"There are always two, a master and an apprentice."
Now while that quote is a blatant Star Wars reference, it works well enough here. At this point in the story, Kenshin has finally mastered Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu's succession technique: the Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki (try saying that three times fast -- try saying that at all!) and is now a "raging monster." Lest we all get too caught up in awe of the move, here is a list of all of the techniques Kenshin's got in his arsenal.
Ryu Tsui Sen: This is Kenshin's most used technique. Most fighters are weak against vertical attacks, and this move exploits that weakness. After jumping high into the air, Kenshin lands a crushing overhead blow on their collarbone. There is a second version of this move, Ryu Tsui Sen Zan, in which he dives down to stab his enemy, instead of cutting them. Either way, it's pretty powerful in spite of being his weakest move.
Dou Ryu Sen: Smashing (or cutting into) the ground with the tip of his sword, he strikes his opponent with small pieces of rock and debris (it's rather like how a shotgun works, except with pebbles instead of metal pellets, and a sword instead of a gun and gunpowder).
Ryu Kan Sen: This move actually has four variations. The
basic form of Ryu Kan Sen, however, is a simple counterattack in which
Kenshin blocks/avoids his opponent's attack before spinning and striking the
back of his opponent's neck.
Sou Ryu Sen: This is the first of the two battou-jutsu techniques in Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. Like all battou-jutsu techniques, it is an attack that begins with the sword in its sheath. The act of drawing the sword gives the blow amazing speed and power. The downside is that if it is blocked or avoided, it leaves the user defenseless. All of the battou-jutsu techniques of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu are composed of two parts, so as to nullify this weakness. In Sou Ryu Sen, the saya (scabbard) follows the sword. An alternative form of this exists, Sou Ryu Sen Ikazuchi, in which the saya comes first to distract the opponent from the real attack.
Hi Ryu Sen: Although this move is never named in the anime, Kenshin uses it once in Episode 2 to ream an idiot. This isn't actually a technique, per se, but it needs to be included for the sake of completeness. Launching the sword from its scabbard with his left thumb, the hilt hits the opponent (with apparently enough force to knock that guy through the roof. Go figure).
Ryu Sou Sen: Like Kuzu Ryu Sen, this move targets the nine vital points of a person's body (head, right shoulder, left shoulder, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, between the legs, and chest). Instead of striking them simultaneously, however, this attack hits them randomly, so quickly that the sword simply flies.
Ryu Sho Sen: Ryu Sho Sen is a counterattack move in which Kenshin holds the sword by both the handle and the blade, to give a rising strike to the opponent's neck. When used with a Sakaba sword, this technique merely dislocates their jaw, but with a real sword, the effects would be much more fatal.
Kuzu Ryu Sen: The coolest and most lethal attack in Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. It was developed as a stepping-stone to Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki. The teaching of the latter move begins with the teaching of Kuzu Ryu Sen. Using the god-like speed of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu and all of its techniques, Kenshin attacks his opponent's nine vital points simultaneously. This move is so deadly that it is impossible to defend against or avoid...
Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki: It's a lightning-fast battou-jutsu that has amazing power. What else is there to say about it at this point? Well, there is one thing -- the timing involved with this move is so precise, and the move is so powerful, that Kenshin puts an incredible amount of strain on his body and walks the line between life and death. It is said that Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki cannot be used if one has any negative thoughts or is not completely determined to live.
The past few episodes have been rather peaceful, but they were merely the calm before the storm. There will be action soon enough (all of next semester is just one big brawl) Kenshin's now able to cut loose without having to worry about going hitokiri and has learned the unpronounceable succession technique of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. Then again, it seems like Shinomori Aoshi's been pretty busy himself; he's gotten a lot stronger than when we first saw him. And to top that off, there's the enigmatic Seta Soujiro and the ultimate evil himself: Shishio Makoto. Is Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki powerful enough to beat Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu Lokuren, or Soujiro's Shun Ten Satsu? Just watch and see, the best is yet to come.