'Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning': How Actor Takeru Satoh Prepares Stunts for Lead Role

Takeru Satoh has portrayed the character of Kenshin Himura since 2012, and has been doing all his own stunts since he first took on the role.

And to mark the franchise coming to a close with the fourth and fifth films, The Final and The Beginning, the actor has shared a closer look at how he prepares for the part.

Keishi Otomo's film adaptations of Nobuhiro Watsuki's classic manga series features incredibly well choreographed fight scenes between Satoh's Kenshin and his co-stars.

Satoh plays Kenshin in all five films in the franchise: Rurouni Kenshin, Ruoruni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, and Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning.

Newsweek can reveal all you need to know about how Satoh got ready for the films.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning
"Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning," directed by Keishi Otomo, is the fifth and final film in the "Rurouni Kenshin" franchise. Netflix

How Takeru Satoh Prepares His Fight Scenes

Kenshin is an expert in "Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu," a sword technique that allows the fighter to attack multiple assailants at once.

And, keeping in line with the source material, Satoh is regularly put up against multiple actors that he has to fend off through a series of intricately detailed moves in all five films.

Embodying his samurai character, Satoh reportedly spends weeks perfecting the sword fights with choreographers, going through the moves multiple times both in and out of costume in a studio before heading out on set.

In a compilation video showing his practice sessions for The Beginning, Satoh is seen sparring with a number of stuntmen, dodging them with fluid side steps and striking them at the incredible speed required for the film.

One practice session saw Satoh fight with his hands behind his back and a fake sword in his mouth, to simulate the film's opening scene in which Kenshin kills a number of members of the Tsushima domain while tied up.

Not only does he spar with the stuntmen with his hands behind his back, he also uses flips and kicks to throw them off him and reenact how his character gains the upper hand.

It's Not Just Fight Scenes That Takeru Satoh Prepares For

As well as learning the choreography for sword-fighting scenes, Satoh also makes sure he is ready to do other stunts like jumps and twists in the air.

One scene in The Legend Ends saw Satoh running over the rooftop of a building on set without the aid of wires or a harness holding him in place.

In a making-of clip that was revealed at the time of the film's release, Satoh was seen in character as he ran from one end of the roof to another where members of the crew waited to stop him.

Meanwhile, in a fight scene with co-star Ryūnosuke Kamiki in the same film, Satoh runs up against a wall to dodge an attack—a move he also did without wires or a harness.

For The Final, Satoh also prepared a number of scenes where he ran a long distance before jumping over props and diving into action.

What Reaction to the 'Rurouni Kenshin' Actor Doing His Own Stunts?

Satoh takes pride in being able to do his own stunts and has previously claimed he would "quit" as an actor if he wasn't good enough to do them.

Meanwhile, Otomo revealed that he has his cast do most of the stunts themselves as a way to enhance the authenticity of a scene.

In an interview with InCinemas in 2012, Otomo explained: "The goal for me was to portray the humanity and drama of the characters within the fight scenes and action.

"The action sequences weren't just action, but rather an important factor in portraying the characters. That is why the main cast, including Takeru, performed almost all of the action sequences without stunt doubles."

He added: "I always take acting scenes in one sequence without cuts, and the action scenes in this film were basically shot with the same approach."

The director added that while it might be "difficult" for his cast to do the stunts themselves he felt it made the action scenes "more emotional" as a result.

All five films in the Rurouni Kenshin franchise are available to stream on Netflix now.