In this installment of the Rurouni Kenshin Reread, I’ll be sharing my ~extremely complex and insightful~ thoughts on the seventh volume of the manga. Depending on your POV, this either counts as the ending of the first manga’s arc, or the beginning of the Kyoto Saga. I’ve seen it both ways. Actually, I’m only half-kidding when I say “extremely complex and insightful”. This post actually turned out more analytical than I anticipated.
This post will cover volumes 5 and 6 of the original manga, which contain three independent episodes: a “sidestory” focusing on Yahiko, the Raijuta arc, and another “sidestory” focusing on Sanosuke. Spoilers, as usual!
In this post, I‘m going to reflect on the Kanryu Takeda arc, which introduces two major players in Kenshin history: Megumi Takani and Aoshi Shinomori! Although the Jinne arc was already a multi-chapter story, I consider this one to be the first real, longer arc, since it fills two full volumes (volumes 3 and 4). Spoilers!
In preparation for the upcoming Hokkaido Arc, I am going to reread the entirety of the Rurouni Kenshin manga! This should be a lot of fun! :D It’s actually been a long time since I read the entire manga – and there are obviously portions that I tend to reread more often than others, which skews my general perception of the series. Reading everything in order, without skipping ahead, is just a different experience.
In this first post, I’ll discuss the first 14 chapters, which roughly corresponds to the first two volumes of the original release, everything up to and including the Jinne story.
My previous post about the upcoming Rurouni Kenshin sequel, the Hokkaido arc, is currently one of the most popular posts on this blog! I have to admit that this isn’t saying much, since I often blog about random, niche stuff that no one ever reads. Hyperbole. But it does make me happy that people really do care about Rurouni Kenshin, and google for information on the new manga, because Kenshin will always hold a special place in my heart! ♥
Now, the latest news is that the start of the Hokkaido arc got delayed, from “spring” to “summer”. Honestly … I don’t mind. A part of me still can’t believe it’s even happening, so I exist in this blissful state of vague anticipation. This gives me some more time to prepare, both mentally and … linguistically. Because I’ve decided to experience this story via the Japanese tankobon release. My Japanese is not exactly up to the task right now, but I am tired of being dependent on Western releases. And I couldn’t wish for a better kick in the ass to get me motivated and determined!
The tricky thing about waiting for the tankobon release is that I’ll have to avoid spoilers when the serialization starts. That’s one reason why I don’t mind it hasn’t started yet. Still means it’s safe to google.
Anyway, what do we do while we wait for the Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido Arc?
I want to do a reread of the manga. I should not even think about that! Because I still have not finished the Blade of the Immortal reread that I began ages, ages ago. But I am planning to take an (official) break from this anyway after the Kaga arc, to figure out a new approach for the next arc. I don’t want to keep doing “one volume per post”, because that can be tedious when there’s a cliffhanger … and I don’t think I can make it through the next arc in small portions. XD So if I do a Rurouni Kenshin reread, I’d rather divide by story arcs or something like this. I’m open for suggestions!
I alo have a couple of ideas for Rurouni Kenshin essays that I want to write. For example, how the manga portrays masculinity, which is a topic that came up a few months ago in the comments, and it’s been on my mind ever since.
Really, when all is said and done, I just want to chat about Kenshin. :D
After finally finishing this series, and taking some time to think about it, I want to share some of my random thoughts on Embalming, the fourth series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. With the upcoming continuation of Rurouni Kenshin, it’s interesting to discuss the manga in the wider context of Watsuki’s works, too. Especially since a lot of Kenshin revival things happened during the run of Embalming. If you look at the character redesigns in the Kenshin Kanzenban manga edition, you can see the influence. Embalming was also put on hold while Watsuki worked on the tie-ins that accompanied the live-action movies. I think this did harm the series, also dragged it out a little bit. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but nothing ever happens in a vacuum, so there’s no use lamenting.
(This article doesn’t contain any real spoilers, but that’s also because it didn’t turn out the way I initially thought it miiiight. Obviously, deep thoughts and analysis is for later, today is for superficial rambling!)
Let’s just pretend 2016 is already over. What awaits us in the new year? Well, I actually mean: What awaits me in the new year? And I don’t mean any serious topic either, because that’s a whole other story … I mean hobby-wise. Fun-wise. I am a tiny little bit behind on videogames still, but my plan is to finish Dragon Quest 7 and I Am Setsuna over the holidays or at least before spring. I’ll also work on my Japanese, so nothing will stand in my way of … reading manga.
Dragon Quest XI
A lot of new information came out at Jump Festa today! The footage shown was from the PS4 version, though, and I must say that I’m not 100% sold on this one. There’s something about this particular mix of HD realism and Toriyama character design that doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of the opening video from Bravely Second – I just preferred the in-game character design, since it felt a lot warmer and livelier. So I am tending towards the 3DS version right now. Also because, if I am entirely honest with myself, I’ve become a portable console gamer. I like playing in short sessions in bed, in-between tasks … I have simply unlearned how to sit in front of the TV playing a videogame for hours and hours. This is something I realized playing I Am Setsuna (which I still haven’t finished, go figure why). But at the same time, I WANT to play a JRPG on the big screen again, and I do kind of like the colourful, detailed world pf DQ11 from the trailers … Well, perhaps I just need to wait until they show footage from the Nintendo Switch version. Maybe this would be the best option for me. Ah, decisions.
I have not heard anything about this game since its first announcement, but I don’t need to. It’s on the 3DS, it’s cute, it has penguin owls and it is made by Koichi Ishii, hero of my teenagehood, creator of the game that got me into Japanese role-playing games in the first place (Secret of Mana).
Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Hen
Yes, and then there is manga. I’ve been sporadically, at my own, slow pace and without any real pattern or rules or programme, brushing up on my Japanese, which was pitiful to begin with. I’ve decided that instead of trying to procure Jump SQ issues every month (difficult, expensive, and let’s face it: Jump SQ is largely garbage), I’ll wait for the tankoubon. This will give me some months more to improve my Japanese skills! Of course, the only way to learn Japanese for my intended purpose, which is reading manga, is to actually read manga. So I’ll read manga. :) I just wanna have improved when I finally tackle Rurouni Kenshin, because I do want to understand it as much as possible. Kenshin was my first manga ever. Just like Secret of Mana was my first serious gaming experience. It’s funny that both Koichi Ishii and Rurouni Kenshin are going to return to me next year. I think that I should take this as a sign. This is going to be the year.