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Rurouni Kenshin Manga
~ Meiji Kenkaku Romantan ~



A genius artwork of Nobuhiro Watsuki-sensei, most Japanese have read this manga or at least knew it. The total is 225 chapters, which are being collected in 28 tankoubon (comic series). In my personal account, Rurouni Kenshin is THE BEST SHONEN MANGA OF THIS CENTURY! I have red so many shonen manga but none is more attractive than this. It has a very moving story (e.g. the story of Kenshin's past with Tomoe) and, of course, a lot of swordsfight ^_~. Just in case you didn't know, Rurouni Kenshin had already been translated in many many languages. If you haven't red it yet then shut down your computer now, and quickly go to the nearest bookstore and BUY IT !!!

Tokyo Hen (Tankoubon 1 - 7)
It is the beginning of Kenshin's romance. It happens when Kenshin who was a rurouni (wanderer) walked down the street in Tokyo with his sakabatou (reversed blade), then suddenly a kendoka girl accused him as Hitokiri Battousai (well it's true anyway). The girl is none other than Kamiya Kaoru who mastered the Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu. Somehow (just to shorten the story ^_^) Kenshin saved her and the name of her dojo from a man who confessed as Hitokiri Battosai and tried to seize the land of Kamiya Kasshin Dojo. Though Kaoru knew that Kenshin is the real Hitokiri Battousai, she still wanted him to stay in her dojo, and Kenshin who had become a gentle man, accepted her request. Few days later, Kenshin saved a stubborn (but tough) boy namely Myoujin Yahiko, from a gang of yakuza who forced Yahiko to become a thief. Since then Yahiko becomes the first one and only student of Kaoru, but because they both were the same at guts, they often brawl meanwhile Kenshin is busy to calm them down.

One of those days, a tall, thin but strong man meets Kenshin in such a coincidence and challenged him for a fight. Guess who is he? Sou, it's Sagara Sanosuke! He carried a huge sword, Zanbatou, so there he got his nickname, Zanza (but since Kenshin cut it into two, he didn't use that name again). The fight is unavoidable as Sano found out the true identity of Kenshin as a hitokiri, he has a deep grudge to everyone who'd helped the Meiji Restoration, because the Meiji government accused his leader of Sekihoutai (a band of revolting peasants who opposed the Bakufu), Sagara Souzou (kawai hito ne!!) as a deceiver. But again, Kenshin defeated and convinced him that he's not the same man in the Bakumatsu, and his leader died in honor for Sekihoutai. Adds one more comrade in Kenshin's group, Sano decided that he'll keep an eye on Kenshin so he shall not go off wandering again without his permission. Another day, Kenshin and Sano met a girl named Takani Megumi who then accidentally led them to the Oniwabanshuu. The leader, Shinomori Aoshi (the bishounen), somehow survived and swore that no one could kill Kenshin but him. Megumi paid an attention to Kenshin as Kaoru does, then here comes the girlsfight, but of course in the end there'll be only one winner, Kaoru (what a lucky girl).

Everything was in peace until a slit-eye guy, Fujita Gorou, came to the dojo and looking for Kenshin, but he met Sano instead. Sano later fought with him and lose bloody wounded. Kenshin somehow found out that Gorou is one of the surviving members of Shinsengumi, the Miburo namely Saitou Hajime. The former mission of Saitou was only to test Kenshin's skill but it grows badly to a real fight-til-die. Thank God, Okubo Toshimichi came to stop the fight and explained Kenshin the real mission (Okubo is a real man in history, so did Saitou and Souzou). Okubo asked Kenshin to eliminate the ex-hitokiri named Shishio Makoto who's trying to handover Japan on his own hand. It's not that simple for Kenshin to decide whether he will go to Kyoto or not, but after the murder of Okubo, he decided that he couldn't stay idle watching Shishio and his Juupon Gatana ruin the peace of Japan. So then he leaves to Kyoto, alone.

Kyoto Hen (Tankoubon 8 - 18)
On the way, Kenshin accidentally met Makimachi Misao who was a member of Oniwabanshuu of Kyoto. Knowing that Kenshin ever met Aoshi before, Misao decided to follow him so then they head to Kyoto together, although Kenshin hardly refused but Misao is a real tough girl ^_^. Meanwhile in Tokyo, Kenshin's comrades just couldn't take it easily so then they; Sano, Yahiko and Kaoru, went to Kyoto. On the way to Kyoto, Kenshin and Saitou was involved in affair of a missing village, Shingetsu. Somehow, Kenshin met Shishio but Shishio refused to fight. Instead, he commanded his loyal man, Soujiro Seta, to replace him. Soujiro is a prodigy swordsman, he broke Kenshin's sakabatou in that battle. To get the new one Kenshin looked for the swordsmith, Arai Shakku, but unfortunetly Shakku's already been dead. The only hope was his son, Arai Seiku. Poor Kenshin, Seiku had already vowed no to make any swords again. So the gentle and light-hearted Kenshin decided to find another swordsmith, but Misao still insisted that Kenshin should force Seiku to make him a new sakabatou. Next day, Kenshin was involved in a fight with one swordsman of Juupon Gatana, Chou "The Swords Hunter" to save Arai Seikku's son, Iori (what a sweet baby). After defeating Chou, Kenshin gets the true Sakabatou and decided to learn the Ougi of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu from his very cool master, Hiko Seijuurou (I really really love
this guy ^_~). After a very long journey and bloody battles, finally Kenshin, Sano and Saitou defeated the Juupon Gatana and Shishio (Man, I really cannot write the details since it was too elaborate, sorry -_-). So Japan now can live in peace, Thanks to Kenshin ^_^x ORO?!

Tsuioku - Jinchuu Hen (Tankuobon 19 - 28)
Probably the best part of the manga, but that's my personal opinion anyway. In this episode, Kenshin have to face his painful memories, when a man named Yukishiro Enishi wanted to avenge his sister's death, who was none other than Kenshin's former wife, Yukishiro Tomoe (Nani? WIFE?!). This affair involves Kaoru's feeling deeply, to prove her love for Kenshin. In the battle Enishi displayed Kaoru's death body (which is actually a rag doll), Kenshin was broken into pieces as he saw it. He was then gone to a slump, Rakunninmura, leaving all of his loyal friends. However, Aoshi found out that Kaoru's body is just a doll, then after succeeded convincing Kenshin, they went to an island off-shore Tokyo bay where Enishi locked up Kaoru. As the battle's heating up, one of Enishi's men tried to kill Kenshin, but Kaoru protected him. Enishi was shocked to see it since it was exactly like what his latesister had done to save Kenshin. Then Enishi decided not to continue the fight, and after receiving Tomoe's diary from Misao, he strangely vanished. (If you want to know further about what happened between Kenshin and Tomoe, I suggest you to read my OVA review.)

Kenshin and Kaoru then went to Tomoe's grave and prayed, later on the return back to Tokyo and start a "new life" as husband and wife ^_~. Kenshin and Kaoru had a real cute baby named Himura Kenji, as a son of two great kenkaku, of course he inherented his parents' swordskill. Too bad there's no further story about Kenji, though Watsuki-sensei had already imagined that Kenji will fight to have back Kenshin's sakabatou and the legacy of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu, with Myoujin Shin'ya, the son of Yahiko and Tsubame. I guess Kenji will grow as an excellent swordsman (just like his father, Kenshin) but tempered like his mother, Kaoru ^_^. Fortunately, there's a short story about Kenji in the RK OVA #2: Sheishouhen when Kenji run from his home and went to Hiko's place to learn Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu but Yahiko came to take him back. Then they had a battle, Kenji lose and Yahiko gave him the Sakabatou as genbuku's present, the same as what Kenshin did to Yahiko before.

Except the 225 chapters, there are 2 other additions i.e. Sakura in The Spring, tells a story about Kenshin reunion with his old comrades in the year of 15, Meiji era. And the other one is Yahiko's Sakabatou, a story of the grown-up Yahiko who wields his Sakabatou from Kenshin under the principle of "Sword which Protects the Life" Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu. There are also some another Watsuki's former opus, i.e. Sengoku no Mikazuki (Hiko Seijuuro's story) in Tankoubon 6, Kamiya Kaoru's Family Story in Tankoubon 3, and Raikoji Chitsuru's Story in Tankoubon 1.


Acknowledgments:

  1. PT Elex Media Komputindo, as the legal publisher of Rurouni Kenshin.
  2. Watsuki-sensei for creating an excellent manga. Banzai Watsuki-sensei!
  3. Chibi Watsuki-san and his Rurouni Kenshin's Website where you can find anything you want to know about Kenshin.
  4. My best pal, Tammy-chan, who always ready to accompany me at the bookstore. Good bless you!


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