By Dustin Cabeal
I have never read or watched anything related to Rurouni Kenshin, which is probably why I was willing to read three volumes all at once. Which was honestly a mistake and I should have paced myself, but hey… I make this damn mistake all the time, so I’m clearly never going to learn from it. Anyway, it was my first dip into the pool.
Another thing that should be pretty clear about me if you follow the site or have heard me talk on either podcast, I don’t like old shit. That’s not to say that I can’t read it, but I tend to like to stay fresh. This is mostly with how things are printed, and I find looking at old printing to be an eye sore. I was surprised that I wasn’t bothered by Rurouni Kenshin as much as I thought I would be. There were still plenty of times I was, but there’s something iconic about Nobuhiro Watsuki’s artwork and visuals that stand the test of time.
The story… ugh, I feel like an ass for even telling you because I feel like it’s so known that it’s a waste of time, but then you might be that person like me that never bothered with this franchise and so you’re like, tell me, dude!
There was a revolution, a new government has been set up, and now swords are outlawed. Kenshin is the feared warrior known as Himura Battōsai. His name brings fear, but now he’s reformed and doesn’t kill anymore and uses a backward sword. Which is hard to fucking explain, but you’ll get it when you read. He does this so that he can get away with carrying it as it looks like a prop more than an actual sword.
In the first volume, it takes a bit to establish him in the city of Meiji. After that, though, the story falls into a familiar pacing and formula. People are trying to kill him, and they’re sending badasses after him that want to face the legendary Battōsai. He beats them but doesn’t kill them. Showing them all that he’s A) changed and B) still better than them. Reading three volumes like that, it got a bit tiring, and I should have put it down and finished it later. If you read the 3-in-1, which for the price is the way to go, then pace yourself. It’s easy to get sucked into it, but you’ll start to feel like you’re reading it just to finish it rather than out of enjoyment.
Overall, I would like read a bit more of Rurouni Kenshin, but at a much slower pace. Hell, I’m even inclined to check out the anime… dated as art and all. I can see why people love this series, I’m not quite there myself, but the groundwork is there for sure. If you’ve refused to check this franchise out because it was either over hyped or you lacked the interest, it's worth giving it a read.
Rurouni Kenshin 3-in-1 vol. 1-3
Creator: Nobuhiro Watsuki
Publisher: Viz Media