Rurouni Kenshin, part 1

I keep falling behind on reviewing manga >.<; during this quarantine, I keep reading ongoing series… >_>;; so to make up for that, I’ve decided to review another one of the series that I own. it’s always faster for me to read something I can hold in my hands >.>; so, here we go!
Since I own this series, I will be reading the official English translation. I have the omnibus volumes.
“One hundred and fifty years ago in Kyoto, amid the flames of revolution, there arose a warrior, an assassin of such ferocious power he was given the title Hitokiri: Manslayer. With his bloodstained blade, the Hitokiri Battousai helped close the turbulent Bakumatsu period and end the reign of the shouguns, slashing open the way toward the progressive Meiji Era.
Then he vanished, and with the flow of years became legend.
In the eleventh year of Meiji, in the middle of Tokyo, the tale begins. Himura Kenshin, a humble rurouni, or wandering swordsman, comes to the aid of Kamiya Kaoru, a young woman who is struggling to defend her father’s school of swordsmanship against attacks by the infamous Hitokiri Battousai. However, neither Kenshin nor Battousai are quite what they seem…”
I am going to be doing shorthand as I read.  These descriptions are really more of a reminder to myself about what all I have been able to read so far.  Sorry if this bothers anyone!  I will do a full description on the final review page of each series I read.
Every post past this point will be a spoiler, so please read ahead with caution!
ch1: the first half of the chapter is in color =O mostly reds with some blues ❤ so pretty! ❤
140 years ago, Hitokiri Battousai arose on the battlefields in Kyoto and helped to end the Bakumatsu Era before vanishing into legend. now’s it’s the 11th year of the Meiji Era. Kaoru Kamiya -master of the Kamiya dojo- confronts a traveler carrying a sword, accusing him of being the Battousai. his sword is a sakabatou, meaning the sharp edge is on the inner curve of the sword; it’s not a killing sword, so he must not be Battousai. there’s a murderer running around and calling himself Battousai, and he’s using Kaoru’s dojo’s sword style, so she intends to stop him to clear her dojo’s name. the sword style, Kamiya Kasshin-Ryu, was developed by her father over the course of 10 years, but he died 6 months ago in the Seinan War. it’s a style based on katsujin-ken, swords that give life. but Battousai’s even killing police officers. the traveler saves her from death so she can fight another day -but he doesn’t think she should; she’s not strong enough to defeat this Battousai. even her friend/physician, Kihei, says she should give up, but he also wants her to give up the sword and sell the dojo. Kaoru figures out that the Battousai probably lives at the dojo in the next town, and the traveler visits there to confirm. while he defeats the criminals at that dojo, Kihei betrays Kaoru at her dojo. the Battousai’s his younger brother (Kaoru guessed correctly about their hideout), and they want this dojo for its good economic location. the traveler appears and saves the day, defeating the bad guys; he was actually the Battousai of legend, but he wants peace; he no longer kills. Kaoru invites him to stay with her, and he agrees to stop traveling for a while. his name is Kenshin Himura. other info: there’s a ban on swords in the Meiji Era; it’s illegal to carry a real one if you’re not a police officer or military member, but wooden swords are ok.
(hopefully that’s the end of the long explanations @.@; so much info @.@;; )
ch2: Kenshin doesn’t know his age; he thinks he’s 28? the local police formed a sword corp to deal with the “Battousai”, and it’s run by warriors who made names for themselves in battle; they’re tyrants. Kenshin’s been caught again for carrying a sword, and they force him to draw it by threatening Kaoru and the locals; if he draws, they can kill him in “self defense”. Kenshin defeats them but is willing to be arrested for carrying a sword if they’ll stop being brutes. a high ranking guy that Kenshin knew during the war arrives; he wants Kenshin to join the government; all the other war heroes got seats of power, but Kenshin refuses because he didn’t raise his sword for power; he did it for peace. he carries a sword still to protect those in arms reach, and that’s all he wants left in life.
ch3: a kid tries to pickpocket Kenshin. Kaoru catches him, but Kenshin freely gives up his wallet since the kid seems to need money. pride wounded, the kid throws the wallet back. his name’s Yahiko Myoujin, and he’s descended from samurai; he has their pride. he tries to leave his gang but gets beaten for it. his father died a samurai, fighting against the revolution, and his mother joined a brothel so Yahiko could eat; she died of syphilis; the gang took him in after, and they find him trying to leave as an insult. despite the beatings, Yahiko’s adament about quitting. Kenshin arrives and saves him (Idk how many yakuza groups he destroyed while trying to save Yahiko; I wish I knew xD). he declares Yahiko as Kaoru’s student so he can be strong enough to save himself someday; both are shocked
side note: I’ve read this series at least 4 times in the past, and for personal reasons, I won’t read the author’s notes along the side anymore, so there may be some info I’m missing. sorry, but this is the only way I can enjoy this series… in all honesty, the mangaka gets really depressing over time, and it makes me dislike the series >.>;;
ch4: Yahiko and Kaoru clash too much to make any progress; they’re both too stubborn and immature; they’re very similar >.>; Yahiko won’t recognize Kaoru as strong, and she keeps losing her cool from his disrespect. a couple of her old students come to the dojo for help, and she shelters them when they say they were attacked. except, they’re the ones who attacked a gang. the gang arrives for revenge with a CANNON (overkill, guys), and Kaoru gives herself up in exchange for her students. Yahiko defends her, refusing to let her die alone, and Kenshin arrives to save them both. he slices a cannon ball apart, and the gang runs off. Kenshin tells the former students to never return and to never pick up a sword again. Kaoru reminds them to see a doctor, but she’s heartbroken that her father’s sword style of life was used for harm. Kenshin comforts her, and Yahiko finally agrees to be her student, so she doesn’t lose heart
ch5: Kaoru and co get lunch at a local café, and Kenshin takes a bottle to the back of the head so Kaoru doesn’t get hit. Yahiko yells at the drunks, and it quickly escalates. when they try to attack the waitress, a guy shows up and gets them to fight him outside. he wins with just a single flick and compliments Kenshin for intentionally getting hit before by the bottle. he wants to fight Kenshin but is turned down xD he leaves after without paying his bill xD the brothers from ch 1-2 approach him later and pay him to fight Himura Battousai, and he agrees; he’s a fight merchant, after all. he goes by Zanza
ch6: Kenshin’s 28, Kaoru’s 17, Yahiko’s 10, “Zanza” (actually named Sanosuke Sagara) is 19, and the bad brothers are 37 and 45 according to the chapter art. Sanosuke spends 2 weeks researching Kenshin; he researches all his fights before he goes in (which’s really smart =O shows he’s not just a hot headed fight maniac). he finds out that Kenshin was only active as the Hitokiri Battousai for 5 years, spending the 2nd half of his career as a protector against the Shinsengumi. his final battle was at Toba Fushimi, and after, he became a rurouni/traveler. despite knowing all that, Sanosuke couldn’t think of a battle strategy, so he challenges Kenshin honorably. the bad brothers (Hiruma bros) intend to jump in at the end of the fight and shoot Kenshin to assure victory, but they’re found out and the gun destroyed. on the way to the fight area, Yahiko reveals that he’s not bothered by Kenshin’s past. other info: Sanosuke says he believes everyone who fought for the revolution -meaning Kenshin- is a hypocrite; he hates them all. he’s also called Zanza because he wields a zanbatou -a giant katana without a sharp edge, meant to cut down an opponent on a horse; it’s so heavy it can’t be used to it’s potential usually. also, Sanosuke’s formidable because he can take a hit
ch7: Sanosuke’s temporarily brought down, but he remembers why he wears the mark of evil on his back. as a kid, he was part of the Sekihou army, a group of mostly merchants and farmers who fought for the revolution. they were promised lower taxes should the revolution go through, but with victory on the horizon, the new government went back on their word. they named the Sekihou army as traitorous liars and killed their captain as a scapegoat to their own lies. Sanosuke looked up to Captain Souzou Sagara to the point of wanting to 1 day have the same name (most farmers didn’t even have family names, and neither did Sanosuke). he’s never forgiven the revolutionary government for what they’ve done. rage re-awakened, Sanosuke stands up to keep fighting, but the older brother pulls a gun and shoots Kenshin. he blocks. he points a gun at Kaoru and Yahiko, but Sanosuke takes down the younger brother while Kenshin repels the older brother. with them taken care of, Sanosuke challenges Kenshin to continue fighting, and Kenshin flips his blade and accepts the challenge.
ch8: despite taking several hits, Sanosuke won’t fall. Kenshin gives him a good talking to which reminds Sanosuke what he used to fight for: a world of peace and equality; the war may’ve ended, but that doesn’t mean that goal has been achieved. Kenshin continues to fight as a rurouni. Sanosuke allows himself to fall. he’s so injured, it’s predicted that it’ll take 3 months to recover. instead, he’s back at the cafe the next day, still strong enough to take out the drunks from before -but a few punches from Kenshin and co almost level him. he intends to stick around Kenshin to see/test his sincerity. his zanbatou’s broken, and he’s given up being a fight merchant, so now he’s just Sanosuke, not Zanza. he also left the café without paying his bill again xD
ch9: apparently Sanosuke can cook, and Kaoru cannot xD the police chief comes to ask Kenshin to protect a local government guy from an assassin who’s been killing for 10 years. the assassin enjoys sending a warning letter -to get a big defense force- and then slaughtering as many as possible. he’s killed 10+ actual targets in 10 years and 90 police and others in his last attack alone. Kenshin agrees in order to spare some lives and maybe save this serial killer’s heart. Sanosuke joins in because he’s still a fight enthusiast xD the politician brags about surviving the last war, but that’s because Kenshin was his guard during his most famous battle -and Sanosuke’s beating all his “elite guard” in the past. Kenshin reverses his prideful boasting and has him humbly accept the police’s help/protection. at 1am, the outside policemen are killed, and the killer -Kurogasa- gets inside
ch10: the politician, Tani-san, promises x5 pay and an officer’s job to whoever kills the assassin, sending his 15 guards to attack. the assassin can use shin no ippou to paralyze opponents with a glance. Sanosuke gets caught in it, but Kenshin was behind him and is spared. they exchange blows, but Kenshin’s parried. Kurogasa uses the technique again, but Kenshin breaks out with his will. he identifies Kurogasa as Udou Jin-e, a hitokiri for hire during the Bakumatsu. he remembers stories of Kenshin, as well. Sanosuke breaks out of the technique and saves Tani-san, and Kenshin becomes the new target of Jin-e. Jin-e escapes; Kenshin’s troubled because he meant to stop him but was unable to
ch11: Jin-e originally fought for the Shinsengumi, but after killing people he wasn’t supposed to, he switched sides and fought for the patriots. Kenshin’s not sure he can beat him since Jin-e’s continued to fight for the past 10 years while Kenshin hasn’t. he asks Sanosuke to watch over the dojo for him; he won’t be back until he defeats Jin-e. when Sanosuke tells Kaoru, she goes after Kenshin because she’s worried he won’t come back after the fight. hitokiri used to stay near rivers for quick escape routes; Kenshin waits there for Jin-e but Kaoru finds him instead. she gives him her favorite ribbon so he’ll have to come back to return it. Jin-e kidnaps her (super shocking! very well done!) via the speedy river and tells Kenshin to become his old self if he wants to save her
ch12: they’re to meet at midnight at a shrine in the woods. when Kenshin arrives, Kaoru realizes he’s not the same Kenshin she knows; he’s like the old Battousai. Kenshin does well, but Jin-e could still beat him easily, so he ups the pressure by using the eye technique on Kaoru with enough force to freeze her lungs. she’ll be dead in 2 minutes if Kenshin doesn’t really get serious. it’s enough to fully enrage Kenshin. he breaks Jin-e’s nose in an instant and has the intent to kill him now
ch13: Jin-e uses the shin no ippou on himself to convince his mind that he’s invincible. Kenshin still has every intention of killing him. Kaoru can only be saved by his death or her own will. in a trade of blows, Kenshin breaks Jin-e’s elbow and severs the ligaments in his arm, ending his career as a swordsman, and now, he’ll take his life.
side note: according to Kenshin, one earns the title Battousai when one masters the battoujutsu
that’s all I have time to read this time. to keep reading along with me, then please click here to get to part 2! until next time!

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