Himura Kenshin

Himura Kenshin

] Watsuki based most of Kenshin's abilities on a real swordsman of the Tokugawa period named Matsubayashi Henyasai, who was skilled in acrobatic techniques. [, which simultaneously deals nine strikes to the fundamental targets of swordsmanship, making guarding and dodging virtually impossible. The "Kuzu-ryūsen", however, is a byproduct used for the initiation in learning ] In addition, if the initial strike is avoided or blocked, the force of the unusually fast slashing motion displaces the air around it, generating a vacuum in its wake and sucking the opponent in; as this happens, the body is spun around for a second strike, with the previous action adding force and momentum to the swing, making the subsequent strike far stronger.cite book |year=2005|title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 17 |last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro|publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 143|isbn= 1-59116-876-7 ] Since the "Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryū" is only suitable to a wide-framed muscular build like that of Seijūrō's, Kenshin's body deteriorates and he is unable to use it ever again by the end of the manga.

Plot overview

After finishing his job as the murderer "Hitokiri Battōsai" in the Ishin Shishi, Kenshin assumes the life of a wanderer. Ten years after the Revolution, he arrives in Tokyo where he meets Kaoru, who offers him to stay in her dojo despite her knowledge that Kenshin is the "Battōsai".cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 1 |year=2003|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 1|isbn= 1-59116-220-3 ] Numerous events transpire from that point, and Kenshin establishes lifelong relationships with many people, including ex-enemies. When Shishio Makoto, the brutal once-successor to Kenshin's position as Chōshū's "hitokiri", and masterminded a movement seeking to overthrow the Meiji Government, Kenshin leaves Tokyo to stop him. To defeat such foe, Kenshin is forced to resume his training and mend his relationship with his teacher Hiko Seijūrō, who took care of him when he lost his partners but Kenshin decide to stop the training to protect the people from Japan.cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 12 |last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |year=2005|publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 95|isbn= 1-59116-712-4 ] After finishing his training, all Kenshin's friends reunite with him and help him to defeat Shishio and his army. Months later, a man known as Yukishiro Enishi starts attacking all people that Kenshin meets as an act of revenge for the death of his sister Tomoe. At this moment it is discovered that Kenshin was married with Tomoe in the Bakumatsu but he accidentally killed her when a group of assasains captured Tomoe and Kenshin tried to rescue her. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 21 |year=2005|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 178|page= pp. 20-23|isbn= 1-4215-0082-5 ] As Enishi finds out about Kenshin's feelings towards Kaoru, he sets out to kidnap her, doing so and leaving a professionally made decoy of Kaoru with a sword in her heart, making everyone believe that she had been murdered. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 24 |year= 2006|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 211|isbn= 1-4215-0338-7 ] Kenshin falls into severe depression and runs off to a village of wanderers to mourn. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 24 |year= 2006|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 208|page=pp. 32-33|isbn= 1-4215-0338-7 ] However, he breaks out of his depression and after his friends discover Kaoru is alive, the group goes to rescue her on Enishi's island. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 26 |year= 2006|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 236|page=pp. 167-168|isbn= 1-4215-0673-4 ] A battle between Kenshin and Enishi follows and when Kenshin wins, he and Kaoru return home. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 28 |year= 2006|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 250|isbn= 1-4215-0675-0 ] Five years later, Kenshin is married to Kaoru and has a son named Kenji. After an encounter with Yahiko, Kenshin gives his "sakabatō" to him as a gift for his coming-of-age. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 28 |year=2006|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Chapter 255|isbn= 1-4215-0675-0 ]

Appearances in other media

Kenshin first appears in two chapters of "Rurouni, Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story", the pilot chapters of the manga, in which he arrives in Tokyo and defeats several groups of villains attacking families. In these stories, Kenshin is given a similar personality to the one he has in the series but his name is unmentioned. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 3 |year= 2004|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Rurouni: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (2)|isbn=1-59116-356-0 ] Later, in the movie "Samurai X The Motion Picture", Kenshin meets a samurai named Takimi Shigure, who tries to overthrow the Meiji Government and avenge the deaths of his family during the Bakumatsu. Kenshin encounters Shigure and defeats him in order to avoid the start of a war. [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=217|title=Samurai X: The Motion Picture|publisher=Anime News Network|accessdate=2008-02-06]

In the OVAs, Kenshin is given a more humanized design and a different personality. There are also numerous changes to his life story compared to that of the manga, including the way he received his X-shaped scar in '. [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=210|title=Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal (OAV)|publisher=Anime News Network|accessdate=2008-02-04] In ', as time passes, Kenshin becomes tortured anew by the guilt of leading a happy life after such a destructive past. He makes the decision to wander again, and Kaoru strongly supports him, promising to welcome him home with a smile and their child. Kenshin eventually becomes ravaged by an unknown disease. However, he decides to assist in the First Sino-Japanese War as he had promised the Meiji Government. After the war's end, Sanosuke discovers a gravely injured Kenshin on the shore, and arranges for Kenshin's return to Tokyo and Kaoru. The two finally meet, and Kenshin collapses into her arms as he clutches her to him. Kaoru then notices Kenshin's scar has faded away, signifying his death. [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=310|title=Samurai X: Reflection (OAV)|publisher=Anime News Network|accessdate=2008-02-04] Nobuhiro Watsuki, after watching the last OVA, was quite unhappy with how his story ended, saying that "Kenshin went through so much crap and deserved a happy ending."

Kenshin is a playable character in all of the "Rurouni Kenshin" video games, [cite web|url=http://www.banpresto-game.com/rurouni/main.html|title=Rurouni Kenshin: Enjou! Kyoto Rinne official website|publisher=Banpresto|accessdate=2008-02-06] including "Jump Super Stars" [cite web|url=http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/ajsj/p3.html#|title=Jump Super Stars official website|publisher=Nintendo|accessdate=2008-02-06] and "Jump Ultimate Stars". [cite web|url=http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/ajuj/character/chara_38.html|title=Jump Ultimate Stars official website|publisher=Nintendo|accessdate=2008-02-06]

Tokiko Tsumura, one of the main characters of "Buso Renkin", another series created by Watsuki, is based on the design of Kenshin as a "hitokiri". Watsuki commented that Tokiko is the female version of the "Hitokiri Battōsai" when he drew her face. [cite book |title= Buso Renkin, Volume 1 |last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro |publisher= Viz Media |year=2006|page= p. 108|chapter=Character case No. 4|isbn= 1-4215-0615-7 ]


Kenshin has been highly popular with the "Rurouni Kenshin" reader base, having ranked first in every "Shonen Jump" popularity poll of the series, always with more than double the votes of second place. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 14|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro|publisher= Viz Media |year=2005|chapter=Chapter 113|page=p. 28|isbn= 1-59116-767-1 ] Watsuki received letters from fans describing Megumi Ogata's audio theatre voice as a "good fit" for Kenshin. Watsuki said that he imagined Kenshin's voice to be "more neutral." [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 2|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro|publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Free Talk|page=p. 77|isbn= 1-59116-249-1 ] A plethora of merchandise have been released in Kenshin's likeness including keychains,cite web |url=http://www.amazon.com/Rurouni-Kenshin-Karou-Sanosuke-Group/dp/B000MQRV8G/ |title=Rurouni Kenshin, Karou, Sanosuke Group Key Chain |publisher=Amazon.com |accessdate=2008-01-28] action figures,cite web |url=http://www.amazon.com/Rurouni-Kenshin-Story-Image-Figure/dp/B0009NVBUG/ |title=Rurouni Kenshin Story Image Figure! - Himura Kenshin|publisher=Amazon.com |accessdate=2008-01-28] and plush dolls.cite web |url=http://www.amazon.com/Rurouni-Kenshin-Battousai-Ver-Plush/dp/B000N22HKQ/ |title=Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin Battousai Ver. 8" Plush |publisher=Amazon.com |accessdate=2008-01-28] Since the manga was published, non-functional [cite web |url=http://japanimation.com/index.php?url=Inventory_GeneralsDetail.jsp?arg=dt%253DInventory_Generals%2526mid%253D9855682130%2526usr%253D%2526cid%253D%2526id%253D7996%2526typ%253Dcl%2526aff%253D |title=Reverse Blade Rurouni Sword |publisher=Japanimation |accessdate=2008-02-13] and functional [cite web |url=http://www.trueswords.com/deluxe-reverse-blade-sword-rurouni-kenshin-sakabato-p-3098.html |title=Deluxe Reverse Blade Sword - Rurouni Kenshin Sakabato |publisher=True Swords |accessdate=2008-03-04] "sakabatō" have been produced for purchase by collectors and fans.

Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other media have provided praise and criticism on the character. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews criticized that the fact that Kenshin looks super deformed in comedy scenes is not suited for the context of the character and the series. [cite web |url=http://www.themanime.org/viewreview.php?id=387 |title= Rurouni Kenshin manga review |accessdate= 2008-01-25 | work= T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews | first=Carlos |last= Ross ] AnimeOnDVD.com remarks that Kenshin has a "smartass" attitude in a review of volume 8; while they noted that is a common attitude in the anime that makes him look out-of-character. [cite web|first=Megan |last=Laveyurl |url=http://www.animeondvd.com/reviews2/manga/manga.php?manga_view=602 |title= Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #08 of 28 |accessdate= 2008-02-11 |publisher= AnimeOnDVD.com ] Anime News Network praises Kenshin for being a character that all people enjoy to watch due to his comedy scenes.cite web |url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/rurouni-kenshin-ova-series-2-part-1 |title= Ruroni Kenshin second OAV series Seisouhen, part 1 |date= 2002-01-22 |accessdate= 2008-01-25 | publisher= Anime News Network | first=Mike |last= Crandol ] SciFi.com remarked "Kenshin's schizoid personal conflict between his ruthless-killer side and his country- bumpkin" as a perfect way to develop good stories. [cite web |url=http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue181/anime.html|title=Rurouni Kenshin TV The first steps down a very popular road|author=Robinson, Tasha|publisher=SciFi.com |accessdate= 2008-05-01]

The development of Kenshin in the OVA series has had negative reviews by many publications. Anime News Network also adds that in "Samurai X: Reflection" he continues to be his old mopey self and criticizes that he never says "oro," while IGN cited that some moments of the relationship between Kenshin and Kaoru were depressing.cite web|url=http://dvd.ign.com/articles/505/505495p1.html|title= Samurai X|date= 2004-04-09|accessdate= 2008-02-06| publisher= IGN |first= Efrain|last= Diaz Jr] However, some reviewers noted Kenshin's personality in the OVAs to be one of the most complex to ever be animated remarking the fact that he can not forget his bloody past, although having a peaceful life. [cite web|url=http://www.themanime.org/viewreview.php?id=736|title= Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection review|accessdate= 2008-02-06| work= T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews |first= Robert|last= Nelson]

A large number of video game characters were based on the character of Kenshin such as Keiichiro Washizuka from "The Last Blade" [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 17 |year=2005|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro|publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Free Talk|isbn= 1-59116-876-7 ] and Shizumaru Hisame from the "Samurai Shodown" series. [cite book |title= Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 8 |year=2004|last= Watsuki |first= Nobuhiro|publisher= Viz Media |chapter=Free Talk|isbn= 1-59116-563-6 ] Kenshin's personality was also planned to be used in the character Kakashi Hatake from "Naruto", but the idea was deemed as a failure. [cite book |last=Kishimoto|first=Masashi|title=Naruto, Volume 1|year=2003 |publisher=Viz Media|chapter=Failed Chapter 2|isbn=1-56931-900-6] In an interview with Mayo Suzukaze, who is the "seiyū" for the character, she says that she started feeling similar to Kenshin after years of work as his voice, and comments that providing the voice for the character was one of her best experiences. [cite video | people=Suzukaze, Mayo|year=2002|title=Rurouni Kenshin Seisouhen 2| medium=DVD|publisher=Sony]


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