Someone once asked me, if the live action movie had in any way impacted my ruroken fan art painting.
When I first embarked on ruroken realism or semirealism (which ever way you wish to look at it) I very much was inspired by the late Hakubaikou. She showed me how real the idea could be.
I had long felt just as Dir Keishi Otomo said in the open lecture on the making of the movie
.. that beyond the superlatives of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, or whatever school of fight in ruroken. It was a story of a swordsman, one who would have gone through the war and felt just as Kenshin did. He felt real. The story felt real. It was a piece of Japanese history told in a personal scale. The internal struggle to hold true to higher principle and to atone for past sins were very real human issues, whatever the age of man or history. At the period where I was dealing with issues of adolescence (personal and professional), painting ruroken as real people gave me the opportunity me to reflect on the strength, motivation and the beauty of the human character.
One beauty of ruroken saga was that there were gaps in the storytelling; in the manga and anime timeline or even in the everyday scenes. The Japanese characteristic avoidance of overt demonstration left many details in the subtext; Understated and just implicit enough to tantalize the intellect and emotions of readers who are prone to analyze (or over-analyse) stuff. These became a playground for fan artists and fan writers alike; to run amok with their imagination and still keep the characters in character...So I painted the moments I could identify with, fleshed out scenes, practiced and perfected postures, expressions borne from my imagination and emotions. I had often said, by way of explanation on why I choose portraiture, that I paint emotions, and the human form is my canvas.. and for me ruroken was an excellent canvas. Whenever there was a need for an emotional outlet, I’d escape to the ruroken world and sketch out a scene possible in the canon timeline.
My ruroken summary in effect is the summary of my progress in painting.
It seemed everyone in the fandom hoped that it would be made into live action, and yet feared it would be turned a fiasco should Hollywood get their hands on it. There was too much history in it to risk it turning into a comic superhero live action commercial product. And then there’s the hero… ‘small, athletic, who could be silly and yet serious.. ’ (I didn’t mention androgynous, feminine handsomeness because don’t think that a problem among Japanese actors ^-^x) And of course the action sequences, how to extend the human capability into the superlatives, yet still be believable and realistic. When I first started painting ruroken, there were no rumours yet of the most likely candidates of who could portray Kenshin.. I had one as character reference but he was tall and rather past the age, he could do action and be serious, but not so much the clumsy comic.
When Ryomaden came to being (an excellent series, in itself), it seemed like serendipity and a pilot study rolled into one. Keishi Otomo and Satoh Takeru meeting, the cast, the direction and story telling were all inadvertent testing ground for the movie.
But I digress.. back to the question of my ruroken fan arts.
Yes, it has impacted my painting.. because even when taking into account the condensed scope necessary in movie story-telling, it had exceed beyond most expectations and quite simply filled in those gaps that I mentioned before. And as an inadvertent result of its success, quite a number of artists (old and new) are churning out ruroken fan art. It has become quite hard to be original; and a certain quirk of mine is that I have a certain dislike for copying.. even of an idea, even if art is essentially a copy of life.
I may do a copy of a screencap one day just for practice, ( or stressed) but for now I don’t feel the need.
I’m quite content to just enjoy others' works; the speculations and the screencaps and gifs other fans are putting up.
Just enjoying myself. Very much.
Thank you heckyeahruroken.tumblr.com/