Welcome home, honey!
Thanks for infecting me with syphilis. Now, let’s die together.
Seisouhen is not, I repeat not, the product of Nobuhiro Watsuki; it is the product of Sony Studios!
Now to be fair, I'm not judging prematurely. I have seen Seisouhen several times. I just can't believe that Sony chose to bastardize Watsuki's masterwork this way. I thought Seisouhen was an absolute trainwreck of an OVA. It seems like what they tried to do was recapture the awesomeness of Tsuiokuhen while at the same time fusing it with the anime. The result is you get the depressive, tragic feeling of the Bakumatsu set in the idyllic Meiji world and the two just collide.
Where is our loveable, swirly-eyed rurouni who says "oro" all the time and learns throughout the Kyoto and Jinchuu Arcs to value his own life and to accept help from others? Instead, we see this angsty, tormented man who is never able to forgive himself for the deaths he caused during the Revolution. He seems to think that atoning for his sins requires him to abandon his family to once again wander all over Japan and help people by “suffering with them”, only returning once every few years for a quick tumble in the futon with Kaoru. The last visit, he returns with an incurable disease (I believe syphilis) and proceeds to infect Kaoru with it. Hello! Non-killing vow!
I decided to ignore all the character growth I went through
in the manga and go back to being Battousai!
First off, the true Kenshin that Watsuki created would never do such a thing. His love for Kaoru transcends everything. In the real ending, we see that Kenshin has found peace and no longer feels the need to "save the world" in order to atone. He realizes that the best way to atone for his past is to make sure that his son doesn't make the same mistakes he did.
Where is our fiery tempered sword instructor who hated being left behind so much that she followed Kenshin all the way to Kyoto? If Kenshin had mentioned leaving to wander again after getting married in the manga, Kaoru would have brained him with her bokken, hogtied him and locked him in the shed until he came to his senses. Instead, we are left with this Tomoe clone (not a bash against Tomoe) who just plies Kenshin with a fake smile and actually encourages him to leave, then spends the next ten or so years faithfully waiting for him to return, all the while giving everyone else a fake smile so they won’t worry about her, which has the opposite effect.
Didn’t my eyes use to be blue?
Never mind! Kenshin will like me better this way because
I’ll remind him of his dead wife.
Even others like Sano are changed. In the manga, Sano followed Kenshin after he left for Kyoto and punched him out for "leaving without his permission." So wouldn't Sano be all the more ready to do that if he found out that Kenshin had left his wife and child behind? I believe Sano would follow Kenshin anywhere he went and bring him back dead or alive, rather than allow him to hurt Kaoru and Kenji in that way. That's just the kind of guy our Bird Brain is!
I know my best friend is dying, but I’ll just
stick him on a boat and pray he makes it back alive.
The worst of it is, in the OVA, Kenshin and Kaoru consent to live like this and then bring a child into it, never thinking of how Kenshin's frequent forays into the wider world will affect that child, who has no say in how his parents live their lives. I don't blame Kenji for his anger toward his parents at all in the OVA.
To me, the only good parts of this whole OVA are a few still images of Kenshin and Kaoru’s wedding, and Kenji’s birth and toddler years.
Forsaking my family and
making everyone miserable
is how I’ll atone.
The other part I like is the cool, yet unfortunately way too short, sword fight between Kenji and Yahiko. In this, we get a tantalizing glimpse of Watsuki’s twisted genius Kenji, a swordsman who masters Hiten Mitsurugi with no formal training. We also see what a great man Yahiko has become in that he doesn’t let Kenji’s Mitsurugi intimidate him and still manages to school the boy in the meaning of true strength with the solid blade of the sakabatou.
Nobody knows this, but I’m actually Shishio Makoto reincarnated.
I picture Kenshin and Kaoru raising Kenji and possibly little brothers and sisters together, enjoying their grandchildren and growing old together. Their love is too strong for Kenshin to just abandon them and break that vow.
If it were possible, I would rate this OVA -10/10! Watsuki-sensei has stated in several interviews that he doesn't like Seisouhen because of what it did to his characters, turning them 360° away from how they behaved in his manga and even in the anime. It was made without his input or approval, so in my mind, is completely false. So for a manga purist like myself, the author's word is the final decision. Watsuki's ending is the real one and Seisouhen is just some glorified dark fic created by a movie studio to milk cash from Watsuki-sensei's masterpiece. Who me, opinionated? ^_^