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Fond memories of Samurai X

The Aniplex Online Fest 2022 gave us our first look at the new Rurouni Kenshin anime.

Many of you discovered anime through Samurai X. Rurouni Kenshin is the official name, but our local stations called it Samurai X, which is a much cooler name.

The 28-volume manga told the story of Himura Kenshin, a famed assassin that committed numerous atrocities during the Boshin War. Determined to atone for his crimes, the invincible swordsman abandoned his masters and began wandering Japan’s countryside, using his reverse-edged blade to protect the innocent.

You remember watching with wide eyes and an open mouth as Kenshin walked into Kaoru’s dojo and proceeded to cut his way through a dozen men. The notion of a fictional character moving faster than the eye could see had never even crossed your mind.

And yet, here Kenshin was, doing the impossible, fiery red locks flowing in the wind as he twirled through the air, felling foes large and small with elegant sword strokes. We barely slept after the first half of that Saito fight. By driving his sword through Kenshin’s belly, Saito had broken the hearts of a million 10-year-olds across the country.

I don’t know where you watched Samurai X from, but the channel at my home stopped at that cliffhanger. When I tuned in a week later, the show had skipped back to the first episode. As far as I can tell, none of the channels in Uganda finished the Shishio saga. Eventually, most viewers forgot about Samurai X.

A few of us realized it was not just a cartoon. We kept obsessing over the show until we discovered the medium of anime. When over a decade later Samurai X DVDs hit the streets, we finally finished Shishio’s story.

But even though many have moved on to bigger and better anime, Rurouni Kenshin is still a classic that anime fans treasure. So, news of the reboot, which airs in 2023, has been met with excitement.

I don’t know if I share everyone’s enthusiasm, and this has nothing to do with the Nobuhiro Watsuki controversy. Nobuhiro Watsuki is the legendary mangaka that wrote and drew the Rurouni Kenshin comic.

Nobuhiro was adored and respected by the manga and anime community until child pornography was discovered in his possession in 2017. Now many outraged fans are calling for a boycott of the new anime, which is a sensible reaction. But I won’t get into that discussion because it has several complex layers.

As far as the reboot is concerned, I’m conflicted because I don’t see the point of a reboot. Does anyone remember the Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc OVA from 2012?

It basically retold the Shishio arc, and I hated every minute of it. Also, nothing about the trailers for the 2023 remake is even remotely appealing. I don’t want to watch 30 or more episodes of a story I have already seen. This reboot has one appealing aspect. The 1996 anime never finished Nobuhiro’s story.

That may come as a shock, especially if you watched every season of the original Samurai X series. I don’t need to see a retelling of Samurai X, but will definitely tune in if they adapt the Enishi arc. If you watched the incredibly underrated Rurouni Kenshin: Trust And Betrayal OVA, Enishi is Tomoe’s brother (Tomoe was Kenshin’s first wife).

Also, if supporting Nobuhiro’s work doesn’t bother you, the mangaka wrote a sequel to Samurai X with his wife (Kaworu Kurosaki) in 2017. Search for Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc.

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