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The Ending Of Rurouni Kenshin: The Final Explained

"Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" is the latest live-action anime epic to hit Netflix. Based on the successful manga "Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story," the film is an adaptation of the manga's final arc, known as the Jinchū arc, and while the first few live-action adaptations of "Rurouni Kenshin" were adapted from the anime series inspired by the manga, the final manga arc was never adapted in the anime since the show became one of the many manga adaptations canceled before reaching its natural conclusion. That makes "The Final" also the first — as in the first time this manga storyline has been translated to the screen.

"Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" continues the story of Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh), a former assassin in Meiji era Japan who has left his life of violence. His newest foe is Yukishiro Enishi (Mackenyu Arata), the brother of Kenshin's first wife Yukishiro Tomoe, who Kenshin accidentally killed. Enishi has enlisted the help of six warriors to get revenge for his sister's death, and vows to hurt those closest to Kenshin in retaliation. The film is action-packed and full of plenty of distressing moments — and not just because the story is based on a tragic real-life samurai

Here's what the ending of "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" means, and how it leads into the live-action adaptation's sequel.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final differs from the manga

Though "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" is based on the original manga, there are some differences between the two. As seen with plenty of other book-to-film adaptations, sometimes certain elements are sacrificed in favor of the story as a whole. Nevertheless, the crew behind "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" included enough of the original plot to stay true to the manga, while adding and removing parts that didn't quite make sense in movie form.

Considering that the Jinchū arc spanned over 100 chapters, it shouldn't come as a surprise that some things had to be altered to fit into the movie's 2:18 run-time. Some of the minor changes include the addition of Tomoe's diary, the fact that Enishi escapes from custody in the manga and doesn't in the film, and the exclusion of the time jump at the end of the arc. For the most part, however, the core elements of the story remain in the movie right up until the bitter end.

It's ultimately a story about grief

One of the main themes in "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" is grief — most notably exemplified in Enishi's drive to avenge his sister's death. Enishi and Tomoe's bond was so strong that he traversed miles, gathered a crew, and hunted down the person who took her life, before even stopping to consider if it was an accident or not. His grief turned into anger, and when he finally gets the chance to get revenge on Kenshin by killing his new love interest, Kamiya Kaoru (Emi Takei), he can't do it. Kaoru pleads with Enishi that Tomoe wouldn't want her brother to kill for her, and when Enishi starts to strangle Kaoru, he can't help but picture his sister's disapproving face. He lets go, vomits, and asks why Tomoe looks so sad.

Kenshin's grief is also prevalent throughout "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final." Not only is he remorseful for the many lives he took when he was an assassin, but his grief over Tomoe's death is brought back tenfold after Enishi reappears back in his life. He's suddenly faced with the tragedy of her death all over again, and tries to think of what he can do to redeem himself in Enishi's eyes.

The next movie goes back to the beginning

Though this installment in the "Rurouni Kenshin" franchise is subtitled "The Final," it's not quite the last movie in the series — though it is technically the chronological end. Another film, entitled "Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning," premiered in Japan on June 4, though it has yet to receive a proper localization and worldwide release. It's the official final installment in the "Rurouni Kenshin" series, though it's actually a prequel that takes place before any of the earlier films.

"Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning" tells the story of how Kenshin got his trademark cross-shaped scar on his face. It also dives into his past as an assassin known by the name Hitokiri Battōsai, and his relationship with his first wife, Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura). Though we got to see how their marriage sadly came to an end in "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final," the prequel will allow fans to see just why their relationship was so important to Kenshin — and will likely provide a closer look at Tomoe and Enishi's sibling relationship. According to IMDb, "Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning" will also feature another epic battle between Kenshin and Enishi: "Kenshin Himura goes up against a mysterious weapons dealer named Enishi Yukishiro. He controls the underworld of China."

"Rurouni Kenshin: The Final" is available to watch on Netflix, and you can watch every other live-action "Rurouni Kenshin" movie online.