Rurouni Kenshin, Disc 5 – Renegade Samurai

An unexpected turn of events changed my plans for the weekend, and I finally had the time to sit down again with more “Rurouni Kenshin”!

This is disc 5, titled “Renegade Samurai”!

Episode 18 – “Get Back the Reverse-Blade Sword”

This episode manages to cram everything that’s good about this series into one, compact shot: drama, comedy, sword fighting…

Yahiko happens to stop a robbery just in time for an old adversary to hear all about it.

"Ahh, gosh..."

Yahiko, fresh from some butt kickin’.

"Naaaaaaniiiiii?"

Gohei: the villain who never really goes away.

But, anyway, Yahiko kinda gets a big head about doing a good deed, much to Kaoru’s chagrin. Yahiko announces he wants to stop screwing around with wooden swords and get a real one, but Kenshin tries to talk him out of it, and he’s still required to do his chores and whatnot. His latest rebellious streak isn’t off to the best of starts.

Moody teenagers, am I right?

Yup. It’s another Yahiko story.

Meanwhile, upon seeing Yahiko, Gohei suddenly remembers his grudge with Kenshin, and decides to hire some assassins. Revenge, you know. It’s like his Oxycontin, I guess.

Do they accept Visa or MasterCard?

Hanging out in caves: how you found assassins before there was Craigslist.

Wooden Sword v. Umbrella

So, anyway, Gohei picks a fight with Yahiko, really stoking up his ego, and gets him to agree that they’ll meet up later for a proper smackdown. …Nothing creepy about a middle-aged man arranging a rendezvous with a cocky kid later on in the day, right?

So Yahiko, realizing that he’s agreed to a proper sword fight, goes for the only real you-know-what he has access to…

Boom-chicka-wah-wah.

Big moment of dramatic tension while Yahiko really, really touches Kenshin’s sword for the first time…

He's very Amused Dad about the whole thing.

Kenshin is totally aware that Yahiko’s just snuck out, but he blows it off, figuring Yahiko won’t get himself into too much trouble.

Anyway, on the way home from some errands, Kaoru happens to receive a message…

Instant message!

This is animated pretty awesomely.

Kenshin's feeling pretty guilty, now that he's realizing that he let Yahiko sneak away with his sword when he probably shouldn't've.

The message is from Gohei, telling Kenshin that he has to go to some place or another if he wants to get Yahiko back.

Oops!

Because, you see, Yahiko has managed to get himself captured.

So off Kenshin goes, even though he doesn’t have a sword.

Run, Yahiko! Run!

Luckily, Yahiko manages to escape with the sword. Problem is, though, he’s, like, half an episode away from where Kenshin is about to start fighting for his freedom.

But after some battling by Kenshin, and some running by Yahiko…

Yahiko kick!

Yahiko handles the reverse-blade pretty well… And scores a highly amusing kick to Gohei’s naughty man bits.

That's gonna sting.

Then Yahiko tosses the sword to Kenshin, and our ginger hero, of course, proceeds to totally win the fight.

Hugs!  <3

And then: the happy ending!

Episode 19: “Raijuta’s Ambition”

For a change of pace, the entire cast decides to take a vacation. Like… Everybody. Well, maybe not everybody, but a whole lot of characters.

That's a big vacation!

See?

Come to find out, the area they’re staying is is owned by a kid. Just a kid. He lost his parents when he was young, and he’s been raised by a bunch of servants who bow to his every whim. He’s… He’s a spoiled brat, to say the least.

Perfect first impression.

So, of course, Yahiko immediately takes a disliking to him.

Well, anyway, the kid is named Yutaro, and he’s desperately looking for a stern father figure in the form of a swordsman. And perfect timing, too! …Nooooo, not because Kenshin’s just showed up. But because this dude named– No, wait, let me give you some screen shots:

That's a lotta guys for one little kid.

A bunch of hooligans try to kidnap Yutaro. Just when Kenshin arrives to save the day, so too does this gigantic beast of a man named Raijuta.

Nothing says "father figure" like huge red fuzzy things on your shoulders.

Yutaro immediately adopts Raijuta as his sensei and gives him free reign to his mansion.

Now… Raijuta seems a smidge suspicious. He’s big, he’s mysterious, and he just conveniently shows up at the exact time Yutaro’s found himself in trouble. And, really, the whole Yutaro-almost-being-kidnapped thing seems suspicious, too. But Yutaro, being a kid desperate for some sort of structure, is totally blind to any weirdness, and becomes all about Raijuta.

Meanwhile, the vacation continues:

True story.

This is how I sleep.

Oh my!

The girls get a view at the hot springs…

Oh my! Oh my!

…And that view is a completely naked Kenshin.

Now, even though they’re on vacation, Kenshin’s being kinda emo. He’s just… I dunno… He’s in a weird place or something. He was sorta in a weird place towards the end of the last episode, too. I don’t recall there ever being any explanation, though; I think it’s just a case of him reacting to the plots or whatever. Maybe he needs a vacation from his vacation. …Actually, you know what? He’s barely had any time to work on his bromance with Sano. Maybe that’s what he needs: some adult time.

Clearly not practicing very well, though.

Instead of bromance time, though, he stumbles over Yutaro practing with his sword.

"Nothin' to see here, kid."

Kenshin’s already starting to think Raijuta’s up to no good, and running into him late at night, surrounded by dudes toting weapons… Yah. That doesn’t help Raijuta’s case, much.

Anyway, Yutaro is told to go back to the mansion so that the men can talk about man stuff. Yutaro hides behind a rock, though, yet manages not to hear much about Raijuta’s invitation to Kenshin: he’s planning on carving his own kingdom out of Japan using Yutaro’s money and land, and if Kenshin wants to join, that’d be awesome. If Kenshin doesn’t… Well…

This is how management works at my company, too.

Clearly, Kenshin wasn’t interested.

Bad time for a swim, kid.

In the ensuing battle, Yutaro gets knocked off a cliff and into the sea.

Sticky pickle.

Raijuta doesn’t care, but Kenshin does. And that serves to distract him.

The reverse blade sword is knocked out of Kenshin’s reach, and our ginger hero is pinned to the ground…

Episode 20: “Revival of the Shinko Style”

…But Kenshin’s not one to let a kid get hurt, so he goes all Psycho Kenshin, kicks some serious butt, gets his sword back, and jumps off the cliff to go after Yutaro. Raijuta believes them both dead, and goes back about the business of creating his illegal kingdom.

Cue the dramatic music.

I think every anime needs at least one scene like this, although they usually involve floating in the sky instead of sinking into the water, right?

Remember how I said that Kenshin had been all emo? It really comes out during the course of the next few scenes.

Sad panda.

Kenshin comes back with an unconscious Yutaro, and seems very drained, himself.

Good ol' Yahiko.

Yutaro wakes up and announces that he’s still all for Raijuta… And Yahiko, being Yahiko, reacts by kicking his backside across a grassy field.

Kaoru decides to offer Yutaro a few swordsmanship lessons since it becomes quickly apparent that Raijuta handed him a sword and then forgot to give him any clue whatsoever on how to hold or swing it. …Added bonus: it’s a good way to keep him safe and out of the mansion, which is Kenshin’s current goal.

So much nudity in this arc!

Yutaro accepts Kaoru’s offer, and then threatens Yahiko that he will have his revenge.

Raijuta, meanwhile, has invited his whole crew to crash at the mansion while they prepare to start a rebellion. Come to find out, though, the cops are on the case.

Kenshin really needs an "out of office" message.

Remember when I said that everybody was on vacation? Yah. Even the police guy from Tokyo who follows Kenshin around is there. Nice.

Yutaro finds out that something is up at the mansion, and he runs off to go find out what the dealy-o is. He’s still terribly attached to Raijuta, and he doesn’t want anything to happen to his home, so it seems pretty logical. And Kenshin, of course, figures it out right away and goes after him.

Episode 21: “The Dissolution of a Nightmare”

Ideal vacation viewing.

Kenshin ‘n’ crew go to the mansion and see the epic carnage: crazy revolutionaries fighting the military.

There is just a huge fight scene going on in the front yard of the mansion, and Kenshin gets there just in time to see people dying left and right. As a reaction, his emo attitude gets the better of him, and he just loses it. He stands in the middle of the anarchy and starts screaming his fool head off, announcing that everybody just needs to calm down, and then goes for Raijuta so he can put a stop to the insanity or whatever. …It’s not as intense as it would’ve been in other episodes; it’s more like an after school special, where you really expect his partner-in-bromance, Sano, to go over and give him a hug.

Meanwhile, Yutaro is running around trying to locate Raijuta, too. But, you know, for vastly different reasons than Kenshin.

That's a lot of plot points for one bleeding guy to deal with.

Yutaro stumbles over a familiar man in the woods, and finally realizes that Raijuta had plotted to have him kidnapped so that he could rescue him, be the hero, and win his favor.

Kenshin, Yutaro, and Raijuta all wind up in the same spot. Kenshin wants to stop Raijuta, Raijuta wants to kill Kenshin, and Yutaro wants them to be friends because he’s sort’ve hero-worshipping the both of them, now. Does it make sense? No, not really. Well… Maybe it does if you’re paying attention to how starved for a father figure Yutaro is. Okay. I guess it makes sense, after all. Kinda.

This isn't gonna turn out well.

Yutaro tries to get in-between his two father figures.

Yah. That didn't work.

Raijuta reacts by whoopin’ Yutaro to the ground.

Kenshin doesn’t take too kindly to Yutaro being hurt, so he goes totally nuts on Raijuta, defeats him, and sets the world back to right.

Kinda, anyway… You see, Yutaro got pretty hurt during the battle, and now it seems like he’ll never be able to hold a sword again. So he locks himself up in his mansion and becomes a bit of a recluse, eventually deciding to move to Germany in order to get away from all the bad memories of Japan.

Better than a "Get Well" card.

So Yahiko goes down to the boat dock and threatens to kick Yutaro’s butt into the ocean if he doesn’t cheer up.

After that, Yutaro feels a little better and becomes a “tentative” member of Kaoru’s dojo. (“Tentative” since he’s, you know, moving to Germany and all…)

Episode 22: “Danger on a Runaway Locomotive”

This is one of my favorite episodes, and I don’t know why. The plot is pretty awful, but it’s amusing enough that that doesn’t really matter. It’s also drawn in that weird style that pops up every now and then, like the script had been sent to the wrong animation studio.

Anyway, Japan has just received its first train, and Kaoru decides to buy tickets for her ‘n’ Yahiko ‘n’ Sano ‘n’ Kenshin to take a ride and experience the novelty. Sano is less than thrilled, though: he’s convinced the train is powered by an evil ghost or dragon, and when Kaoru mentions getting photographs taken later, he flips out about how cameras will steal the souls of those who stand in front of them. Kaoru is determined, though: she desperately wants to try on western clothes and eat chocolate, all of which are available at the other end of the train ride.

"You're gonna smile, and you're gonna like it!"

The day starts off with Kaoru and Sano getting along, like normal.

And things don’t get much better when they get on the train.

There’s a story going on, too, about some train robbers coming to steal the money on the last rail car. It’s there, but… Bleh. It’s a distraction from Sano totally freaking out about being on a train.

Amtrak Customer Service

Yahiko happens to find one of the bad guys while going to see the engine that Sano and Kaoru have been fighting about.

That seems completely within reason.

Kenshin, trying to get away from Sano and Kaoru’s battle, winds up fighting on the roof of one of the rail cars.

This plot is ridiculous.

Kenshin falls off the train and into the sea. Yahiko manages to get away from the bad guys and runs to go find Sano and Kaoru.

Where'd she get the wooden sword...?

Kaoru and Sano get to work, defeating the bad guys.

Absolutely reasonable.

Also: Pirates!

And then, because it wouldn’t be right if Kenshin wasn’t involved, he shows up on a magical horse. I mean, maybe the horse isn’t magical, but where did it come from; and hey, wasn’t he in the sea a few scenes ago, so how did he catch up; and why can it do this:

See?!?

FLYING MAGICAL HORSE.

Anyway, though: the robbery is thwarted, the bad guys are just left where they land, and the train continues on its way. All is good, and Kaoru and Sano manage to continue their bickering.

The best of friends.

Maybe Sano needs some chocolate, too.

And that concludes disc 5!

So what happens next? Well! You’ll just have to wait for disc 6 – “Flames of the Revolution”!

…It’s got a whole lot of Sanosuke in it, if I recall correctly. Hooray!

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