Rurouni Kenshin is about the life of Himura Kenshin, a young former samurai who has given up his old life as an assassin. Easily recognizable because of his red hair and scarred cheek, he was the best of the assassins and an invincible samurai. However, one night in Kyoto, he decided that he had had enough of murder and hatred. So he became a wanderer, or rurouni, and roamed the lands like a lone ranger, protecting the downtrodden. He exchanged his old sword for one with a reversed blade, the sakabatou, so that he would no longer kill anyone in a fight. He vowed never to return to his old violent life and never to take the life of a fellow human being again. He's 28 years old but doesn't look his age, and he's very, very cute! =)
The other main character who you will meet tonight is Kamiya Kaoru, a cute, 18-year-old, spirited girl who believes that martial arts are meant to strengthen the body and spirit and are not meant to be used offensively. A terrible cook, she is the owner of and teacher at the Kamiya Kendo Dojo and has been ever since her father died. She has two adorable little sisters and is good friends with the local doctor, a kindly old man. [Actually, they aren't her sisters; they are the doctor's granddaughters. -Ed.] The story begins when she hears that Hitokiri Bathousai has been seen in town, and she goes out looking for that murdering fiend with a wooden sword...
For some background, the story is set in the beginning of the Meiji Era. The era before was that of the shogun, something every James Clawel fan would know. During the Meiji Restoration, a group of elite samurai revolted against the shogun and brought the Emperor back as the rightful ruler of Japan. It was at this time that Japan was beginning to open to the West, and Japan was in the throes of social upheaval. The Meiji Restoration had destroyed the very people who had brought it about -- the samurai were outlawed, and it became illegal to carry swords. The samurai were forced to find another way of life, or die. Set against this turbulent background, Kenshin is a sweeping, often humorous tale of love and compassion, and it deals with the true meanings of honor and valor. Although it starts with a light tone, it is really a deep story about mistaken loyalties and the destructive side of man, and it shows the fight of the samurai against their own extinction.