Greetings Everyone ^__^
Wouldn’t you agree the way of the Samurai throughout Japan history is very fascinating? I love watching anime’s that can be influenced or inspired from real life or in this case history. In this special post I will be exploring in depth the wonders of a certain anime, that displays a historic part of Japan history, in a half inspired and fictional way. That is enjoyable for any anime fan who loves the, Shonen, Samurai genre.
During a violent time in Kyoto the revolution had taken place , imperialists and shinsengumi were fighting for the sides they believed in. Among them the group of imperialists was a Assassin known as Battosi the manslayer. A man who like no other, fast as lightning with his amazing swordsmanship skills, he believed in his own cause of fighting in the war. But somewhere along the way he had Revelation of all the lives he had taken, as the revolution was finally coming to the end Kenshin Himura putting away his sword and disappearing without a trace. After the revolution Japan entered into the 11th year known as the meiji era, a time of semi peace had finally come to the land. Kenshin spend the last ten years of his life as a wanderer, carrying his reserve blade sword, vowing never to kill again. He wanders around all of Japan helping out the weak and those who need protecting, in a way to atone for all sins he has committed. Along the way meets miss Kamiya Kaoru who runs a a swordmanship school of her own. she ends up offering Kenshin to stay with her and from there everything changes for him.
Rurouni Kenshin is one of the longest, running shonen series that is still as popular to this day, standing next to Naruto. I decided to revisit this long time favorite purely for nostalgia feels, this was my third time re-watching and after watching felt inspired for this post I am writing now. Kenshin is of my favorite 90’s anime’s and is in my top anime favorites for life as it touched me in so many ways and simply here to tell you all why, convince you there is much more to this gem of a series.
One of the first things I love about Rurouni Kenshin was that the plot of the story was inspired from apart of Japan history, the edo period. Where Japan has entered into a time of peace known as the Meiji era 1868 – 1912, though the Meiji government was still weak so nothing was full proof in this time. Western influences had begun to show as modernized weapons were introduced and the time of swords was coming to an end. First time watching the show I had no clue the plot was even inspired by history until the third time of watching, looking up out of curiosity. From there my interest had been peaked into wanting to find out more as the plot in Kenshin is slightly exaggerated and half of it fictionally inspired. It stays true to the time set, after doing research into it myself it was very clear of what direction the director of this series was going in.
Director Nobuhiro Watsuki of the manga, as a child practiced Kendo himself but soon became frustrated with Kendo and quit. From that experience that is where the character Yahiko was inspired from as Watsuki needed to think up a new character, So he ended up channeling his childhood self through Yahiko. As for Kenshin’s character was inspired from one of four main men in the late edo period which were known as highly skilled swordsman, Kawakami Gensai. Interestingly enough he was skilled in the Shiranui-ryu sword style known for it’s high speed attacks, that is where Kenshin’s swordsmanship style in the anime was inspired from also. Director Watsuki knew what direction he wish to take with this series, I think it’s wonderful having all these real life inspirations. Finding out some of these influences has made me appreciate of how apart of Japanese history was portrayed, must admit though third time watching Kenshin did I begin to fully understand the plot more then.
Hope I have gave you a better understanding of the influences of the plot for Kenshin, quite interesting isn’t it. The balance between those real inspirations and exaggerated fictional inspirations was done really well but let me give you an example, so I don’t confuse you. All the sword fight scenes in the series are humanly over exaggerated, Kenshin’s swordsmen ship the Hiten mitsurugi-ryu style is a great example of this, almost in most of his attacks piercing lights can be seen or spiritual energy flowing from Kenshin. This balance was done in a way where it didn’t leave me thinking anything was overly exaggerated and was just left watching these entertaining sword fight scenes. (hope I made sense). Other people may feel differently about this view point on the sword fight scenes but to me they weren’t overly done, not overly humanly done anyway.
Besides the influences behind the plot, as a whole the plot itself is thoroughly entertaining for any anime viewer. The first two seasons of Kenshin are the best, the third is more canon filler but I still enjoyed it because I just needed more Kenshin in my life really. Two seasons actually follow the manga up until that point, season three was all made up by Studio Deen, because Nobuhiro Watsuki could never finish the manga before he died. The first season is introducing Kenshin and of how he meets the other main characters Kaoru, Yahiko and Sanosuke, you dive into Kenshin’s background getting an a small idea of why he became a wanderer. The second season is probably the best as solely concentrating on one main plot and not diverging from that, which the season is more serious. While all the fight scenes in Rurouni Kenshin are great, more in the second season they are that much more kick – ass.
Looking at that image reminds me of how good that fight was Nostalgia feels. The second reason I love Rurouni is well..our main character of course Kenshin. I’m not dissing all of the other characters, I’ll get to that but solely for me without Kenshin this serious would nowhere be as great as it is today. I have to thankyou Nobuhiro Watsuki for coming up with such a lovable, kick ass male lead.
I loved learning all about Kenshin’s character as in the first season everything is hidden about this mysterious wanderer, the more I got to learn about himself. The more I began to love of what Kenshin’s character represented in the series. The first OVA Trust and Betrayal goes into more depth about Kenshin’s past, which is where my love for his character really went deeper. MAKE SURE YOU WATCH IT !!! The english dub version of his character I enjoyed more than the subbed for me, he was so lovable, his funny humble self, always saying at the end of his sentences “That I’m sure of Miss Kaoru, That I’m sure of”. The way he talked was so amusing and his whole humble wanderer persona was not hard to fall in love with. Always tugged on my heart watching him battle two selves within himself, his wanderer and man slayer side, first time I nearly saw him revert back, I’ll admit nearly cried. Never have I gotten that upset over a character like that.
Watching Kenshin learn things about life he had forgotten about, always wanting to take the whole world on his shoulders. At times was frustrating but he eventually does snap out of, was most crucial to learn one life lesson when trying to master the final attack in the Hiten mitsurugi-ryu style. That one whole scene I cannot forget, the build up to it made me do a star jump in there as FINALLY HE’S GOT IT. There is nothing not to love about Kenshin but what I admire most about him is his level head outlook on life, some of the quotes he says I won’t forget. Through Kenshin’s character I learnt that even if you make mistakes in the past, (not the extend that he wanted to repent with his life) but helping others, having the will to look forward, live on is more powerful than anything. Yay this sounds so sappy but it’s good sappy from our humble wanderer Kenshin. So much deep emotion just flows through important scenes with him and couldn’t help but feel connected to that. It in turn just made me cry every god dam time… STUPID KENSHIN!!
Kenshin… please teach me Hiten mitsurugi-ryu style?
But Kenshin was not the only inspirational character I loved in the series. Kaoru was inspirational herself now people have said that her character is bland, whishy washy and she has no meaning in the series. I’m sorry people but I totally disagree with your remark on her character as her and Kenshin’s relationship together is really inspiring. They are one of my favorite anime couples together, Kaoru is Kenshin’s rock without her I’d feel like he would fall apart. Her belief, worrying all over Kenshin in a few scenes is quite emotional and just touches you. I saw the true inspiration from Kaoru’s belief in Kenshin in second OVA Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection, I won’t spoil anything but it’s really beautiful that whole OVA. God thinking about it now been so long since I have seen it but I love that OVA so much, one of my favorites ever.
Kenshin and Kaoru are a inspirational pair of characters who share a bond of burdens, that they take them on head on with no hesitation. Kaoru was a good influence on Kenshin, she gave him meaning in his life again and watching that on screen just tugs at your heart a little, I love what these two have. Kaoru’s accepting nature, she didn’t care of Kenshin’s past that nature of hers is one of the reasons I love her character so much, that and she is hilarious when she gets mad at Kenshin.
I know here I am only talking about the two favorites of this series where I love all the great, entertaining characters in this series. Sanosuke was a added funny addition to Kaoru, Kenshin and Yahiko, all of them together makes me laugh a lot, as when first watching the series did I think humor would be a stand out. The humor and level of seriousness in the series was done really well, guarantee you’ll experience a few chuckles here and there. What I was really impressed with about the character cast is when it came to the villians, you actually got to see a back story behind them. Your not left with these villains who are their one minute, then dead, actually get to learn something about them which I thought Hallelujah. Best villian in the series was Makoto Shishio from the second arc, literally insane his whole character, but dam he made the second season so exciting and enjoyable, PREPARE FOR EVIL!!
I’ll have to admit one character I loved…. getting to know was:
Oh sexy thing, god I loved it when Hiko was introduced but he is far from a gentlemen, I love it when he called Kenshin his “Stupid Apprentice” Hilarious. It was great to know his character and was such a amusing addition, another plus getting to know of where Kenshin learnt his swordsmanship. One thing I can’t leave out is Kenshin’s and Sanosuke BROMANCE, of how they look out for each other during the series is touching, their friendship grows into a powerful bromance. Overall Rurouni Kenshin has a fantastic cast of characters, I love every single one of them and all the fighter ones Bad-ass.
Rurouni Kenshin was the reason I fell in love with Japanese instrumental pieces, and the beautiful pieces that are used in crucial scenes can be suspenseful and exciting. Especially when it comes to all the fight scenes, got my adrenaline pumping yet when it got sad and deep for intense scenes. Left your feels – shaking at how powerful the music can make those deep, dark scenes, I can never forget them. Sadly almost all of the opening and ending themes were all ungodly boring but accept the second ending theme. “Heart Of Sword” By T.M Revolution this band they have done amazing songs for Gundam seed destiny and Soul eater. I love “Heart Of Sword’ song because it reflects all about Kenshin, his personality and his beliefs one of the lyric sentences made me notice that. “Hiding my passionate, heartbroken self, I go on living in this short era”.
I, will conclude this special post on the series Rurouni Kenshin, I dedicate this post to Anime Reviewer Girl as she loves this series just as much as me. It may be popular but is still underrated slightly because it’s an “Old Anime”. Load of rubbish, this series deserves all the recognition, I’ve covered the reasons of why I love this series. Wouldn’t call this post a review, not really it’s a special in depth look post which these kinds of post, I really want to start doing more of but I left this spoiler free for you all.
Rurouni Kenshin has all the boxes ticked for amazing characters and plot, you will enjoy this series. It offers a beautiful representation of Japanese history with half fictional element, entertaining fight scenes, humorous characters and life lessons. It’s the best of the best for the Samurai genre in my opinion and my love for this series will never change, I don’t think ever. I was glad to shed some light on on Rurouni Kenshin telling the story of a wanderer who like us, finding his place in the world.
I do hope you enjoyed this special post!
Please comment below if you would me to do more of these posts and your thoughts on Rurouni Kenshin.
I’ll see you all in the next Post 😀