- Episodes :94
- Genre :Adventure, Samurai, Historical
- Airing Date : Jan. 1996 – Sep. 1998
- Producers :Studio Gallop, Studio Deen
Kenshin Himura Preview (No Spoilers)
Rurouni Kenshin follows the adventures and relationships of Himura Kenshin during the Meiji Era in Japan. Despite having played a major role in the revolution, he was quick to disappear into obscurity the moment things had ended. Now, we meet him as a wanderer carrying a reverse blade in order to help maintain the peace of the new era without spilling blood. Though he believes the new government still needs to go through some reforms, he strongly believes that it has the potential to truly protect the weak. Thus, his willingness to protect it from those who wish to disrupt its course.
One important question, as his enemies continuously grow stronger, is whether or not he’ll be able to hold onto his new ideals while needing to protect the future peace of Japan.
Kenshin Himura Bio
Seiyuu Name: Himura Kenshin
Himura Kenshin is a rather frail-looking and small samurai with long red hair tied into a ponytail, purple eyes, and a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek. Though drawn in an effeminate manner by Nobuhiro Watsuki, Kenshin’s eyes still follow the sharper design more associated with male figures in the anime world, especially when he’s serious. This is done to great effect as his eyes, outside of his cross-shaped scar and long red hair, are one of his most defining qualities.
He dresses in rather plain clothes: a burgundy men’s kimono, a white umanori hakama zori, and a white tabi. His weapon of choice during the new Meiji era, even though swords are not allowed, is a reverse blade (sakabato). He uses this weapon specifically so that he may never take another life.
Despite his rather youthful appearance, he is 28 years old, which also means that he was only 18 when fighting in the war. He was known as Hitokiri Battosai during the revolution. He fought for the Imperialist side, hoping to bring in an era that protected the weak, while using the famed Hiten Mitsurugi style. One of his most noticeable catchphrases is his surprised/confused reaction of “Oro!?”
Kenshin Himura Highlights
1. The Past of a Hitokiri
Just look at those eyes. Kenshin Himura was one of the most feared samurai during the Meiji Revolution. He had earned the monikers of battosai and hitokiri (manslayer) for his unmatchable speed once settled into his battojutsu stance and the amount of lives he stole during the revolution. Granting him such prestige was his lightning speed (a trademark of the Hiten Mitsurugi style that he practiced), incredible acrobatics and a coldness that detached him from working with anyone else and sent chills down the spine of any opponent. His skill was a leading force for the side of the Imperialists as he was one of the few able to hold his ground against the force of the Shinsengumi.
However, he did not come unscathed from his work as an assassin. His main reason for joining the revolution in the first place was to create an idealistic world where the weak wouldn’t have to live under the strong-arming nature of the Shogunate. In fact, he initially did not finish his Hiten Mitsurugi training under Seijuro Hiko, thinking that it was a waste to learn if he could not use it to enact change. Nonetheless, the countless people he had to slaughter shattered his ideals and numbed his senses. It went so far that sake began to taste like blood.
His disdain for killing reached its peak after falling in love with Tomoe, and he hoped to escape from the hellish war that he had molded. Once more his hopes were dashed and he received the second line of his telltale scar when he accidentally killed Tomoe. It’s for this reason that he left the assassination work, which sadly led to the rise of his ultimate rival, Shishio. By all means, the man is a legend, and he is one whose name alone can strike fear in weak opponents and heightened anticipation for the strong.
2. Reverse Blade
Kenshin Himura’s reverse blade is the symbol of his sorrow and his wish to repent. His unwillingness to kill and simply protect has led him down a path of humility. It’s this personality that defines Kenshin in the series as well as gives way to several of his more characteristic reactions and saying. For example, his lovable use of the word “Oro” whenever he’s confused or caught off guard. Then there’s his constant use of honorifics like “dono“, and the way he tends to end sentences with a kind-hearted “that it is.”
These personality traits along with the sight of a reverse blade is enough to make others question if he could even be the famed battosai. Considering his wish to remain in obscurity, such as the time he lies to Kaoru about who he is, the reverse blade is and allows him to remain in relative obscurity. This desire of his to remain hidden is only furthered by the fact that Kenshin always refers to himself as a simple wanderer.
Though in real life, the way he smacks people around with his reverse blade is questionably fatal, it simply acts as a means to incapacitate enemies rather than kill in the show. He continues to use the reverse blade despite its relative difficulty in handling when compared to a regular blade. Most powerful opponents criticize his use of the reverse as it’s a sign of a weak mental state, and Jine even mentions how the reverse blade slows down his battojutsu.
3. Call to Duty
Though he resigned from his position as an assassin, he still acted as a vanguard for the Imperial troops, protecting them from such combatants as the Shinsengumi. In this role, he was able to shed as little blood as possible while continuing the progression of the Imperial forces. Considering how disillusioned he became with the war, the fact that he still maintained some role demonstrates just how firmly he believed in finishing what he started.
Then when it comes down to the Kyoto arc, he willingly abandons those closest to him in order to properly take on Shishio and his subordinates. Kenshin intimately understands that it was his own personal choice that allowed Shishio to rise to such power, and that many of the negative consequences of the war are on his shoulders. Thus, he understands that it is his responsibility to make reparations and allow the current government to continue its democratic reforms. It is an extremely hard choice for him to make as his friends have offered him a chance of happiness that he never thought possible, and he has personal fears that might have to resort to killing when fighting against this new threat. However, he’s not about to allow more chaos to enter into the world.
4. Willing to Forgive
As a man who has taken countless lives, Kenshin knows well the depths of guilt, and he also knows the path to redemption. He understands that there is always beauty, possibility, and sanctity in life. It is through this thought process that he believes that even when you have done something wrong, you can only true make up for it through the actions you perform while alive. Thus, he’s always able to forgive others and generally will aid those who are willing to reform.
Throughout the entire series, we watch as Kenshin consistently advises others to turn their backs on their current actions and pursue a different lifestyle. He truly hopes for others to take a path of redemption and is constantly willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt if they say they’ll reform. Not only this but he acts as a major catalyst in several characters’ reformations, including Sanosuke (thug to respectable ally), Megumi (opium maker to doctor), Aoshi (mercenary to proper ninja leader), and Soujiro (mentally unstable subordinate to a free spirit).
5. An Innocent Romantic
Kenshin is about as innocent as they come in anime. With his dark past always haunting him, it’s not hard to understand why he never pursued another romantic relationship and why he believed that he didn’t have the right to have such a relationship. Quite frequently he states that he doesn’t feel as if he deserves to share in the happiness of others. Plus, considering how dingy and shabby he appears as a wanderer, Misao even mentions at one point how scrappy he looks, it’s not too hard to assume that he didn’t receive many offers in the first place.
Nonetheless, when feelings between him and Kaoru begin to grow, his advances are very traditional and slow. Upon leaving her in order to fight Shishio, he merely embraces her. The moment is surprisingly impactful and emotional, even though many might have felt their relationship had warranted a more intimate moment. Well, what can you expect when it takes until about the last few episodes of a 94-episode series to confirm that their relationship has indeed moved to the next level. Nonetheless, it is clear from his slow progress that he has an idealistic view of love and how it must be handled.
Kenshin is simply one of those characters who you can’t help but root for. He’s a man constantly doing everything he can to make up for his past and is always willing to help others. His range of emotions is impressive as well, and each expression never fails to hit the mark. Whether his eyes are swirling/popping out with his catchphrase “Oro” or triangular with a gold tint when he enters into his manslayer phase, Kenshin’s emotions are imparted powerfully onto the viewer. This is simply the way it should be for a warrior-saint.