RUROUNI KENSHIN LINKS:
Rurouni Kenshin was created by Nobuhiro Watsuki in 1994 and has 28 volumes.
Rurouni Kenshin, which translates as "Wandering Kenshin", takes place during the Meiji Revolution, Japan's civil war in the 1860's and at the end of the Tokugawa era. The true story first starts with the 2 OVA episodes preceding the anime series. Himura Kenshin, who's real name is Shinta, was an orphan after his low-class family died from cholera He was sold into slavery and cared for by some women until they were killed by bandits protecting him. Before the bandits could lay a hand on the young Shinta, a man appeared out of the darkness and killed the bandits with a few strokes of his sword. This man was Hiko Seijuro and would become Shinta's teacher of the deadly sword style, Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu.
Shinta's name was changed to Kenshin by his master and he trained under him for years till he turned fourteen and wanted to leave his master to go help ease the suffering of Japan. Against his master's wishes, he left the mountain and became a Ishinshishi and a hitokiri or hired assassin. He killed countless people with his powerful sword technique and earned himself the name of Hitokiri Battousai.
Kenshin later meets a woman by the name of Yukishiro Tomoe and he eventually falls in love with her though she is truly out to kill him because he had assassinated her fiancÚ. She falls in love with him and eventually helps ease the pain and the madness of being a killer and they get married. Sadly for her, she is killed and Kenshin vows from then on never to kill again. This marks the end of the Bakumatsu era and the start of the Meiji era. After this event, Kenshin disappears for ten years. His whereabouts, unknown.
Ten years later in Tokyo, a red-haired man is chased down by a young woman carrying a wooden sword. She claims he's the Hitokiri Battousai that has been disgracing her dojo and her sword art, Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu or the Sword that Protects. He shows her his sword, which, instead of a katana, has been replaced by a sakabatou, or a reversed edge sword. This woman is Kamiya Kaoru, and Kenshin's future wife and lover. They later discover that a man has been posing himself as the Hitokiri Battousai to scare others off and Kenshin reveals himself as the true Hitokiri Battousai and saves Kaoru's life from the man. He then apologizes and starts to leave, but Kaoru asks him to stay at the dojo with her as her family died years ago and she is lonely by herself. Kenshin agrees and becomes a permanent member of the Kamiya household.
The story progresses much in this fashion with Kenshin once again appearing out in the public's eye and the return of the Hitokiri Battousai, or at least that's what most everyone thinks. Kenshin has long since vowed never to kill and he never breaks that promise once during the series as he fights for peace and the betterment of Japan.
The final 2 OVAs take place ten years after the end of the anime series. If you do not wish to know the storyline behind these two heartbreaking specials, stop reading now. The following paragraphs are all spoilers.
Kaoru and Kenshin have a son by the name of Kenji who is already a teenager by the time this story takes place. Kenshin has given his sakabatou to Yahiko as a present for the 'coming of age' for samurai. Kenshin still travels through Japan spending more time away from his family than he should to help out Japan as he did for his whole life and this causes Kenji to detest his father.
After coming back from one of his travels, Kenshin appears to be sick with some sort of incurable sickness (leprosy) and is dying. Kaoru tells him that she lives her life only for him now and they share an intimate moment together. Kenshin tells her he must leave again, but when he comes back, he wants her to call him by his real name for once, "Shinta". She agrees and he leaves off again and is gone for a very long time.
During this time, Kaoru develops the same sickness that Kenshin does and lives her life solely for the moment that she will see him again. Her son tries to get Hiko to teach him the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu, but Hiko decides that his ideas are unpopular in the changing Japan and decides to let the skills die with him. Kaoru's condition worsens and she continues to wait for Kenshin.
Eventually Kenshin does return and they meet for the last time in the same area that Kenshin bid her farewell to years ago when he left for Kyoto to fight Shishio Makoto. She holds him and welcomes "Shinta" home and then realizes that his scar has finally faded and then... realizes that the great Himura Kenshin has died.