The 1990’s gave us enormous perms, hilariously awkward fashions, and bizarre fads. But as many of us revel in our childhood memories of Pokémon cards and pogs, we tend to forget one of the greatest gifts that the 90’s gave us: epic and groundbreaking manga series.
Among those gems is Nobuhiro Watsuki’s riveting series Rurouni Kenshin. At 28 volumes, this shounen series of the historical genre is a tale packed with just the right balance of action, romance, and suspense.
Rurouni Kenshin is the story of Himura Kenshin, a legendary swordsman known as the infamous hitokiri battousai (battousai the manslayer). Ten years after earning his title, Himura Kenshin is a rurouni (wanderer) who yearns to atone for his transgressions committed during the Bakamatsu (a Japanese civil war). After having taken so many lives in the name of justice, Kenshin devotes himself to protecting innocent lives with his reversed-blade sword.
Enter Kamiya Kaoru, a 17 year-old girl carrying on the tradition of her later father’s dojo and the Kamiya Kasshin school of swordsmanship. A man who calls himself hitokiri battousai claims that he is one of Kaoru’s father’s former students. However, the Kamiya Kasshin style is based upon the principle of katsujinken, the sword that gives life. This ruthless murderer is sullying the Kamiya Dojo’s good name and violating its teachings that hold life so precious. Determined to redeem the Kamiya Dojo and its teachings, Kaoru takes it upon herself to discover the identity of this cold-blooded killer and bring him to justice.