Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #13 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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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: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59116-713-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #13

By Megan Lavey     August 04, 2005
Release Date: April 15, 2005

Rurouni Kenshin Vol.#13
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
The Great Kyoto Fire behind them (and casualities relatively slight), Kenshin and the others consider their next move. The Oniwabanshu may indeed be allies this time ("Now there's a weird twist," as Sano says), but their leader, Shinomori Aoshi, is not. Is Kenshin truly, as is claimed, the only one who can bring peace to the former Okashira, or "head" of the Kyoto-based spy group? Elsewhere, madman Shishio Makoto has made his own plans for Kenshin and the others, plans involving a "man to man" death match style to the finish...

The Review
As the Kyoto Arc continues, we get a touching night with the Kenshingumi and the Oniwabanshu together in Kyoto before Kenshin, Sano and Saito head to face the Juppongatana for the final showdown.

We're still using the original tankoubon art with a new background, and this time it is one of the lovelier pictures. Really, the art for this volume through vol. 16 are all absolutely gorgeous and I wouldn't mind owning it in poster form. The main image here is Kenshin shaded in red and orange with the full moon behind him, sakabato raised and sakura petals floating through the air. It's a gorgeous image. The back features a lovely closeup of Misao while the spine has Kenshin once again. Extras include a glossary and ads for other Viz Media products, mainly touting Naruto.

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.

Content (may contain spoilers):
With the Great Kyoto Fire avoided, there have been only 41 deaths. This is a relief to Saito, but still weighs on Kenshin's soul. But he has to put that aside as he's finally reunited with Kaoru, Yahiko and the other members of the Oniwabanshu at the Aoi-ya. It's not a moment too soon, as Okina wakes from his coma and everyone rushes in to see him. Kenshin learns what Aoshi has done to the Oniwabanshu and promises Misao that he will bring him back to her alive.

Kenshin and Kaoru get a brief moment together before everyone else interupts them to throw their support behind Kenshin. With Kaoru, Yahiko and the Oniwabanshu protecting the Aoi-ya, Kenshin, Sano and Saito head to Shishio's compound carved into Mt. Hiei to battle Shishio himself.

Except they don't quite reach him just yet. The battle is broken down into stages that resembes the sort of tournament fights found in Flame of Recca and Yuu Yuu Hakusho. First up is a rematch between Sano and Anji. Most of the second half of the volume is dedicated to this fight and to what caused Anji to lose his faith - the persecution and burning of his Buddhist temple a few years earlier that led to the deaths of the orphaned children he was caring for.

We now move into the tournament aspect of the Kyoto arc, but we get some great comedy at first. I laughed at the scene where Kenshin and the others are being rushed in to see the newly awaken Okina and Omasu is carrying Yahiko in her arms. That, followed by the touching scene between Kenshin and Kaoru, gives the emotional balance needed after everyone was separated for so long.

The Sano/Anji fight has always been the least favorite of the Kyoto battles - partly because Anji's story is a bit too generic and also because it's a rehash of their earlier fight. It doesn't have the absolute horror that you get from Sojiro in a few volumes, or even the twisted perspective of Usui's in volume 14. This is where you start to see other characters utilizing the psycological moves that Kenshin pulled earlier on in the series with Raijuta.

Anji's story is sad and you do feel sorry for the children. It's an accurate reflection of the horrors of the time and how Buddhists (and Christians as well) were treated. But at its core, it's a very generic story that we've seen utilized over and over again in anime and manga series. For that, when reading through the series, I tend to skim through the actual fight and head on into the next one featuring Saito.


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