YMMV / Rurouni Kenshin

The Manga and Anime:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Shishio. He wants what he thinks is best for his country, and has a complex but apparently genuine loving relationship with his girlfriend, and inspires genuine loyalty in his most devoted followers. On the other hand, this doesn't stop him from killing her, even if she was willing; he is clearly The Sociopath and a straight-up Card-Carrying Villain who fully expects to go (back) to Hell when he dies, and his vision of a "better" Japan is a Social Darwinist war-mongering tyranny and marks him as a precursor to the horrors of Showa-era Japan, and he commits numerous atrocities throughout the story as well. So, a (very, very dark) Anti-Villain and Well-Intentioned Extremist working on Blue and Orange Morality, or a sadistic megalomaniac? Or an unholy mixture of ALL OF THE ABOVE?
    • Kenshin's vision of Shishio in Hell during the Jinchuu arc. Is it a hallucination brought on from his failure to protect Kaoru or did Shishio really succeed in taking over Hell and is visiting Kenshin to taunt him over his failure?
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Emphatically does not apply to the show - RuroKen hit pretty big in America - but rather the Animax dub. Due to various issues, North America originally got its own English dub commissioned by Media Blasters (this is the one aired on Toonami and available on DVD). This dub is much more faithful to the Japanese and has no name changes. It's also widely considered to be much better acted. American fans who are aware of both dubs' existence universally hate the Animax dub. Amusingly, Richard Cansino plays Kenshin in both dubs.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: A bunch of them, some explained (and apologized for) by Watsuki-san himself.
    • Raijuta: He's a big, muscular man who appears to be a genuine threat when he first appears, but as the story progresses he's eventually shown up for the weakling he really is compared to Kenshin. This is even more obvious in the manga; in the anime, he at least had an imposing force of samurai warriors backing him up and actually is skilled enough to wipe out a corps of Meiji soldiers with a swipe.
    • Usui: Gets a huge build up, but is defeated by Saito in the space of less than ten minutes screen time.
    • Yatsume: Again, he's a victim of the "Saito effect".
    • The Su Shen: The author even admitted that they're only there to keep Saito, Aoshi, Sano and Yahiko occupied.
  • Anvilicious: Considering Kenshin's non-killing vow, the series does have shades of this, with Kenshin often saving his enemies in almost any circumstance despite the often intense enmity to him.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The Christian filler arc isn't necessarily a bad arc and is certainly one of the better arcs of the much despised third season, but it's kind of hard to convince anyone when the villain is a Christian who somehow learned the Hiten Mitsurugi Style.
  • Awesome Ego: Hiko may be arrogant, but he has every right to be.
  • Awesome Music: The TV show soundtrack, composed by Noriyuki Asakura, is still considered an all-time classic. It's particularly worth noting that at first it was kinda upbeat and lighthearted, but when the Kyoto arc started, Asakura changed to a Darker and Edgier approach. Both styles were memorable, but the latter is the one that most people consider to be the best. Here some examples:
  • Badass Decay:
    • Raijuta was supposed to be a bigger threat until Watsuki remembered that Kenshin had already demonstrated the ability to dodge bullets.
    • Kenshin has a little of this in the Kyoto arc but this was due to Watsuki's Character Development of Kenshin as he didn't want him to be an Invincible Hero and brought him strong enemies.
    • Enishi. When first encountering Kenshin, he brings him despair for all the chaos he has caused. In the final fight, it looks like they changed roles.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Kaoru.
    • For some, she's a good female lead with a great Character Development, and the only reason why she doesn't stand out more when it comes to action, is because she's Overshadowed by Awesome (and she hasn't Yahiko's advantage of being an Author Avatar). If you have doubts about her fighting skills or psychological strength, her supporters will gladly point out moments like breaking Jin'e's spell through sheer will and especially her victory over Kamatari and his humongous Sinister Scythe (with a broken wooden sword, no less).
    • Her detractors, however, see her only as a bratty girl or a Damsel Scrappy, whose character development only makes her more submissive. And her supposed "Awesome Moments"? For them, the Jin'e's spell thing was either just a lame Deus ex Machina via The Power of Love or she only survived due to Jin'e killing himself. Also, they consider Kamatari an Elite Mook at best and a total wimp at worst. On top of that, she even received some help from Misao (even if it all it did was to even the odds). It only gets worse when anyone mentions her Wangst after the farewell scene with Kenshin in the Kyoto arc. Part of this might be due to the fact that the anime, especially during Filler arcs, tend to amp up her more conceited and violent traits. And the whole death fake-out in the final arc really could have been better handled.
  • Bishonen Jump Syndrome: RuroKen was one of the first Shonen Jump series to cater to this, since many female fans were first attracted to the series because of the attractive male cast.
    • However, because it was such a new thing at the time, Watsuki kept getting in trouble with his editors, who demanded he make the series more male-targeted (observing the strict gender segregation shonen manga had at the time). Several times in early volumes, Watsuki apologizes for the series being more popular with girls than boys.
  • Broken Base: The manga versus the anime versus the OVAs. Fans of each rarely overlap (although the anime and OVAs have some overlap, for obvious reasons).
    • The fans who dislike the OVA's are extremely vocal about it. Read any RuroKen entry on this site (or any site discussing anime) and you're bound to find some snide remark about it. Unfortunately, that wrath is also typically visited upon any fans who don't hate the OVA's.
      • Ditto Season 3 of the TV series. The most vocal RK fans write off that season entirely, considering the series to have ended at Episode 62. They get quite offended if anyone suggests there were any decent episodes in there.
      • An anime reviewer who had heard the complaints about Season 3 decided to actually watch it objectively, concluding that the Christian arc isn't that bad (though it is long and nowhere near as good as the Kyoto arc), and the filler is actually decent up to Episode 82. It's those last 12 TV episodes where things completely derailed. The video-only Episode 95 is considered good even by fans who hate the rest of the season.
    • Watsuki admitted that some fans started reading the series during the final arc when he pretended Kaoru was dead shocking all readers and characters only to reveal shortly afterwards she was alive.
    • There are heated arguments in Japan over the final battle of Kenshin and Shishio in Shin Kyoto Hen Part 2 regarding its controversial ending. Shishio's skull starts to crack from the pressure building up in his body as it overheats, but it's held together by his hachigane. Kenshin kills Shishio by aiming a blow from the butt of his sword at the hachigane, shattering it and allowing his head to split open. Yes, Kenshin actually killing Shishio despite his vow affected the fanbase. To make it more surprising, he isn't even shocked about murdering him.
    • The Reflections OVA. It's either a good, if not bittersweet alternate, non-canon ending to a series or it's an In-Name-Only mess that was a slap in the face.
    • The Shin Kyoto Hen OVA's. These are usually what people talk about when arguments about the OVA quality pop up. Some find them to be "good for the fans" in that they provide an interesting, though not outsider-friendly, retelling of the Kyoto arc with new nice animation and a more serious tone. The story changes in enough places to add further intrigue so that some of the scenes and interactions can be fresh. Detractors feel that the story's a mess and that the Adaptation Distillation just doesn't work here; and further feel that the Darker and Edgier feel is to the story's detriment (especially in the case of Kenshin who some argue underwent Adaptational Villainy). The series is often compared to the live-action films as both are Pragmatic Adaptations with detractors arguing that the live-action movies handled it much better.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Jin-E Udo is a remorseless Blood Knight and Serial Killer who lives for murder. In the era of peace, Jin-E makes his living as an assassin who goes out of his way to slaughter as many human beings as possible for the fun involved. When he encounters Kenshin Himura again, Jin-E becomes obsessed with turning Kenshin into a killer like him and kidnaps his Love Interest Kaoru Kamiya. When Kenshin arrives, Jin-E uses his powers of hypnosis to freeze her in place and force Kenshin to break his vow to never take another life as the hypnosis will be lifted only if Jin-E dies and Kaoru's body will shut down within minutes.
    • Kanryu Takeda is an industrialist who earns a massive amount of profit by hooking innocent and desperate people on opium. To this end, he enslaves Doctor Megumi Takani, having killed her mentor, and forces her to create a drug to destroy lives. When his elite bodyguards, the Oniwaban Group, turn on him, Takeda unveils a Gatling gun and opens fire on their leader, killing the rest of the group when they try to save him. Kanryu simply gloats how invincible he is before trying to kill everyone else, bragging about how his money gives him the right to do anything he wants.
    • Gein, Enishi's Dragon, is a Psycho for Hire, Blood Knight, and an all around sicko who joins Enishi's campaign and offers him advice on mind raping Kenshin, not for revenge, but for kicks and a chance to test his abilities. He makes puppets out of corpses, kills or murders everyone who crosses his path, works as an Arms Dealer, sees war as a chance for fun and intellectual masturbation, and was the mastermind behind the plan to fake Kaoru's murder, just to screw with Kenshin's head. On top of that, he was named after Ed Gein.
  • Crazy Awesome: Shishio is a villainous example.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Most of the major antagonists are sympathetic (and quite Bishōnen to boot) and rank consistently in the top ten during character polls. Watsuki later attempted to avert this by making the antagonists of the Jinchuu Arc Complete Monsters. It didn't necessarily work.
  • Ear Worm: Oh GOD the first opening, Sobakasu. It's such an upbeat song that you can't get out of your head and it'll easily get you in a happier mood when you're feeling depressed and gloomy! (Even though ironically, it's actual lyrics are fairly sad and a bit deep.) It's telling that Sobakasu sold over 1 million single albums back when the anime was first airing.
    • Many opening and ending songs in the franchise as a whole especially in the 1996 TV anime series count as this too.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The best example is probably Soujirou, a minor villain in the Kyoto arc who stole every appearance he made. Word of God is that he intended to bring Soujirou back at some point because he felt underused for all the fans he had, but he never did.
    • Also Okita Souji, who ranked decently in the first character popularity poll (something like 7th place?) despite having only appeared in two or three panels in a flashback at that point. Interestingly, Watsuki based Soujirou on Okita Souji (they're practically twins), and notes in Soujirou's profile that Okita has always been incredibly popular among Shinsengumi fans. He credits this for Okita coming in so high on the poll.
    • Enishi: Most of his fans outright ignore or forget that Enishi was a It's All About Me Sociopath who murdered an innocent family and stole their riches. They also ignore that he's been like this ever since childhood.
  • Evil Is Cool: Shishio to the point of being one of (if not the!) most popular villain, all owning to his cool fighting style.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Yumi, often by way of Kimono Fanservice. Deliberately so: she was originally a High-Class Call Girl, as indicated by the knot on her kimono being tied in the front rather than the back.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Enishi. What's with the blue muscle shirt, Chinese pants and Lennon Specs? Does he dress in the dark?
  • Faux Symbolism: The cross-shaped scar (a mark) on a character who is Walking the Earth after committing murder brings to mind the Biblical story of Cain. Also, the cross is a symbol of redemption, and Kenshin is trying to make up for his checkered past. The fact that it is probably Kenshin's "cross to bear" is made more obvious in the Shimabara/Christian Revolt filler arc, as well as the accompanying ED "1/3 Junjou na Kanjou." However, the real reason why Watsuki added it? He thought Kenshin looked too feminine. But to be fair, he made the best of it to create an awesome story during the Jinchu arc, specially the flashback episodes.
  • Foe Yay: Every one of Kenshin's rivals has this to some degree.
    • Sanosuke X Saito might as well be canon. It doesn't help that Sano acts very tsun towards Saito, and his reaction to seeing Saito alive again after Saito had disappeared in the collapsing enemy lair...
    • Besides Kenshin, what's the most popular ship with Kaoru? Enishi. It helps that Enishi cannot bring himself or anyone else to harm Kaoru and Kaoru is willing to cook for him during her stay with him. And that's not getting into the discussion of how Enishi got Kaoru out of her training uniform and into a robe...
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Sony/Animax dub is surprisingly popular overseas. This is in spite of a few name changes to the primary cast (Kaoru —> Kaori and Yahiko —> Yoshi); the dub in question does start to grow a small beard around the time the Kyoto arc kicks off, though, with a particularly solid performance from Shishio himself.
    • The series got immensely popular all over the world. Some famous examples are Latin America, a big chunk of Europe (specially France, Spain, Italy and, to a lesser degree, Germany) and Eastern Asia. In all of those places, the series is considered an all-time classic, and it still has reruns and re-prints. This, arguably, contributed to the substantial global hype that demanded the 2012 live-action film be released theatrically in other countries too (see below).
      • One of the most iconic cases is Spain. The series arrived there in the summer of 1998 under the name "The Samurai Warrior" ("El guerrero samurai" in Spanish) and became the most watched program of the station it was in. It became an instant classic for Spaniard anime geeks, which is specially surprising when you consider it was broadcast on Saturday mornings (luckily, with no censorship). The manga came one year later and rights were acquired by the Spanish branch of Glénat, a French publisher. That branch was at the brink of bankruptcy when they started to publish it, but the success of the manga was so big that practically single-handedly made Glénat the biggest manga publisher in Spain. Thanks to that success, Glénat could acquire other big hits like Love Hina, Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, and many more. Plus, in 2010 they started a special reprint (the same one started in Japan that same year) and still managed to top the manga charts in Spain. Wow! Spaniards Love The Samurai Warrior indeed!
      • Latin America gives Spain a run for its money. Under the name Samurai X it was dubbed and shown uncut and gave many kids their first taste of anime.
      • In Argentina the manga was published and it's considered a quasi essential manga for any Argentinian fan.
  • Growing the Beard: The Kyoto Arc, starting with Saito, not only does the animation drastically improve in the anime, but the story moves out of the Monster of the Week format to a long story arc.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Seeing how disheveled Kenshin's clothes are, Misao asks if his wife left him... sort of?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Watsuki-san noted in his character profiles that he based Kurogasa/Udo Jin-e on the historical assassin Okada Izo. Fast forward today where (as detailed above) Takeru Satoh, who played Izo in Ryomaden, plays Kenshin. This comes full circle when the film incarnation of Jin-e, who was based originally on Izo, claims to be a more genuine assassin than Kenshin-as-Battousai. Trippy? You bet.
    • Back in Kamen Rider Den-O, Takeru Satoh played Ryotaro, who is the nominal Kamen Rider, a living anomaly referred to as a Singularity Point. How does one mark a point? With an X.
    • He was known for saying "henshin", now he goes by Kenshin. Not hilarious but definitely silly.
    • Shishio, voiced by Steve Blum in the American English dub by Media Blasters, occasionally compares himself to being a demon (granted he believes that he is right) and expects to go to Hell when he dies and, following his death via internal combustion, is shown along with Yumi and Houji in the underworld with the ambition of taking it over. Later in 2010, Blum would provide the voice of Satan himself in Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic who in turn has an ambitious goal of his own in ruling all three realms (Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven) of the afterlife.
    • In both English dubs Richard Casino voices Kenshin, a hero with an infamous reputation that strictly adheres to Thou Shall Not Kill. In the English dub of the Trigun anime Casino voices Legato Bluesummers, a major antagonist to another Thou Shall Not Kill hero with an infamous reputation- Vash the Stampede. Even more hilarious, Legato bears a passing resemblance to Aoshi, one of Kenshin's major opponents. note 
  • Ho Yay:
    • Kenshin to Sano, most obviously in the anime: the adaptation adds one last duel between them not present in the manga, and when Sano collapses from pain, Kenshin catches him and lets out a rather tender smile.
    • Saito and Sano have a nice case of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
    • One of the prototype one-shots had Kenshin see this between Megumi and Kaoru (he says something to the effect of "Oooh, so that's why she doesn't want to get married."). They were sisters in that universe.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie:
    • Enishi. Yeah, he did go through lots of heartbreak, but he also left others completely broken.
    • For some fans, Sadoshima Houji becomes this after he kills himself. Also an in-story example, as Kenshin expresses pity for him once he's told about that.
    • Amakusa's Start of Darkness comes when he's a child and both his parents and his whole Christian village is slaughtered, with only him and little Sayo as survivors. Doesn't necessarily mean he was less of a bastard as an adult.
    • Kenji in Seisouhen had a horrible childhood with a constantly absent father and a mother dying of a grief and skin disease she caught from said father, but it doesn't make him any less of a brat, when he refuses to come back and let both of his parents say goodbye to him before they die, and runs away to Hiko to find "real strength".
  • Love to Hate: Shishio Makoto is a brutal Social Darwinist who causes many atrocities in the series, yet his odd sense of honor makes him the perfect adversary to Kenshin due to his genuine desire to make Japan strong. The author Watsuki even considers him his favorite villain of the series.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Shishio and Enishi. For an anti-heroic version, Saito.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Enishi's murdering of a kind family who took him in. Any sympathy for him instantly died.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • FUTAE NO KIWAMI AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    • ...oro? note 
    • Hatarakitakunai degozaru! Zettai ni hatarakitakunai degozaru!!" (働きたくないでござる!絶対に働きたくないでござる!!; I will not work, there is no way I will work!) A Japanese meme that heavily implies Kenshin's status as a NEET.
    • "Kenshin's left foot," lampshading that his ultimate ability is made possible simply by leading with his other foot.
  • Moe:
    • Kaoru.
    • Sanjou Tsubame.
    • Misao.
    • Seta Soujirou.
    • Honjou Kamatari.
    • Toki Takatsuki.
  • Narm:
    • The Colombian Spanish dub is pretty infamous for this, partly due to the odd pronunciation of many of the names of the charactersnote  and due of the uneven quality of the acting. The most notorious example of this is Kenshin's Colombian voice actor, as he use the same voice tone for both his regular form and his Battousai mode, making him sound like he was bored all the time.
    • The final arc in the anime where Kenshin goes up against Feng Shui wizards. While the series had its share of "super-human" powers this one was really pushing it with the Feng Shui users basically having magic at their disposal and said magic being Feng Shui of all things. It gets especially cringeworthy when the anime starts arguing that the Opium Wars in China were a result of the Chinese abandoning Feng Shui.
    • The Hitokiri Battousai killing Gentatsu in the opening scene of the Ishinshishi e no Requiem movie is indeed a very important scene that would set up the eventual conflict between Kenshin and Shigure. By the third time the scene is replayed, however, it begins to lose its impact and would be replayed several more times throughout the movie.
  • Seasonal Rot: Anime only. Everything after the Kyoto Arc was filler and widely agreed to be inferior to the rest of the series.
    • Fans who argue the above forget that over a third of Season 1 was also filler, and the Raijuta arc was changed so much as to be completely unrecognizable (the only things that arc has in common between media are Raijuta's technique and Yutaro's fate).
      • Four episodes in Season 3 are actually taken from an officially-produced novella ("Voyage to the Moon World"; the novel's author is given story credit). Not technically canon, but not made-out-of-whole-cloth filler either.
    • Watsuki might disagree about it being confined to the anime. He was unhappy with the way parts of the Jinchuu arc turned out, particularly the battles against The Six Comrades and many of their character designs (one was a pretty blatant rip-off of Venom). He also admitted the... thing... with Kaoru was badly executed.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. One notable occasion is when Sanosuke interrupts Megumi's suicide attempt (upon reaching her in Kanryu Takeda's mansion where she was being held) and then Kenshin explains that no matter how bad one feels about their past actions, killing oneself will not undo the damage that has been done. Only living on to confront the effects of those ramifications will help to remedy those problems. In a day and age when many people are struggling with severe clinical depression, and in a country with long-time problems with suicide, it's an important sentiment.
    • Following the victory of Team Kenshin over Shishio and the Juppongatana, Yahiko started to go into a monologue about how he thinks of this as being a sign of divine approval of sorts, however Kenshin is quick to warn that they can't hubristically claim their victory as being any sort of mandate that their ideals are inherently superior. Team Kenshin are only as Human as anybody else (and to quote a real-life incident, when a White house official similarly claimed that the Union's victory over the Confederacy was a sign of divine providence, President Abraham Lincoln warned that "We don't know the Will of God") and that claiming such unfounded superiority would make them no better than Shishio. In a time of increasingly bitter political and ideological bickering in the 2010s, it would be nice if certain ideological extremists either in authority or wanting to be elected to positions of authority would get that memo.
  • Squick:
    • Gein makes puppets out of dead people.
    • That fish they're eating in Episode 81? The one that's been cut into little bits and arranged neatly on a plate? It's still alive.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When first confronting Kenshin, Saito suggests that his refusal to kill his sworn enemies could indirectly endanger the innocent people he cares about, and in fact already has multiple times. This is supposed to be Saito's Hannibal Lecture, but many fans think he not only makes a damn good point, but exposes the critical flaw in Kenshin's philosophy. Several times throughout the series before and after this point, Kenshin's friends are at the mercy of enemies he formerly refused to kill, and survive by getting lucky.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The Media Blasters dub is very well liked so this was naturally the reaction to many of the future Kenshin projects, most notably the OVA's, which had to recast the actors; especially since most of the Japanese cast reprised their roles. Shin Kyoto Hen especially had a number of critics lambast the dub for sounding flat and having much less personality than the original anime's cast.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Saitou's wife Tokio is mentioned once, with Misao and Kenshin utterly dumbfounded that someone like him could ever have married somebody and Kenshin himself wondering if she had the patience of Buddha. It's a shame she never appears onscreen as it could have made for some interesting interactions with Saitou.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • The Kyoto Arc is the most well regarded arc of Rurouni Kenshin. The themes, fights, and character development all really hit their stride in this arc. The anime got an animation bump, Saitou was introduced, Kaoru and Yahiko each got their own major fights, and Shishio is seen as the best villain to come out of the series. What followed inevitably fell into the Kyoto arc's shadow. Many argue that the anime went under Seasonal Rot after the arc was concluded, and while the Jinchuu arc in the manga has its fans, it also has a few detractors and many who feel that it just couldn't surpass the Kyoto arc. The live-action adaptations also conclude at the end of the Kyoto arc.
    • The Trust and Betrayal OVA, an adaptation of the Jinchu arc story showing Kenshin's time as a manslayer, has received universal praise from fans and critics due to the darker and more mature animation and story. However, when it came time to adapt some of the "Rurouni" storylines with the same Darker and Edgier tone, fans didn't appreciate this. As a result, the OVAs that followed, Reflections and Shin Kyoto Hen, failed to gain the same praise their predecessor did.
  • Ugly Cute: Beshimi is very odd looking and mousy, but not as physically out there as the rest of the Oniwaba group. The Author was surprised at having received fanmail gushing about how cute he was.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Shura stresses a strict code of ethics as a pirate; she only steals from the rich and the corrupt to aid her starving village and she doesn't want women and children harmed. It's rather jarring how much of her underlings's behavior she tolerates though, not blinking an eye as the mercilessly slaughter crews full of unarmed fleeing sailors. Her no kill rule especially seems odd as she does nothing while Yahiko and Kaoru are being attacked and nearly killed, and she only objects when Kaoru is taken prisoner.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Kenshin. Not helped by being voiced by women in Japanese versions: ex-Takarazuka actress Mayo Suzukaze in the anime, Megumi Ogata in the CD dramas. There's also a story that he inspired the character Baiken in Guilty Gear when the character designer for the game mistook Kenshin for a woman.
  • Wangst: Kaoru's reaction to Kenshin's farewell in the beginning of the Kyoto arc. While the scene itself was very sad (especially with the addition of the fireflies in the anime), her becoming incredibly mopey and chewing out Megumi for trying to get her to snap out of it hasn't gone over with RK fans, both Kaoru haters (often citing this moment as the reason why they hate her) and Kaoru fans (who felt that it was overdone) alike. Watsuki later apologized for it and Kaoru feels very ashamed when Tsubame brings it up in the Jinchuu arc (off-handedly saying that the fans would never forgive her if she decided to do something like that again).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: The Kaoru bashers LOVE to apply this to her, calling her "whiny bitch" and "useless whore" for being emotional and outspoken and sometimes prone to Tender Tears. It reaches gross extremes when they systematically deny anything good she ever has done in the series and demand her TO DIE.
    • In volume six of the manga, it is revealed that she is one of the top six dojo masters in Japan and has earned the nickname Kenjutsu Princess—many boys at the Maekawa dojo only show up on days Kaoru instructs. Word of God also states that Kaoru is a very powerful fighter, but she often gets overshadowed by Kenshin and Sano.

The 2012 Live-action Film

  • Awesome Music: The film trilogy's soundtracks composed by Naoki Sato (also responsible for Eureka Seven) are all great and usually one of the most highly regarded parts of the films. Rurouni, Hiten, and First Dungeon are just a few examples.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the big battle of The Movie, Sanosuke goes against The Brute for an awfully-drawn-out battle... leading to him calling a timeout. They both stop. And eat. Until The Brute turns out to be a vegetarian who doesn't take kindly to Sanosuke tearing into that roast chicken. He has no problem sharing the booze, though...
  • Complete Monster:
    • Kanryu Takeda likes to pass himself off as a successful businessman and an example of what the Japanese can accomplish in the new era of the Meiji. However, he is an oppressive drug lord who takes glee in finding, then murdering, police informants and putting them in the open so people could find. He also directly murders, through Jin-E, a department of the police while chasing after Megumi Takani who he had forced to make his brand new opium. To test the new opium as well he kidnapped users off the street, locked them in his secret room in his office, and saw how far they degraded while under his new drug, all with a smile on his face. However, his worst act is when he learns Megumi is taking shelter in the Kamiya Dojo and, after Kenshin refused to be bought by him, he poisons a district all around the Kamiya Dojo. If it weren't for Megumi, there'd be hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths directly on his hands.
    • Jin-E Udo seems like a normal Psycho for Hire, but he doesn't murder and kill for profit; he just likes to kill. When he pulled himself out of the mountain of corpses he accumulated in the Battle of Toba Fushimi, he took up Kenshin's killing sword as his own. For ten years, he's committed murders in Kenshin's name, calling himself Hitokiri Battosai to strike fear into people. When he storms the police department on the trail of Megumi Takani, he could have easily just evaded the officers but instead purposely started a horrific attack on the station and left a gory tapestry of death, even messing with one officer with his "Shino Ippo" to force him to stand still as Jin-E impaled him slowly to savor it. In the last act of the film, he kidnapped Kaoru while Kenshin was saving Megumi from Kanryu. When Kenshin showed up, he first kicked Kaoru down a stone staircase to make sure she'd hit every step just to piss Kenshin off, and then paralyzed her lungs using the Shino Ippo. When Kaoru broke through it with her own spirit and after Kenshin had shattered his elbow, Jin-E has the last laugh by stabbing himself just to spite Kenshin and spit on his Thou Shall Not Kill code.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In the 2012 movie: Akira getting up once after getting sliced by Kenshin? Noble and tear-jerking Determinator stuff. Akira getting up twice after getting sliced again, with Kenshin getting an exasperated look on his face? Hilarious! Akira still managing to cling to life, all the while muttering how he's not going to die and how he has to live then Kenshin stabs him coldly through the neck? Then Kenshin realizing the gravity of taking a life afterwards? Not so much.
  • Love to Hate: Kanryu was always one of the most hatable villains across all of Rurouni Kenshin's adaptations, but Teruyuki Kagawa manages to replace Kanryu's sliminess with pure ungodly ham. Much of Kanryu's whiny cowardice is downplayed and his jackassery cranked Up to Eleven. When he's firing the gattling gun, he's smoking a fat cigar and having the time of his life.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Kanryu ordering the water in Kaoru's neighborhood to be poisoned. A good number children would have died. All just to flush out Megumi.
  • Spiritual Licensee: At least some parts of The Movie would also make for a very good live-action epilogue for Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai.

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