Episode 28 of Rurouni Kenshin introduced Saitou Hajime with a bang and officially kicked off one of the series' pivotal arcs. This is more obvious in the manga, which changed from small arcs barely connected to each other to large arcs that follow one another closely; the "Wham" aspect, however, is more pronounced in the anime, as it had just come off a string of lackluster filler episodes, making the coming episode a real shocker (which was even reflected in the previous episode's more ominous Post-Episode Trailer).
Before the end of episode 29, Kenshin finally encounters his pursuer. A long time enemy fought in the streets of Kyoto, where the blood ran heavy and passions were so fervent you'd swear it could catch the world on fire. In front of his crush and aspiring admirer, he begins his duel. As if it would seem it would end, however, his enemy counters back before he can even make a mark on him, and stabs him near his right lung. Our hero, is impaled without any warning. Everyone is shocked. Kaoru can do nothing but scream his name as he is apparently seriously wounded. Cut to end. Compared to the idealistic, courageous and heroic ends of the early first 28 episodes, this helped establish that this was the arc that was not going to hold back anything and that Kenshin was going to literally walk the edge of life or death and be pulled through hell every which way. A severe, and suspenseful grab of drama and intense emotional grip that let us know that being the hero is not going to be enough to pull through- And that everything was going to be put on the line.
Here comes Episode 30. That grim, glowering blue darkness, like a place in hell or limbo. Every which way, Kenshin is merely knocked and trashed like a ragdoll by Saito. But then he opens his eyes, and the real duel starts. Not even Kaoru can break Kenshin out of this one. The two were really going at it- Every second you could feel like they were really trying to eke their blades closer at each other and attempt to cut off each other's heads in those split seconds when they swung their katanas at each other. Yeah, this was the point where they were really trying to kill each other. Hell, Kenshin breaks Saito's sword, but then Saito goes at it with his belt, punches at Kenshin's open wound, and then tries to break his neck. Not only was this intense but supremely cool and manly in a way; Sanosuke states that only those from the streets of Kyoto back then, back then from that past decade who knew what it was like can break the two up- And guess who shows?
The anime makes a real attempt to distinguish this episode from previous ones stylistically, as well. It has a much darker, more slow and methodical atmosphere than other episodes, the backdrops change to being either at night or in perpetual cloudy gloom (compare to the sunny skies of previous episodes) and even the music consists mostly of new tracks. They also change the ending theme song. It does a very good job of sending the message that things are about to get very serious.
The arc which follows has quite a few Wham episodes of its own, such as Kenshin's sword being broken.
The other great Wham Moment of the series occurs when the restaurant Kenshin frequents is destroyed, and Enishi announces his Jinchuu ("Vengeance of Man", as opposed to "Vengeance of Heaven", which as the character discuss, is what most people at the timed thought of as the greatest source of punishment and justice) on Kenshin, changing the manga from the previous stereotypical shonen battle story to a more personal series. One of the greatest bugbears of fans to this day is that this was never animated.