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Film / Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

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Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning (るろうに剣心 最終章 The Beginning, Rurouni Kenshin: Saishūshō – Za Biginingu) is a 2021 Japanese live-action film based on the Tsuioku-hen arc of the Rurouni Kenshin manga series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It was released in Japanese cinemas on June 4th, 2021 and internationally on July 30th for Netflix. It is the fifth and final released installment in the Rurouni Kenshin film series, serving as a Prequel to the preceding four films. This film was released two months after Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, with both films being billed as the conclusion.

The Bakumatsu has taken its toll on Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh), who has now made a name for himself as the Hitokiri Battōsai. Neverending days of killing important Shogunate figures have transformed this once hopeful boy into a stoic, unforgiving murderer. However, when he crosses paths with a mysterious woman named Yukishiro Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura), it triggers a series of events that will define him for the rest of his life.

Chronlogically, this film is followed by Rurouni Kenshin.

Previews: Trailer.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Much like Tsuiokuhen before it, major fight sequences are punctuated by a significant amount of character discussions and interactions, emphasizing the drama and human cost the Bakumatsu has been wreaking on everyone—no less to the two main characters Kenshin and Tomoe.
  • Adaptation Distillation: For the most part, the film is a near-pitch perfect recreation of the Tsuiokuhen OVA, with the characters and narrative beats taken from it more than the original manga arc. That said, there are some key differences:
    • Small but notable screen-time was given to the women of the Hagi-ya Inn where Kenshin, Katsura and the men of Choshu stay in—ostensibly as a comment on the gender dynamics of the period. Tomoe has notable interactions with the proprietess and the other staff, noting their daily issues with how the men of Choshu just do everything they want at their expense. Similarly, the geisha Ikumatsu (Katsura's later Real Life wife) serves as a sounding board to Katsura's reflections on how he has been ordering Kenshin around—and how that is ruining Kenshin's soul.
    • The swordsmith Arai Shakku features in a cameo during a conversation between Katsura, Katagai and Iizuka—suggesting that in this version, he is not just a swordsmith selling swords to all involved in the wars, he is in fact directly retained by Choshu. He also quite manically hands over a prized sword to Katsura—the katana Kenshin will be using as Battosai for most of his kills. This makes it a poetic Call-Forward in that while Shakku has enabled Battosai's murders, he will also eventually be tied directly to Kenshin's later pacifist vow.
    • The Shinsengumi, much like in the source material, features in a major capacity, especially during the Ikeda-ya raid. That said, while a bulk of the Shinsengumi leadership did have background information available about them during the manga arc (as well as supplementary material and official artworks), the only ones with major speaking roles are Saito, Okita and—for a first—their commander, Kondo Isami.
    • The major confrontation between Kenshin, Saito and Okita (originally occurring in the tail-end of the storyline) was compressed with the raid on the Ikeda-ya. Furthermore, whereas Kenshin almost always confronted the Shinsengumi on his own in the source material, here Katagai and the men of Choshu eventually backed him up, using their numbers to intimidate and deter the Shinsengumi into apprehending Kenshin and letting them go.
    • The circumstances of Kenshin unwittingly drawing her katana at Tomoe's throat was also re-arranged—in that while it was during a random afternoon nap for Kenshin, it happens in the immediate aftermath of the Kinmon incident, Choshu's Darkest Hournote —casting the moment as Kenshin being on a serious bout of Heroic BSoD before coming to his senses and eventually committing that he would never harm Tomoe. The Hagi-ya, instead of being burnt down, was merely raided by the Shinsengumi (not unlike the Ikeda-ya), but Kenshin, Tomoe and the remaining men of Choshu were able to escape in the nick of time.
    • The circumstances of Kenshin receiving the second half of his cross-scar, while virtually identical, are given a subtle change: whereas a) Tomoe's tanto accidentally flew to his face during her death in the manga, and b) Tomoe struggles to give it to him personally with her dying breath in the OVA, the film has it hew more to the OVA, with the key difference being Kenshin actually guides her blade to his face, symbolically and literally accepting his guilt at her tragic fate.
    • Iizuka's comeuppance for his role in the Yaminobu plot and Tomoe's death was reduced to Katsura's exposition—if only to keep the emotional weight centered on Kenshin's mourning and the latter's declaration of ending his killing after the Revolution.
    • Finally, how Kenshin handles Tomoe's diary and come to terms with her back story borrows from both the OVA and the manga: Iizuka does point Kenshin to the diary to sell that she is the Yaminobu spy (and thus disorient him for the fatal encounter), but Kenshin also eventually reads the diary in its entirety after Katsura left, much like the manga. Furthermore, some more detail was shown of Kenshin's last day with Tomoe's corpse—with him cooking one last meal, recollecting all of their memories and him coming to terms with how she truly, eventually loved him despite their sordid history.
  • Adaptation Expansion: An original scene involves Tomoe bringing Kenshin out to observe the festivities of the Gion Matsuri—and their conversation turns into a more introspective discussion on Kenshin's motivations. Tomoe directly suggests, not without reason, that Kenshin's actions are causing too much collateral emotional damage for the loved ones of those he kills (a near-transparent Foreshadowing of Tomoe's own issues). Furthermore, she implies he is not necessarily just doing what he thinks needs to be done, but also that he is Trapped in Villainy because of his particular circumstances (i.e. a boy whose earliest years were steeped in bloodshed before being trained as a swordsman without his choosing). Kenshin, despite poetically insisting on the necessity of his work, is clearly disturbed by this.
    Tomoe: Is there really such a thing as... fighting for peace? If it's for us all, do ideals mean... that little things... must fall victim? And aren't you... a victim too?
    Kenshin: With a sword, that boy cuts the rope, dividing this world from the next. Only then can the parade begin. For times to change, someone must use a sword. That just happened to be me.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zig-Zagged Trope for the following:
    • Kenshin's fighting style as Battosai is actually less stylized than his eventual usage of the Hiten Mitsurugi techniques seen in previous films. What is not in question, however, is the ferocity of his attacks and the speed in which he does them. Two sequences of him conducting indoor assassinations against groups of people end in bloodbaths comparable to Jin-E/Kurogasa's rampages in the 1st film. At the same time, his performance during the battle with the Yaminobu is actually very erratic and sloppy (with him sustaining a lot of avoidable injuries) compared to the still-instinctual skill he demonstrates in the manga and OVA. Then again, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome is probably in play (as that is exactly what the Yaminobu intended).
    • Okita's performance against Kenshin, for that matter, shows them to be pretty much on par with each other (albeit his stamina eventually deterioriates due to the onset of his tuberculosis).
    • In turn, the Yaminobu exploit their terrain a bit more extensively in their fight against Kenshin (with their traps a bit more elaborate like the ones in 13 Assassins). The injuries they sustain against Kenshin are actually less dramatic (with Nakajo only losing one arm and Sumita even retaining all of his limbs, up until they blow themselves up). They also appear to have zero concern for their own skin—with Nakajo laughing off his injury and Mumyoi actively going through Sumita to pin down Kenshin.
    • Inversely, the very first Yaminobu Battosai fights, Murakami, does not exhibit any particular acrobatic skills (and his death simply ends with him cornered and his throat slashed—but still with enough force that Tomoe is still splattered on by his blood for her pivotal first meeting with Kenshin). Their leader Tatsumi, for that matter, also uses a katana in his deathmatch with Kenshin, whereas in both manga and OVA he only ever needed his hands.
    • For their part, The Shinsengumi seem to have suffered zero casualties during the Ikeda-ya incident, with the worst you see being Okita's deteriorating health in his duel with Battosai. Historically, one member supposedly was killed while two later died of their injuries. Admittedly, this is more accurate compared to the OVA, where Kenshin actually encountered and killed at least 3-4 Shinsengumi members in front of Tomoe.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • The film's rendition of Tomoe takes a middle route between The Ingenue Deadpan Snarker of the manga, as well as the more Tranquil Fury-laden Broken Bird of the OVA. While Tomoe definitely projects Kuudere and the cold distance of her OVA version, she nonetheless acts more approachable, thoughtful, innocent and thus much more humane like her manga iteration. This helps make her look far more genuinely-naive and remorseful than the troubled mind projected by the OVA. Richard Eisenbeis' review for the Anime News Network does question, nonetheless, how much of this might also be narrative license suggesting Kenshin's Nostalgia Filter of how much purer and kinder Tomoe actually is as he saw her, than how she sees herself.
    • Katsura's conversation with Tomoe in this film suggests he is a bit more ambivalent about Tomoe's presence in Kenshin's life (especially with regards to Kenshin actually sleeping in front of her)—in contrast to manga Katsura's more neutral stance in the matter, and OVA Katsura's more explicit request that she be "his sheath". Nevertheless, he remains broadly supportive of Tomoe staying with Kenshin during their time in hiding, and remains equally respectful when Kenshin mourns her death.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Hiko Seijuro's rescue and training of Shinta was no longer touched upon, having been featured already in The Legend Ends. This therefore puts the equal weight of the film's emotional arc not just on Kenshin's actions as a young man, but to Tomoe's quest for justice and ultimate tragedy.
    • Shishio does not appear despite being part of Kenshin's origin story (very briefly in the denouement, in Shishio's case).
    • Most of the other main cast of the Rurouni Kenshin series apart from Kenshin and Saito don't appear due to the fact that it's a prequel film. During the Meiji Restoration, Aoshi was on garrison duty in a different city, Sano was a young boy fighting in a different revolutionary cadre, Kaoru was a toddler, and Yahiko hadn't even been born yet.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Related to the above, viewers will actually find it remarkable that throughout her appearances, Tomoe appears immaculately styled whatever her outfit and situation—be it her iconic white kimono, her Hagi-ya uniform, being on the run from the Shinsengumi, or even her getup as a farmer together with Kenshin. The only other time this is averted, notably, is during her Blood-Splattered Innocents introduction, after she was roughed up by Tatsumi during his Hannibal Lecture, and iconically, during her Tragic Death at Kenshin's blade, with the falling snow and her blood all around her.
  • Beta Outfit: Of a sort, when it comes to The Shinsengumi uniform. As established in earlier films (and eventually through the Stock Footage of the Battle of Toba-Fushimi), the Shinsengumi did use the 'light blue with white mountain stripes' uniform. However, throughout their appearance in The Beginning, their long coats appear to be more blue-blending-in-white.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While temporally blinded, and facing the Yaminobu's leader, Tatsumi, Kenshin accidentally murders his own lover, Tomoe. Guilt-stricken from this act, Kenshin goes back to his life as an assassin on the frontlines of the Bakumatsu, after cremating Tomoe's corpse in their former house. Despite these negatives, Kenshin did win against the Yaminobu, and he also reaffirms his decision to never kill again; a vow that does come true after the Battle of Toba-Fushimi.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While the live-action Rurouni Kenshin films never shied away from amping the violence in comparison to the source material, since this film takes place during Kenshin's darkest period of his life as an assassin, nothing is held back. Plenty of violent and gruesome sprays of blood to be had, from start to finish.
  • Book Ends: The very last scene of this film, in fact, is the very same scene that opened the 2012 film: the closing moments of the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Kenshin eventually witnessing the culmination of his years of fighting, before being confronted by Saito and then very pointedly abandoning his katana.
  • Call to Agriculture: Kenshin's happiest moments with Tomoe involve him growing their own crops in their house in Otsu. Tomoe even notices how innocent he looks like gathering their harvest, and how much better his demeanor is getting (such that he eats with an appetite and smiles more frequently).
  • Close on Title: Just like Rurouni Kenshin: The Final before it, this film shows the title before the credits begin.
  • Continuity Snarl: A bit: as portrayed in the 2012 film, Kenshin's recruitment into the Ishin Shishi involved him formally speaking to someone (presumed to be Katsura) indoors. The film changes the circumstances to be more akin to the manga and OVA, with recast actors for Takasugi and Katsura.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: An original scene involves Kenshin supposedly letting himself be captured by the pro-Shogunate Tsushima clan as a 'careless spy' and letting himself be interrogated and tortured, the better to get their guard down and eventually kill them all. As his hands were bound, Kenshin initially steals a wakizashi from a downed opponent like this before going to town and then freeing his hands.
  • Defeat by Modesty: When asked to prove his skills with live steel while enlisting, Kenshin defeats his opponent by slicing off his opponent's hakama with a battojustsu technique.
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed: while nearly every major supporting character in the manga and OVA (Saito, Okita, Iizuka, Katagai and Takasugi, even Enishi) have their personal character moments, much of their screentime is devoted to their most important roles in Kenshin's life and battles. The only one to avert this is Katsura, since with Hiko Seijuro being Adapted Out, his scenes serve as the sole moments of positive mentorship Kenshin receives in the film.
  • Determinator: Kiyosato's scarring of Kenshin's face stems not from any great skill with the sword, but from his being too stubborn to go down no matter how many times he's wounded. Kenshin later commends his incredible will to live.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Once again, the film portrays the combat and swordsmanship of all people (even Kenshin's) in a realistic fashion. The most unrealistic it gets is Saito getting to perform a Gatotsu (based on stance, his Zero-shiki attack), which blasts his target and the people surrounding them clean out of the second floor of the Ikeda-ya.
  • Doomed by Canon: Even without the knowledge of the source material, the fact that the previous film's main plot was driven by Tomoe's death seals her fate.
  • The Dung Ages: Surprisingly enough, the aesthetic of the entire film is pretty rough (especially if you compare this to other period dramas and even the previous films).
    • Nearly every male (the men of Tsushima and Choshu, the Shinsengumi, the Yaminobu, even Kenshin himself) do not comb their hair. A bulk of them also appear to be sweating (if not roughed-up) most of the time. Admittedly, this is plausible enough in context—as the historical period they were in, July to August 1864, is set in the peak of summer in Japan.
    • Most of the women, despite having better hygiene, don't entirely look stylish either—the better to sell that most of them are lower on the social ladder.
    • Notably, the only ones who look pretty well-put would be the party of Shigekura and Kiyosato (from Stock Footage) and, significantly, Tomoe herself.
  • A Father to His Men: Once again demonstrated with Saito—much like his future self would do as shown in previous films. As the Choshu Ishin Shishi and Kenshin retreat, some Shinsengumi members decide to pursue them, which Saito prevents, clearly not wanting to waste any of his men's lives needlessly (even with their numerical superiority).
  • Fire Means Chaos: The devastation of the Kinmon Incident is minimally shown by a lingering shot of Kyoto in flames. A later scene (leading up to Katsura's order for Kenshin and Tomoe to hide together as man-and-wife) shows the people of Kyoto shuffling about, trying to eat and survive amidst the smoke and falling ash.
  • Foil: There's a comparison to be made between the leaders of the competing factions portrayed—Katsura Kogoro (for the Ishin Shishi) and Kondo Isami (for The Shinsengumi):
  • Foregone Conclusion: This is a Prequel. Of course it's going to end like this.
  • Glory Hound: The film's portrayal of Kondo Isami suggests this is more his motivation for stopping the shishi during the Ikeda-ya Incident instead of being duty-bound to keep the peace (albeit those are not mutually exclusive). He also sees it as an opportunity Pay Evil unto Evil for Battosai's previous murders on behalf of Choshu.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the opening fight scene, Kenshin shoves one man's head into a water barrel, and then stabs it with his katana. When he pulls it out, it creates a hole in the barrel that releases red water, ensuring that the audience doesn't see the impaled head.
  • Grand Finale: The conclusion of the Rurouni Kenshin live-action films.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: A very minor one; Okita Sōji is depicted as apathetic and overconfident, but still affable and friendly. In reality, he was often described as incredibly kind and modest, if a stern and strict teacher.
  • Honey Trap: Once again, the core role Tomoe unwittingly played in the Yaminobu plot. While Tomoe's mission is supposedly to find out Kenshin's weaknesses, the Yaminobu leader Tatsumi matter-of-factly reveals to her that her purpose, in fact, is to eventually become his weakness—relying on the fact that The Power of Hate will keep Tomoe on board. Nevertheless, when he sees that Tomoe did eventually fall In Love with the Mark, he admits that there was a likelihood of this happening, but still chews Tomoe out for emotionally and physically moving on from her dead fiance Kiyosato (the man she was doing this mission for) to the very man responsible.
    Tatsumi: Report? On Battosai's weak points? We don't need that. It's faster to make one than look for one that might not even be there. No matter how cold-blooded, no man is without feelings. When he finds out you're a spy, he'll be too torn up to think straight. He won't be able to fight at his best.
  • Ironic Episode Title: The Beginning is the Grand Finale of the film series.
  • Justified Title: Despite being an Ironic Episode Title (see above), the film is a Prequel serving as Kenshin's Origins Episode.
  • Knight Templar: Featuring two variations in The Shinsengumi and the Yaminobu—and their motivations for fighting and doing wetwork are once again presented as Mirroring Factions with the commitment to revolution and modernization of Battosai and the Choshu Ishin Shishi:
    • The Shinsengumi (especially if you take their perspective) appear more like Working Class Heroes (with their pretty plain garb and very rough appearance), seeking to gain recognition and contribute to the peace-keeping of Kyoto (in contrast to what little of the Mimawarigumi we saw—that being Kiyosato's party easily wiped out by Battosai). Whereas their leader Kondo seems adamant on gaining recognition for the group and ruthless enough to sanction torture, he is also shown to be on very harmonious terms with his fellow unit leadersnote .
    • The Yaminobu, by contrast, supersede the Shinsengumi on an ideological level. Despite being very hidden and living very austerely, even compared to the Shinsengumi (their hideout is a ruined Buddhist temple), their leader Tatsumi is shown to know the history of the Tokugawa shogunate (and the chaos it preceded) extensively, and is bound by the Confucianism of the period to defend the Shogunate's authority at all costs. The fact that the Yaminobu members risk their bodies and lives (even Mumyoi—who survives to join Rurouni Kenshin: The Final) without question to bring Battosai down suggests this is a belief shared by the whole group.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: As the film is a Prequel, all cast members from the previous films except for Takeru Satoh (Kenshin) and Yōsuke Eguchi (Saitō) are absent.
  • Let the Past Burn: As in the OVA, Kenshin eventually chooses to burn down the home he and Tomoe lived in (Together with her corpse, as a makeshift funeral pyre) when he finally commits to his One Last Job of winning the Meiji Restoration—before finally giving up his killing ways.
  • Man Bites Man: Kenshin resorts to this against one of the enemies in the opening scene, after he is captured and tied up by them.
  • The Mole: Same as the manga and OVA, there are two in the cast, directly involved in the plot to eliminate Kenshin/Battosai:
    • The first one is Tomoe herself, originally sent as a Honey Trap to find out Kenshin's weaknesses. However, as discussed in its trope entry above, this is actually more multi-layered and Tomoe is eventually conflicted about the whole thing.
    • The second one is Iizuka, Kenshin's own comrade and one of Katsura's lieutenants. The way he is written in the film, however, casts him in a greyer light compared to the Evil All Along characterization of the manga/OVA. In the immediate aftermath of the Kinmon Incident, he devolves into a public rant regarding the worsening situation of the Choshu Ishin Shishi—which suggests his Face–Heel Turn to the Yaminobu (that enabled Murakami's ambush), even before the breakdown of the rebel cause, might be more out of disillusionment to his cause than mere greed).
  • Mythology Gag: There are a few nods both to the source material, as well as historiography and popular myths surrounding the Meiji Restoration.
    • The circumstances surrounding the Ikeda-ya raid involve two minor characters: Furutaka Shuntaro (the Choshu informant captured and tortured to provide information that will serve as basis for the raid), as well as Mochizuki Kameyata (a Tosa shishi working with Choshu who committed suicide in the aftermath of the raid).
      • The film portrays Furutaka being tortured in the particularly gruesome way it's been allegednote . However, instead of Hijikata or Saito overseeing the torture (as was the case in history books or novels), it seems to be Kondo himself.
      • Kameyata, for his part, managed to run away wounded, encounters firefliestraditional symbols for the souls of the war deadwhile dying, before Okita caught up to him, claiming he will make his death look like a suicide. Kenshin then arrives and distracts the latter towards a duel.
    • Tomoe is seen in a flashback to put Enishi to sleep while playing around with a traditional Japanese toy windmill. The OVA this film is based on features a similar spinning toy windmill in its closing credits.
    • The closing captions, much like the Tsuiokuhen OVA, are a near word-for-word retelling of the manga's opening lines:
      Some 160 years ago, the Black foreign Ships led to the Bakumatsu, the fall of the shogunate. Out of the resulting maelstrom came a warrior, Hitokiri Battosai. When calm was restored, he vanished... and became a lone wanderer. It would be ten years before he appeared again.
  • No-Sell: Kenshin as Battosai is introduced in the film bound and roughed up by the men of the Tsushima clan. The fact that he very easily breaks out of it and massacres all of them later suggests he already has developed some endurance and resistance to torture, something we have seen him shrug off in previous films (notably his drawn-out fight with Shishio).
  • Offscreen Karma: While Iizuka seemingly gets away, Katsura makes it clear their new assassin is on his trail and will finish him off before long.
  • Origins Episode: The film serves as this for Kenshin, since it depicts his time in the Ishin Shishi, from recruitment to his involvement with Tomoe. This culminates in Kenshin receiving his iconic cross-shaped scar, and his choice to become a wanderer after the Battle of Toba-Fushimi.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Near the end of the movie, Kenshin cradles a bleeding Tomoe in this manner.
  • Saved by Canon: As this is a Prequel, Kenshin and Saitō's survival is guaranteed.
  • Shipper on Deck: A bit more explict than the manga and OVA, the men of Choshu, despite being equally enamored and unnerved by Tomoe's distant beauty, mostly agree that she does fit very well with Kenshin.
  • Single Tear: In a private moment while Kenshin is sleeping, Tomoe draws out her mirror and sheds one while looking pensive and upset—despite Kenshin having done nothing to cause such. Viewers in the know will appreciate this as the moment she begins to be torn up by the severity of her original mission to learn Battosai's weaknesses, and the fact that she is truly falling In Love with the Mark.
  • Slashed Throat: At one point, Kenshin forces a Yaminobu Battosai, Murakami, against a wall. He places his sword at Murakami's throat, pulling back fast to cut it and spill plenty of blood - some of which splashes onto an unwitting Tomoe.
  • Snow Means Death: Pivotally, the climactic act of Kenshin seeking (and failing) to rescue Tomoe from her fate happens in the snow-covered forest controlled by the Yaminobu.
  • Spoiler Cover: The main poster, which isn't the one pictured on this page, shows Kenshin holding a dying Tomoe in his arms. This happens at the very end of the movie.
  • The Stoic: Despite the heavy emotional weight of the story, it is notable that Kenshin and Tomoe in fact emote very little throughout their story together (in contrast to the two characters' Deadpan Snarker tendencies in the manga, and their more dignified-yet-somber mien in the OVA [not to mention Tomoe's more troubled inner life]—bordering on Dull Surprise). Here, however, it is very much Played for Drama. After all, what better way to show how two Broken Birds will realistically interact and try to understand each other—especially when both of them are bound by an Awful Truth and one of them (Tomoe) is clearly conflicted about the whole thing?
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: After Tomoe's death, Kenshin decides to return to the war because if the new age doesn't come, then all the people he murdered to bring it about will have died for nothing. That said, he also says that the moment the rebellion doesn't need him anymore, he's done. And he keeps that promise.
  • Tag Line: "Here it ends. Here it begins."
  • Theme Music Withholding: The main theme tune for the Rurouni Kenshin film series does not play until the very end, when Kenshin burns down the house he and Tomoe lived in. It's meant to represent the beginning of Kenshin's journey to atone for his killings.
  • Truer to the Text: By far the most accurate to the source material of all the live-action films. This likely informs the confident tone behind the tagline at the bottom of the poster.note 
  • White Shirt of Death: As with the source material, Tomoe dies a bloody death in her white kimono.
  • World's Strongest Man: It's heavily implied that if he wasn't crippled from late-stage tuberculosis, Kenshin wouldn't have lasted for even two minutes against Okita Sōji. Truth in Television; Sōji was considered to be the strongest swordsman not just in the Shinsengumi, but possibly in Japan's history altogether, being promoted to the rank of first captain at only age 17, achieving complete mastery of Tennen Rishin-ryū by 18, and became the Head Coach of the school not long after.