The Ultimate RUROUNI KENSHIN FAQ
with help from
[Introduction & Purpose]
In March 2004 James "Iyouboushi" decided that he should try
to create the most complete RUROUNI KENSHIN FAQ ever written.
He set out on his journey with nineteen initial questions
and answers. Wanting to get the best exposure for his
creation he decided it would be best to post it on the
[adult swim] message board.
There it continued to grow to what it is today. Several
other members have asked questions that have made it into
the official FAQ and others still have helped in answering
them. This is the fruit of their labor and it will
hopefully continue to grow.
The purpose of this FAQ is not to give away all the plot
points of the series or answer simple questions that are
answered in the series (there are a few exceptions though).
The purpose of this FAQ is to answer various other questions
that have been floating around and asked quite often, such
as "What is ’Samurai X’ and is it different?" It also
serves as information about the true history of Japan when
compared to the history of RUROUNI KENSHIN.
[How do I submit a question?]
Because we want to keep this FAQ growing, we’re accepting
questions on James’ own personal board in addition to the LJ
community. Posting them on the LJ community is guaranteed
way to get a response.
The URL to the LJ community is:
For other links, and the most updated version of this FAQ,
check the website at:
[I want to host this FAQ on my site, is this okay?]
YES! We encourage Kenshin fans to do this! We want to help
spread the FAQ across the web so that everyone has access to
it. HOWEVER, there’s just one rule that needs to really be
obeyed: DO NOT HOTLINK THE FAQ FROM IYOUBOUSHI’S SITE!! In
other words, *download* the FAQ and *upload* it to your own
site then link to it there. Why? First off, chances are it
won’t even work (Netfirms has a no "hotlinking" policy).
Second off, it drains bandwidth which would make it go down
(and no one wants that). Third, it’s just better if you host
it from your own site.
Also, if you download it and host it, be sure to check back
occasionally for updated versions (nothing worse than seeing
a 6 month old FAQ when there’s a brand new version just
waiting for people to view).
If you’re unfamiliar with how to upload or would rather make
it easier on yourself, just link to the website and let
viewers come download it themselves.
[Table of Contents]
Due to the increasing size of this document this section has
become a part of the website rather than inside this
document. If you’re wondering how to find out which
questions were asked: use the outline feature, sometimes
known as the "Navigation Pane" (usually accessed with F5) to
navigate through the questions in this FAQ.
I’ll also restate: PLEASE DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS THAT HAVE
ALREADY BEEN ANSWERED! Repeating questions will most likely
be ignored most of the time and you’ll be told to check the
FAQ. So don’t waste your, and our, time.
WHO CREATED RUROUNI KENSHIN? WHEN?
RUROUNI KENSHIN was created by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The first
tankoubon volume of the manga was published in 1994, with
the first kanzenban volume of the manga being published in
2006. It ran in Shuukan Shounen Jump previous to it being
compiled into tankoubon. The animated series began in 1996
and was shown on Thursday nights at 7:30 P.M.
In case you’re wondering: Nobuhiro Watsuki was born May 26,
1970 and has made several other mangas including: Gun Blaze
West, Busou Renkin, Rurouni: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story
(two short stories that basically served as the RK pilot),
and Meteor Strike (a short story done for a Shounen Jump
HOW MUCH OF KENSHIN IS THERE?
Currently there are: 28 tankoubon volumes, 22 kanzenban
volumes (both consisting of 255 chapters total) if you don’t
count the special "Yahiko no Sakabatou" one-shot story or
the special that was printed in the "Kenshin Kaden" (which
was called "Haru ni Sakura"); 95 animated episodes; a
"Memorial Box" episode; 2 specials; 1 90-minute movie titled
"Ishin Shishi no Requiem"; two OAVs consisting of 6 parts
total (the OAVs are titled "TsuiokuHen" and "SeisouHen.")
and two novels.
Of course there’s also a ton of fan-made doujinshi and
stories out there, but I don’t consider that part of the
YOU’RE WRONG, THERE’S ONLY 94 EPISODES!
Actually, that’s not correct. There’s 95 episodes total.
There’s also a Kenshin Memorial Box episode that was
basically a summery of TsuiokuHen and the series. The 95th
episode is included on volume 22 of the English DVDs but the
Memorial Box episode is only available if you buy the
Japanese box set.
WHAT ORDER SHOULD I WATCH/READ THE SERIES?
You can read all of the manga straight through. In fact,
it’s preferred to read all of the manga BEFORE seeing the
series (this is the case with most anime, by the way);
however, if you want to jump straight into the anime, here’s
MY (Iyouboushi’s) PERSONAL OPINION on what order to watch it.
You may disagree or feel differently.
TsuiokuHen [4 parts] -> Animated Series up to episode 62 ->
Read the manga from the beginning of the Jinchuu Arc
(starting with chapter 152, found in volume 18) to the end -
> Ishin Shishi no Requiem (movie) -> SeisouHen [2 parts] ->
go back and finish up the rest of the series (which ends
with fillers) and read the rest of the manga (it’s up to you
on which you want to do first).
madpierrot of [adult swim]’s message board suggests a
different order, however.
Animated series up until episode 62 -> TsuiokuHen [4
parts] -> finish with the manga and the rest of the series.
His reason? "One of the greatest points about Kenshin is
not knowing anything about his past and wondering about it
and asking questions just like all the other characters in
the show. If you know all of that before you watch it seems
like it would take half the fun out of watching the show."
The manga doesn’t reveal his past (what’s presented in
TsuiokuHen) until the end of chapter 164 in volume 19, hence
his decision to wait until mid-series before watching it.
Either way you choose, it will let you experience the most
out of the series for your first time. You’ll get to see
how Kenshin began (his origins are in TsuiokuHen), how he
meets the "Kenshin-gumi," the entire Kyoto Arc and then
you’ll read the best arc of the entire series (the Jinchuu
Arc) then top it all off with the movie and how they chose
to end the series completely (SeisouHen).
WHERE CAN I SEE THE SERIES?
As of now Rurouni Kenshin is currently NOT showing on any
In the past, the series aired on Cartoon Network’s "Toonami"
block. First on weekdays, it was soon moved to Saturday’s
at 10:30 PM EST. Keep in mind that the Cartoon Network used
to air a seriously cut show that cut entire episodes and arcs.
The only other way to see the series right now is to either
watch the DVDs or VHS tapes.
If anyone knows of another channel that is airing the
series, let me know.
WHAT IS SAMURAI X? IS IT DIFFERENT?
When the saga of RUROUNI KENSHIN was brought over, there was
a problem with the rights when two different companies tried
to dub different parts of it. The series rights were owned
by Media Blasters. The OAVs and the motion picture,
however, were brought over by ADV. Because of legal
matters, ADV had to find themselves a new name and settled
for Samurai X, naming it after Kenshin’s obvious scar. It
is not different, as they are all part of the same "saga"
and are all part of the story.
The official (original) names for the OAVs and movie (as
stated in question 2) are:
Rurouni Kenshin: TsuiokuHen (it has four parts)
Rurouni Kenshin: SeisouHen (it has two parts)
Rurouni Kenshin Motion Picture: Ishin Shishi no Requiem
WHAT IS TSUIOKUHEN?
TsuiokuHen is the beginning of the saga. That is to say, it
shows Kenshin’s life when he was known as the Hitokiri
Battousai. In all practicality, it’s the animated version
of when Kenshin pulls everyone aside to talk about his past
in the Jinchuu Arc. In the manga his backstory begins at
the end of chapter 164 in volume 19. It is being sold in
the US under the titles "Samurai X: Trust," "Samurai X:
Betrayal" and "Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal - Director’s
The animated version uses quite a different art style (more
realistic) and is EXTREMELY bloody/graphic. Why all the
blood? Two reasons. First, because it’s Kenshin’s life
during the Bakumatsu--a WAR! War is violent and brutal.
That’s just life. Second, because it’s an OAV. OAVs have
more freedom in the content side of things (they can show
graphic violence and extreme sex scenes) because they are
(usually) not going to be aired on TV so they don’t need to
worry about TV ratings and censors.
If you don’t want to see gushes of blood or men being sliced
(literally) in half, I would recommend just reading the
manga versions, as it’s nowhere near as bad.
One other fact about the OAV/backstory: it explains how
Kenshin received the X-shaped scar on his cheek. I won’t be
covering this in the FAQ because I feel it is too big of a
spoiler and just reading it without seeing it takes away the
power and emotion behind it. Please don’t ask me because I
refuse to answer. If you seriously want to know without
watching or reading, just look it up online.
As mentioned before, there’s four parts to it. Here’s the
title list for those four parts:
1. Kiru Otko ("The Man of the Slashing Sword")
2. Mayoi Neko ("The Lost Cat")
3. Yoisato Yama ("The Previous Night at the Mountain Home")
4. Juji Kizu ("The Cross-Shaped Wound")