Rurouni Kenshin, Disc 4 – False Prophet

***Special guest post by nichan***

It was rather pleasantly slow at work Monday night, so I snuck viewing a majority of this disc in with my feet propped up on my co-worker’s desk. …Don’t tell management, ‘kay? I do these things for you.

This is disc 4 of “Rurouni Kenshin”, titled “False Prophet”!

Episode 13 – “Going for the Grand Championship”

I hate this episode. I despise it. It’s pointless, it does nothing for character development or plot, and even watching it while chanting, “I have to do this so I can review it!!!” didn’t help. This episode sucks.

Typical!

The boys are thinking about a naked Kaoru. Notice the serious expressions on their faces.

"That's sexual harassment, and I don't have to take it!"

A completely clothed Kaoru retaliates…

Episode 14 – “To Save a Small Life”

One day, the doctor that Megumi is training under throws his back out, thus making him unable to do his duties, and therefore putting Megumi in charge of the clinic.

Pretty!

This is why they make those special old-people bathtubs, dude!

This is what happens when you don't have health insurance.

Kaoru and Yahiko decide to help out at the clinic. Many hijinks and shenanigans ensue.

Despite all of the “assistance” that Kaoru has been providing, Megumi and Yahiko are actually doing pretty good holding the fort down. Megumi’s reputation is rising as she cures the sick and impresses those around her.

And then, one day, her occasionally off-putting personality gets in her way…

Excellent bedside manners.

This guy falls down right in front of her and begins complaining about stomach pains. Megumi realizes he’s faking it and dismisses him, but fails to explain that. Everyone in the crowd assumes she’s a horrible doctor and is leaving him to suffer.

Hello, HMO.

As she’s walking away, though, this fellow named Raikou appears and announces that the gods have given him magical healing powers.

Raikou walks over to the “suffering” man, performs a ceremony, and “cures” him. Conveniently enough, there’s a whole crowd of hooligans standing nearby who just happen to know Raikou’s name, and they begin singing his praises loudly.

Just as scientific as the herbal remedies advertised in the newspaper...

Everyone in the crowd, Kaoru and Yahiko included, are totally confounded by this display of magical healing. Word begins to spread!

As time goes on, gossip takes over, and people begin seeing Megumi as a total hack, and Raikou as a sure thing. She begins to lose both her patients and her reputation, while Raikou is raking in money left and right.

Doctors coming to *your* house to pick *you* up?!? Where does this sort of service occur?!?

Megumi stumbles over Raikou’s group carrying off one of her patients, and that’s the last straw for her.

Megumi and Yahiko chase after Raikou, his gang, and her patient, and finally track them down to Raikou’s mansion. (…By the way, Raikou’s gang is called the Hishimanji, and I think they actually appeared a few episodes ago.)

"Lipitor! Lipitor! Lipitor!"

Raikou starts to perform a ceremony over the patient, which must’ve been murder on the voice actor, ’cause it was definitely murder on my ears!

So, of course, this being “Rurouni Kenshin”, the situation is solved with a fight! Sanosuke shows up, knocks a few people out, Yahiko clobbers a few fellas, and Megumi attempts to sneak off with the patient.

Now, up until this point, Kaoru and Kenshin have had very little air time in this episode. It’s more centered on Sanosuke and Megumi’s relationship, in which he somewhat begrudgingly begins to respect her and she… Well, she doesn’t seem to notice he exists. I guess that’s how it goes with girls, eh?

Another interesting tidbit about this episode is the look. It’s drawn totally different than typical “Rurouni Kenshin” fare, although this isn’t the last time this style will pop up. It’s almost as though they farmed it out to another animation studio to tackle. …I seem to recall thinking it came across exactly like “Samurai Champloo”, but I haven’t seen that series in years and years, so I could be referencing the wrong thing, here.

Anyway…!

Effective!

The Hishimanji decide to start shooting wooden cannonballs at Raikou’s house, because that’s how they troubleshoot.

"My caaaarrrrpppppeeeettttt!!!"

Raikou is less than thrilled about the redecoration efforts…

"Why didn't you invite me to the party?!?"

And then guess who shows up, just in the nick of time!

Once Kenshin shows up, the conflict is deftly resolved. The Hishimanji are chased off, Raikou signs a confession that he was a total quack, and Megumi regains her patients and her reputation. …And they all lived happily ever after!

Until the next episode, of course.

Episode 15 – Assassination Group of Fire

This one starts out with a pair of corrupt politicians exchanging money late at night… And then a group of assassins casually come in and just chop them the heck up. It’s pretty impressive. This is how I want my “Rurouni Kenshin” episodes to begin!

Meanwhile, though, back at the dojo, things are going pretty smoothly.

Snortlaugh.

Sunshine, snacks, and snickers for all!

Everyone is just hanging out and relaxing, when suddenly a man appears, calling out for Sanosuke. He turns out to be a teacher, who has a sick child with him, and he’s come looking for Sano’s doctor friend.

Sano points out that Megumi is a talented doctor... and then insults the crap out of her.

How did the teacher know that Sano knows a doctor? Is it because Sano is always getting into fights?

*innocent whistle*

Yahiko seems to think it’s because Sano and Megumi are in loooooooooove.

This was merely a device, though, to introduce Sensei (Sasaki) into the plot. The kid is easily made healthy, and the story wanders back to the assassins, known as the Jinpuu Squad, headed by a man named Toma, and bankrolled by a politician named Hashizume. They tend to meet up in Hashizume’s front yard late at night… Because there’s absolutely nothing peculiar about a bunch of guys in matching outfits kneeling down in an organized manner in the grass at the edge of a fancy deck around midnight. Nope. Totally wouldn’t call the cops if I saw that.

Hashizume, who’s been paying the Jinpuu Squad to kill his opponents, suggests to Toma that perhaps he ought to beef up his ranks a bit. He’s heard about Kenshin, and he wants to guarantee that his plans aren’t interrupted by any of that pesky justice nonsense. Toma knows just the man he wants to recruit…

Sword vs. Pickaxe

It’s Sensei! He wants to recruit Sensei! …So he attacks him unexpectedly with a sword – because nothing says, “We want YOU to work for US!” like DEATH THREATS.

"Gotta go! Gotta go! Gotta go!"

Hey, so… Toma walks like he has to poop really bad. They sort’ve emphasize this. It’s hard to miss.

Kenshin and Yahiko happen to see this, but it’s not until Sanosuke spots Toma walking off with the Jinpuu Squad late at night that serious suspicions begin to surface about what’s really going on.

Hiccup!

Sano’s stumbling around late at night while drunk. …Is this Tokyo, or the city where I live???

So Sano follows Sensei and the Jinpuu Squad in order to find out what’s happening. Toma openly invites Sensei to join them, but he explains that he can’t because he’s put down his sword in order to work towards repenting for what he’d done during the war, and also to help improve the world, by teaching children. Toma was actually once one of Sensei’s students, by the way, and Sensei sort’ve drops a few hints about how Toma might possibly want to repent for his own sins and become a civilized member of society.

Toma doesn’t take “no” for an answer, though…

Subtle.

Toma starts to lurk around Sensei’s school, trying to hit kids with sharp knives, until he gets a chance to tell Sensei when the next planned assassin will occur.

Not sure what to do, exactly, Sensei reluctantly goes with the Jinpuu Squad to the site of the next assassination. He’s just standing there, off to the side, trying to size the situation up, when suddenly Toma turns to him and insists he pick up a sword and join in on the action.

Smiles, smiles, everywhere.

The Jinpuu Squad… A happy group of dudes!

Luckily, Sano shows up, applies a thorough smack-down to the members of the Jinpuu Squad, and tells Sensei to drop the sword so as not to soil his hands.

Yah... That'll stop ya.

Toma, never content with anybody doing anything he doesn’t approve of, tells Sano to stop interfering.

He's, like, *everywhere*.

And then Kenshin shows up…

Come to find out, Kenshin’s curiosity about all of this has been stoked not just by Sano’s regular commentary to him about the situation, but also because he realizes that he’s fought with Sensei before, back during the war.

And Toma, meanwhile, is simply fascinated by Kenshin. The thought of battling against someone with such a reputation is mouth-watering to him, so he starts to focus his attention on our ginger hero.

Episode 16 – A Promise from the Heart

Sano starts to hang around Sensei’s school, providing extra security. Knowing that he’s fought with (and survived!) Kenshin back during the war suggests he’s super talented, and probably doesn’t need the help… But Sano’s sort’ve taken it as his mission to prevent him from breaking his vow to not participate in violence and whatnot.

Unpleasant news.

Sensei having fought with Kenshin in the past, however, also means he knows what he’s capable of. He tells Sano that he doesn’t think Kenshin is up to defeating Toma.

I like sunsets, warm breezes, long walks in the woods, and a very high potential of death.

Toma, meanwhile, has continued on with his obsession, and has lured Kenshin out into the woods for a casual sword fight.

Of course, now Kenshin is focusing his attention on Toma and the rest of the Jinpuu Squad, trying to figure out what, exactly, they’re up to. …It’s not every day somebody just picks a fight with him and then walks away halfway through due to scheduling conflicts, anyway.

So when Hashizume plots the next assassination, Kenshin pieces it together and interrupts the party.

This is gonna hurt!

Members of the Jinpuu Squad are sent to fight with Sensei and Sano at the dojo in order to distract them. …Things don’t go so well for the Jinpuu Squad, though, ’cause Sano’s kinda got anger management issues.

Circling the wagon.

The rest of the Jinpuu Squad, meanwhile, are at the site of the planned assassination.

And he doesn't look all that happy...

But instead of the victim being there, it’s Kenshin!

Sheesh! They're *everywhere* *all the time* in this series!

And Sano and Sensei, having extracted information from the their portion of the Jinpuu Squad, know where to go to join in, too.

Hiiii-ya!

A brawl breaks out, and when it’s all said and done, the only people left standing are Sensei, Sano, Kenshin, and Toma. …Guess who winds up in a duel?

Kenshin manages to defeat Toma, but the real damage comes from Sensei giving Toma a lecture about how weak his skills really are. This is hard for Toma to swallow, since Sensei is the one who taught him to fight in the first place. And, just when his emotions are seemingly at their lowest, this happens:

Bringin' the bad guy to the battle.

The cops show up with Hashizume and announce that he’s under arrest, etc…

Nice!

…And Hashizume totally throws Toma under the bus.

Since Hashizume had frequently promised Toma that he’d get all sorts of goodies for doing his bidding, Toma’s rather floored that he’s being discarded so easily. So not only has he been physically defeated by Kenshin, and mentally defeated by Sensei, now he’s got a prison sentence to deal with because his employer is a jerkface. (Shock! Who’d’a thunk that a guy who hires assassins would be a dink???)

This doesn't work out so well, either.

Toma attempts to go after Hashizume, but is stopped by Kenshin. …So he tries to kill himself, instead.

Sensei stops him, though, and the police are able to take him to jail with his employer. And then…

Hooray for a happy ending!

Happily ever after!

Episode 17 – “Fly to Your Dreams”

Oh boy! The circus is in town!

Spoooooky!!!

And Kaoru absolutely *cannot* handle the haunted house…

There are actually two circuses in town (or something like that), and when the crowd starts favoring the circus featuring a girl popping out of a canon, the rival circus gets a little… agitated.

Bad money management will do that to you.

This is the owner of the non-cannonball circus. He actually funded the cannonball circus, and now he’s peeved that they’re superseding his circus in popularity.

Meanwhile, Kenshin ‘n’ crew go to see the girl pop out of the cannon.

Hot for the circus girl.

Yahiko winds up with a bit of a crush on the cannonball girl, Marimo.

While they’re there, the rival circus shows up to remind the cannonball circus that they owe a bunch of money. And then, just to really drive the point home, they almost start a fire.

"Hey, if the place doesn't burn to the ground, you wanna go out for dinner?"

Yahiko leaps out of his seat to go help put the fire out… And to introduce himself to Marimo.

The rival circus has given the cannonball circus a pretty tight deadline to pay back their debt, and when it seems like the cannonball circus is ready to pay it back in full, the rival circus steals the money and buries Marimo’s dad in a pile of lumber. …The rival circus wants to totally crush the cannonball circus, you see.

Adults!

Yahiko happens upon this scene and helps defend Marimo.

Bandaids!

They take Marimo’s dad to Megumi, who patches him back up.

While they’re with Megumi, they begin to hatch a plan to pay back the debt, even though all of their money is now gone: Marimo will shoot herself out of the cannon, with a little help from Megumi, who’s volunteered to make the gunpowder.

Uh-oh!

But on the day of the show, Marimo runs out and tells Yahiko that the gunpowder has been stolen!

With a packed house, a huge debt, and a sick father, Marimo has no choice but to do something… So Kaoru volunteers Sano and Kenshin to entertain the crowd while Marimo and Yahiko go to find more gunpowder.

Kaoru, Kenshin, and Sano being in charge of a circus turns out to be just as amusing as you’d expect, but trying to keep the crowd from rioting proves to be their biggest challenge, even beyond Karou almost lobbing Sano’s ears off on accident.

A swift kick to the groin solves all problems!

Progress is temporarily halted when the rival circus tries to steal the gunpowder again…

Marimo and Yahiko make it back to the tent, but so too do the members of the rival circus. While Megumi works on mixing the gunpowder just right, Kenshin is assigned a task by Kaoru: to defeat the rival circus members using only a paper umbrella.

A reverse blade sword? An umbrella? What's next for Kenshin???

Much to everyone’s surprise, he succeeds quite nicely.

This dude needs anti-depressants.

Particularly surprised is this chap, who gets his head stuck in the cannon.

Finally, though, Megumi gets the gunpowder mixed. …And just in time, because the head of the rival circus is making a run for it!

A big weapon for a man who prefers fighting solely with his fists...

So Sanosuke does what any rational adult would do: he fires Marimo at the bad guy.

Anyhoo, thanks to the group effort, the rival circus is arrested by the police for, um… Stealing stuff or something. Maybe assault. They did kinda put Marimo’s dad in the hospital.

But, anyway, there’s another happily ever after for all involved!

Oro!

Well… Happily ever after for *most*.

So! What happens next? Will the dark and brooding plot return? Will there be epic tales to be told? Will Kenshin actually be involved in more than thirty seconds of each episode again?

You’ll just have to wait for disc 5 – “Renegade Samurai”!


About nichan:
nichan (aka “The Other Nicole,” “The Bad Nicole”)
i like cantonese music, japanese music, a dash of korean music, and our site owner has recently exposed me to mandarin music. — joey yung was my introduction to asian music.

i like manga and anime. — “sailor moon” was my introduction to anime, and my first manga obsession was “gravitation”.

i really like ancient chinese literature. — i believe “the tale of genji” was my introduction to asian literature, but i very quickly converted from japanese to chinese. i’m pretty sure my first chinese literature experience was “a dream of red mansions”.

i was a history major in college. i did my senior thesis on the comparison of yaoi and slash fan histories. when i got out of college, i still had a year left on my parents’ insurance, so i went back to the local college and did an independent study on learning world war i through “gundam wing”.

i like the occasional asian movie, but i don’t really have the attention span for movies…

i loves me some loligoth/gothloli.

the problem, you see, is that i’m way, way, way too cheap and lazy to bother getting new stuff, so i predict that all of my reviews will be on things i’ve already watched/read/heard, rather than new and up-to-date releases. don’t be expecting to see new titles and whatnot listed under my name… i buy from the bargain bin!

One comment

  • ugh! i found a typo i’m too lazy to correct!

    when it says:
    “Toma starts to lurk around Sensei’s school, trying to hit kids with sharp knives, until he gets a chance to tell Sensei when the next planned assassin will occur.”

    it *should’ve* said:
    “Toma starts to lurk around Sensei’s school, trying to hit kids with sharp knives, until he gets a chance to tell Sensei when the next planned assassination will occur.”

    gomen!

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