Story Disclaimer: The scores I gave are based on previously reading the manga and watching most of the anime that came out years earlier. This is NOT a stand alone Anime OVA series. Basicly this is a retelling of one of the most intense parts of the series (not including Kenshin's past or when Kaoru is taken. Both of which have also gotten New animated OVA's as of late.) If you come to the series with knowledge from watching the previous show or reading the manga it is actually pretty good. Especially for those of us who did not really enjoy the original series as much because it felt more like a series for children. This one takes that kiddie stuff away almost completely. Focusing mostly on the fights of that time.
The advancements in technology can be seen pretty well if you compare the anime with the OVA's that being said, as far as the actual fighting was concerned. It sometimes felt better this way and sometimes felt worse. Hajime Saito's fight with Shishio was not as good as I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, the animation was still very good hence my rating, however, the issue is somehow it felt less realistic than it did in the original. All the zipping and bouncing around while fighting feels too Kill Bill... I would have liked it if it was more realistic, however, the "Slay evil quickly" part was spot on. For me though, it was the more subtle things in the animation that made the animation worth a 7.5 score. maybe even higher. The changes in expression and posture were easier to see. The way the characters looked as they were animated was exceptional.
The Sound is another high point. Though, the only real changes between old and new were some voice acting changes. Which in my opinion were excellent changes. Kenshin's english voice actor for example, was 100 times better in the OVA series than it was back in the original anime.
The Characters got a 6.5 and though I would probably rate them higher, they, like the story itself, are not fleshed out enough in the OVA's for it to stand alone without having previous knowledge of the series. That being said, the changes that did happen were almost all positive in my eyes.
Kaoru - Her character has some of the biggest positive changes in the OVA series. In the original, I could barely even watch her. She was annoying on so many different levels. However, they toned this down in the OVA series actually making her seem more likable in my eyes. If you like the original overly dramatic childish Kaoru, this will probably be a disappointment to you. However, we do get a scene where she pulls on Kenshin's cheeks and we can hear their normal bickering a bit though it is toned down considerably. She looks and acts more mature in the OVA series and she has more conviction, which makes her much more likable in my eyes.
Kenshin - He is similar to how he is in the original anime adaptation however he is more serious. He has more changes in expression and posture and the way he is animated. As I have said in the animation catagory these are all postive changes. He also is given a new voice which I feel fits him better.
Overall: I would say, if you have read the manga or watched the original anime this OVA series is a good thing for you to check out. Especially if you wished for a more mature feeling version to watch. If you have not had any experience with this series... I would say, this is not the place for you to start. I'd go read the manga and come back. Then you will be able to appreciate it more.
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