As we move closer and closer to the next decade, it seems like we keep on getting farther and farther away from amazing samurai stories. With possibly the recent exemption of Samurai Champloo and Gintama (which, to be fair, aren't your typical Meiji era samurai story, there seems like an apparent lack of new series that features your traditional Japanese samurai. Well, new series that are actually entertaining and interesting to read. The mid-90's and the turn of the century saw the unveiling of many great series (most still ongoing) like Vagabond and Blade of the Immortal, which truly define and really
sets the standards of your traditional samurai story, though not your typical mainstream stuff. That is where Rurouni Kenshin comes into play. Nobuhiro Watsuki has really defined the standard of this genre, since his story was arguably the most mainstream and popular of the three. With the anime receiving mixed reviews because of the mistreatment of its final season (which were all fillers), its important to go back to the original manga counterpart and review what exactly sets apart Rurouni Kenshin from other manga and anime, and really, why when people hear the name of this series, have the tendency to group it with the elite of japanese work.
We begin with the story. Himura Kenshin, whose character is loosely based off a real life samurai during the Japanese Revolution back in the mid-1800's, is known as the dreaded Hitokiri Battousai and for some reason, he left the revolution halfway with a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek, a reverse-blade sword and a vow never to kill again. Simply with this much information that is revealed at the beginning of the story, we get a sense that Kenshin's past must have been full of strife, hardship and events which turned him away from the life of a hitokiri to that of a wanderer (rurouni). And simply put, that is where the broad story feeds off of. As you begin to read the manga, you are unfolded to events which will reveal his past to you, all the way up to the final chapter. Not only does this keep everything interesting, but it really gives you a chance to dive into the mind of Himura Kenshin and actually feel what he has felt, see what he has seen, and literally, witness Kenshin's developing character from start to finish. Watsuki has almost flawlessly done this as advertised, with three main arcs to his story - the Tokyo arc, the Kyoto arc and the Jinchuu (Revenge) arc - the latter two really the main players in defining this series.
Another feature that gets easily overlooked in Watsuki's legendary story is the art. I feel when people look at manga as a whole, they look at all the obvious elements of plot, character, etc., but a major categoy that is a factor in the enjoyment score is how well has the series been drawn. Is it consistent? How detailed? And most importantly, do I actually know what the hell is going on, especially during battles? Each of these questions are answered positively in the art as the character models and designs do stay consistent with the mid-1800 feel and culture. The environments, though not intricately as designed as other series, do hold up in its own right, but prevent that "outsanding" score. And the nice part with Rurouni Kenshin is that Watsuki has done a decent good job in drawing the flow of battles to the point where you're not questioning yourself what just happened. Although, some of the sword techniques some characters have will make you stare at the page and be like, "is that even physically possible?"
The character development of Himura Kenshin really comes alive through his dialogue and interactions with the other characters. Well, one might think, "of course this would be the case," but the fact of the matter is that most of the characters that you witness this kind of relationship all have some vendetta or hatred against the Battousai, which makes it all the more interesting to see how Kenshin goes about putting to rest not only these characters, but also his inner hitokiri self. And for as much as these characters bring out the worst in him, it is evenly balanced with his daily, ever growing relationship with Kaoru Kamiya. These interesting character relations and interactions are augmented prodigiously during the Kyoto and Jinchuu arcs, where you get to see the other, more deadly, side of Kenshin for the first time. I will say that some of the characters will make you question what exactly was the manga-ka thinking when he created them, but after watching them in battle, it'll be a simply afterthought.
Witnessing Kenshin go through all these ordeals is what really makes the manga so interesting. With his belief and vow of never to kill again, you really wonder sometimes if he is able to keep it, as there are many circumstances which really push Kenshin's psyche to the limit and even at times, his hitokiri side is unveiled. This is really, in my eyes, what makes the story so enjoyable to read. Every avenue of Kenshin's past, present and future is explored in heavy detail, leaving you with a fulfilled story, an actual complete ending and a truly satisfied feeling of nirvana (okay, maybe I'm stretching it a little bit), but you get the point. To say the least, the story is captivating, especially if japanese samurai, traditional sword-style battles that don't drag on, are things you are looking for in a manga.
Summary - Great manga with good action, great characters and an excellent plot.
Action - the swordsmanship scenes are well-drawn and the fights are pretty exciting. The reasoning behind the techniques is also explained and it kinda makes sense, at least in the context of a manga where the characters can leap many times their own height into the air.
Characters - wow, almost all the characters are well-developed and have a good back story to them. There is almost no one who is genuinely good or evil - everyone has a reason they developed the way they did. This is one of the
few manga I've read where I have many favourite characters, some of whom are (at least originally) in the "opposition".
Plot - the story is really pretty well-planned (unlike in the anime where the filler arcs are yuck - and don't get me started on Seisouhen). The introductory section where Kenshin-gumi are getting together is fun, and the two major arcs are really stunning in terms of creating suspense and making little twists to the story.
Humour - Although it's mostly a drama, there are deft touches of light humour, especially funny drawings of Kenshin going "oro?" - never fails to make me laugh.
Historicity - I tend to like historical manga because it gives me an incentive to learn more about Japanese history. No different with Rurouni Kenshin - I know a lot more about Meiji-era Japan and the Bakumatsu than I did before (which was zilch!). There are also little explanations of the actual historical events and characters, so there's a nice mix of history and fiction there.
Re-summary - read it, you won't regret it. Seriously good.
Rurouni Kenshin is a series I've just recently read and enjoyed a lot so I thought I'd give it a shot! My overall rating for the manga is a 9/10, and here is why:
Story (8/10): The story might not have been the most original but I believe Watsuki made the best of it.
The manga is separated into 2 main arcs.
Personally I prefer the first one. The characters are more interesting to me and I think it was developed better. However, the 2nd arc is a lot of fun to read as well.
What I don't like about the first arc is that the end feels like
it was stretched a bit too much. No matter how much I enjoyed it, during the last few chapters I kind of wished it would come to an end already. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't boring. I just feel like it could've been a bit shorter.
The second arc started off slowly to me, though it had great development and a nice plot twist.
Compared to a lot of similar manga who tend to go on forever, Kenshin ended at exactly the right time. Of course, it was possible to add tons of chapters if you wanted to but the end was set where it was fitting. The end was at a point when the story wasn't stretched out to a point where it became repetitive and boring.
Art (9/10): I'm not so experienced with art in manga but I know for sure that I don't read manga if the style doesn't appeal to me. It's obvious that I really liked that art-style.
I also think that the art had a perfect balance between being detailed and simple. It was detailed where it was pretty and was simple where being detailed would've been distracting or would have made things complicated and hard to understand. You can also see development during the manga without the style changing so much that you feel like reading something entirely different (which tbh does not happen a lot but it still happens in some manga).
Character (10/10): What I believe is the strongest point in Kenshin.
The characters are all so realistic & understandable that you have a hard time hating any of them. They aren't separated into good & evil either - everyone has their motivations and reasons to act the way they do, as well as those twists that make a character round and interesting.
Nobody lacks development and the background stories of most of the characters are my favorite part of the manga. What I love is that the type of characters who usually wouldn't develop much still do.
This goes for a lot of less important characters and I really wish some of them were given more time and appeared a second time at least. They were too amazing to just appear and leave again, some of them would've even made great main characters!
The characters are all so different and yet most of them just fit so well in to the story (when I gotta admit that there is indeed some that don't really fit into the setting, but considering that they are amazing characters nonetheless, you can overlook that.) There's some really unique ideas that you don't see often in other manga. (I would give examples but I really don't want to spoil anyone.)
I probably sound like a stupid fangirl here but really, I was so in love with the characters in this manga - there's barely anything I can criticize.
Enjoyment (9/10): Well, I really loved the manga a lot. I got it from a friend who borrowed me all the volumes. I must have been so annoying because I always borrowed 3 or 4 at the same time and I had them finished the next day, asking for more and being really annoying when she didn't bring them along. The manga is just addicting like that. It's very deep and has both, emotional and goofy moments without either of them being out of place.
The setting is great and it really makes you interested in the time period. You already find out a lot about it and even want to find out more because it looks so amazing.
The only reason I gave it a 9 out of 10 is what I already mentioned - in the story, there's the one part where it's kind of slow which is the transition between the two arcs with one ending being too long and the next one starting a bit too slow. Other than that, it was a lot of fun reading it.
Rurouni Kenshin is a well-paced, high quality shounen series with a plethora of interesting themes and organically developed characters that stands among the best of its demographic.
The story of Rurouni Kenshin, set in Japan at the beginning of the Meiji period towards that end of the 1800s, begins following a rurouni named Kenshin and his time at the dojo of Kaoru, a female instructor whom he assisted. Initially, the story is engaging but episodic, with the focus being on the slowly expanding cast and their small-scale battles against individual threats to their safety. Though the more relaxed first quarter of the story doesn’t quite have
the impact of what follows it, it does a great job at establishing the characters and even providing some development for them. One of the strengths of this section is how historically astute it is, as it references some very relevant conflicts and struggles, such as racism towards Europeans and the use of opium. This gives this first section, and to an extent the whole series, a more grounded and realistic vibe compared to most other action shounen, which typically try to serve as action blockbusters. When Kenshin and friends head to Kyoto, however, things become much more intense. During this time, the plot becomes more focussed and layered, the cast further expands to encapsulate dozens of relevant players and the scope expands greatly. The conflict between Kenshin and the government with Makoto Shishio and his revolution is the most action-packed part of the manga series, though thankfully it retains the charm that made the first segment so endearing.
The last third of the series doesn’t feel quite as well-realised as the first two parts, with some unusual pacing and a conspicuous lack of tension despite the stakes and emotionally intensity being at an all-time high. Kenshin’s backstory and development in this half is what solidified him as a favourite character of mine, but for many of the side characters, barring Kaoru, their developments seems slightly redundant given everything they went through in the Kyoto arc. Ultimately, with a great backstory for Kenshin (which was adapted into the universally acclaimed “Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal”) and a story final boss figure, the finale does manage to stand alongside its predecessors, though it lacks their consistency. Overall, in spite of its rather intimidating length, Rurouni Kenshin is one of the easiest manga series to read, rarely feeling boring and often proving that shounen series can be more than just fan service, explosions and childish philosophy.
The characters, even more so than the story, are where Rurouni Kenshin shines. Kenshin himself is by far and away the best character in the story, having won every single popularity contest within the manga and complimenting, rather than overshadowing, the rest of the cast excellently. He’s a kind and fair person who has strong moral obligations, but he never comes across as annoying, naïve or obnoxious, which is very uncommon in a shounen protagonist. His backstory and time spent as Himura Battousai are very intriguing, but he is neither a character completely defined by his past or separated from it; his character at the beginning of the series feels natural and relatable, as opposed to going for the lazier and more deterministic “I’m angry because my childhood sucked!” His struggle with self-acceptance, moral incapability to kill and desire to protect his new found family really sell the less consistent third of the story, and permeate throughout its entirety. On top of that, he’s multifaceted without being inconsistent, and can believably switch between being funny and serious in the space of a few seconds. The other main characters include Kaoru, a relatively fine character who doesn’t do much in the way of action, serving mainly as foil for Kenshin, Sanosuke, a delinquent who becomes more mature and willing to make sacrifices as the story goes along, and Yahiko, a brat who becomes a fine warrior, though physiologically really shouldn’t be anywhere near the battle. Sanosuke and Yahiko receive abundant development in the second third of the story, but are relatively likeable throughout and have good chemistry with the other characters, while Kaoru goes through the most in the final few chapters, reaching a satisfying conclusion with her character arc.
For the most part, the various supporting characters are interesting, varying significantly in their input to the story. Saito is a stone cold professional with a peculiar interest in Kenshin, and serves as great foil for him, and is an engaging recurring character that never ceases to be entertaining. Aoshi is another reoccurring character, but as he doesn’t quite have Saito’s flare, serving mainly as a walking sword after his emotional resolution in the Kyoto section. Megumi is strong and likeable, and gives some very wise and thoughtful advice, grounding the series very effectively and serving as a reminder that these characters are human and fragile. The villains towards the beginning are fairly generic, but Shishio and Enishi are anything but. Shishio is very much a megalomaniac, a psychopathic, power-hungry and fierce, having no ethics or people he isn’t prepared to sacrifice whatsoever. Serving as the only true “super villain” in Rurouni Kenshin, this scenery gobbler and his army are intimidating and add a layer of urgency that wasn’t present in the earlier sections. He doesn’t have much development, having been shown in a flashback to have always been the way he is, but with such charisma and energy it isn’t needed. Enishi is a much more misguided character, someone who is not kind by any definition, but doesn’t quite have Shishio’s hellfire attitude or complexion. He serves as a good final boss for Kenshin, though doesn’t quite reach the heights of Shishio. On the whole Rurouni Kenshin’s cast of characters is strong, with no dreaful characters and many great ones.
The art for Rurouni Kenshin isn’t quite as polished as other shounens, but has a strong Eastern flavour and character designs that makes this entirely forgivable. The characters eyes are more Shoujo than shounen in the earlier parts, though this does fit with the more laid back tone of the beginning. The backgrounds are rather plain, though detailed when necessary and very true to Japanese culture. The designs of the swords are a stand out, and the curvature, length and weight of them are all addressed and presented with consistency, giving each of the main characters’ swords a sense of identity. The outfits for the characters are also quit detailed and characteristic, from Kenshin’s teacher’s ridiculously long collar to Megumi traditional attire, the formality or militaristic qualities of the characters are well reflected in their clothes. The actions scenes are also quite strong, with each blow having a sense of weight and direction to it that never leaves the audience confused as to what is going on. The subtle facing expressions are another quality worth noting, as they capture complex emotions in a way that few manga series are able to do effectively, making the characters truly shine.
On the whole, Rurouni Kenshin is a narrative and artistic success that exceeds the quality to most shounens that followed it. Kenshin and the other characters serve their purpose well, even if some development feels repetitive, and the story is deliberately paced, rarely feeling rushed or drawn out. Rurouni Kenshin is a should-read manga that stands high among shounen titles.
Amazing. amazing, AMAZING!!! This manga was absolutely fantastic- from the deep rooted history of feudal Japan, to the spectacular swordsmenship. This story (for those who don't know, where the hell have you been?) follows the life of a rurouni (wanderer), Kenshin Himura, and tells of the epic battles, forgotten romance, and struggling times of Japan during the 1800's. This manga is for him and her- while it is mostly action, there are plenty of romance scenes to make both happy. My only criticism is that I wish the final few chapters (with Enishi) were done better, almost seems like it was an after thought- like
Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z (ugh!). This manga has also a modest re-readable value. So if you are looking for an excellent story with drama, history, and lots and lots of sword slices then you will have a field day with Rurouni Kenshin!
A story that views the Japanese history (Meiji era) in a really fun, exciting and entertaining way…as anime&manga fans we always think of Japan as a dreamy land but in this story it shows you some of the dark sides of this country back in the 19th century, even though this manga has a historical background that non-Japanese readers wouldn't understand completely…it doesn't really mean that you won't enjoy reading it.
Rurouni Kenshin did start and end in the golden decade (the 90th) so I think those the of the same age as me will really enjoy reading this manga, the anime&manga world
is really wide now days but it's good to look back to the (g)old times…even if the art isn't as delicate as the ones now days.
Story: the beginning was really good, the plot about how the main characters meet each other (i.e. the top 4 characters…Himura Kenshin, Kamiya Kaoru, Myoujin Yahiko and Sagara Sanosuke) are really exciting and entertaining…and it isn't devote of many funny moments, as the context of the story goes on…they were many characters with little development I say…and some antagonist weren't even worthy opponent for the protagonist…Kenshin, Kenshin was taking the villains easily in the first chapters so they wasn't much excitement…until the start of the Kyoto arc...
The Kyoto arc was the best part of this story (from my personal opinion), you could see the protagonist in real troubles and complicated situations…the supporting characters have more decisive roles…more supporting characters takes part in the story and strong foes that are worthy to be opponents for the main character, everything was really good in the Kyoto arc from its beginning to its ending.
The last arc (I would like to called it the "Jinchuu" arc) did start in a really good and interesting way (maybe what made it interest is that they were many flashbacks), even though the end of this arc somehow disappointed me…it's not like it's a bad ending but…say you are playing on a piano…surely you have to use both the "white" and "black" keys to create a melody so I think any story line should be like this kind of melody (I know it sounds complicated a bit, if you didn't understand what I mean then you have my apologizes).
Well that's it for the story, my rate for it is 7 out of10.
Art: as for the settings (i.e. the drawing of the buildings, trees, landscapes…etc.) then I say it's really suitable for the background for this historical story…sometimes I just take my time admiring the art rather than focusing on reading the context, as for the characters designs…most of them were really good but sometimes (especially the designs for some antagonist characters) were really off…some are buffed in an exaggerating way (or the opposite) that makes you how can they walk like this?...sometimes I just simply disliked the features of some characters…I can understand since it's a "fantasy"-genre manga but still…
My rate for the art 7 out of10.
Character: I really liked the personalities and ideals of the main characters (especially the protagonist…Kenshin), the supporting characters had really good development throughout the story…in the same time they are some supporting characters who lacked development (actually you won't see them again in the story once they role in the plot is over though you could be sure that they would appear again in the story), as for the antagonists characters…the only ones worth mentioning are "Shishio Makoto" and "Yukishiro Enishi"…don't expect much from the others (I didn't include the antagonists who turned into supporting characters throughout the story).
What's funny is that they are some characters who were mentioned in the story but didn't make their appearance at all (really disappointing)…my rate for character 7 out of 10.
Enjoyment: even though I don't have a slightest background about the Japanese history and sometimes I find it a bit hard to follow the context of the story…I really enjoyed reading this manga (well it's not like it's all about history though), as I read I really learned some lessons that I might find useful in my life someday, enjoyment rate 7 out of 10.
Overall: well don't know if you noticed…I rated everything above with (7 out of10) so naturally the overall rating will be same, if you're interested in an old shounen manga with a good story then Rurouni Kenshin is a good choice, if you're planning to read it then I believe you will really enjoy it.
Thanks for reading :)
Sorry for any linguistic mistakes.
This review is from the point of view of somebody who is indifferent to, and rarely indulges in the "Shonen Battle Series" genre. While it is true that long-time devotees of a genre have undeniable value in judging works within that genre, I believe the perspective of an outsider is valuable as well. If a newcomer doesn't 'get' or 'like' something, it's something to be considered, especially if a genre wants to attract new fans. Now down to business with this manga classic...
"Rurouni Kenshin" is licensed in the US by Viz Media.
I typically ignore Shonen Battle series for the same reason I ignore American superhero
comics: overly-long plots that constantly reset to the status quo, lose focus in a swamp of side arcs, and lack storytelling depth (I'm indisputably in the 'Seinen' demographic now, so 'Teamwork' and 'Friendship' aren't the most exciting themes). The tendency for a character to get a convenient power-up at just the right time because Deus Ex Machina doesn't help either. And 'RuroKen' shows many of these flaws. The characters always seem to find a justification to take an action that prolongs the current arc, villains insist on fighting man-to-man duels even when they could launch an overwhelming attack with all their forces, and physics only applies when the story feels like it. But mixed in with all the textbook Shonen Battle series tropes are some very good moments of comedy (one reason I came to anime and manga in the first place was the fact that I found the over-the-top gags hilarious), moments where a character would come off as completely badass and I just had to sit there in awe (AKA every time Saito Hajime appears) and even -to my surprise- some thematic depth. RuroKen touches on a topic I don't think is covered often in the Shonen Battle genre: the disconnect between ideals and reality. Although Kenshin had fought to destroy the old Shogunate and establish the new Meiji Imperial Government, this new Meiji government is far from perfect. It can be very pragmatic about when and how it follows its official ideals, infighting and corruption plague it as much as any other government, and it has more than few dirty secrets from the civil war that it would REALLY like to stay secret. The series doesn't shy from the fact that social change rarely happens quickly or completely- the revolution that the Meiji promised is still ongoing and far from finished.
Watsuki is well-known for the high degree of influence Shojo manga had on his art style (an early one-shot designed to test out 'RuroKen' hardly even looks like a JUMP manga), although over the 5 year run of the series there is a subtle shift to a more traditionally Shonen look. Backgrounds are solid, but it's character designs that truly shine. Yes, some do stick to traditional manga archetypes (spiky hair abounds) and not every character design is a hit (one-shot villains suffer the worst), but there is still a great deal of variety (and for fans of American comics, more than a few 'X-Men' and 'Spawn' references to catch). Also important, the battle choreography is dramatic and easy to follow (I've dealt with more than one series where I couldn't follow what was going on due to confusing presentation). The art is thoroughly 'manga' and thoroughly good.
The characters are highly entertaining, but they're also one-trick ponies (of course, if you're Saito Hajime and your one trick is "I'm an absolute badass who remorselessly slays evil on sight", why change? But I digress...) What you see when they enter the story is what they are when they leave it. Delinquent brawler and 'fight merchant' Sanosuke does have the most fascinating back-story, and one that plays into the theme of 'ideals vs reality', but is largely static once he enters the scene. The only two characters who have any kind of personal arc that can be called such are Kenshin, as he struggles against temptation to return to the killer he was during the civil war and searches for a way to make amends for his deeds, and Aoshi the ninja, who is searching for a new purpose in life after his faction was destroyed along with the Shogunate it supported. Neither of these arcs are overwhelmingly stellar, but they provide a solid reason to keep the story going (Luke Skywalker had a very basic arc in Star Wars, but you don't see me complaining). In short, the cast is entertaining and doesn't drag the plot down.
I'll admit I only gave this series a try because of it's historical fiction setting and because I wanted the prestige of reading 'the old stuff' (also, my younger brother bought me the first Viz Big volume as Christmas gift). I stuck around though, because I came to enjoy it for what it was. Yes, there were times I had to go into "it's a shonen battle series, don't compare it to Vinland Saga" mode, but who consumes ONLY serious entertainment? You can thoroughly enjoy "The Avengers" even if it isn't as deep as "Ben-Hur". Rurouni Kenshin got a man who is indifferent to its genre to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. I call that a success.
A classic series that has aged well, and can pull in fans from well outside its target audience. Any series that can have that said about it deserves a high score.
I mean sure i kinda like kenshin at first but as the story progresses he becomes increasingly annoying and unrealistic as he continues his wow not to kill people. I mean you could massacre all of his friendly honoured opponents with a machine gun, laugh in his face about smuggling opium, kidnap his loved one to help him make opium and he still wouldnt kill your ass for it. I hate him for that because it makes him seem weak, there is always a line that you dont cross and if you do cross it you are supposed to get killed for it. When someone
kills his honoured opponents without skill, tact or honour using a machine gun and
he doesnt kill them back it kinda makes ya think that hes a douchebag.
Well im going to continue reading about that ***** because i really want to know if hes going to continue placing his stupid oath above his friends.
Of all the mangas I've read this is by far my favourite one with my favourite character in it (Kenshin). Although it is shounen (if i remember correctly) I personally think it is suitable for girls as well (if not more). It has everything you would want in a manga, full of action and fighting scenes, words of wisdom (I personally love it when they say very wise things you never thought about before), history (a lot of the characters in the story are based on real historical characters), humour and last but NOT the least, one of the best told love stories. I
have forced a lot of people to read Kenshin and all of them end up loving it (even people who at first were not fans of manga/anime, soon thereafter became bigger fans than me). To me Kenshin represents hope and change, since this is what he is bringing to the story, even with the past he has, he is still moving forward and still "fighting" for the people.
Ok really i HATE to do this but i did rate everything a ten. I cant find a reason not to there is something about this manga that stands out in everything that i have to give it that. I have never rated an anime having more than four 10s, so this is a big moment for me.
The story is just incredible. It has so much historical references that its like how can a manga be that much in depth. Really its nothing like the other shonen mangas where this random teenager gets this crazy power and fights random guys that are somehow doing something
bad, just to save the day! Really RuroKen is nothing like that. It actually makes some kind of sense. Everything in the manga could in fact happen in real life. Somehow Nobuhiro (The Author) made it that it can happen for real and somehow still stand out. The story gets better as you read, i mean its so awesome at the beginning and it still gets better. Every arc in this manga took all those Shonen-Action animes and through them out. It made something so different from them all. The story has more than just the genres of Action and Adventure. It has a fullfilling romance part, Historical references and a historical backround, also really funny comedy parts. They all mix up and create a very in depth plot.
The art is really good. I can never see a part of it where he screwed up or drew something in less detail then he should. All the panels look very good. I cant even fond a part like those other shonen jump manga where they left out something in a picture. He will also draw a character next to another character that shouldnt be focussed on it all. That is really great because really if you think about it, if the characters there then he should be there even if its pointless. He can switch to this really comedic-goofy art that flows with the really excellent manga art.
The character are the best part of RuroKen. Everyone of them is unique in its way, and has a very a remarkable picture to them. Each one is developed really thurally, none of them are alike. Each one has a purpose, there are no filler characters at all. Its like they put really great detail into those villians that shouldnt have much of a purpose. Thats whats so brilliant! They all have their different motives and expressions for different things. Watsuki also relates a lot of them to different animals and objects. Which puts even more humor into them.
Really i am not a fanboy, so DO NOT think that. I really would suggest this to everyone. And this manga doesnt have a huge huge huge over-populated fanbase, so you can read it without getting annoyed.
Rurouni Kenshin is undoubtedly one of the best things I've ever laid hands upon. I have severe ADHD making my attention spam absolute crap; it took me a month to finish a 2-hour long movie (I kept watching it in fragments) and it took me 3 years to finish an anime with 10 episodes (no exaggeration), so I struggle profoundly with finishing series but I do finish them eventually.
Rurouni Kenshin is a different case, I straight up nailed this son of a gun in 10 days flat cause damn, it was a good read. I've never once in my life thought that still pictures
with dialogue smacked on to it would have adrenaline coursing through my veins. It's not like some of the others where the beginning trudges along and the series holds your hand, guiding you through it's plot. Oh no siree, this bad boy hits you with a BANG and has plot twists literally in the first few chapters. And boy oh boy does it just keep ESCALATING. You thought the Jinchu Arc was good? Pfft, it's a joke compared to the second one. Oh, so you've read the Kyoto Arc and think it can't get better than this? THINK AGAIN, because the Tokyo Arc just hit you and sent you out of Earth's orbit to become one with the sun. It's very hard for me to choose which arc is the best because holy shite ALL of the fights are brilliant and hardcore.
Every aspect of the manga is very well handled and the character development is stunning. Everyone develops throughout the series, but you barely notice because you grow alongside them; making the changes come naturally, you truly notice the transformations when you ponder over them or go back to the beginning when you've reached the end. One of the notable character developments is in Kaoru Kamiya, her development is SUPREME and makes me feel like a proud parent (even though I had nothing to do with it). One of the "subtle" character developments is in Yahiko Myojin, who by most, gets written off as a 9-year-old brat, but you see, that's the POINT. His character gradually develops from a brat to a young admirable, formidable warrior. But most people disregard him because they don't take the time to observe his character and how he's grown.
If you're debating whether to read or watch the series, I highly recommend reading it than watching it, and this is coming from a person who prefers to watch their content.
Now, I (unfortunately, shamefully, regretfully) watched the anime first and no doubt, quickly lost interest. You see, the anime doesn't exactly follow the manga in the beginning, but it did almost fully start following it in the Kyoto Arc and then it was GREAT. I couldn't stop watching, the curiosity and anticipation of what would happen next kept me on my toes. And then after the anime was done with this second arc, everything started going downhill. All the remaining episodes in the series were plain fillers that barely kept my interest; making it a show I put on in the background instead of fully paying attention to.
Personally speaking, the show doesn't handle the relationship between the hero and heroine well and I'll tell you why. I didn't even know that the characters had a chance of being in a relationship until a moment in the series happened. In the manga, the pairing is handled much more smoothly and you can easily see a potential relationship.
The art in the manga is great and I loved the format. I didn't mind that the writer of the series wanted to lessen his line work when he drew the series but I wished he didn't start doing it towards the end because I'm so used to seeing the characters in the one art form that it just completely hijacked me when the writer started drawing the characters in a format that I'm not used to. I really don't care when art styles change as long it's not in the same series. Art styles of a manga drawer can always develop, and it's usually for the better, but since the writer of the series started off using a lot of details in his characters, it sort-of "downgraded" the artwork when he started using less lines. It doesn't mean the artwork is bad, it just looks a bit "inferior" compared to the bit more complex artwork.
This is just an amazing historical-fiction based samurai manga and I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone looking for some good, pristine content. Rurouni Kenshin is to this date, the only series I've had a hard time parting with when I finished reading the manga. I've bought the books just because the series has become so dear to me that I wanted to have my own hand-held copies.
*This was a long arse review, so sorry for any crappy grammar.
From a series similar to Inuyasha, I grew very quite fond with this series. Not only it took place in feudal Japan, it also took up great shape with the genre. Not too much romance, but action and humor will come out to play. All the characters hold their own personality and each has an important place in the story.
Rurouni Kenshin is not the type to bore your mind, it will want you to keep reading more and more after every chapter. All the action and excitement will keep you wondering what will happen next.
The plot of the story is somewhat similar to Inuyasha's
plot (like I said before); losing their beloved and finding new love, new friends and fighting, lots and lots of fighting. The storyline has a strong hold. It never wears out and never will be forgotten.
I wasn't too surprised on the art. I can't blame for the old technique of drawing, it is a series from the early 90's, but the art still deserves a high score. Everything was well drawn and it detail was also good.
I really did enjoy reading this series. No complaints about anything.
Overall, it ends up with a 10. It's outstanding storyline, the personalities of the characters etc... all blew me away.
This is a great example of great manga.
This is my standard for manga. This is my favorite and first i actually loved. i remeber when I first saw the preview on toonami, I was about 8 or 9 when i was sitting back watching Dragon ball Z and YuYu Hakusho when i saw a 5 minute preview for Rurouni Kenshin i was BLOWN AWAY. I saw the first episode on Toonami I fell in love for the first time in my life. the show was then cancelled and than fell through the corridors of my memory not to be seen again for about 4 years
Wen i was in 6th grade I had
recently gotten back into manga and anime when i saw Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1. My brain exploded with nostalgia to the point that a begged my mom until she bought me the first 3 volumes.
The story is about the Meiji Restoration Period after the Japanese Revolution when the samurai were abolished the mian Character is Himura Kenshin who was formerly the dreaded Hitokiri Battouai (Battosai the manslayer in the Dub)
after the revolution he vowed never to take another life and recieved a sakabato (Reverse Blade Sword) Which cannot cut anything. Kenshin saves a young dojo owner name Karou who he eventually ends up living with. other characters include Myojin Yahiko an orphan who is Karou's only student. Sagara Sanosuke a street brawler who hates the government. Shinimori Aoshi a former ninja turned mercenary. Saito hajime a real person who was a former shinsengumi captain turned cop. and finally Takani Megumi a doctor and former opium maker.
RK is the only manga i know of that balances 4 genres perfectly
I now want to adress the ending if you don't want spoilers skip this part:
The ending is amazing for me, everyone goes their seperate ways and lives hapily which usually brings a tear to my eye to see these characters that have gone through so much together just leave...
ok! so the manga is FAR superior to the Anime and well this is the messiah of modern manga.
Manga in Japan not only performs the function of entertainment, rather, it is not so much as function, call it so, upbringing and education. And Kenshin — it is not fighting and screaming, it's not rubilovka and ninjas, it's not Japanese swords and other branchy cranberry, and a very serious story about a human duty and destiny, sin and redemption. And inscribed (and very carefully!) In the historical reality of post-revolutionary Japan. Author manga, Watsuki Nobuhiro, has built into its story many real people, known in Japan about the same as ours — those who overthrew the monarchy in the 17th year. And in a
sense, this was intended to arouse interest in its own history and the people who made the first step of the country to prosperity. And the hero of this manga — Kenshin — not drunk with the blood of the samurai, but just the opposite — the man who gave his youth to those who believed the fighters for a just cause, then making sure that his pure intentions — to help and protect the weak — turned into what he was weapon in the hands of those in power. Became hitokiri. Saw the light, the person gives an oath never to kill, and to atone for the affairs of life taken away. And to wander off, forbidding yourself to have a house, family, friends, barring a happy and loving. But the fate of experiencing (or reward it), giving it what he did not even dare to dream. And after sending a test that — who knows — he may not survive. Life or principle? Humanism, or self-preservation? Is it possible to survive and stay with a man?
And it is this manga. As a person looking for the answer — you can if you want to live after the offense? Does it have a right to happiness? For good reason in the manga he does not just completely «broke» him, he even speaks of himself in third person, without using «I'm proud» — or rather, taking advantage of, but very rarely, when it is absolutely unbearable.
I love this manga/anime, because unlike many stories like this, the main character is a total enigma when the story starts and we have to wait for the layers of the mystery to be pealed back before we can fully know him.
What I also love is that Rurouni Kenshin has a bit of everything in it: action, comedy, drama, romance and tragedy. All of these things fit seamlessly together to create a deep and very satisfying story.
The characters themselves are all well developed, even those who don't play a large part. Nobody feels one dimensional in this. These all seem like people that
you might be able to run into in real life.
The artwork is gorgeous with beautiful and fluid action scenes and gorgeous guys to titillate the senses.
Also, the historical setting is a treat for history buffs and nipponophiles.
Rurouni kenshin tells the story of a sowrdsman (not a samurai) who doesn't want to kill any more. Thel context lets you understand more about the history of japan, since the historical facts are very well explained (sometimes the problen is to difference facts and fantasy, anyway).
This manga will keep you entertained from the begining to the end, being very dynamic and quick (not "That" quick, but quick enough).
It's onl weakness are some minor characters, who sometimes don't really fit in an hitorical manga.
Finally, Rurouni Kenshin has a plausible end, not like the anime, allowing you to declare satisfied once you finish reading.
I have seen this in its anime form since 1998 (around the time of Fushigi Yuugi(which, incidentally I only have recently been able to read through to the "end" as well) and have only now just read through it...but then it finished (serialization that is, 1999) some time ago...anyway...
Okay, well if you liked the anime (which was full of non-canon/non-manga based episodes near the end), then I think you will still love the manga. Besides, the most interesting part of the story happens in the Jinchuu arc (which I had been hearing/reading about in various fanfics, but only now understand fully).
Hnn, well what hooked me
to the anime was comedy, and although it may not be as pronounced in the manga, it's definitely there...I wouldn't like reading anything too serious after all (this is the reason why I don't survive reading assignments spanning chapters *sigh*)
But overall, I find myself agreeing to Kenshin's decision to continue his life's struggle as a form of atonement. After all, it's not very productive if you were 6 feet underground...you'd only be fertilizer then :P
The ending really does leave a lot of room for fanfics...so I see why there's such a lot of them floating around.
Well, I'd love to see how Watsuki-sensei would have continued this (if he hasn't already, or is still planning to...er, someone tell me if this is the case)
Why I liked this manga? It has that balance of comedic stuff but still retains the more "serious plot", and the character conflicts are given more depth by actually having it analyzed through a single person's point of view, well belief anyway, in this case, Kenshin's. I also enjoyed watching Kenshin and Kaoru's relationship developing: from the chance encounter in the beginning blossoming into something more, built from trust and love that have withstood countless trials along the way.
This is a series set in feudal Japan centered around the infamous, merciless Hitokiri Battousai...is what it's SUPPOSED to be about, but I can't help but notice the dirty jokes and the not-so-manly Battousai (spaces out alot, kinda ditsy; if that's even possible for a "man", and falls in love with a moody teacher of young swordsman-hopefuls). If I would catagorize this series, it would be a comedic action manga. I'm sorry, but I prefer the manga over the anime for Rurouni Kenshin. NOTICE: THE OPENING SONGS FOR THIS ANIME ARE EXTREMELY CONFUSING!!! PLEASE read the manga instead. Thank you. Peace! ;D Happy drooling-over-hot-redhaired-samurai!
My absolute favorite manga so far! And it was the 2nd manga I ever read. It didn't take me more than about 1 and a half year to collect all 28 books.
- The story is outstanding! I really love it. And thus I rated it 10.
- Watsuki's drawings are among the best, and it changes from very detailed in the beginning, and ends up quite plain in the end. However, it is still the same characters and they never changed because of his style. Even if it ended up more simple than it used to be, it still looks very beautiful! I rate
his art 9.
- The characters are amazing, but mostly the main characters. They all have different background stories and special skills which makes them unique. However, some of the villains look a bit to monster, or inhuman which may appear a bit odd in a meiji tale. I rate the characters 9.
- I really enjoyed reading Ruroken, and I can say with all my heart that it deserves the title as one of the most loved manga ever. There are no loose threads as far as I know. I rate enjoyment 10.
In the end, the whole manga deserves a 10. I have recommended the manga to several people, and they have all enjoyed it, thought it was cool awesome or amazing! Don't hesitate reading Rurouni Kenshin, it is worth reading.
This manga is a masterpiece, period. Watsuki-sensei created an epic rollercoaster of emotions as the main conflicts and story arcs weave and develop. No other manga has such a cast of loyal and honorable character as Rurouni Kenshin. You feel for this characters, they are human with flaws and defects but they stand tall and rise above it to inspire you to be a better person. The Kyoto Arc is the greatest story arc in any shonen manga ever! And the arc that follows is nothing to scoff about!
It starts a little slow but that's because the author wants you to get intimate with
this characters, to REALLY know them. Their past, their motivations, attitudes, personalities, values, flaws, etc. The way he does this is by giving us some small storylines at the beginning that don't last more than a few chapters. But oh boy! Once this beast picks up steam, there's no stopping it! It goes from one awesome chapter, to the next, to the next, to the next.
If you like shonen, do yourself a favor a read this manga. Mind you, this is not your usual super power manga, this characters are flawed humans but you will innevitabily grow to love them.