Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #03 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59116-250-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #03

By Megan Lavey     April 05, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2004


Rurouni Kenshin Vol.#03
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nobuhiro Watsuki
Translated by:Kenichiro Yagi
Adapted by:

What They Say
After a night of gambling, Kenshin and Sanosuke return with an unexpected prize a woman. Beautiful and mysterious, Takani Megumi, the daughter of a famous family of physicians, has unwittingly been participating in the production of a super-powerful, super-profitable form of opium.

Hot on her trail is shady industrialist Kanryu, and Sanosuke may not be her best protector after the death of one of his friends from an opium overdose. But Kenshin has looked into her eyes and seen her sadness. He knows he must act but will he be able to save her from the wrath of Kanryu, or for that matter, from Sanosuke?

The Review
This book picks up where book two leaves off and covers episodes 8 through episode 10 in the anime.

Packaging: I can't complain. It's the original cover for vol. 3 with the English logo on it instead of the Japanese. It's a well-known picture of Kaoru sitting on the ground in a lavish kimono with Kenshin standing behind her, sword drawn and looking off into the distance. He's also wearing a fancier kimono and hakama. The back is different from the original in that it's added a piece of Kenshin (looks like from the later part of the manga) with his sakabatou drawn. For those who were wondering, Kaoru is the character featured on the spine. So it looks like that the spines will match their Japanese counterparts. (there was Kenshin on the spine in Japanese for the first two volumes as well, then went into Kaoru and the others.).

Artwork: Still gorgeous with further refinement in all of the characters. For the most part, they all now look like their anime counterparts. The scenes are still greatly lush and detailed.

Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and translated. The translated SFX is integrated into the artwork well and I believe even those fans who did not want translated SFX will be pleased. And, as an extra bonus, there is a glossary of terms used in the back of the book, so if you didn't pick up on the footnotes or were confused about some things explained during the course of the story, just flip to the back and check it out.

Text: Another excellent job handling text. The names "Oniwabanshu" and "Kenshingumi" are kept, along with the term "okashira" (which will be used a LOT.) At first, I was thrown for a loop regarding the use of the word "Kenshingumi." Yahiko calls them "Team Kenshin" at first, which is the direct translation, then he goes "Kenshingumi, one of Team Kenshin." So I'm pretty sure that Kenshingumi will be retained throughout the rest of the series. At least I hope so. I like that term for the main gang.

One quick note regarding the author's notes. In them, you'll see Watsuki being referred to in the third person. That's how he originally wrote these notes is by referring to himself in the third person. A bit odd, but it's accurate.

Review: This entire volume is still devoted to the Oniwabanshu arc and picks up with Kenshin arriving back at the dojo with Megumi. Naturally, Kaoru isn't too happy about this, especially when Megumi proceeds to fawn all over Kenshin. She kicks the two of them plus Sano out and they end up running across several dead people. They then notice Kanryu in the crowd. He was the one who ordered the deaths. Kanryu and a man called Shinomori Aoshi also notice Kenshin, Megumi and Sano and Aoshi, okashira of the Oniwabanshu, makes places to retrieve Megumi from Kenshin.

They return to the dojo, where they're attacked by Hyottoko, a very fat member of the Oniwabamshu that shoots fire through his mouth by using an oil bag that is in his stomach. Sanosuke does the majority of the fighting in this battle, though Kenshin helps him out. Megumi tries to run away during this, but Kaoru guilt trips her into staying. At the end, Beshimi (who was first introduced in the last chapter of book two) attacks again, sending poison darts at Megumi. Yahiko blocks the attack and gets poisoned in the process.

It is while Yahiko is recovering from this that we learn Megumi's past, coming from a long line of renowned doctors from Aizu. She is the only person who knows how to make a very cheap, yet extremely powerful form of opium called "Spider's Eye" and Kanryu forced her to make it for several years before she escaped. After Yahiko is saved, Kaoru offers Megumi sanctuary.

Kanryu entices Megumi out of the dojo and kidnaps her, prompting Kenshin, Sano and Yahiko to go after her. After a confrontation outside of Kanryu's mansion, they prepare to face the rest of the Oniwabanshu.

As much as I like the anime, once again I'm finding the manga to be a bit more above par. No one comes off quite as naive as they do in the anime, especially Kenshin and Kaoru. Kenshin really has a smart mouth and it's something I like about him. There's a bit more depth to him and I don't think we've seen him scrub a load of laundry yet either! Sano's justifications for disliking Megumi and Megumi's past are also given a boost and the Kenshingumi as a whole (with the exception of Kenshin himself) isn't as quick to accept her as they are in the anime.

Two changes though. In the anime, in the flashback showing Megumi and her family, it made it look like she was the oldest child. In the manga, it's clear that she's the youngest. Also, in the anime, Kaoru accompanies Kenshin, Sano and Yahiko to Kanryu's mansion for the fight against him and the Oniwabanshu. That was a change that I really liked, considering that it seemed odd to me that Kenshin would allow Yahiko, a boy with practically no experience, to go out and face the Oniwabanshu over the shihondai of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu? Is our rurouni a bit sexist? ::grin::

Comments
A special treat at the end is Watsuki's very first concept for Kenshin and really is more of a pilot than the short story at the end of book one. It was a fantastic read and the notes accompanying it telling the story behind it let's you know the complete history of Kenshin from concept to what we hold in our hands today.

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