Rurouni Kenshin

The cast of Kenshin

Rating: 3½ Rampages

Synopsis:
Rurouni Kenshin (roughly translated as "Wandering Swordsman Kenshin") is the story of the master swordsman Himura Kenshin. Once a lethal assassin feared throughout Japan as the Hitokiri Battousai, he fought for the Ishin Shishi to bring about the new Meiji Era. After killing countless men to achieve the goals he believed in, Kenshin decided to leave behind the life of the Hitokiri. He gave up his katana for a sakabatou -- a reverse-bladed sword incapable of killing. Kenshin chose the path of the Rurouni, sworn to use his sword only to protect innocent people as best he can. No one knew where the deadly Hitokiri Battousai had vanished to, but his name became legendary among the people...

Review:
Wonderfully drawn, deep characters are everywhere in this fantastic anime TV series. Unfortunately, the first season is rather dry, made up of a lot of oneshot made-for-TV stories. It doesn’t really get going until the second season when Kenshin is confronted by an enemy from his past. At that point everything picks up and it gets as complex and wonderful as Fushigi Yuugi. Good story even in the first season, lots of hilarious comedy, and plenty of sword-slashing action, this is a great series that REALLY needs to be picked up by someone.

Availability:
Currently only available fansubbed; Rurouni Kenshin TV has been acquired by Media Blasters. Release date unknown.


Rurouni Kenshin: The Movie

Kenshin and his hair

Rating: 3½ Rampages

Synopsis:
Getting on a steam train, Himura, Kaoru, Sanosuke and Yahiko head to Yokohama for some sight-seeing. Everything was great until they get caught up in a brawl involving some men from the Navy. During the brawl, Himura and the others meet a young female named Takatsuki Toki and the swordsman Shigure Takimi, who stopped the brawl. Shigure, sensing Himura’s strength as a swordsman, cannot contain his curiousity about him. After the brawl, Shigure seeks Himura out to have a talk with him. As usual, Shigure asks Himura why he is carrying a sakabatou (reverse bladed-sword), and Himura answers with his usual "This sword symbolizes that I will not kill anymore" speech. Shigure whole-heartedly agree's and sympathizes with him, seeing a great swordsman before him. Kenshin also likes what he sees in Shigure, a honourable young swordsman who mourns the deaths of his friends during the Bakumatsu.
Because of only a chance meeting, neither of them knew the history that connected them... Saitou Hajime who had been watching in the shadows, warns Kenshin to stay away from Shigure...for his own good....
After the warning, Himura also learns that the young woman Toki, who he rescued in the brawl, was the daughter of the former Aizuhan leader (Aizu was where Takani Megumi was from and if you don't know what happened in the Aizu war, check out the anime or manga to find out).
A few days later, an old friend, Kajiki Sadashirou, pays a visit to Shigure. It seems Shigure, Kajiki and other young swordsman are planning a revolution to overthrow the Ishin government. But they also want revenge for the deaths of theirs friends during the Bakumatsu...a revenge that seems to include Himura, whether any of them realize it or not.

Review:
This is a great side story, and a perfect introduction to the Kenshin Universe. The story embodies pretty much everything Kenshin is about, and is beautifully animated. The music, as usual, is rather odd and doesn’t seem to fit well...but aside from that this is a fantastic movie. If you like the Kenshin series, or if you just happened to like fighting anime with some good comedic bits thrown in, grab this up. You won’t be disappointed.

Availability:
Currently only available fansubbed; the movie has been acquired by AD Vision. Release date unknown.

Rurouni Kenshin: The OVA

Cover for one of the OVAs

Rating: 4½ Rampages

Synopsis:
Set as the prequel series to the TV series and movie, this tells the story of young Himura Kenshin, and how he became the fearsome killer Hitokiri Battousai. Young Himura, a slave boy, witnesses his owners slaughtered before his eyes, and is saved by a wandering swordsman who notices the boy's spirit and decides to take him under his wing. So begins Himura's change from an idealistic young man, to the sad, repentant and tortured soul we see in the series.
Himura gets his first scar

Review:
Wow. If ever a series came up with the perfect supplement to an established story, this is it (George, make some notes). The art is mindnumbingly beautiful and very reminiscent of Ninja Scroll. The fight scenes are wonderfully rendered, far better than the cut and paste of the TV and even the Movie. At long last we have music that not only sounds good, but fits the period better than the likes of Judy & Mary or the Yellow Monkey. If ever there were a show to de-throne Ninja Scroll, this would be it. A beautiful and haunting story of a young man's fall from grace, this is the perfect final piece to the Kenshin Puzzle...after something this great they don't need to say anything else.

Availability:
Currently only available fansubbed; the OVA has been acquired by AD Vision. Release date unknown.

Project Oro The finest Kenshin site on the web, they have it all.
The Kenshin Gallery A VERY extensive gallery devoted to Ruroni Kenshin
Ruroni Kenshin Archive Another great Kenshin site