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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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 12:29 PM)
    I just read the book. Never saw the films.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:18 AM)
    Lolita is one of my favourite films of all time.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:17 AM)
    It is easy to see however how people would wander to seeing lolita herself as a victim as people traditionally see the child as the victim in that situation.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:15 AM)
    @Aidan: My opinion of lolita matches yours. However I would like to ask of the film adaptations which one worked better for you, the one with James mason or the one with Jeremy Irons?
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    I didn’t like how people tended to degrade the characters just to match their view and forcefully paint black and white over it. It ain’t that simple.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    For example I read Lolita recently. In my opinion it was about two remarkable flawed indivuals. Horrible in there own ways. However when I looked at reviews of it I couldn’t help but notice that people tended to take sides. Either Humbert was the naive man taken in by a succubus or Lolita was the poor stupid girl abused by a monster.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:40 AM)
    One of the reason I feel we hear about world war 2 far more than world war 1 is that it can be so easily be portrayed as good vs evil. Hitler was a perfect supervillain. Maybe even birthed the supervillain in fiction. It wasn’t like world war 1 which was not just one countries fault and was mainly boring trench fights. Moral complexity isn’t really what the masses like. They have a tendency to paint things black and white.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:27 AM)
    @Friend, heard of it. No real interest in playing it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:27 AM)
    @Mikey, I know apocalypse now was based on heart of darkness. It’s just that the man who made spec ops said it was based on Heart of darkness but he took way more from apocalypse now than he did from Heart of darkness.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:25 AM)
    @Ninjarealist, I had a peak at the congo free state. Damn. You gotta wonder how someone pulls shit like this off and look in the mirrior and not think “Man, I am such an asshole.” Surprising that you hear bitching about 9/11 all the time and yet barely anything about this.
    It’s surprising the kind of unbelievable stuff that went down in history. For one I never knew Columbus was such a monster.

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