For those who are new to Rurouni Kenshin, first I'd like to say a big welcome to the RK Universe! You probably know that the RK fandom-verse is very big~* and since the story expands to 28 manga volumes (yes it's finished... this year September) and it takes place in old Japan (the Meiji era more specifically) it might be a *little* hard to understand at *first* but you'll get accustomed to it easily (we all have ^^x) The words in bold will be explained below after the 'story' section so don't worry if you see a word you're not familiar with. I will explain the story from the manga rather than the anime because I'm not particularly fond of some of the things they changed in it. There will be spoilers in this section (obviously) but I think that's what you guys are looking for...(but I am not explaining the whole story to the end- yet!)
Anyway that's not the point. Rurouni Kenshin takes place around the mid 1800s I think, so there are guns and stuff like that but they're not common and this is the time when Western influences began to take place in Japan.
Before the Meiji Era, it was the Edo era (or the bakumatsu) and there was a famous assassin known as the "hitokiri battousai" who had red hair and a cross scar on his left cheek. He was one of the main pivots into leading the Edo era into the Meiji Era. Oh and at this time, the capital of Japan is not Tokyo, it is actually Kyoto (small bit of info...). Our hero, Himura Kenshin is a 28 year old rurouni. He's 28 years old, appears quite feminine and small in build. He meets Kamiya Kaoru, age 17. Her kenjutsu dojo is being threatened by a man who calls himself the "hitokiri battousai". Kaoru, seeing that this man had a sword, assumed it was him. However, the rurouni carries a sakabatou and so avoids suspicion from Kaoru. This time a shout is heard and the real man who calls himself the battousai, reveals his huge build. By saying that he is a student of the Kamiya Kasshin style (Kamiya Kasshin-ryuu) in sword fighting, he dirties Kaoru's dojo since she is the adjutant master of
the Kamiya Kasshin style. With her students leaving, Kaoru is determined to get revenge on this man. However he is much too strong for her and she faints with the rurouni saving her life. The man who calls himself battousai is actually Hiruma Gohei, and is planning to take Kaoru's dojo with his brother Hiruma Kihei. Well, Kenshin comes and saves the day and actually reveals himself as the real Hitokiri Battousai and he uses Hiten Mitsuryugi-ryuu, not Kamiya Kasshin-ryuu (even though he is not proud of it he says it's better than someone like Gohei to have such a title ^^;;;)
Kenshin was planning to leave after he saved Kaoru, but being lonely, Kaoru gathered up her courage to ask the Rurouni (not the Hitokiri, she doesn't care about that) to stay at her dojo. Kenshin agrees, saying he was getting of tired of wandering.
This is how these two get together, how romantic!! ^_^
Yahiko is a young boy of 10 who joins K & K soon after, more detail on this is written in the character info.
Sanosuke, is an ex-punk and for more info on him, you can see his character analysis. (I don't want to repeat myself)
The same goes for Megumi. These 5 people join to form the 'Kenshin-gumi', this name is given by Yahiko ("Hey I'm part of the Kenshin-gumi too!")
The first 'main' enemy is Jineh, also an ex-assassin who enjoys the feel of flesh against his sword (so he enjoys killing for fun). Kenshin is opted to capture this man. Jineh spots Kenshin's weakness and takes Kaoru as hostage. Kenshin gets *really* mad and his inner battousai-self emerges. [His Battousai-self also comes out when provoked by an older enemy he knew while he was Battousai] There are differences in language between Battousai and Kenshin (I treat them like two different people because they are two totally different personalities) and we see the main difference is that Battousai can kill, Kenshin cannot. Kaoru doesn't want Kenshin to revert back to his old self, and her will for this is so strong she is able to break the 'spell' Jineh cast on her and bring back Kenshin. Jineh becomes disgusted at himself that a girl can break his spell so he commits suicide, but before he dies he tells Kenshin "Once a Hitokiri, always a Hitokiri-- I'll be watching you from hell Battousai". And thus, continues the life of Kenshin vs Battousai and how Kenshin tries to atone for his sins.
Hitokiri Battousai: A famous assassin (hitokiri) swordsman (battousai) who was able to use the skill/art of the feet (battoujutsu) in kenjutsu (the art of using the sword).
Rurouni: A person who has no home and wanders from place to place. A vagabond or wanderer.
Dojo: A place where the people in Japan go to practice a martial art. So a kenjutsu dojo (you wouldn't actually say this, it would be just called a 'dojo' but for the sake of specifics...) would be a place where you study the art of using a sword.
Sakabatou: A sword with its blades inverted round. So the sharp edge of the (the 'front) is actually blunt and the blunt edge of the sword is sharp. The shape of the sword is still the right way round.
Kenshin-gumi: 'Gumi' means something like 'clan'. So that would be the 'Kenshin-clan' in English.
Battousai & Kenshin: This is a big issue, I'm not sure if I can summarise it well but I'll try (hard)!
First off, because Kenshin lived in the era of the bakumatsu, his language is *slightly* old fashioned but only a bit.
He says "de gozaru" instead of "desu". "De gozaru" is kinda hard to explain in English but it finishes off a sentence in Japanese so it is usually heard at the end of his sentences. Only Kenshin uses this though. It's very polite-- but Battousai uses less formal terms.
Kenshin uses the "-dono" prefix instead of the "-san" prefix in names. The prefix the name usually puts the person you call, in a position higher, lower or the same. The "-dono" is used for people you don't know or are polite to. It can be used for both male and females. I don't think Battousai uses this because Kenshin only reverts to Battousai when he's mad... did that make sense?
Sessha is a humble way of saying "I/me" in Japanese and is also old-fashioned. It means "this unworthy one" or "clumsy me" of some sort. Again Kenshin uses this, and when he reverts to Battousai he says "Ore" (which is a guy's tougher way of saying "I/me")
Oro? Is Kenshin's trademark. It is a way of say "Huh"? In Japanese. Misao says it sounds nerdy. (I think it's cute!)
Baka: Stupid, idiot
Busu: Ugly (noun). Yahiko calls Kaoru this
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