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
I recently – finally – finished reading Hikaru no Go. I can’t explain why I stopped, many years ago, around volume 10. It … just happened? I wasn’t bored with it, I didn’t lose interest … I just never got around to reading the rest, and then time passed. A lot of time, come to think of it. Over a decade, and I dare not do the exact math.
Maybe I also didn’t return to HikaGo at that time because the manga ended in Japan and there was this vibe of disappointment about it. The general consensus seemed to be that Hikaru no Go ended suddenly, unexpectedly and long before its time, without a properly satisfying ending. But to be honest … HikaGo had a perfect ending – and then it continued for five (?) more volumes. It did not end too soon, it ended too late. It missed the perfect moment for the most impactful ending.
Hikaru no Go is amazingly well-written. I cannot even pinpoint exactly what makes it so good. All I know is that in theory, Hikaru no Go really shouldn’t be this amazing. After all, it is just a manga about a bunch of boys who are obsessed with a board game! HikaGo brilliantly proves that you can apply the sports manga formula to anything, even to an old, unglamourous board game, and it becomes exciting.
I’ve noticed that there are people in manga fandom today who aren’t familiar with Hikaru no Go at all. For example, I seem to remember that the guys on ChannelAwesome’s Weekly Manga Recap sounded like they had never heard about it, made fun of its premise and clearly had no idea that it wasn’t some random, forgotten niche thing, but one of the big hits of its time! (Not that this surprises me, the podcast seemed uninteresting anyway.)
But yeah, Hikaru no Go was big. :D It started a Go boom. Not just in Japan, or in other countries that already cared about Go, but even, like, in Europe. My parents heard about it on the radio! All my friends suddenly had Go boards! I had a Go board! (I’m … not good at Go.) These are such fond memories, man.
Now for the spoilery thoughts on how Hikaru no Go ended, and how it should have ended.