Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘perspective’

Movie Perspective On “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno”: Clashing Political Woes

I couldn’t wait to get into that cinema as my friend and I were antsy at that line to get our hotdogs and popcorn. We have waited to see the second part of Rurouni Kenshin movie for weeks. And the day has finally arrived.

I have been an ultimate die-hard fan of the anime series since highschool. To prove it, I have a few Kenshin collectibles like posters and soundtrack CDs (and I’ve memorized every song!). I never got tired watching the English/Tagalog-dubbed series over and over, regardless of being replayed on-air for the nth time. And when the live action series came out on silver screen last year, of course I did not miss it.

Just like for most Kenshin fans, both films did not disappoint, as they captured the very essence of the original series. Though there had been some changes in the storyline in order to crunch it to cinema time, the films remain faithful to the series, which was retitled then as Samurai X. The actors, which I believe were well picked, captured the very soul of the characters we had so well-loved, and the well-choreographed sword fights brought back my nostalgia of excitement.

Though the Rurouni Kenshin remake sticks to the original, the difference it made is how I viewed the story now from when I watched it more than ten years ago.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno depicts one of the series’ darkest yet most significant battles. Kenshin was called by the Meiji government to eliminate Shishio Makoto, who was a former assassin like him at the fall of the shogunate. Seeing the dangers of Shishio’s backlash against Japan’s reformed government and to the innocent lives of its constituents, the former Battousai had to make a hard decision to take the assignment given to him. That means, leaving his newfound friends and the possibility of returning of becoming a killer once more.

When I was younger, this part was like a linear battle of good and evil. But if I would see it again at this point of age, I’d see more of its political point.

Though the story’s set up is in 1878, the political woes operating within its government reflect what could be happening right now. When Home Minister Okubo Toshimichi sought for Kenshin’s assistance, he gave him a truce to be rewarded and to acquit the atrocities they might have faced — like Megumi’s involvement in the opium operation. Though the public officials asked Kenshin “in good faith”, it is a cover up of the consequences they had committed. In the first place, Shishio had been serving them before the shogunate fell. But Okubo admitted that they had him eliminated because of the horrible murders he had committed, which were actually done for the sake of the Meiji government. Now, they did not expect for Shishio to be alive and was planning to take over the government that once betrayed him.

So, who’s right and wrong? Seems easy to answer when I was 16. But what complicates here was Shishio’s poisoned viewpoint and bitter hatred was just the result of another’s betrayal.

Today, I could see how those who want to remain in power try their best not to let their enemies have a seat in the government. If one dynast or administration loses its power in the government, their enemies who take their place can have the power to put them in jail or just get rid of them. They had to make sure that no one can stand against them so that their atrocities against the country would be kept secret and to remain in power. Heads of state would call this reform. But, actually, this is revenge.

The reformed government in Kenshin’s time reflects this fear in most of our present leaders. The terms of diplomacy they have as their weapon appears useless to a militant force who uses war as its strategy. Apparently, both sides could not meet, so they had to hire someone like Kenshin who has the skill for battle. Though the political perspective is not highlighted in both anime and film, it was made clear they the government is one of the binding forces that try to shape destiny, trying to pick on soldiers and ex-soldiers like chess pieces for their own purposes.

So, who’s the victim? Each becomes a victim when a vengeful decision was made against the wrong done to them. Even Shishio himself was a victim — to the hatred he kept against his enemies.

Kenshin himself had a different viewpoint from these political leaders. He saw the changes of the times, which are made by the choices those in power and the simple people, as well. He’s no politician, and never vied to be one. But, as an ex-soldier turned civilian, he was moved to fight Shishio when he saw innocent lives being trampled by these clash of powers. Here is a man who forsake the way the sword for peace and exchanged bloodlust into mercy. His character sounds too good to be true, but that’s the Kenshin we love. And this is the positive viewpoint he wanted to impart and leave in this bloodstained world.

So far, we left the cinema with a cliff hanging effect in us. Oh, yes, it’s a cliff hanging film, so as not to spoil those who have not seen it yet. But, I can’t wait for its third part The Legend Ends which will be on September! Right now, all I want to do is revive that Kenshin nostalgia by listening to my CD…um, anybody got a CD player? ­čÖé

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War of the Unseen Worlds

I live in two worlds. One seen and one unseen.

I can’t believe how my world changes when I go out into the field, when I mingle with people whose perception are not the same as mine. It’s hard to fathom and to explain to them, and I always have a hard time explaining what I see from what they see.

The world’s perspective is never the same as those who had seen the light in Christ Jesus. I can’t force you the truth. No, I don’t want a debate. But my heart always ache when people tell me that this is how things should be — when the world tells you to plan this way without seeking the Lord.

I can sense how free it is to be with people whose hearts are hungry for God; who in their longing to see the truth and righteousness, see the Lord; and whose surrendered lives exhibit pure love to others.

This is the world that I love to be in, when eyes do not look at others with lust and when voices are raised in one accord to worship the Lord. This is the world of freedom.

But once I leave such a place, I see a desolation. Here, I find people whose perspective are trapped in the “normal” course of life; in such a place, hearts have become calloused with the┬ádegradation that sin has caused into this world.

This is the plain where I find people dying around me. This is the field where hope and vision are stolen from mankind.

How I ache for all to know how great God’s plan is for everyone.

From the beginning, even before we are formed in our mother’s womb, He knows what’s the best for us. We’ll be surprised that maybe our ideal age to marry does not match His, and even our dream career is never the same as He has in store for us. For most of the time, we tend to follow our senses, thinking that this is it. But what we don’t know is that our identities and destinies can only be known if we surrender to the Lord what has been instilled into us. In the beginning, the Lord has already planned the best for us. But we have been deceived by a blinded world, telling us to follow a “normal” pattern of events (which mostly lead to a dead end). Yet until now, even the people of the free are trying to grasp their true identities. I myself is in progress to know who I really am. But God, in our quest to know who we are, show us little by little. And with this, we are surprised with the truth He shows us day by day.

Yet, I can hear people in the dying plain tell me to use lucky charms to find “the one”. The people in the world of freedom use the Word of God to fight with “the Victorious One”.

The people in the dying plain tell me to fall out of love and catch the guy I like. The people in the world of freedom encourage me to fall into His steadfast love and be caught in His everlasting faithfulness.

The people in the dying plain do not walk in wisdom. The people in the world of freedom walk in freedom and light.

But this is not a reason for me to hate the people in the dying plain.

The Lord has longed for the people of the world of freedom go out and give life to the people in the dying plain. Their perspective is never the same as mine, unless they encounter the heart of God whose love is beyond human passion. Most of the time, I wish to stay in the church for the rest of my life. But what use is my light if I don’t go out into the dark world to guide the people of the dying plain. Besides, it’s not me who gives out this light, but it is the Lord who radiates through me.

Most of the time, I am afraid; I fear the mob that will fixate on me. But what reason should I fear? Don’t I have a great God who will defend me?

I am on training. Yes, I’m no mighty preacher or any famous televangelist. That’s why in this season, the Lord tells me to rest in His presence that is in everywhere I go.

Yes, His presence is not only in the world of freedom. His presence is also in the dying plain. All I have to do is let go of my anxieties, open my eyes, and see Him set the captives free.

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