It almost seems odd that Himura Kenshin, the Hitokiri Battousai, could find peace as a Rurouni, but he has. Tonight's two episodes of Rurouni Kenshin, 15 and 16, follow this theme, but the main focus of these two episodes does not lie on Kenshin. Instead, the person gracing the spotlight is a neighbor of Sanosuke: a poor teacher named Sasaki, who had been a samurai before the Meiji Restoration.
In my opinion, these two episodes are some of the best to date. There's action, romantic tension, and of course, Kenshin beats up another bunch of losers, all the while showing off his knowledge of special technique names. Also, the second ending for the series appears in episode 15, and this one is pretty amazing. Most importantly, however, these two episodes focus on the theme mentioned above: the morality of the actions taken by Kenshin, Aoshi, and the others during the Meiji Restoration.
Which brings us to the focus of this article: Was the Hitokiri Battousai evil? While skimming through webpages on Rurouni Kenshin, I saw a message board on just that. The most striking argument I read there was the one that read: "He believed that the blood that he would shed would wipe away ALL the bloodshed... He never wanted fame, recognition or power. Nor did he ever enjoy killing. He realized that he was doing all the dirty work and as long as promised new era of peace would arrive, he did not care what would become of himself."
Kenshin, as the Hitokiri Battousai, was the perfect assassin and in the frame of the story, was pivotal in overthrowing the Shogunate and restoring the Meiji Emperor to power. But after the final battle that took place in Kyoto, he gave up his sword to seek his own redemption as a Rurouni.
He wasn't the only person fighting for his beliefs, however, and in these two episodes, Sasaki is forced to confront his own bloodstained past, when a group called the Jinpu Tai appears and begins to assassinate "corrupt" politicians. What connection does the soft-spoken teacher of poor children have with the leader of this terrorist group? What are the true motivations of the Jinpu Tai? And does the leader seriously think he stands a chance against the legendary Hitokiri Battousai? All will be revealed tonight, so sit back, relax, and forget all of the finals and papers you have next week, 'cause Kenshin's about to kick some ass.