Well, as of this writing, none of this excellent series has been released on video in the US, but I have enjoyed the manga so much, that I wanted to go ahead and setup an information page regarding the upcoming releases of the TV series (by Media Blasters) and the OVA Series (by ADV), which will begin in July of 2000.
- Review Pending -
Late this fall, I'll return with a personal review of the series as they have been released in the US.
One of the most tumultuous periods in modern Japanese history occurred in the late 1860's and is known as the Meiji Restoration. In the two and a half centuries preceding it, Japan had been controlled by a military dictatorship known as the Shogunate.
By the 1860's however, it became apparent that Japan was required a new order. Remarkably, the major military leaders voluntarily ceded power, and feudalism, which had bestowed great privileges on the samurai class of warriors, was abolished. As a result, many former samurai were left directionless, with no master to serve and no means of employment. These men were known as ronin.
Rurouni Kenshin (known as 'Samurai X' in the English version) is the story of ronin warrior with a legendary reputation as an invincible swordsman and a strong sense of justice. As a supporter of the Meiji reforms, Kenshin (Samurai X) has sworn off killing for good. Nonetheless he still carries a special sword whose cutting and blunt edges are reversed, allowing him to put attackers out of action without killing them.
The tale begins as Kenshin encounters a beautiful young woman named Kaoru Kamiya, an authority on the Kamiya sword-handling method and adjutant master of the Kamiya Swordsmanship Dojo (training facilities).
Although Kenshin unmasks the conspiracy, it's too late-- all the school's students have already run off. Kenshin, who is jobless and penniless--with no where else to go-- takes advantage of Kamiya's hospitality and moves into the deserted dojo.
After a time, a single new student applies for admission to the school. He is Yahiko, a 10-year old pickpocket Kenshin has saved from a group of Yakuza (gangsters). Subsequently, the Kamiya school gains another disciple, when Sanosuke, a former rabble-rouser comes seeking training following his defeat by Kenshin in a duel.
One day, Sanosuke presses Kenshin to accompany him to a gambling den and the ronin eventually, but reluctantly, agrees. Suddenly, a beautiful woman bursts in, pursued by a mob of attackers. Kenshin goes to her aid and defeats the group in short order. The woman, who is known as Megumi, is so impressed by Kenshin's swordsmanship that she asks him to become her protector. Apparently, she is under constant threat of attack from the private army of Kanryu Takeda, a power- hungry entrepreneur.
Kenshin agrees to help Megumi and leads her to the Kamiya dojo, where he hopes to conceal her from Takeda. However, the wily businessman sniffs out her whereabouts and hatches a plan to destroy both her and Kenshin, whom he has discovered is the legendary invincible swordsman. He succeeds in enticing Megumi to his lair, knowing Kenshin will follow.
Discovering Megumi's absence, Kenshin and his followers set off to rescue her. The group engages Takeda's men, and after much swordplay, apparently succeeds in annihilating them. Takeda, rattled by Kenshin's extraordinary skill, attempts to buy him off with cash, but fails. Meanwhile, Aoshi, the most dangerous member of the Takeda guard arrives, along with a band of menacing confederates. As the villains prepare to meet them, Kenshin and friends succeed in breaking into the Takeda residence. Once inside, they square off with Aoshi and his warriors, each of whom possesses a uniquely lethal fighting style...