Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #14 -

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: 1-59116-767-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #14

By Megan Lavey     August 07, 2005
Release Date: May 15, 2005

Rurouni Kenshin Vol.#14
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
As the Juppongatana or "Ten Swords" move to attack those at Aoi-ya (Kaoru, Yahiko, Misao and the rest of the Kyoto-based spy clan), Kenshin - accompanied by Sanosuke and Saito - squares off against one of his most powerful opponents yet: Shinomori Aoshi, former Okashira or "head" of the Oniwabanshu. Bound by promises to both return Misao's "Aoshi-sama" to her safely, and to face Shinomori himself in a climatic, decisive battle, the time is now to learn once and for all who has the will to love, who has the will to die...and who has the will to fight.

The Review
With simultaneous fights going on between Saito and Usui, the group at the Aoi-ya versus the rest of the Juppongatana and Kenshin versus Aoshi, there's no lack for action in this volume as the Kyoto Arc continues.

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. Additional kudos goes to Viz for keeping the artwork flipped horizontally, the way it was intended to be seen. It's a portrait shot of Kenshin and the main members of the Juppongatana - Shishio, Sojiro, Yumi and Hoji. On the back, we get to see a picture of Saito lighting up (no, his cigarette hasn't been replaced by a lollipop). Extras include the typical glossary and ads for other Viz Media releases.

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):
His fight with Anji over, the defeated ex-priest decides to give a gift to Kenshin's group - that members of the Juppongatana are currently converging on the Aoi-ya to attack Kaoru, Misao and the others left behind. Kenshin is torn between going back to aid them and pressing on. Putting his faith in his request to Hiko a few volumes ago, they press on.

Kenshin prepares to fight Usui, but Saito steps in and takes over the fight - knowing that Kenshin would be unable to kill the blind warrior. The ensuing fight is even more psycological than the last and pits Saito's beliefs against Usui's. And you get to see that there's more sides to a Gatotsu than there are blades in a jackknife.

Kenshin, Sano and Yumi head on, but Kenshin is distracted when he senses ki coming from Hoji's office. Ignoring Yumi's request not to go in there, he does and finally faces Shinomori Aoshi in the fight that's been in the making since the initial Oniwabanshu arc at the beginning of the series.

As the Kyoto arc continues, we get to see Saito in action and even more glimpses of the man that was once one of the leaders of the Shinsengumi. Really, there was no one who could fighting Usui other than Saito, and it's Saito's manipulation of Usui's arrogance that brings him down in the end. The end result is actually a lot more gory than in the anime - Usui's body is literally ripped in half by Saito's final attack and you see him hanging from the wall. It's very gruesome and not for the faint of heart.

After some scenes where the battle at the Aoi-ya gets started, we switch over to what Kenshin, Sano and Yumi are doing. The banter between Sano and Yumi is hilarious as he hauls her around the compound like a sack of potatoes. Kenshin detects Aoshi in Hoji's office and goes in to fight him despite Yumi's protest - but it turns out to be an act anyhow since Shishio has planted Aoshi in there to begin with in order to enable Yumi to spy on Kenshin's fighting techniques.

The fight between Kenshin and Aoshi is one of the more interesting ones, but again, it all seems like a rehash of earlier fights between both Kenshin and Aoshi and Aoshi and Okina. The main difference here is that you get see what exactly Kenshin has learned from his training to get the Amakakeru no Hirameki. Sano comments that Aoshi has gone into this fight expecting to die, yet Kenshin has discovered he has a lot to live for. Kenshin has to get this point across to Aoshi, and that's the only way the fight will end with both of them still alive. I love the little bit of ironic humor in the end, and a lot of the humor is toned down in the anime. It's that quality that for me keeps the story flowing smoothly.


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