According to ANN, Nobuhiro Watsuki and Kaoru Kurosaki are going to release a two chapters long Rurouni Kenshin spin-off titled Ashitarou Zenka Ari. The first chapter is to be published next month in Jump SQ. I wonder how long the chapters will be … It’d be nice if the total page count could fill a tankoubon. MangaMag has a preview picture.
I must admit that I’m ambivalent about Watsuki going back to doing Rurouni Kenshin stuff. On the one hand, I’ll always love Kenshin, but on the other hand, I prefer it when authors go forth and tell new stories. However, a spin-off might turn out to be the best of both worlds: familiar setting and atmosphere, but new characters and stories. I’m all about new characters.
Recently, I read the Rurouni Kenshin Restauration manga, which is a sort of alternative version of the manga’s first story archs. Apparently, it was meant to be a way to intoduce Rurouni Kenshin (and thus, advertize the live-action movies) to the current generation of manga readers? I found it hard to judge this manga purely on its own merits. After all, I’ve read the original manga (religiously) and of course I prefer the “true” version of events. But I found it nice that Kaoru’s introduction focused more on her fighting skills. If there is one thing that feels a bit dated about Rurouni Kenshin today, it’s that none of the girls get to fight on the same level as the guys. I think that Watsuki is sometimes too beholden to common shonen manga tropes. He’s at his best when he breaks free from these things! I am not sure if it’s fair to say that he’s improved at writing female characters, since there’s nothing really wrong with Kaoru, Megumi, Misao or Tomoe … but when I read Embalming, it’s the female characters that stand out to me. (Azalea <3) Hey, Watsuki/Kurosaki should just write a shojo manga. :D