Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OVA)

Type: God, do you remember when this was called “Samurai X?”


Synopsis: Set in the not so fun time of the Bakumatsu and Meiji Restoration, a young swordsman named Himurai Kenshin joins the Imperialists as an assassin. Earning the moniker Hitokiri Battosai, or Man-Slayer, the once gentle soul tries to build a better future through steel and blood. His life changes, however, when he meets a woman named Tomoe, who affects his life so much, that his future becomes much less detailed and more gag heavy.

Pros: So, the thing about Trust & Betrayal is that everyone really, really likes it. It’s considered one of the best OVA’s in the medium’s history. Why? Well, it does what the Dark Knight did years later by taking a “realistic” approach to a largely fantastic story. Everything, from Kenshin’s design to fighting style are taken down a notch to appear more true to life. The dialogue is slower and quieter, and emotion is a lot more subtle. It basically stays true to the manga version of Kenshin’s backstory and provides the last missing piece to the anime’s story.

Cons: I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like Trust & Betrayal. I never have. I don’t like the redesigned character models or the serious tone. If found it way too somber, slow, and totally devoid of the charm of the original anime. Granted, I will acknowledged that it is a good OVA. Even within the franshise, it makes for a nice contrast between Kenshin’s life as an assassin and the life depicted in the anime. The issue really isn’t over the quality of the OVA as much as it’s with the overall enjoyment you get from it. I didn’t enjoy it, but this is one of the very rare franchises that I actually have very strong preconceived notion and thus honest fanboy bias. So my dislike may be in the minority.

Watch it?: Objectively, yes. Subjectively, maybe.

MVP: Tomoe


The reason for wandering

Best Moment: Revealing how Kenshing got his scar.

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4 thoughts on “Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OVA)

  1. Artemis says:

    Weirdly enough, I’m the exact opposite – I much prefer the character designs, somber atmosphere, and deliberate pacing over the OVAs than I do over the more cartoonish, fun, and shounen-centric series. But then, maybe that’s only to be expected since I only tried watching the original series a couple of years ago rather than in my teens, and have never really been a fan of the franchise to begin with (though I do certainly respect it). But I don’t whole-heartedly adore the OVAs either – thus far, the live-action film(s) have actually been my favourite aspect of the franchise by a long shot.

  2. Despite the fact that the OVA’s so slow paced, I love this OVA. Seen it probably around 8 times.

    Have you gotten the chance to see Samurai X: The Movie? Much less serious in tone; yet, certain scenes and the fact that they repeat a flashback 7 times make it a little absurd. Probably goes down best with beer or another such beverage, but it is more like the TV series.

  3. lexor831 says:

    I did watch it. I don’t remember much about it, which pretty much says it all.

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