Posted by psgels 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. Avatar 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. Avatar Solaris says:

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

  3. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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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