ANIME & MANGA - Review
08:43 - 12th April 2013, by NEO Staff

Rurouni Kenshin 1&2

Kenshin is a humble and quiet-spoken wandering swordsman who finds his way into the Kamiya dojo, where Sagara Sanosuke is trying to keep her father's sword style, Kasshin-ryū, alive. Kenshin and Sagara form a friendship, and together they try to regain the reputation of the dojo and bring in new pupils. The first of these new recruits is a feisty little firecracker by the name of Myōjin Yahiko.

Is Rurouni Kenshin a samurai epic? Is it a girly romance manga? Take a flick through the book and it's probably hard to tell, but Rurouni Kenshin falls comfortably into the category of 'pleases everyone' due to its somewhat feminine style of drawing, and its plethora of head cracking fight scenes.

Rurouni Kenshin takes us back nearly 140 years to the Meiji era in Japan - a time of modernisation and upheaval. It follows Himura Kenshin, a rurouni, or wandering swordsman. Following the revolution that led to the new state of 'equality' in Japan, samurai suddenly found themselves stripped of their very way of life - now not even prohibited to carry swords, the change was shocking to many, to say the least.

Author Nobuhiro Watsuki uses this historical background not so much an excuse to prettify his manga with traditional dress and nice backdrops, as to explore the Meiji period and use it to provide motivations for many of his main characters. It's nice to see a manga that really grounds itself in the era its set, even if it does mean you need to keep referring to the glossary and side notes to understand some of the words, places and people that are mentioned.

The manga is full of action and adventure, but it seems to be more of the 'plot arc' variety - as a reader, you probably won't ever get the sense that the overall story is heading somewhere specific. That's fine, as Kenshin's adventures are always fairly interesting, but at the moment the series isn't hugely demanding of its reader. It's perfectly happy to be put down and left for a day or so, and never screams "READ ME NOW", forcing you to continue for another hour. How the series pans out in later volumes remains to be seen.

SCORE: 4/5
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