Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

A look back on the first episode of a classic.

In the clip below, Kenshin just finished burying the dead, both the victims and attackers. The low level of framing exaggerates the height of the crosses and creates an imposing view of the tragedy that just occurred. As the camera tracks Seijuro, it slows down significantly as he stops behind Kenshin and Kenshin speaks for the first time. This slow camera movement and Kenshin mostly remaining obstructed strongly draw the audience’s attention to his dialogue. It lets them absorb the pivotal moment that shaped Kenshin as a person.


The juxtaposition of flowers in the midst of violence is one of the more vivid images in Trust & Betrayal.

In a previous scene a man named Kiyosato Akira promises his fiancée (Yukishiro Tomoe) that he will bring flowers back after a bodyguard duty. It then cuts to a shallow focus shot of flowers, representing the promise but also the serenity of a peaceful normal life. The focus then shifts to Kenshin, who’s now an assassin. This change in focus creates an imagery of an impending violence about to take this peaceful life away. This is further reinforced of an insert shot of Kenshin stepping on the flowers on the ground as he confronts his target and Akira.

This overhead shot of a bloodied up Akira and the flowers provide the strongest imagery of a life and a promise broken by violence.


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