Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #10 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: 1-59116-703-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #10

By Megan Lavey     February 10, 2005
Release Date: December 01, 2004

Rurouni Kenshin Vol.#10
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
His sakabatô broken in battle, Kenshin seeks out the man who forged it - Arai Shakkû - only to be turned away. Seikû, son of the legendary swordsmith, had for a time been continuing his father's work (the forging of katana, meant for killing), but has since given up that calling and spends his time making humble cooking knives. Respecting Seikû's wishes, Kenshin leaves without the desired blade... but not before Shishio's spies learn that Shakkû has forged one last sword. Meanwhile, Shishio arrives in Kyoto with orders for his ten generals, or "Ten Swords" to join him and put into motion a plan to take over Japan. Chô, one of Shishio's "swords," learns early of Shakkû's final blade and determines to secure it at any cost. Now, armed only with his broken sakabatô, Kenshin must face Chô in battle...

The Review
Like previous covers, this volume of Rurouni Kenshin retains the original image from the Japanese tankoubon with a different background. This image is a shot of the Kenshingumi pre-Kenshin's departure from Tokyo looking relaxed and very happy. The dark grey background selected for this cover goes well with the dark colors. Kenshin is featured on the spine and a shot of Kenshin and Shishio is on the back. The beginning of the book has the notes from Watsuki that were originally included on the inside flap of the tankoubon cover, character introductions and ads for other Shonen Jump series and a glossary of terms are in the back.

Watsuki has come a long way from the beginning of the series and one of the things that Viz has done with it is to preserve the integrity of the battle scenes. Watsuki began to integrate more and more complex kanji into the battle scenes when the attacks are called that are tightly meshed with the art of the battle itself. Viz chose to not touch this artwork and left the kanji/fight scene intact and provides a translation of the kanji in a small box nearby.

The grammatical errors seem to be a thing of the past as there is a very solid translation throughout the book. The only thing that seems to waver is that it looks like the translator could not decide what to call Shishio's team. He calls them "Ten Swords" and also Juppongatana and seems to go back and forth between them, even though the reader is shown that Juppongatana means "Ten Swords."

Content (may contain spoilers):
Misao catches the reader up to date fairly quickly - Kenshin has tried to obtain a new sakabatô, but has failed to do so because he did not want to pressure Arai Seikû, the son of the original swordsman who made the sakabatô, to create a new sword against his will. While Misao is attempting to throttle some sense into Kenshin, Shishio arrives at his stronghold outside of Kyoto. He's greeted by Chô, the first member of the Juppongatana who had to travel to Kyoto from Osaka. Hoji, another member of the Juppongatana, updates Shishio about Kenshin's failure to get a new sword. Chô decides he wants the sword for himself and heads out to get it.

Most of the volume surrounds the ensuing fight between Kenshin and Chô, as Chô gets ahold of Seikû's son, Iori, and holds him for ransom. As a result, we get one member of the Juppongatana knocked out of the way early and learn something about Kenshin's past. Kenshin's time spent as Battosai is something that's not been touched on a lot in the series to date, and we get insight into his frame of mind when he decided to take his non-killing vow a decade earlier. We also learn about the sakabatô itself and how Kenshin was able to get his hands on a second sword.

Kenshin decides to go back into hiding, making Misao angry. Okina suggests she heads out to get something to eat and she winds up at the Shirobeko. There, Misao encounters Kaoru and Yahiko and promptly spars with them. This is another change from the anime that is refreshing. In the anime, much of Kaoru's spunk is put on the back burner and she enters more of a mentor role to Misao and Yahiko. Here, the fire is back as she believes Misao and Kenshin were involved and wants to beat up Kenshin. Misao manages to get Kaoru to calm down long enough to introduce her and Yahiko to Okina. From there, they set out to encounter Kenshin, who has sought out his master - Hiko Seijuro.

After a couple volumes of setup, we're finally moving into some concrete action here as Kenshin gets his sakabatô back and his friends from Tokyo finally get within reach of him. The interesting part is the battle with Chô and the different swords that Watsuki has developed for the characters. While of a fantasy nature, he makes it appear like these swords could be made for real. This volume has more of a cliffhanger than the other issues did, but with the fast release pace, there isn't long of a wait between them. My favorite part? Hiko-sama!!! I must admit, he's pretty hot.

Hiko's reasons for wanting to keep Kenshin from the bakamatsu are spelled out a bit clearer here, and I'm wondering if it's the translation job. He explains more what it means to be a "free sword" and why a power such as Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu shouldn't be used to aid one particular side over another like Kenshin did during the bakumatsu. Paired that with the knowledge from earlier in the volume regarding Kenshin receiving the sakabatô and you start to understand why Kenshin has made the decisions he has and what the true power of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu is.


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