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. 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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:50 PM)
    *when I was a kid
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:50 PM)
    @Kaiser: I don’t care what somebody personally finds better than something else, I already know he likes Fate way more than any of the classics, but that’s his preference. What bothers me is bending of facts and calling bias where his is much more extreme.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:50 PM)
    Ha, I do suppose its kind of a shame in some way Mario will be watching Eva as an adult, if I was anything to go by, watching it as a kid was a freakout experience he’d be missing out on that!
  • mamamoo
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:47 PM)
    hahahaha
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:46 PM)
    @mamamoo: I didn’t know right and wrong were limited only to social issues. I guess a historic work that changed the landscape of a medium and was the fruit of the labor of many people and a fond part of many other’s childhoods is utterly insignificant and not worth defending. My bad then.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:43 PM)
    If Aidan was truly trying to be insulting he’d have said Rahxephon was better than Eva. And we all know that’d be just cruel, wrong and unusual! =D
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:41 PM)
    @Kaiser: there is nothing untouchable, and certainly no work that is without some faults. This ‘off-limits’ mentality is a poison that stifles productive debates and mutes consenting opinions. But criticism has to be fair and backed up by educated analysis. A well-rounded critique mentions the good with the bad, just to show that the author knows the full extent of what they’re talking about.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:40 PM)
    Going by Madoka threads on here though, I do find that in the case of one former user, the triggering of Madoka fans takes a higher level than triggering an Eva one lol
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:38 PM)
    I think I’ll stick with the Pot, it allowed me to unwind.
  • mamamoo
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 06:37 PM)
    Bam, “I try to stand for what’s right” lol this is an anime chat not a political rally. Like I said before, it’s not that deep and i’m sure it’s just Aidan’s sense of humor. You’re acting as this is a traumatizing personal attack on your beliefs…..we are talking about anime, remember that. Maybe I’m not passionate enough compared to everyone here lol

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