Taka x Rurouni Kenshin Special Interview Part 2: Future Translation

This is a translation of the second part of the Taka x Rurouni Kenshin Special Interview, titled Future. The original article was published June 3, 2021 and can be found here.

[Future] The future that ONE OK ROCK cut through alongside Movie “Rurouni Kenshin”

Please tell us your thoughts after having watched Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning. For the series finale to end with a “beginning,” compared to the previous 4 works, the production of this one is quite unique.

Without a doubt, I like The Beginning the best. A song we created was used in a movie that I love, I really felt the director’s love, and of course, Takeru Satoh’s performance of Kenshin Himura was just awesome (laugh). ……Every time I watch The Beginning, I feel that this is something only Takeru could pull off. That’s why we got close, and with the intention of scooping his emotions, we hoped the last song “Broken Heart of Gold” would reach him.

Which scene did you especially like?

The Rurouni Kenshin movie series touches you emotionally from beginning to end. That’s why it’s hard to pick out one specific scene, but of course in order for Kenshin to reach parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the series, this is the most important part1, and I believe this is the most important work in order to understand the man named Kenshin, so I would like for the audience to watch it from different angles.

With the playing of “Broken Heart of Gold” at the end of the story, as ONE OK ROCK, what kind of images did you want to add at the end of Rurouni Kenshin?

That scene was also the beginning for Kenshin, so it’s definitely not simply the end of the story. That’s why I feel like telling people to go back and rewatch 1, 2, 3, and 4. It’s like, now that we’re at the end, I don’t want it to end on just a sad note. I want people to go back to the first Rurouni Kenshin again after hearing the ending “Broken Heart of Gold.” I want them to go back and meet again with the cool Kenshin, the smiling Kenshin. I wanted to connect together Kenshin and Takeru Satoh’s personalities.

By the way, after creating 5 theme songs from the first Rurouni Kenshin until The Beginning, did you receive any explanations about the story’s world or any suggestions from director Ohtomo or Mr. Satoh?

Not at all. When I first met with director Ohtomo and watched the first movie, he was just like, “OK, I leave the rest up to you” (laugh). I was also surprised, and it was our first big tie-up, so I wondered at first if it was okay like this. Now that I think back about it, I understand that he had earnestly watched it, researched about it, and trusted us. On the other hand, Takeru is like my comrade or best friend, and we’re always together so…… we were a bit like a married couple (laugh). That said, there wasn’t really anything particular that was explained to me. It was like, he’s doing his best so I should too. Also, I already know what he likes, so I just put my focus on that.

The hard rock tune “Renegades” and beautifully magnificent “Broken Heart of Gold” are songs that are like opposites. Did you always have this contrast in mind for these two works?

The basic assumption was it would continue through three works, from Rurouni Kenshin to Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends, so I wasn’t particularly conscious of it. But to me, the two works this time are separate, and especially with The Beginning, you could say it was an entirely different movie. That’s why when writing the songs, I had feelings of wanting to separate The Beginning as a samurai movie and the action entertainment of the previous Rurouni Kenshin movies.

Now that ONE OK ROCK has ended their story with Rurouni Kenshin with “Broken Heart of Gold” from The Beginning, what is your future outlook?

It’s because of the Bakumatsu period2 shown in The Beginning and the period that they fought in existed that we are here today, right? That’s why I’m sure Kenshin’s wish has once again reached the present. It’s like, this real world that we live in now is what Kenshin wished for. That’s why I think of it as a fight for how we will change this real world from now on. Without feeling hesitation towards various things, while respecting Kenshin’s spirit, we won’t be swinging a sword around to change the times, but in our case, I believe we can do it through music, microphones, guitars, drums, and bass.

Is this your image of a new stage?

I feel it’s more like a second stage. It could be that this is the stage that will lead us towards the completion of our story as a band.

Lastly, what is Rurouni Kenshin to ONE OK ROCK?

It’s a comrade that we walked alongside of. This applies to both Takeru and Kenshin who are like a set. We just want to say, truly…… Thank you.

The first part of the interview, titled Bond, can be found here.