speaking in Nihongo and asked the cast on how their involvement in the live adaptation movies changed their lives.

"I think completely changed because at that time I was only 22. It was quite a daunting selection because (I was) taking the lead in this kind of large-scale film. It was a big gamble. This film gave me the opportunity and, after that, there were different kinds of offer for me. This gave me very important turning point in my  life," Takeru replied.

Takeru started in TV and commercials before he landed his big break as the star of "Kamen Rider Den-O" series in 2007. His biggest break was in 2011 when he was cast in the lead role of Kenshin Himura for Keishi Otomo's interpretation of Nobuhiro Watsuki's manga "Rurouni Kenshin".

Fond memories of the Philippines

His visit almost seven years ago in the country was his first time in the country. During his Manila press conference in August 2014, Takeru said that he and his fellow stars were overwhelmed by the support of the Filipinos.

His leading lady, Emi Takei who is reprising her role as Kaoru Kamiya, recalled her experience in Manila.  

"I was 17. We went to Philippines when we launched the film and at that time, the people in Philippines were talking to us and I was very, very surprised with the scale of the film," Takei recalled.

Together with her co-stars Takeru and Munetaka and director Keishi Otomo, they saw for themselves how Filipinos welcomed them during the red carpet premiere of "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno" on August 6, 2014 at SM Megamall and at the public press conference the next day, August 7, 2014 at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.

"The encounter with fans, not just from Japan but from outside, showed that we are connected. We went to the Philippines and I felt the passion," Aoki shared.

The actor played Kenshin Himura's one-time nemesis-turned-bestfriend Sanosuke Sagara.

Director Otomo also shared his experience in the Philippines.

"When it was released in 2014, I went to the Philippines. Kenshin has scar and (people are asking) how does he live with a scar in his heart? Even though he sort of failed, he still tries. They're saying they feel aspiration towards the way Kenshin lives," he recalled his interactions with some Filipino fans.

The director has been helming all films in the franchise beginning with "Rurouni Kenshin" in 2012 that was followed by two films in 2014, "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno" and "Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends." He returns this year with "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" and "Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning," scheduled to premiere on April 23 and June 4, respectively.

From fans to co-stars

Tao Tsuchiya is notably famous worldwide as one of the lead stars of the hit Netflix show "Alice in Borderland," which has been renewed for a second season.

The actress had a marked role in the two 2014 "Rurouni Kenshin" films as Misao Makimachi. She shared that she used to be a superfan when she first watched the film in senior high school.

"I was really shocked, overwhelmed. It was a wonderful film. I just couldn't get up from the seat, from the theater. I said, 'Why am I not in that film, in that world?' I have to be in this world. From the bottom of my heart, I really wished to be in this film. Years have passed, now I am doing Misao Makimachi. I'm truly happy," she shared.

Another fanboy whose dream became true is Mackenyu Arata or simply called Mackenyu.

"I was only 14 when the first film was released. When I went into shooting and Kenshin was there, (I thought) he's real, he's real and I have to fight with him. I'm still a fan yet I still have to fight with him. I have to switch my mind," recalled Mackenyu.

The actor plays Yukishiro Enishi, the white-haired villain hellbent on exacting revenge for the death of his sister, Yukishiro Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura), Kenshin's wife who the former samurai killed with his sword. He is introduced in "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final."

Like Tao, Mackenyu is among the popular young stars in Japan, taking after his legendary father, martial artist and actor Sonny Chiba.  

"Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" screens on April 23 while "Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning" premieres on June 4.

RELATED: 'Rurouni Kenshin: The Final' drops full trailer


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