January 26, 2004  -  Introducing Ruroni Kenshin

If you aren't already a fan of Ruroni Kenshin, please lemme introduce you to him!  Cammy's my favorite character, Gally from Gunnm (aka Alita from Battle Angel) is my 2nd favorite character, and right up there with those two is Kenshin Himura.  I first got introduced to him back in 1996 while I was working at an orphanage in Japan.  Of course with that many kids around, there are tons of manga!  I also caught a few episodes of the anime on TV.  I always liked it, but there was never much time to really get into it at that time.  I finally did, and it turned out to be better than I ever expected! Kenshin Himura
The basic storyline is that Kenshin is an ex-assassin from Japan's civil war.  He was so good that he became a legend in his own time.  However, as soon as the war ended, he gave up killing (no matter what!) and vowed to repent.  He couldn't give up the sword, so he uses a special sword with the blade on the wrong side.  He wandered Japan for 11 years, until he meets a girl named Kaoru in Tokyo.  He helps her and ends up staying for a while.  But what was supposed to be temporary becomes permanent because he makes good friends and finds a purpose in life.   However, as good as things are, trouble always has a way of finding Kenshin...
The comic spans 28 volumes, and the anime, which follows the comics, has 95 episodes.  There are also some spin-off comics and anime on top of all that.  The anime are all out now, so save your money and get 'em all!  Or, you might catch some episodes on the Cartoon Network (with very bad English dubbed voices >_<).  The comic has FINALLY been translated, and the first volume is available now for only $7.95!  Check out ShonenJump.com for more info.
Why do I love Ruroni Kenshin so much?  First and foremost, it's the characters that I love.   Kenshin is the best, but all the others are so good that they'd be good even without Kenshin.  Kenshin is at the same time funny, smart, and totally kick-ass!   It's a rare character that can be so many things so well.  All those things are great, but it's his intelligence that really impresses me the most.  Then there are back-up characters like Kaoru, who's a totally nutty girl, Yahiko, a lovable punk-ass kid, Sanosuke, a knuckle-headed tough guy, and many more.  Even the bad guys are so bad that you'll love and hate them at the same time!
Another thing that I love about Kenshin is the artistic style.  It's very shojo (girly), but it's not over-the-top like a lot of that stuff can be.  It's very detailed and pretty, yet it flows from comedy all the way over to action perfectly.  The art also has it's very own style, which makes a big difference to the whole feel of the series.
Of course the storylines are top-notch as well!  There are many chapters within chapters throughout the saga, but it all flows together.  Everything is well thought out, and even little events and characters from earlier storylines will come back to effect future events.  You'll really get into the world and lives of Ruroni Kenshin.
And who can forget the fighting?   Can't have a good samurai story without fighting, can you?  The fighting techniques in Ruroni Kenshin are amazing!  It's a lot like Ninja-scroll, if you've seen that.  It's amazing how many freaky techniques these warriors come up with.   For instance, there's one guy I particularly like who's a sword collecting freak.   He probably carries around a dozen swords, so when he fights, it seems like he's got something that's right for just about every situation.  One sword he uses is whip-like because it's made out of a flexible metal.  Anyways, the fighting is lotta fun, and there's always something amazing waiting around the corner.  Just when you think you've seen the ultimate technique, somebody comes along with something that blows it out of the water.
Well, if all that doesn't pique your interest enough, lemme let you in on something...  Kenshin is famous for a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek.  Yup, he's a former assassin with a scar on his left cheek, and he's now leading a new life totally different from his old one... remind you of anybody?  Yup, I'm quite sure Kenshin had a very big influence on Cammy, but I'll save that for later because I'm working on a piece all about Cammy's origins.
Anyhow, please check out Ruroni Kenshin!  Whether you're a guy or a girl, this is one of those special characters and comics/anime that should appeal to just about anybody.  Sure there are a lot of anime episodes available and comics to be released, but I guarantee you it's all worth it.   If there's anything besides Cammy and Alita that you should invest your time and money into, it's Ruroni Kenshin!