This is the final arc of Rurouni Kenshin and it actually sounds pretty good conceptually. The story follows Kenshin and his wife Karou…. yea we all saw that coming. Additionally, they have a son Kenji and Yahiko is an assistant master in the kamiakahhin style. The story is supposed to have a new protagonist by the name of Ashitaro and it will involve the gang going to the Northern island of Hokkaido.
The story starts off with Kaoru honoring her dead father at an altar as Yahiko was surprisingly being cooperative with the dojo’s function. There is already development in his character but we still get comical moments out of him. I found it within his character to crush the new chatter Aron’s head with his wooden sword. Anyway, the setting is splayed out for us and it is not too bad. It is five years after the end of the original manga. Kenshin walks in and we discover that he is using a wooden cane instead of a sword. Very typical of Kenshin. We, later on, find out that he has bestowed his famous reverse blade sword onto Yahiko for reasons we can easily guess.
The gang suddenly hears from Tsubame an irrelevant plot device from the last manga that Ashitaro is at the Akabeko in a conflict with the police.
The scene shifts to the Akabeko where our new Kamiakashin student is overhearing a conversation between a young man and older women. they keep telling this girl Ashi that she has to go on a mission and bloody her hands once again just like she did as one of Shishio’s mercenaries. INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT. Forgot to mention that the man talking with the old women also greets Ashitaro and he states that it has been a while since he has seen him and that the last time was when he worked for Shishio.
Ashi tells the man and women that she was in the mountains saving for her freedom and that she has the 200 yen required. The women snaps at her and says that her freedom actually costs 2000 yen. Shortly, thereafter Ashitaro takes his sword and slams the man in the back and a fight ensues. Then Ashitaro starts fuckin up the cops.
It is revealed within this panel that Ashitaro’s sword is the Mugenjin which is actually Shishio’s sword. As usual, Kenshin shows up and confronts him. During the initial conflict, Ashitaro unsheathes the sword and he magically executes a perfect hogaragama and disarms Kenshin. Kenshin then demands that he get rid reverse blade sword. The next panel shows Kenshin engaging Ashitaro and whooping his little ass the same way he dealt with his enemies.
Ashitaro wakes up in the dojo to discover that he ain’t Shishio and that Kenshin gave him the business like a scrub.
Ashi then joins the dojo and Kaoru finds a weird parchment in her person. She opens it and is surprised to see her “dead” father smiling in Hokkaido. Her and Kenshin immediately come to the conclusion that they need to go find him in Hokkaido and the chapter ends with Saito of all people who was implied to have died at the end of the Shishio arc in Hokkaido being summoned to handle some conflict.
The chapter looked like it built up to something that would be promising. Ashitaro seems to be the perfect addition to the cast. I always enjoyed Shishio and to have his former cohorts join Kenshin’s gang will prove to be interesting. Additionally, it will give more backstory to Shishio as he was shrouded In simplicity despite that he was written in a way that made us believe that he had a rich history similar to Kenshin. The story became even better now that we find out that Ashitaro has the Mugenjin and can use his techniques. This will make an interesting story simply because Kenshin will expend so much energy into making sure Ashitaro does not become Shishio. The dichotomous relationship between the two will encourage a great deal of development and variety in the story. In a way, Kenshin has become his former master and Ashitaro fills the seat of Kenshin as he was young. When I saw their conflict I was reminded of the time when Hiko beat the shit out of Kenshin to keep him in line. Again, the Shishio element makes it more interesting and polarizing.
One thing that I hated about this chapter was Kaoru’s father. That dude was irrelevant in the original manga and should STAY that way. This seemed desperate on the behalf of Watsuki. On the other hand, the appearance of Saito made up for this and I was content with the entire chapter. This manga has a lot of potentials and I think Watsuki will give it the brilliance and attention that the original manga had.
The art was not to mad. Not the best but good enough. I am more focused on the story and character development. The true potential of this story lies within its characters. Rurouni Kenshin was more of a character-driven story as opposed to plot driven anyway.
I would check it out and see where it takes you. I would say that the manga will bring Kenshin back to the popularity it once had. On the other hand, it will be much more serious than the original Rurouni Kenshin. The story in some ways will be an improvement because Rurouni Kenshin better fits the model of a Seinen as opposed to a Shounen. This manga will take a much more giddy feel and have much more sinister themes/undertones. This will probably remind you of the Trust and Betrayal OVA.