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Rurouni Kenshin

Warning: Spoilers follow

A set of anime series set during the early years of the Meiji Era in Japan:

There are four Rurouni Kenshin series (るろうに剣心 "Rurouni" means "wanderer," so the series could be translated as "Kenshin the Wanderer"):

  • The TV series, set during the early years of the Meiji Era and telling of the early romance between Kenshin and Kaoru
  • A movie, which used a large amount of material from the TV series and re-told its story
  • The first OVA series, set during the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate and telling of Kenshin's childhood and young adult life. Kenshin is the only character from the TV series to appear in this OVA.
  • The second OVA series, set after the TV series and telling of Kenshin and Kaoru's later years

Kenshin is the Battousai, an assassin who helped bring about the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate which ushered in the Meiji Era. As a result, he is highly prized by people who want to either hire him for his skills, or kill him for toppling the old power structure. Kenshin himself grieves for the lives he ended, and has vowed that he will never kill again.

The OVA series -- which feature a number of historical characters -- attempt to be more realistic and accurate than the TV series, which begins as a romantic comedy but evolves into a period drama.

The TV series is renamed to Samurai X in the US.

Table of contents

Characters (names are being listed traditionally in surname given name fashion)

Himura Kenshin (Hitokiri Battousai)

The main character of the series, Kenshin was a former Imperialist assassin that went by the name "Battousai". After the revolution, he traded in his katana for a reverse-bladed sword and assumed the life of a wanderer. He becomes a technical master of the Hiten Mitsurugi fighting style after defeating his master, but declines the official mastership.

Kamiya Kaoru

Assistant master of the Kamiya Kasshin (her father's) fighting style. She runs the dojo and, after some initial scuffles, lets Kenshin stay as a guest.

Myoujin Yahiko

For a descendant of samurai, the new Meiji era was not the best place to grow up. He was originally forced to live as a thief, but with the help of Kenshin and Kaoru, he becomes an apprentice of the Kamiya Kasshin style.

Sagara Sanosuke (Zanza)

The last of the Sekihou Tai, he initially bore a hatred for all former Imperialists. He made a living as a contract killer who bore a nickname based on the name of his favorite weapon, a zanbatou until he was hired to kill Kenshin. After being defeated and learning of Kenshin's no-kill approach, he becomes a valuable ally.

Saitou Hajime (Fujita Goro)

A former member of the Shinsen Gumi[?], an extremely powerful loyalist faction in Kyoto during the time of the Bakumatsu war. Now a policeman working for the Meiji Government. Extremely strong and vicious, he has a long time rivalry with Kenshin. He has no compassion or mercy for anyone. He lives by the Shinsen Gumi code "Aku Soku Zan"("Slay Evil Swiftly"). Anyone he considers to be evil is a target for elimination. Considers Sanosuke to be a child with mild potential.

Shishio Makoto

The successor to Kenshin after he became a wanderer. Shishio was burned alive by the Meiji government, but survived. Afterwards, he swore revenge and assembled a group of the best swordsmen in Japan, called the Juppongatana (10 swords), to overthrow the new government, but Kenshin, Saitou, Sanosuke, Kaoru, Yahiko and the Oniwaban group rallied against his plan.

Theme Songs

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