If you haven’t seen this series, you have done yourself a disservice. While I prefer the Media Blasters version, using the Japanese name Rurouni Kenshin, this version works as well. Sony had tried to release a movie spin-off under the name Samurai X, and that’s how you’ll see this appear over at Hulu.com and Crackle.com. (Crackle is Sony’s video site, after all.) Some of you may prefer the original Japanese cast, perhaps dubbed. However you see it, see it. It’s a good show as you’ll see with Episode #1.
Rurouni Kenshin is the tale of Kenshin Himura, a former soldier and now a “wandering samurai”. Once known as “Battousai the manslayer” (or “slasher” in this version), Kenshin now seeks to put his past behind him. As the series progresses, Kenshin and “Ms. Kaoru” makes new friends and attempt to find their way in the new world of the “Meiji” era of Japan. However, they will also come across those who would make this new era a corrupt one and those who prefer the old ways for their own reasons.
The Meiji period lasted from 1862 to 1912 AD by the Western calendar. (Or “CE, if you prefer and I’m too old to change so deal with it.) “Meiji” translates to “enlightened rule” and was meant to signify the end of the reign of the Shogun in favor of a governmental body. Many of the changes are still apart of today’s Japan.
The thing I find most interesting is Kenshin’s “sakabato” or reverse-edged sword. I’m not sure how a Japanese blade works with the slashing edge on the back. If you’re going to use the sword as a blunt object anyway, what’s the difference? Although it does allow Kenshin to slash things when he needs to and on one occasion unleash his “Battousai” side against an old enemy from the war. However, while replicas have been made, Wikipedia (question the source) says that this sword never existed prior, which shows how popular the manga and anime were to create a whole new weapon. How usable it is to wield in battle, however, I couldn’t say.
Also fictional is Kenshin’s fighting style, the “Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū lit. ‘Flying Heaven Honorable Sword Style’)”, although I can’t find out if Kaoru’s “Kamiya Kasshin-ryū” is an actual sword technique or not. Then again, since her father was supposed to have created the style, I’m pretty sure that it isn’t real.
I was first introduced to this series via the Cartoon Network, and it became one of my favorite shows almost immediately. The seamless union of action and humor is something I would like to get into my own works. I love the characters and the adventures they get into. Give this series a chance, in whichever dub you can find it in, and you’ll find a great series.