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Trivia / Rurouni Kenshin

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  • Actor Allusion:
  • Anachronism Stew: The series is actually so true to history that it can only really be nitpicked in a Trivia section.
    • In most cases, it could be chalked up to the Rule of Cool (ex. Yukishiro Enishi's battle outfit, which no one at the time could have conceivably worn or made, as well as Inui Banjin's fatigues).
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    • Takeda Kanryu, the wealthy leader of an opium racket, wears a modern lounge suit with a modern tie that could have conceivably existed in the 1870s, but wouldn't be common in that form for another 70 years. At the time, bowties were still in fashion and suits tended to have more layers. Understandably, the 2012 film drops it and gives him a period-appropriate suit and bowtie.
  • Approval of God: As noted on the main page, Watsuki approved of Samurai X as the series' Western title, being a huge X-Men fan and having based most of his characters on them.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: For fans who read fan fiction, it's an accepted phenomenon that Kaoru's favorite scent is Jasmine (and to a lesser extent, Kenshin is often associated with sandalwood, or something), even though the only character in the ENTIRE series to have a scent associated with them was Tomoe and her plum blossoms.
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  • Big Name Fan: Gareth Evans, the director of The Raid movies, loved the live action trilogy. In particular he praised the choreography which, coming from the guy who directed the Raid, that's saying something.
  • Casting Gag: Before it was adapted into an animated series, Rurouni Kenshin was adapted as a series of drama CDs, with a different cast to that of the anime. The voice actress who played Kaoru in the dramas was later cast in the anime as Kaoru's expy, Misao Makimachi.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: Kenshin Himura is voiced by Takarazuka actress Mayo Suzukaze, Kaoru Kamiya is voiced by film actress Miki Fujitani, Shura is voiced by actress Kazue Itoh, Makoto Shishio is voiced by actor and singer Masanori Ikeda, and Yumi Hijikata is voiced by actress Kanako Irie.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: A frequent victim of this, even in media that focus on anime and manga. Kenshin is not and was never a samurai, as that was a distinct social class one had to be born into. One of the English dubs even gets it wrong with the title itself. A similar problem exists for attribution of the theme "Sobakasu", as "Judy and Mary" was the name of the band, not anybody in it. (The singer is Yuki Isoya, who goes by "YUKI" in all-caps).
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  • Creator Backlash: Watsuki has expressed regret at creating Raijuta. He's often cited as saying that Raijuta is his least favorite character.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Quite a lot of it.
    • Japanese
      • Kenshin was voiced by Megumi Ogata in the drama CD while Mayo Suzukaze, a Takarazuka actress, went to voice him in the anime.
      • Yahiko was voiced by Mina Tominaga in the Japanese original.
      • Soujiro Seta was played by Noriko Hidaka. Justified as both he and Yahiko are children.
    • English
      • Averted for Kenshin, who was voiced in the TV series by Richard Cansino (both dubs), and by J. Shanon Weaver in the OVA's.
      • Yahiko is voiced by Wendee Lee in the TV series.
      • Soujiro is voiced by Tara Sands, Lynn Fischer, and Melissa Fahn.
    • Curiously averted in the Colombian Spanish dub, as all the characters are voiced by people of their respective genders, including kids.
  • Dawson Casting: Played straight in the live-action films. Munetaka Aoki was 12 whole years older than his character Sanosuke during the first film shot. Saitou also follows suit, as Yosuke Eguchi was 45 playing the 34-year-old Shinsengumi captain-turned-police-officer. This continued on to the sequels: Aoshi is 25, yet his actor Yusuke Iseya is 38 during filming. The girls almost subvert this: 17-year-old Kaoru is played by 19-year-old Emi Takei in the first film, and Tao Tsuchiya was 18 when she took the role as Misao in Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends
  • Dueling Dubs: The TV series has two complete English dubs – Animax's "Samurai X" dub which was distributed in Asia and Europe, and BangZoom's "Rurouni Kenshin" dub which saw official release in North America. Oddly, both dubs were recorded in Los Angeles and cast Richard Cansino as Kenshin. The difference between them is that, while both dubs are uncut for time, the "Samurai X" dub is a more-toned-down looser adaptation geared to a much younger audience. For streaming, Crackle used the Animax dub while Netflix got the BangZoom dub. Fans generally prefer the BangZoom dub, especially in North America, where the Animax dub did not see release until 2010.
  • Executive Meddling: In his original conception, Kenshin was supposed to be at least 30, but Nobuhiro Watsuki was told that "30 is too old for a primary protagonist in Shonen Jump." So, Watsuki dropped Kenshin's age to 28. (Thus keeping the concept of a more seasoned protagonist than the typical of the Shounen demographic, but also making Kenshin young enough to be "acceptable".) Lampshaded in series, when Kaoru tells Kenshin he "can't possibly be 28". Kenshin asks "Would 30 make you happier?" Kaoru replies that it would not.
  • Fandom Life Cycle: The series sits between Stage 6b and 6c. Its fandom peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s and has slowly dwindled since then. Due to scandals involving the mangaka, the fandom is dipped from a 6a as many are reluctant to get into the series.
  • Lying Creator: Watsuki has admitted (in the sidebars titled "Watsuki is a Liar"), among other things, that "rurouni" is a word he made up.
    • On a different note, the word itself can also be read as a play to the more common term "Ronin", so, considering what Kenshin had been doing up to the series' story, he's not entirely wrong.
  • No Dub for You: The Latin American Netflix feed does not include the controversial Colombian Spanish dub, partly due to the quality of that dub and partly because the last episode was never dubbed.
  • No Export for You: The Hokkaido arc ceased publication in the US Shonen Jump magazine after Watsuki got charged with possessing child porn, and an official release by VIZ is highly unlikely, and a user confirmed this stating that they will not translate the chapters.
  • One-Hit Wonder: The third opening song of the anime, "Kimi ni Fureru Dake de" is the only known hit of Curio.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • The Drama CD cast was replaced in its entirety for the anime. In volume 10, Watsuki mentioned that he was disappointed about this decision because he liked the performance of many of the voice actors (such as Megumi Ogata and Tomokazu Seki) as his characters, although he felt the anime cast "worked out" as well. One reason he cited about the change was that, since the anime production committee was bigger than a Drama CD production team (as it involves more companies and sponsors), the "industry power-structure" affected the series. That said, a fair amount of the actors from the CD dramas got to appear in the show as different characters:
    • In English, the TV series and OVA's dubs were recorded in completely different areas (LA vs. Austin, Texas), so naturally they use completely different casts. Fans tend to dislike the OVA dub due to some questionable casting choices and a too-liberal script (though the script for Reflections is much tighter; fans dislike that due to its content).
      • Why did this happen? Because, back in 2000, no North American company could afford all of Kenshin, so Sony split the license into two: Media Blasters got the TV series and restored the Japanese title, while ADV got the OVA's and kept the "Samurai X" title.
    • As mentioned in Dueling Dubs above, the TV series was dubbed twice for different markets. While several voice actors show up in both dubs, Richard Cansino (Kenshin) is the only one who plays the same role in both.
    • The Media Blasters dub, while mostly consistent, did have a few changes. Most prominent of all would be Sojiro, who was voiced by three different actresses during his screentime. At first, Tara Sands provided his voice but after she returned to New York (for the time) Lynn Fishcer replaced her as Sojiro for a couple of episodes before she was replaced by Melissa Fahn for the battle with Kenshin and the Dark and Troubled Past flashback. Bizarrely, Tara still voiced Masukami for her appearances during the Aoiya battle even after giving up Sojiro. For the aftermath of the Shishio battle and her cameo in the Christian arc, Masukami was voiced by Michelle Ruff (Tae and Tsubame). Plus, in one of the last episodes of Season Three, Dina Sherman filled in for her.
      • For the Raijuta arc, Yutaro was voiced by Michael Lindsay. When he returned later in the Black Knights arc, Dave Wittenberg took over his voice.
      • Han'nya was mainly voiced by Tom Wyner but in Aoshi's flashback in episode 42, he was voiced by Paul St. Peter. Later still when his ghost appeared before Misao during the Aoiya battle, his voice was done by Dan Lorge (already the voice of Henya and Shirojo).
      • For the same flashback mentioned above, Shikijo's one line was performed by Lorge instead of his original actor Dean Wein.
      • Aritomo Yamagata was voiced by Simon Prescott in Season One but after Prescott was no longer available to continue the dub he was replaced by Crispin Freeman for his Season Three appearances. In the Japanese version, similarly, stage actor Seiji Mizutani provided the voice of Yamagata in Season One and for the front half of Season Three. In the latter half of Season Three, plus the movie and the OVA, Mizutani was replaced by Hari Kaneko.
      • Toshiyoshi Kawaji, Okubo's protege, was voiced by Joe Ochman in Season Two but in Season Three Doug Stone took over the part (who ironically played Okubo back when Joe was voicing Kawaji).
      • Omine, one of the four minor Oniwabanshu members, was voiced by Bridget Hoffman for most of her appearances, but in two different episodes Dina Sherman (voice of Ayame) and Melodee Spevack (Kamatari) filled in. Her last appearance in the third season had her being voiced by Mona Marshall (Suzume's actress).
      • Kamatari was filled in for Episode 54 by Lara Cody instead of his main actress, Melodee Spevack.
      • Minor characters weren't exempt from changes either. Sakata, Yutaro's servant, was voiced by Robert Axelrod for Episodes 19 and 21 while Lex Lang (Sanosuke) filled in for episode 20. Eiji's older brother Eichiro was voiced by Herman E. Sherman for his introduction (and death) in episode 35 while in episode 37 Steve Staley (voice of Captain Sagara) substituted.
      • In the Christian arc, Kaiou's followers, Jacob and Miguel, were voiced by Michael McConnohie and Derek Stephen Prince in episode 69. When they reappeared in episode 73, however, they were replaced by Doug Stone and Tom Wyner respectively.
      • In the first episode of the Feng Shui arc, Jinpu's voice was supplied by Michael McConnohie but for the remainder of the story, Jamieson Price took over (he'd previously voiced Usui and Kaiou).
    • The OVA and film cast from ADV also went through a couple changes between projects. Kaoru was voiced by Kara Bliss in the movie but Katherine Catmull replaced her for the second OVA. Hiko was also shared by a couple actors in the OVA; Joe York for Trust and Betrayal and J. Hudson Brownlee in Reflection.
      • When the New Kyoto Arc was dubbed years later by Sentai Filmworks, only Kenshin and Sanosuke's actors, J. Shannon Weaver and Gray G. Haddock respectively, returned to their parts. All the rest of the returning characters from the previous works dubbed by the now defunct ADV Films were recast:
      • Kaoru: Kara Bliss and Katherine Catmull —> Amanda Hanawa
      • Saito: Ken Webster —> John Swasey
      • Yahiko: Derek Wade —> Blake Shepard
      • Hiko: Joe York and J. Hudson Brownlee —> Andrew Love
    • Hirotaka Suzuoki, the original Japanese voice of Saitō, had passed away years prior to the making of New Kyoto Arc, so Ken Narita replaced him for that and the PSP games.
    • On the same note, Okina's TV actor, Koichi Kitamura, passed in 2007, so Tamio Oki replaced him for New Kyoto Arc.
  • The Other Marty: Mona Marshall was to originally voice the adult Kenshin Himura in Media Blasters' dub of the series.note  However, the dubbing team felt that her voice wasn't working out for the character, and the role was recast with Richard Cansino.note 
  • Playing Against Type:
  • Playing Gertrude: A male example in the live action films. Kenshin is 28 years old at the start of the manga, substantially older than Kaoru and the other main characters, but his actor Takeru Satoh was only 22 at the time of the first film's release. (Then again, in the manga Kenshin looks the same age as everybody.) Averted with his nemesis, Shishio, who seems to be in his thirties and is aptly played by the 32-year-old Tatsuya Fujiwara in the second and third films.
    • The upcoming Jinchuu arc films finally averts this, as Sato is 28 years old during filming.
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname: "RuroKen".
  • Production Posse: Many of the principal actors for the live-action film are NHK Taiga Drama alumni, in particular the Keishi Otomo-directed and ran 2010 Ryomaden (it helps that Kenshin is set in the same time period as Ryomaden). Notable highlights are Takeru Sato (Kenshin), Munetaka Aoki (Sanosuke), Yu Aoi (Megumi), and Teruyuki Kagawa (Kanryuu). On the other hand, Emi Takei (Kaoru) is fresh from the 2012 drama Taira no Kiyomori.
    • Enticingly, the Kyoto arc sequels cut the middleman and cast Masaharu Fukuyama (the titular Sakamoto Ryoma in Ryomaden) himself as Hiko Seijuro (doubles as Actor Allusion), in addition to Tao Tsuchiya (Misao), Yusuke Iseya (Aoshi), and Min Tanaka (Okina).
  • Release Date Change: The Saishusho duology of films (Rurouni Kenshin Saishusho the Beginning and Rurouni Kenshin Saishusho the Final) were scheduled for August 7th, 2020 and July 3rd, 2020, respectively. Both were pushed back to Spring 2021 in the wake of a certain viral pandemic.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:
    • Or at least a variant of it, involving associated musicians. L'arc-en-Ciel's "Fourth Avenue Cafe" was used as the fourth ending song for four episodes, but when the band's former drummer got busted for drugs, the resulting controversy caused the producers to pull the song and switch back to the third ending for another seven episodes.
    • In October 2017, Watsuki himself was charged with possession of child pornography with the news of this released a month later. This led to the publisher Shueisha putting the then-ongoing Hokkaido arc on a hiatus for 6 months before letting him continue it after he paid the fine and apologized for his actions.
    • Narrowly averted by Kaoru's actress: after shooting Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends, Emi Takei got pregnant and subsequently married to her then-boyfriend, singer TAKAHIRO (of boybands Exile and Ace of Spades fame) in 2017 and was almost replaced for the Jinchuu Arc adaptation. Some industry insiders noted if actresses got pregnant and/or married, it would mean that they are counted as breaching their contract's terms with the companies they got hired at and unable to reprise their roles (partly justified in this series' case as Kaoru hasn't gotten hitched until the epilogue of the original manga). Takei and her agency later worked out on new terms so that she will still be able to continue her role for the final two film sequels.
  • Screwed by the Network: The anime suffered this on Cartoon Network after they realized it probably should have went to [adult swim]. The show got moved from its Toonami weekday slot to a slot on the Saturday Video Entertainment System block without much warning, and the run was ended at episode 62 (right before the anime-only third season) out of the 95 episodes total aired (despite CN acquiring the rights to the whole show).
  • Series Hiatus: Watsuki's being charged with possession of child pornography in November of 2017 resulted in the suspension of production of the Hokkaido Arc till June 2018 as soon as the allegations went public.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The author originally intended for Usui to be a Terminator-style manhunter, pursuing Kenshin relentlessly through darkened city streets. Instead, he was largely an Anti-Climax Boss.
    • Henya was originally going to be introduced as a villainous character during the Kanryu arc; also, he was originally going to be in an aerial battle with Kenshin, but Watsuki changed this because he felt Kenshin would have been too strong an opponent.
    • According to Watsuki, Raijuta was originally supposed to be as imposing as he looked, but Villain Decay quickly set in.
    • Senkaku (Shishio's henchman and villain of the Shingetsu village mini arc) originally was going to be a member of the Juppongatana, and a speechless, beast-like brute.
    • The manga was originally going to be much shorter than it turned out to be, revolving around the Jinchuu arc.
    • It was originally going to be revealed that Hannya had been stepped on in the womb like the The Elephant Man, explaining his featureless death-mask of a face. Watsuki realized the Unfortunate Implications of that idea, and altered the backstory to Hannya having intentionally mutilated his face so that he could easily disguise himself as just about anything.
    • There was a pilot chapter in which Megumi (a rather weak-willed woman barely holding the family together), Kaoru (a tomboy Tsundere serving as the acting dojo-master), and Yahiko (a brat of a kid who feels like he has to be the man of the family since his father died) are siblings.
    • There's also a proto-story of Kenshin meeting Damsel in Distress Chizuru, who gifts him a ribbon to tie his hair back up when he loses his original ponytail tie in a fight. Chizuru lives on in cameo form at the end of the controversial Reflections OVA, as the girlfriend of Kenshin and Kaoru's son Kenji.
    • Watsuki mentioned in his notes his concept for a fourth arc of the story which would revolve around Kenji competing against Yahiko and Tsubame's son to inherit the reverse blade. Interestingly, Kenji Himura would most likely been the antagonist of the arc, from what Watsuki had stated about his concept. That, plus the fact that the story would have been set in the beginning of Japan's move towards nationalism and militarization makes one wonder what the story would have looked like...
    • Originally, Fuji was going to actually take on Okina in battle. However, Watsuki thought that a battle of old codgers wouldn't have been interesting.
    • Kanryu Takeda was going to be homosexual like his historical counterpart, but Watsuki decided that would "unnecessarily complicate things".
    • Watsuki stated that he heavily debated with himself whether or not to actually kill Kaoru in the Junchuu arc. He acknowledges that it would have made for a simpler more straight forward story, and would have hammered home the theme of vengeance not being acceptable, but he also felt that a shonen series should have a happy ending, and he felt there was no real way to give Kenshin a truly happy ending after everything he's been through if Kaoru was dead. So he went with the path that he did for the final product.
  • The Wiki Rule: Has a wiki here.
  • Word of God: Watsuki himself has said that the series ended the way it did specifically because it was a shonen series.

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