Rurouni Kenshin, Season 2, Disc 3 – “Heart of the Sword”
**post by nichan**
I had my mom dye my hair today. By complete coincidence, I realized that with the colour and the cut, I could totally cosplay as Kenshin right now… assuming I was any good with hair gel, that is. It really is the year of Kenshin, I guess!
But, more importantly, this is disc 3 of the second season: “The Heart of the Sword”.
Episode 36: “Across the Boundary Between Edo and Meiji: Kenshin and Shishio Face to Face!”
So when last we left off, Sojiro had been sent by Shishio to greet Kenshin and Hajime and lead them to his current location. And, yes, that is the kid’s name… I finally remembered to write it down!
This is the episode where the second season starts to derail into the absurd a bit. There’s going to be an irrationally sized and shaped bad guy, an infinitesimally large room to battle in, and a fight that’s dragged out for absolutely no reason. Things occasionally feel like “Dragon Ball Z” in season 2, and this is one of those times.
Anyway, instead of fighting, Kenshin stands there and listens to Shishio drone on for awhile. The usual anime stuff: a long, complex, drawn-out monologue on why he’s the bad guy. You’d think this would be the point where the good guy and the bad guy go after each other, but noooooooooo… That’d be too easy. Sheesh.
So then Shishio finally finishes his yammering, and it’s finally time for a fight, right? …But no. It’s not that easy. Instead of Kenshin fighting Shishio, Kenshin has to fight this guy, instead:
Anyway, Hajime just stands by and narrates what’s probably going on in Kenshin’s head under the ruse of calmly talking to Sojiro. Eventually it’s revealed (via Hajime’s monologue) that Shishio’s watching the fight very closely to figure out Kenshin’s fighting methods, and that Hajime decides not to attack Sojiro because he’s not sure how he’ll react. Yah. Okay. (*yawn*)
Episode 37: “Shock! Reverse Blade Sword Broken: Sojiro’s Tenken versus Kenshin”
After a bunch of repetitive footwork, Kenshin finally knocks the goofy-looking bad guy to the ground:
Well, anyway, with the defeat of the goofy guy, you might get your hopes up that Kenshin and Shishio are about to go head-to-head, right? Yah… Not so much.
Shishio decides that, instead of fighting Kenshin personally, he’ll lend his sword to Sojiro and have him fight our ginger haired hero.
Hajime decides to call it a draw, and Sojiro accepts, then leaves. Kenshin is just frozen, staring blankly at his broken sword… The one that’d served him well over ten years of fighting without killing. Ahh, poor Kenshin! (*pout*)
Sojiro’s caught up to Shishio by this point, and hands the busted sword back to him. Shishio inspects it and is impressed…
So Kenshin, Misao, and Hajime drag the goofy looking bad guy back to the village that had been under his siege, and the villagers celebrate. There’s just one problem left, and that’s what to do with the little boy. Deciding that leaving him behind isn’t the best idea (since his whole family’s been wiped out, and the villagers hadn’t been very supportive about the situation), Hajime makes the announcement that his wife will take care of the boy.
Episode 38: “Sanosuke’s Secret Training: The Challenge of Anji, the Destroyer”
This episode starts out with Misao and Kenshin only a day or so away from Kyoto. They’re on a pretty beach, with a forest in the background, and Misao’s yammering on like usual. Kenshin, meanwhile, slowly gets dragged into a rare fit of self-doubt: do Yahiko, Kaoru, Sano, and Megumi really care about him? Do they really miss him? Would they really be concerned if he were to die in Kyoto? It’s only a few seconds’ worth of scene, and only involves a few words, but it comes through pretty clear. …Totally felt bad for Kenshin, there, even if it was sort of his fault for leaving the way he did. (Even if he did it for a reason.)
But this episode isn’t about Kenshin or Misao. It’s about Sanosuke. Hooray! (By the way, I think I keep changing the way I’m spelling his name. I wonder why…?)
Sano, you see, is still lost in the woods, trying to find his way to Kyoto. One day he comes across this guy who looks like he’s about a hundred years ahead of the goth movement:
Sano watches Anji turn a few stones to dust with his fingers, and decides he wants in on that. His whole reason for following Kenshin to Kyoto, anyway, is to prove he’s not a burden. The bromance was broken by Kenshin’s leaving and Hajime’s explanation, if you’ll recall. So Sano wants to power up. Smushing stones with his hands seems like an awesome bonus skill.
After a week, though, things are getting pretty dire: Sano hasn’t broken a rock, but he sure has done some damage to his knuckles. With only a few hours left until sudden power or sudden death, Sano gets a surprise visitor:
Captain Sagara tells Sano to give up, but Sano counters with his own story about how much he needs to go find Kenshin and prove his worth. Like Megumi (I don’t think I covered this, but it happened), his life has been changed by Kenshin’s influence, and he can’t just let his bromantical partner take the world on by himself. So Captain Sagara fades away, and Sano becomes even more determined to succeed.
With his time up, and his ability to break rocks with his fingers confirmed, Sano heads off on the way to Kyoto (thanks to directions provided to him by Anji).
And then, just as Sano walks away…
Come to find out, Anji is one of Shishio’s men! …Oh, the plot twists!
Episode 39: “The Creator of the Reverse Blade: Shakku Arai’s Final Swing”
Guess who’s finally made it to Kyoto?
Misao takes Kenshin to the restaurant where her makeshift family lives: an old man who acts as her grandfather, two women, and two men. They’re all members of the Oniwaban.
Misao runs off to take a bath, so Okina and Kenshin sit down to have a chat. Okina immediately calls Kenshin out on his identity and mission, and then suggests they join forces against Shishio. Kenshin’s reluctant, but realizes he’s not going to win, because Okina’s gonna help him out whether he wants it or not.
So Kenshin gives him the task of tracking down two men, one of whom is the creator of his now broken reverse blade sword. …After a few days, Okina comes back with the bad news that the original maker is now dead. The good news, however, is that he has a son who’s known for his ability to make knives.
Okina, Misao, and Kenshin go off to find Seiku, the knife maker, to see if he’ll create another reverse blade sword.
Eventually a woman shows up and explains that Seiku is her husband, and the little kid is her son. Feeling a bit better, Kenshin asks to try out a knife to see the quality of the blade.
Eventually Seiku shows up, and though his wife realizes how powerful of a swordsman Kenshin is, he refuses to either make another sword, or to provide another pre-made sword.
The issue of Kenshin’s sword remains up in the air…
But, meanwhile, Shishio’s returned to Kyoto and his impenetrable and ill-lit fortress, full of dark and absurdly sized rooms, and chock full of minions (yet mysteriously totally empty of people). Yup… Shishio’s living the stereotypical bad guy lifestyle.
So now that he’s back, he starts chatting with his right hand man. Or… Maybe left hand man, I guess. It seems like Sojiro is his right hand man, so maybe Houji is his left hand man. Well, whatever… Point is, the guy’s always around from here on out. Shishio explains to him that he’s invited his Juppongatana to Kyoto: the best of the best of his army. Houji gets stupid excited about this. It means that big things are on the way.
One of the Juppongatana are already present:
Just as Chou, Houji, and Shishio are discussing plans, a report comes in that Kenshin is in Kyoto, and that Seiku refused to give him his father’s last sword. Chou lights up like Christmas to hear that the last sword of Shakku Arai is still out there, somewhere, and he gets all giddy to run off and collect it. Shishio tells him not to do anything stupid, but there’s really no stopping Chou when he wants a sword.
In a fit of desperation, Seiku’s wife blurts out that Shakku’s last sword had long since been donated to a nearby temple. Giddy with excitement, Chou heads off to collect it, baby in tow.
Misao, still determined that Kenshin’s going to get his reverse blade sword from Seiku, stumbles upon the scene and hears the story. She runs off to a carrier pigeon place and sends Okina a message explaining the whole situation.
So what happens next??? What will Kenshin do with a broken reverse blade? And what will Chou do with the baby? And will anyone score Shakku Arai’s last sword? And will Sano ever make it to Kyoto? And what happened to Yahiko and Karou?
Well! You’ll just have to wait for Disc 4 of Season 2: “Between Life and Death”!