Rurouni Kenshin is a Japanese anime series based on the manga of the same name. The series is written by Nobuhiro Watsuki and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The series is comprised of 95 episodes spread across three seasons. It began airing on Japan's Fuji TV on January 10, 1996 and ended on September 8, 1998. It was produced by Aniplex and Fuji TV.

Two series of original video animations (OVAs) were also produced. The first, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal adapted stories from the manga that were not featured in the anime, while the second, Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection was a sequel to the manga.

Rurouni Kenshin was licensed by Media Blasters for North American distribution, with Bang Zoom! Entertainment providing the English dub. The series began airing in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on March 17, 2003[1], but after episode 48 aired on July 4, 2003 the series moved to Cartoon Network's Saturday Video Entertainment System block until the completion of the second season (episode 62), leaving the third season unaired in North America.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Rurouni Kenshin takes place during the early Meiji era in Japan, telling the story of a wanderer named Himura Kenshin, formerly known as the assassin "Hitokiri Battōsai". After participating in the Bakumatsu war, Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin. When arriving in Tokyo in the 11th year of Meiji (1878), he meets a young woman named Kamiya Kaoru, who is in the middle of a fight with a murderer - who claims to be the Hitokiri Battōsai - tarnishing the name of the swordsmanship school that she teaches. Kenshin decides to help her and defeats the fake Battōsai. After discovering that Kenshin is the real Battōsai, Kaoru offers him a place to stay at her dojo noting that he is peace-loving and not cold-hearted, as his reputation implies. Kenshin accepts and begins to establish lifelong relationships with many people such as Sagara Sanosuke, a former Sekihō Army member; Myōjin Yahiko, an orphan from a samurai family; and a doctor named Takani Megumi. However, he also deals with his fair share of enemies, new and old, including the former leader from the Oniwabanshū, Shinomori Aoshi and his rival from the Bakumatsu Saitō Hajime.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Kenshin Himura — The main protagonist, Kenshin is a former legendary assassin known as "Battousai the Manslayer". At the end of the Bakumatsu, he becomes a wandering samurai, now wielding a "reverse-blade sword", a katana that has the cutting edge on the inwardly curved side of the sword, thus being nearly incapable of killing. Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need, as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin. In Tokyo, he meets a young woman named Kamiya Kaoru, who invites him to live in her dojo despite learning about Kenshin's past. Throughout the series, Kenshin begins to establish lifelong relationships with many people, including ex-enemies, while dealing with his fair share of enemies, new and old.

Kaoru Kamiya — The instructor of a kendo school in Tokyo called Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. All of it's students leave when a large number of people are killed by someone claiming to be the Battōsai from the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū", damaging her school's reputation. Kaoru is saved from this murderous impostor by the real Battōsai, Kenshin Himura, now a pacifist wanderer. Kaoru invites Kenshin to stay at her dojo as she notes that he is a gentle person. As the series continues, Kaoru develops strong romantic feelings for Kenshin, who is constantly haunted by his past deeds and believes he does not deserve happiness.

Yahiko Myojin — An orphan from a samurai family who was forced to work as a thief to repay the debt he had presumably owed, as his parents died before they could repay it. When he is rescued by Kenshin, he decides that he will grow up to be just like him. But because of his strong beliefs, Kenshin is no longer teaching the sword style he has learned. Therefore, Kenshin arranges for Yahiko to be trained by Kaoru, the teacher of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. As the series progresses, Yahiko becomes skilled at swordsmanship and faces many opponents.

Sanosuke Sagara — A former member of the Sekiho Army. When the group is destroyed by the Meiji Government, he becomes a fighter-for-hire to calm his anger by fighting. During his introduction in the series, he encounters the wanderer Kenshin Himura, who defeats him and is able to convince him to stop his mercenary work and instead start protecting people. After that encounter, Sanosuke becomes Kenshin's best friend as well as his partner in most of their fights.

Megumi Takani — Originally forced to make opium for an industrialist, with Kenshin and Sanosuke's support and encouragement, she becomes a doctor to atone for her past misdeeds. She enjoys flirting with Kenshin to make Kaoru jealous, but helps Kaoru come to terms with her feelings towards Kenshin. She is loyal to her friends and is always there to patch them up, especially Sanosuke, whom she often cautions about fighting. She is from the Aizu region, now Fukushima Prefecture.

Makimachi Misao — A kunoichi from Kyoto who was raised by the Oniwabanshū. She travels to Tokyo in search of Shinomori Aoshi whom she is in love with and meets Kenshin on her way back. Misao wishes to learn of what happened Aoshi in Tokyo and joins Kenshin on his way to Kyoto hoping to meet him again.

Hajime Saito — the former third squad captain of the Shinsengumi, a pro-shogunate force. During the Bakumatsu, he had a long time rivalry with Himura Kenshin, an assassin of the Imperialist cause. In the series, he is initially introduced as an antagonist who encounters and once again duels with Kenshin. It is later revealed that Saitō, who had only been testing Kenshin's strength, is now a spy agent working for the Meiji Government. After the reveal, Saitō becomes one of the main protagonists of the series, forming an uneasy alliance with Kenshin.

Shishio Makoto — A former Ishin Shishi hitokiri known within the ranks as the Battōsai's successor. But after his "comrades" in the government attempted and failed to assassinate him, Shishio Makoto spent the next decade slowly amassing power and developing an anti-government militia headed by his own private group of elite warriors - the Juppongatana. Shishio is the main antagonist of the Kyoto arc.

Voice Cast[edit | edit source]

Character(s) English Voice Actor
Kenshin Himura Richard Hayworth
Misao Makimachi, Akane (ep 43) Debra Cunningham
Kaoru Kamiya, Narrator Dorothy Melendrez
Yahiko Myojin, Daughter (ep 3), Female Acrobat (ep 17), Oshige (ep 39), Tsuru, Yumi Elyse Floyd
Megumi Takani, Grandson (ep 2), Woman on the Street (ep 2) Jane Alan
Sanosuke Sagara, Cop (eps 1, 3), Grandpa (ep 2), Iwanbou Lex Lang
Sojiro Seta (eps 50-95), Tasuke (ep 48) Lynn Fischer
Sojiro Seta (eps 54-56) Melissa Fahn
Omasu, Sojiro Seta (eps 31-47) Tara Jayne
Aoshi Shinomori, Assistant Captain (ep 25), Bodyguard (ep 25), Incidentals (ep 22),
Pirate (ep 27), Police Man (ep 24), Shinzo, Thug A (ep 17)
Terrence Stone
Arundo Akamatsu, Dutch Consul (eps 67-76), Hannya, Hyouei (eps 67-76),
Tatewaki Shindou
Abe Lasser
Boss (ep 2), Governor (ep 15), Katsu (eps 79-82), Tani, Ujiki Anthony Mozdy
Hana, Shougo & Sayo's Mother Barbara Goodson
Assassin (ep 42), Chief (ep 31), Imperialist (ep 28), Jinpuu Squad Soldiers,
Pirate (ep 27), Soldier (ep 21), Sumo Wrestlers (ep 13)
Bob Bobson
Yutaro Tsukayama Brian Donovan
Mitsu Christina Martini
Sobei Sumidaya Chuck Farley
Aritomo Yamagata (ep 63), Ryunosuke (ep 62), Shogo Amakusa Crispin Freeman
Shiro Dan Lorge
Mr. Okubo (eps 79-82), Yutaro Tsukayama (Tales of the Meiji Era) Dave Lelyveld
Assistant Locomotive Driver (ep 22), Drunk Activist (ep 4), Gasuke, Gonzo,
Hoji Satojima, Jinei, "Kurogasa" Udoh, Morisuke Yamayoshi, Robber (ep 18), Yamada
Dave Mallow
Shishio Makoto (ep. 28-62), Toma Sakaki (eps 15-16) David Lucas
Geo, Pirate (ep 27), Shura's Father, Toshimichi Okubo David Orozco
Shougo & Sayo's Father David Sintell
Beshimi, Cho Sawagejo, Gekki, Genji, Genta Koshino, Ginji, Nishiwaki,
Quick Draw Swordsman (ep 17), Saburo Kazusaki
David Umansky
Kazu, Kikumatsu David W. Goldstein
Man (ep 35), Shikijo Dean Elliot
Mr. Santou (eps 67-76), Seiku Arai Ethan Murray
Hishimanji Gang, Imperialist (ep 28), Man (ep 35), Pirate (eps 22, 27), Soldier (ep 36),
Yakuza (ep 34)
Francis Cherry
Bodyguard (ep 25), Kameo, Police Man (ep 24), Senryoyama, Tsuruzaemon G. Gordon Baer
Kuro, Kurojo, Mayor (ep 48), Merchant (ep 39), Policeman (ep 49), Saizuchi,
Soldier (eps 44, 46)
George C. Cole
Kinu, Tae, Tsubame Georgette Rose
Cop (eps 1, 3) Gil Starberry
Eichiro Mashima Herman E. Sherman
Sanosuke Sagara (young) Ian Hawk
Kanryu Takeda, Toji Ivan Buckley
Gengo Kisaki, Locomotive Driver (ep 22), Man (ep 26), Mikio Nagaoka, Police Man (ep 20) Jackson Daniels
Chief Officer (ep 51), Chief Soldier (ep 52), Gonzo (ep 55), Hannya (ep 52), Henya,
Leader (ep 49), Shiro
Jake Daniels
Kaiou (eps 67-76), Usui James Lyon
Big Guy (ep 17) Jeffrey Stackhouse
Hishimanji Gang, Jinpuu Squad Soldiers Jeremy Potter
Rorenzo Shouzo (Shozo) [Shougo's helper] Jim Taggert
Merchant (ep 15), Politician (ep 15), Raiko Joe Romersa
Kawaji Joey Lotsko
Fuji, Gohei (eps 1, 4-5, 18), Senkaku, Yoshiemon John Billingslea
Drunk Activist (ep 4), Ginji, Hyottoko, Kojishiro Kamiya, Police Chief, Thief (ep 19),
Trader (ep 22)
John Smallberries
Ryuji Jonathan Charles
Eiji Mishima, Ryuzaburo Higashiyama Joshua Seth
Tsubaki (ep 48) Julie Pickering
Itsuko Katsu Karen Strassman
Sailor (ep 25), Schneider, Shuji Kermit Beachwood
Captain (ep 25), Commander of Senkaku's Men (ep 35), Fake Conductor (ep 22),
Tsunan Tsukioka
Kim Strauss
Lady Madgalia Lia Sargent
Villagers Love-chan Looping
Shura (young), Tsunan Tsukioka (young), Waitress Melissa Williamson
Iwazo Melvin Katt
Yutaro Tsukayama Michael Lindsay
Anji Yukuyama Michael McConnohie
Commander in Army (ep 21), Head of Gun Party, Yasu Michael Smitters
Shiori (ep 64) Mika Sakenobu
Cat (ep 3), Soji Okita, Suzume Mona Marshall
Kasumi Monique Lindsley
Hannya (ep 42), Saizuchi, Tsukio Paul St. Peter
Imperialist (ep 28), Newspaper Boy (ep 31) Peter Doyle
Kaigo, Police Man (ep 20), Servants (ep 23), Shikijo (ep 42), Tekkan Kisaki,
Thief (ep 19)
Peter Lee
Daigoro (eps 79-82), Toramaru (ep 13) Rafael Antonio Oliver
Takuma Hashizume Ray Michaels
Marimo Ebisu Reba West
Yohei Senbonya Richard Barnes
Raijuta Isurugi, Seijuro Hiko, Squad Leader (ep 45) Richard George
Pirate (ep 22), Policeman (ep 18), Sakata Robert Axelrod
Ochika Ruby Marlowe
Aritomo Yamagata, Hamakaze Stable Master, Portrait Salesman, Sakata,
Shingetsu Elder (ep 35)
Simon Issacson
Kamatari, Kamatari Honjo, Oumime (ep 45) Sonja Fox
Ginjo, Heihachiro Sasaki, Saitou, Sakuramaru Sparky Thornton
Ayame, Hotel Owner (ep 33), Kanekura's Wife Steve Bloch
Captain Sagara, Sarujiro, Tomo Steve Cannon
Bodyguard (ep 25), Cop (eps 1, 3), Dr. Gensai, Drunk Activist, Jirokichi Ebisu,
Man (ep 25), Police Man (ep 24), Rokusuke, Shakku Arai (ep 40), Shibumi
Steve Kramer
Sousuke Otsuka, Cop D (ep 1) Terry Roberts

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Color Season Episodes U.S. Season Premiere U.S. Season Finale
1 27 March 17, 2003 April 22, 2003
2 35 April 24, 2003 October 18, 2003
3 33 Unaired

Rurouni Kenshin is a 95 episode Japanese anime series adapted from the manga series of the same name by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The series was directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and produced by Aniplex and Fuji TV,

The 27 episodes of season 1 are based on the first six volumes of the manga series. Situated during the early Meiji period in Japan, the story tells of a fictional assassin named Kenshin Himura, who becomes a wanderer to protect the people of Japan. The 35 episodes of season 2 are based on volumes 7-18 of the manga series, and depict the fight of the former assassin named Kenshin Himura, against his successor Makoto Shishio, who aims to conquer Japan. The 33 episodes of season 3 were not adapted from the manga. During that period, the "Jinchu Arc" of the manga was still being written and was still incomplete by the end of the anime fillers.

Twenty-two English DVDs from the series were released from July 18, 2000 to September 24, 2002. Each of them contain four episodes except for volume 22 which contains five episodes. The "seasons" were later released in three premium "Bento box" DVD boxes on November 18, 2003, March 30, 2004 and July 27, 2004 respectively. They were released again, but in new packaging as "economy box" sets on November 15, 2005, January 17, 2006 and February 14, 2006 respectively.

Broadcast History[edit | edit source]

The series premiered in Japan on Fuji TV on January 10, 1996, and ran through September 8, 1998. The final episode, episode 95, did not air in Japan, but was a bonus episode for the VHS and DVD releases. The series was licensed for broadcast and home video release in North America by Media Blasters, who split it up into "seasons". These began airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on March 17, 2003, but after episode 48 aired on July 4, 2003 the series moved to Cartoon Network's Saturday Video Entertainment System block until the completion of the second season (episode 62), leaving the third season unaired in North America. The series returned to Toonami for a second run beginning on October 23, 2004 and ending on March 12, 2005.

  • Japan (Fuji TV) — January 10, 1996 - September 8, 1998
  • United States (Cartoon Network) — March 17, 2003[1] - March 12, 2005
  • Latin America (Cartoon Network) — 2001[3] - 2003

Toonami Broadcast History[edit | edit source]

Rurouni Kenshin aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's Toonami block from March 17, 2003[1] to July 4, 2003. The series later returned for a second run on the block from October 23, 2004 to March 12, 2005.

  • Toonami (United States) — March 17, 2003[1] - July 4, 2003; October 23, 2004[2] - March 12, 2005
  • Toonami (Latin America) — 2004 - 2005

Toonami Marathons[edit | edit source]

Rurouni Kenshin only had one marathon appearance during its run on Toonami, Best of Kenshin, which aired from May 27-30, 2003.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Toonami to Receive Facelift ". March 3, 2003. Retrieved on April 4, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Cartoon Network October Schedule ". September 8, 2004. Retrieved on April 4, 2015. 
  3. "Cartoon Network Schedule ". October 17, 2001. Retrieved on February 15, 2018. 
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