The Rurouni Kenshin Anime Review

                          Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin, also known as Samurai X in its English-dubbed version, became one of the most popular Anime series. It was derived from the Manga (a term for the Japanese comic book) that was published in 1992 by Shueisha in Japan. Although the TV series started around 10 years ago, this Anime is still a popular title up to the time this article was written, and probably will still be popular for some years to come. There are a lot of reason why this anime is so popular but the main reason is that it is somewhat different from most of the Anime series that came out. Like any other popular Anime series, it has a hero with an interesting character, has an exciting plot, a mix of comedy, drama, and awesome fighting action. But what separates this Anime from the others is that its fiction lies behind a factual history. The setting and the events in the background do exist and can be found in the records of Japanese history.

The whole story found in the 95 episodes of the TV series happened in the 19th century Japan in a period known as the Meiji Era, in its early years. The hero, a wanderer named Kenshin Himura, was once an skillful assassin for the Choshou clan (one of the oppositions to the Tokugawa government) and fought during the Bakumatsu war. After the war, he decided to change his ways and swore not to kill. During his journey, he met Kaoru Kamiya, a young girl who lived in his late father's dojo found in Tokyo, where they met their friends. That includes Sanosuke, an ex-gangster who was hired by a revenge-seeking menace to kill Kenshin. After their fight, Sanosuke also decided to join Kenshin's friendly gang.

Also there's Yahiko, a young thief adopted by Kaoru, and other interesting characters. Most of their villains were also warriors who can't let go of the old ways. Some of them are Aoshi Shinomori, who was once the leader of Oniwa Banshu (an elite group of ninjas back in the Edo Period), and Shishio Makoto, who was also an assassin during the war. The series can be divided into three parts. First is the Tokyo Arc, which is the sum of Kenshin's adventures that happened in Tokyo. Next is the Kyoto Arc, the one I consider (and I believe most Rurouni Kenshin fans would agree) as the main part of the whole series. Here, Kenshin and his friends travels to Kyoto to stop a terrorist group, lead by a former assassin, Shishio Makoto, from its evil plans to destroy the government. Following the Kyoto Arc are the final episodes where Kenshin and his friends continues their adventure. This TV series was aired on Cartoon Network and Animax.

On December of 1997, A Rurouni Kenshin Movie was released in Japan. It was entitled "Ishin Shishi no Requiem" (entitled Samurai X: The Motion Picture in the English-dubbed version). Here, Kenshin and his friends travels to Yokohama where they are caught between an attempt for a civil war against the Meiji Government. Two years after it's release, the first Rurouni Kenshin OAV (Original Animated Video) was released, entitled Tsuioku Hen (Samurai X: Remembrance). This OAV is an awesome 4-episode special for Rurouni Kenshin that shows the life of Kenshin as Hitokiri Battousai, or the assassin that he used to be. In several aspects, this OAV is very different from the TV series and the movie.

The graphics and animation is higher in quality and more life-like, the fight scenes are truly spectacular, and the story, dialogs, and everything is a lot more emotional. Most of the characters that appeared in the TV series weren't present and in the story, Kenshin had a wife named Tomoe Yukishiro. While this OAV supposedly happened before the TV series, the second OAV, entitled Seisou Hen (Samura X: Reflection) is set after the story in the TV series. This time, Kenshin was already married to Kaoru and they had a son named Kenji who is also learning his father's technique from the master, Seijuro Hiko. The main villain in the story (who also appeared in the first OAV) is Enishi Yukishiro, Tomoe's little brother. Seisou Hen was released in Japan on December, 2001.

Rurouni Kenshin is truly a work of art. No wonder why a lot of people considered this Anime as their favorite. For the past years that Rurouni Kenshin reached the peak of its popularity, a lot of websites that are dedicated to this Anime series had emerged. Some of them features episode guides, character profiles, and other information about the Rurouni Kenshin Anime and Manga.

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