The Meiji Era has started, bringing with it the beginning of the end for the samurai and the sword skills they possess. Representing this new way of life, one where force is not the prime source of power, is the Kamiya Dojo, a school devoted to using non-lethal techniques to fight for the commoner. However, a mysterious murderer is stalking the streets, claiming to be a student of the Kamiya Dojo. The master of the dojo, Kamiya Kaoru, a 17-year-old girl, has decided to bring this criminal to justice and clear her dojo's good name.
This is the setup for Rurouni Kenshin, a still-ongoing and very popular series based on the manga created by Watsuki Nobuhiro. So why is Kenshin so popular? After the first few episodes, I was not terribly impressed. The series seemed like a cutesy comedy without much more than a thin story to carry the gags, sort of like Ranma with swords. But I was wrong. Kenshin has many strong points, but the most important one is the strength of the characters. Cool swordsmen abound in Kenshin, including, of course, Himura Kenshin himself. The villains usually are well-developed and have actual motivations. This is best brought out in the longer story arcs, especially the Kyoto story arc [which we will begin showing next semester]. The series also has a good mix of humor and drama, which prevents the story from becoming too heavy for extended viewing or too trivial to be interesting in the long run.
Anyhow, to wrap up this introduction, do not base your opinion of the show on the first couple of episodes, and I hope you enjoy this series.
[This semester, we will be showing 13 selected episodes from the first season of Rurouni Kenshin. Next semester and the 2 semesters after that will constitute the aforementioned Kyoto story arc in its entirety.]