Posted on 24 February 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Tsuiokuhen, or Trust and Betrayal, is the prequel (although it was produced later) to the series Rurouni Kenshin. Don’t worry; you don’t need to have seen the series to enjoy this four-episode OVA. I haven’t seen it myself, nor am I planning to (my to-watch-list is already large enough without the addition of a ninety-episode series), but I was perfectly able to follow what was going on without feeling left out, unlike the two Patlabor-movies. The original series may be too large of a commitment, but this four-episode OVA is a must-watch.

Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone who didn’t like this after watching it. The story itself may have been done before, but the storytelling and characters more than make up for it. This is one anime that perfectly knows how to use its time with a great balance of building up and intense scenes. Sure, there are some very nice fights, but the two main characters really steal the show. The side-characters are also well-defined, and have their own clear roles to play and at the end, the storylines are all very neatly wrapped up.

Still, in terms of sword-fighting this series delivers as well. There may be fewer fights than you would expect, but right now I can’t remember having seen any other anime with more detail in its choreography than what I’ve seen in this OVA, even considering the epics of Shigurui and Seirei no Moribito. In addition to that, the background music is also stellar. The only thing I can name that gets close to a bad point is the fact that the main character may have been a bit too young to be such a masterful and unbeatable swordsman.

Still, after watching it, I totally understand why Tsuiokuhen is so popular and well-loved. If you’re into period-anime, this just has to sit on your watch-list, and this is another top-notch OVA. The people from Studio Deen have proven once again that even though they screw up at times, they can churn out a classic just as easily.

8 Responses

  1. qwaszx says:

    Great OVA, too bad they dont have boy girl romances like this anymore. This is a lot different than the series, as the series resembles bleach and naruto more than the ova.

  2. Solaris says:

    Well i have nothing to complain here. I’m looking for some point to whine, but i can’t find it… ¬_¬”

  3. Archer says:

    for me this is one of my top 5 favorite anime and the closest anime can get to be even called a piece of art,it’s got wonderful music,very good animation(too bad a good version is hard to find),good story,excellent characters in great situations,i think the samurai fights in this anime are the closest to reality , the love story was touching and tragic but it never felt exagerrated like in other animes with romance
    it is hard to say in words how good it really is,it just has to be watched

  4. Andrea says:

    Indeed this first Rurouni Kenshin OVA is a great story but it’s incomplete without the last OVA, that take place after the TV series: Rurouni Kenshin – Seisouhen.

    They (Tsuiokuhen + Seisouhen) complete each other and really are a masterpiece, probably the only OVA’s that made me cry..

    I’m strongly suggesting everyone to watch them togheter

  5. Darknives says:

    It’s no wonder this OVA is at the top of almost every anime ranking.
    The original series doesn’t really matter because this is a prequel. The other OVA (reminescence I think..) needs you to know the series, but only a general view.

  6. Saphatorael says:

    You really should watch the actual series, or at least the first two arcs. I consider the second arc one of the best anime stories ever (and Shishio as one of the best villains).
    And then the third, one of the worst.
    Should you decide to start watching the ‘original’ episodes, stop after 62. From episode 63 on, it’s just a collection of pointless fillers, and even though the first arc was slightly similar, at least that arc had character development.

  7. Animeguigas says:

    One of the best OVAs ever made. No matter how many times i rewatch it, i just can’t find anything to complain about (and i almost always find something to complain about, this anime is an exception).
    This is one of the few animes that earns the title of “masterpiece”.

  8. MCAL says:

    Might i suggest just limiting that to the first 62 episodes. In fact, for the sake of your soul, I’d pretend the episodes after that didn’t exist. It’s basically like watching Hunter x Hunter (1990s version). In fact, some people have compared it to such.

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  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 07:31 PM)
    So this is what tokyo ghouls manga comes down to, ends up as. Some big revelations here.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 07:12 PM)
    @Emma, Muv luv requires a lot of your time and getting through two medicore games to get to a great one. Alternative may be your thing…but I think you won’t like the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 07:08 PM)
    @Emma, the more choice you have in the game the more diluted the story becomes. It’s hard to create a great story and give large choice to the player.
    @K-Off, I know. But honestly vn’s are pretty much them with more text and no page turning.
  • Yuko
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 07:03 PM)
    @K-Off so turn to page – – – after making a decision? Certainly convenient, you can’t play VNs everywhere, but you can definitely take books everywhere. And if it’s a manga turned CYOA like you seem to be suggesting, it does seem like a fine idea.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 06:54 PM)
    By choose your own adventure, I’m referring to the print form.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 06:53 PM)
    @Aidan: They could stand to have more choice options than they already do though.
    Muv luv…that one might not be my thing…not sure.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 06:51 PM)
    @K-Off, Muv luv’s level of presentation should be the level all VNs strive for. At points it felt animated dispite using still images
    @Emma, Arn’t VNs already choose your own adventure novels?
  • yy
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 06:47 PM)
    Why must you play games with my heart, Morita Shuhei… Mikasano Chuji… Studio Pierrot…
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 06:43 PM)
    @Mikey, Swan song is one of those VNs where the bad end is pretty much the true and most logical ending. Yet that ending is so goddamn depressing that you are somewhat willing to accept the bullshit Good ending.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 05:16 PM)
    I can get behind the idea K-off is suggesting, its a good one.

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