Alright, this one’s a classic. The story of Rurouni Kenshin revolves around a swordsman named Kenshin Himura, who is actually a legendary manslayer nicknamed the Battosai who helped the revolutionaries during the Japanese Revolution, but now wanders the world as a rurouni. He meets the girl Kaoru Kamiya, who runs a dojo in Tokyo and takes him in after he helps her out. The first story arc follows Kenshin as he tries to use his sword skills to help people out, meeting the many characters that stick around until the end of the series. In the second story arc, Kenshin is recruited to help with the assassination of Shishio Makoto, who is his successor as a manslayer. This arc is very interesting in that we see more about Kenshin’s past and he is forced to face it. The last story arc ends up just being filler that never really shows up in the manga. Although it can be annoying and episodic, the second arc can act as an end, so you don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to (I ended up watching it long after I finished the second arc). Other than that, the story is very interesting and full of action and emotions and the like.
Story: Score 9/10
The characters are incredible. Each one has their own past and problems that dictate how they act. We start with the main character Kenshin Himura, who was originally a manslayer, but has vowed to never kill again. Although they never tell anyone why in the anime (read the manga or watch the movies if you want to find out), it’s a constant problem for him, as his enemies see him as a ghost of his former self and he constantly has to battle with the manslayer that lives within him. Also, we have the dojo’s assistant master Kaoru Kamiya, who can never quite reconcile her feelings for Kenshin, and puts up with the myriad of characters that roam around her abode. Yahiko Myojin is a former thief who joins the Kamiya dojo to learn the Kamiya Kasshin style of swordsmanship and become a great samurai like his father. Sanosuke Sagara is a former member of the Sekihotai, a group that was betrayed in the revolution and slain in front of Sanosuke’s eyes. He ends up becoming a fighter-for-hire, basically having street brawls every day, but after meeting Kenshin, he throws away that lifestyle and becomes one of Kenshin’s trusted friends. Even more people appear later on in the series, and each has their own depth to them.
Characters: Score 10/10
The animation is pretty good, but because the show is old, it naturally doesn’t look quite as good as the animation we see nowadays. Because of this, they sometimes don’t show the actual sword strikes, such as with Kenshin’s ultimate move later down the line. Because of that, the battle scenes sometimes end up being a bit underwhelming. However, the other scenes usually end up being very well done.
The background music in this show are actually very good, and also very appropriate whenever they come up. The opening and ending themes don’t really strike me as that great, but they’re not exactly awful or anything.
What can I say? This is one of the earlier series that I ever watched, and it was definitely worth the time. I would have liked them to have included the true final arc to the series, but I guess it just never was meant to be. I also didn’t really like the ending that they chose (watch the movies for the ending), because I didn’t think it fit with the way the story went. I thought that Kenshin deserved something much better for what he had been doing. Anyways, if you’re not into filler, you can just watch the first two parts (unlike the filler in some series I know), but I didn’t end up minding the filler all that much. It was kind of interesting seeing Kenshin deal with new problems despite having his new ultimate technique that he learns in the second part.
Final Score: 9/10