Many RK fans in the USA probably started off watching the anime on Toonami, like I did. It was great. We had the light hearted introductory Tokyo Arc and the more somber and totally epic Kyoto Arc. During these arcs, we watched our little rurouni learn to trust those who wanted to fight at his side and come to realize that he too could have a home and close friends and family. Then when Kenshin said, “I’m home” in episode 62, that was the end of the series for us.
For alas, the third season was comprised of nothing but the dreaded filler episodes. Themes about Christian swordsmen with power that surpassed even that of Kenshin’s master, feng shui monks and Prussian knights abounded. The bizarreness and lazy writing of these arcs led to the series being canceled before the final arc of the manga could be adapted, thus leaving the story incomplete. It is on this final arc that this essay shall dwell.
The final canon arc is called Jinchuu, (人誅) which translates as Earthly/Human Justice or simply Revenge. It turns out that our little rurouni has some skeletons in his closet. Incidentally, those of us who have seen the OVAs, Tsuiokuhen (Trust and Betrayal) and Seisouhen (Reflection) will have a partial understanding of this arc. However, neither OVA (especially the last one) tells the whole story.
A mysterious man with spiky white hair and anachronistic sunglasses shows up out of the blue and turns the Kenshingumi’s life upside down by attacking places and people in Tokyo that Kenshin had developed relationships with in the previous arcs. Yukishiro Enishi is determined to plunge Kenshin into a living hell by attacking those dearest to him.
After the attacks, Kenshin reveals that he knew someone in his past, someone whose tragic death had a profound impact on himself and Yukishiro. Because of this connection, Yukishiro is able to hurt Kenshin in a way none of his previous enemies could have. It is on this theme that the Jinchuu Arc dwells: a personal vendetta meant to cast one small rurouni into a living hell from which he can only escape by finding his answers and his truth.
Kenshin isn’t the only one who’s forced to do some serious soul searching during this harrowing time. All the characters face their own crises, which they must overcome to grow as people. Sanosuke must deal with his estranged family. Yahiko must learn to fight alone. Megumi must decide where she wants to practice medicine. And Kaoru… well let’s just say that Kaoru undergoes the most dramatic upheaval of all, save for Kenshin.
The Jinchuu Arc ties together all the little loose ends that were left dangling at the end of the Kyoto Arc. It is the core and resolution of the entire story, not just for Kenshin, but for all the other characters as well. Without it, the story, although epic and beautiful, is left woefully incomplete.
This is why I and other dedicated fans will continue pushing for some kind of adaptation of this important arc, either live action or anime. We don’t care. We just want the Jinchuu Arc properly adapted.
Thank you for reading my rant.