Rurouni Kenshin is a Japanese manga series that was written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The manga series was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump from April 1994 to September 1999. The entire series consisted of 28 tankobon volumes. The series was adapted into an anime series through a collaboration among Studio Gallop, Studio Deen, and SPE Visual Works. The anime series also went by the name Samurai X and aired in Japan from January 1996 to September 1998. Apart from the manga and anime, Rurouni Kenshin has also been adapted into 3 official light novels by writer Kaoru Shizuka. The series has also been adapted into various video game titles. They were primarily made for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable. The most recent adaptation of the venerable series has been a series of live-action films. The first one released in 2012, with its final two films set for release in July and August of 2020.
The series is set in the early Meiji era as it enters the industrial age and time and ways of the samurai are slowly fading out of relevance. The story focuses on a once-legendary samurai assassin now vagabond, Kenshin Himura. After a life of violence and bloodshed, he swore never to take another life ever again. Instead, he has vowed to help those in need to atone for his dark past. It's a tale of friendship, love, and ultimately, atonement and redemption. Rurouni Kenshin is full of lore and colorful characters to see and know about. There are too many of them to mention in one go but we will try our best to at least name some memorable Rurouni Kenshin characters. Have a look at our list below where we discuss some of the best Rurouni Kenshin characters and tell us who is your favorite one in the comments section.
You'd think that the main protagonist of the show would be at the top of this list but that is not really the case here. Hiko Seijuro is Kenshin Himura's master and is currently the 13th master of the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu. This is one case where the master still far surpasses the student in all aspects of swordsmanship. In fact, the creator of the show admitted to having some difficulty incorporating the character in the show, stating that Hiko Seijuro was more than strong enough to be able to solve all of Kenshin's problems and challenges. We definitely wouldn't want to find ourselves in a one-on-one duel with this great master swordsman.
Kenshin Himura is the legendary samurai assassin and the main protagonist of the show and takes second place on this list. His small stature and thinly build make him a physically weaker warrior compared to other major characters in the show. His legendary speed and technique more than makeup for his shortcomings though. Throughout the series, we see him progress and complete his training and master the Hiten Mitsurugi style with the help of his master, Hiko Seijiro. He has used his talents to defeat all of the opponents that he came face-to-face with. The fact that he does so using a handicapped sword and without killing any of them is quite an impressive feat indeed.
Makoto Shishio is Kenshin's successor when he left his life as a hired assassin all those years ago. Shishio is just as ruthless a killer that Kenshin was, probably even more so. This has resulted in him developing a sadistic taste for killing, all for the pleasure of it. Unable to control him anymore, his government had him assassinated but he survived the attempt but not without a cost. His body was left heavily mutilated, forced to cover himself in bandages, and has a time limit on how long he can exert himself in battle. He eventually crossed swords with Kenshin in an epic battle with our main hero barely edging out to become victorious in the end. He might not be the strongest of them all but his ferocity and ruthlessness are second to none.
Aoshi Shinomori is the benevolent leader of a group of ninjas called the Oniwabanshu. He specializes in the school of Kaiten Kenbu which is a defensive style utilizing dual blades. Looking to make a name for himself and his gang, they became hired mercenaries under the employment of a man called Takeda. They eventually cross paths with Kenshin but the cowardly tactics of his employer cost him the lives of his comrades. He vows to seek revenge on Kenshin but after being defeated by him for a second time, he realizes his misguided ways and anger. He turns over a new leaf and became one of Kenshin's dependable ally.
Of all the characters in the show, Hajime Saito was actually based on the real-life historical figure. He was the captain of the 3rd unit of the Shinsengumi and would later become a police officer under the alias of Fujita Goro. His sword technique is more of an offensive one that is highlighted by his signature left-handed sword thrust. He and our main protagonist have history during Kenshin's days as an assassin. Hajime Saito lives by a code of harsh justice that believes that evil must be slain at any cost. The two cross paths again resulted in a deadly duel that almost ended one of them. Since then, he has begrudgingly worked with Kenshin to help thwart various threats to the country's safety and security.
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