The Best Episodes of Rurouni Kenshin

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2018

"140 years ago in Kyoto,with the coming of the 'Black Ships', there arose a warrior called Hitokiri Battousai. Felling men with his blood stained blade, he closed the turbulent Bakumatsu era and slashed open the age known as Meiji. Then he vanished, and with the flow of years, became a legend. In the 11th year of Meiji, in the middle of Tokyo this tale begins..." Rurouni Kenshin (the OAVs and Movie are known as Samurai X) tells the story of a wanderer named Kenshin, who used to be called Hitokiri Battousai (Hitokiri means Assassin) during the Japanese civil war, and is now trying to make up for his past and all his murders by helping those in trouble with his reverse-blade sword and by using his powerful technique called Hiten-Mitsurugi Ryu to battle oppressors of freedom and justice, yet struggling with himself and his own murdering self. During the series Kenshin joins others in his quest: Kaoru Kamiya, a young orphan girl who became tutor of the Kamiya-Kashin Ryu Kendo style; Sanosuke Sagara, a mercenary who used to bear the name Zanza and fights just with his incredibly powerful fists; Yahiko Myojin, a young boy who was rescued by Kenshin from a band of thieves and now a pupil on Kaoru's dojo; and Megumi Takani, a female doctor who was rescued by Kenshin from a band which forced her to make a lethal drug. Together they all fight those who oppress the weak while they seek their destiny as well happiness and redemption. The series is based on a homonymous manga created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, which was first published in 1994.

The Man Who is Chosen for Victory

#1 - The Man Who is Chosen for Victory

Season 2 - Episode 32

Getting back on his feet after the Ku Zu Ryu Sen, Shishio gets ready to use the final and ultimate Secret Sword attack, the Kaguzuchi. Kenshin also prepares to use his ultimate move, the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki. The blades end up hitting each other and the attack does not connect properly. However, Kenshin's attack created a vacuum utilizing the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki and the Kaguzuchi's sheer power, and temporariliy immobilized Shishio. Not missing this chance, Kenshin strikes Shishio with an immensely strong consecutive hit. Shishio miraculously stands back up, but since he has fought far longer than fifteen minutes, his blood starts evaporating and he begins screaming in pain. In utter fear of Shishio's death, Yumi rushes over by Shishio, and begs Kenshin not to finish him off. However, Shishio stabs Kenshin through Yumi! He is determined to continue fighting, and Yumi dies happily, knowing she did something useful for once. As the battle continues, the battle is once again at a standstill. Then suddenly, the scorching heat in Shishio's body causes him to end up being burned alive once again, this time fatally. Houji, refusing to accept Shishio's defeat, maniacally attempts to destroy the Inferno Arena to take out Sanosuke, Kenshin, Saito, and Aoshi.

star 8.86
36 votes
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Reborn to Salvation

#2 - Reborn to Salvation

Season 2 - Episode 20

Anji and Sanosuke continue their duel, and Anji is reborn to salvation after talking about his past and being convinced by Sanosuke and the memories from the people of his past that he was doing the wrong thing all these years by being a destroyer. Kenshin and Saito continue on ahead to fight Usui, the second challenger of the Jupongottana.

star 8.75
40 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Crush!

#3 - Crush!

Season 3 - Episode 16

Kenshin and the rest are walking through the forest, they end up going to a restaurant to eat, and when the time came to pay for it, Kenshin had lost Kaoru's money. Kenshin and the rest offered to work off the money. Kaoru and Misao were making trips to send people their meal and accidentally went into the wrong room. Later that night Misao and Kaoru were in the hot springs and they spotted someone. They realized it was an artist seeking inspiration and Kaoru was it. The artist had fallen in love with Kaoru but Kaoru was in love with Kenshin, Misao had an idea and told Sanosuke, Sanosuke told the artist if he can hit Kenshin he will hook him up with Kaoru. No matter how hard the artist tried he couldn't hit Kenshin. Finally he got his inspiration and drew a portrait of Kaoru and gave it her. Kenshin and the rest left and saw Kaoru's picture, it was an abstract drawing and they laughed while running away.

star 8.70
3 votes
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Between Life and Death

#4 - Between Life and Death

Season 2 - Episode 15

The episode starts off with Seijuro Hiko remembering the past about when he first met Kenshin and while they were continuing the training Kenshin finally proves himself worthy of learning the final technique, so Hiko begins to start by teaching him the Kuzu-ryusen, a technique where it will hit 9 targets of martial arts at one time. Then Hiko instructs Kenshin to try the attack. Kenshin uses the attack flawlessly but Hiko performed one of his own and the end result is that Kenshin lost this skirmish due to his lacking in weight and size. Then after learning this Hiko proclaims "you must defeat this technique with the ultimate attack". After much worry about his friends Kenshin finally looks within himself for what he was missing in life and learns the ultimate technique, the Amakakeru Ryu No Hirameki, which is the will to live, said to be "stronger than anything". Though he has to pay a very high price.

star 8.61
41 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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The Wolf Destroys the Shingan

#5 - The Wolf Destroys the Shingan

Season 2 - Episode 21

Uonuma Usui confronts Saito while the others continue on through Shishio's mansion. Usui's claim to "True Vision" is put to the test by Saito, who sees it for what it really is - simply super enhanced hearing adopted by Usui to make up for his lack of sight. Saito realizes that Usui is in fact weak since his desire for revenge against Shishio has driven him to become a mere pawn in Shishio's game. An enraged Usui wounds Saito using the timbe, a tortoise-shell shield and blocks his vision, however, Usui is no match for Saito's Zeroshiki, a move Saito had been saving for a fight against Kenshin.

star 8.59
41 votes
A Duel With an Extreme Moment

#6 - A Duel With an Extreme Moment

Season 2 - Episode 28

Continuing from the last episode, Sojiro thinks about his past a little bit more, and thinks of Shishio's "survival of the fittest", and Kenshin's way of not killing people. Sojiro gets very confused, not knowing which person to believe, and he suddenly breaks down during the fight. He goes crazy, and tells Kenshin that he is only getting in his way, and that the very fact that he's in the room makes him ticked off. Sojiro then fights Kenshin at his full strength, using an attack he named the Shu Ten Satsu its a combination of the shukchi speed and the Battojutsu of the tenken. Then they both do a Battojutsu stance. Kenshin emerges victorious by using his ultimate attack, the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki on him. Sojiro then tells Yumi to return his Wakizashi to Shishio, and also gives Yumi the details of Kenshin's ultimate attack, as a parting gift Sojiro leaves Shishio's side forever, and Kenshin and the others make their way to the final battle with Makoto Shishio.

star 8.55
37 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Eric P. Sherman, Clark Cheng
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A Devil of Vengeance

#7 - A Devil of Vengeance

Season 2 - Episode 2

The battle between Kenshin and Saito continues after Kenshin is stabbed by Saito's Gatotsu Sanshiki. Kaoru is frightened to see Kenshin's Battousai persona begin to emerge and begins to lose hope that she will ever see the gentle Rurouni again. However, one of Saito's superiors appears and stops the fight just as it is reaching a climax and Kenshin returns to normal after punching himself in the face. Okubo explains to Kenshin that Shishio Makoto, the man who took over Kenshin's position as the Shadow Hitokiri for the Ishinshishi survived being burned alive and has begun gathering an army to overthrow the government, and hopes that Kenshin can defeat him, with the threat of Megumi being turned in for opium manufacture unless he complies. Megumi states she would rather die that be used as a pawn against Kenshin, and he is given a deadline upon which to decide.

star 8.52
48 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Hiten versus Shukuchi

#8 - Hiten versus Shukuchi

Season 2 - Episode 26

Sojiro and Kenshin have their second duel, since the one in Shingetsu Village was never finished. Sojiro shows Kenshin the Shukuchi attack, an attack that brings him to his opponent in an instant, because he uses powerful legwork. Kenshin manages to get himself pretty wounded in the fight, and Sojiro hasn't even gotten hit once. He even dodges the Kuzu Ryu Sen, an attack Hiko said was unblockable.

star 8.52
39 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Eric P. Sherman, Clark Cheng
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Prelude to the Impending Fight

#9 - Prelude to the Impending Fight

Season 1 - Episode 28

The Kenshin-gumi's brief period of peace is interrupted by the presence of former Shinsengumi captain Saito Hajime - now using the name of Fujita Goro and working for the Tokyo police - stirs up some of Kenshin's bloodiest memories of the Bakumatsu. Saito arrives at the Kamiya dojo disguised as a medicine seller and fights Sanosuke, injuring him severely in the process.

star 8.51
47 votes
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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The Promised Time Has Come

#10 - The Promised Time Has Come

Season 2 - Episode 22

Kenshin senses something coming from Houji's room, and then senses that it is Aoshi Shinomori. He enters the room, and is determined to keep his promise to Aoshi Shinomori, and to Misao Makimachi by fighting, and bringing back Aoshi to Aoiya. Upon entering the room, Aoshi greets him, and he says that he has thrown everything away, including his four comrades, just for the moment of the duel with him and Kenshin. Aoshi is determined to win the fight and kill the Battousai, to claim the title of the strongest.

star 8.50
38 votes
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The Giant versus Superman

#11 - The Giant versus Superman

Season 2 - Episode 25

Just when all hope seems lost, Seijuro Hiko shows up and fights Fuji. He talks to Fuji and makes he realize that he was being used and ask for a fair fight. He defeats Fuji with the Kuzu Ryu Sen. The Aoiya is safe from harm, but Kenshin still has to fight Sojiro in order to fight Shishio himself.

star 8.50
36 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Rebecca Forstadt, Kirk Thornton, Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Kyoto, the Engraved Memory

#12 - Kyoto, the Engraved Memory

Season 2 - Episode 34

Yahiko visits Mount Hiei, and Sanosuke shows him where that battle with Shishio took place. Meanwhile, Kenshin visits an unknown woman's grave, and places flowers by it. Also at this time, Megumi explains to Kaoru the severity of Kenshin's wounds, and that it is important to keep him from doing anything that dangerous again. Finally, the gang gets on the train to Tokyo, with Misao waving to them and telling them to visit again. After the train departs Saito is seen saying that he and Kenshin will meet again one day and settle the score that they have. When the gang reaches the road to the dojo, Kaoru extends her hand and welcomes Kenshin home. Kenshin smiles and says, "It's good to be home."

star 8.49
39 votes
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The Tragedy of a Stormy Night

#13 - The Tragedy of a Stormy Night

Season 2 - Episode 27

While Sojiro is occupied by constantly re-tieing his shoe, he thinks of the moments of his past, and all of the bad stuff that happened in it. Sojiro's past is shown throughout the entire episode. Sojiro's family never loved him, and only wanted him so they could use him. They made him carry hundreds of buckets of rice, and when Sojiro returns a bucket of rice to his house, one of Sojiro's family members breaks the bucket on purpose. Then, another person who likes to cause Sojiro trouble and use him, named Yanosuke, calls out his father who is inside, blaming Sojiro for breaking the bucket. He then meets Makoto Shishio, whom spared his life. Shishio gave him a Wakizashi sword. When his family has cornered him, he murders them with this sword. Then, Sojiro follows Shishio, as Shishio tells Sojiro that he will become strong.

star 8.45
36 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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A Killer Without Mercy

#14 - A Killer Without Mercy

Season 2 - Episode 12

Kenshin finds Sawagejo Cho has kidnapped the child of Shakku's son in order to obtain Shakku's final work for himself. Kenshin is forced to choose between keeping his vow not to kill and saving the baby, deciding to save the child and draw the sword he has been given. However, just when it seems he has broken his vow and killed Cho, it is revealed that the sword he is holding is Shakku's final work, Shinuchi, a sakabato, and Cho is merely stunned. Kenshin then leaves to find his master, Hiko Seijuro, in order to learn the final technique of Hiten Misturugi-Ryu.

star 8.44
43 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Crash! The Lethal Punch, Futae no Kiwami!

#15 - Crash! The Lethal Punch, Futae no Kiwami!

Season 2 - Episode 19

Sanosuke, Saito, and Kenshin journey to Mount Hiei at the Shrine of the Six Arches to settle the score with Shishio. The first challenger of the Juppongottana in the shrine is Anji the Destroyer, the man who taught Sanosuke the basics of the Futae no Kiwami. Anji and Sanosuke duel, and Sanosuke uses a Futae no Kiwami attack at full power, called the Kiwami Hazuchi, and knocks Anji down. Sanosuke thinks he is dead, until he gets back up more angry than ever.

star 8.43
40 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Strongest Opponent From the Past

#16 - Strongest Opponent From the Past

Season 2 - Episode 1

Sanosuke is beginning to recover from the wounds inflicted by Saito, but Kenshin's mind is greatly disturbed. Akamatsu, another assassin hired by the same man who is paying Saito fights Kenshin by drawing him out but loses to Kenshin while Saito arrives at the dojo using his status as a policeman to gain entrance. Kenshin and Saito begin to fight, despite Kaoru's attempt to stop them as she begs Kenshin not to revert to his Battousai persona.

star 8.42
46 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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A Wish Unrequited

#17 - A Wish Unrequited

Season 2 - Episode 3

As the deadline for Kenshin's decision on whether to go to Kyoto nears Kaoru becomes anxious at the possibility of his leaving. After Okubo's assassination by Seta Sojiro, Kenshin decides to go to Kyoto and bids an emotional goodbye to Kaoru, implying that it is likely they will never meet again.

star 8.40
40 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Not Out of Luck!

#18 - Not Out of Luck!

Season 2 - Episode 31

After a short conversation between Aoshi and Shishio, they both engage in combat with each other. However, even with Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu Rokuren, he cannot defeat Shishio. Suddenly, after buying enough time for Kenshin, Kenshin himself appears to be standing! Due to his swordsman spirit, he was able to survive the wounds caused by the Guren Kaina. Now round two commences. Just when Shishio is about to finish Kenshin off with another Guren Kaina, he remembers the promise he made to Kaoru to go back to Tokyo together. He then uses a five-hit combo on Shishio, and does the Ku Zu Ryu Sen, of the Hiten Mitsurugi Style. Shishio gets back up because of his swordsman spirit, and the final round is about to commence.

star 8.39
36 votes
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The Juppongatana Who Remain (aka The Choice for Life)

#19 - The Juppongatana Who Remain (aka The Choice for Life)

Season 2 - Episode 33

Sano and Aoshi drag an unconscious Kenshin as they run from the burning Building. They eventually escape, but Saito was left behind because his legs were too injured to jump the bridge/walkway that had collapsed. So Saito is now presumed dead. Chou the Swordhunter also appears to tell the group what was happened to the rest of the Juponggottana. The episode ends with Makoto Shishio, Yumi, and Houji gathering in hell, scheming how to take over.

star 8.37
36 votes
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Purgatory Bursts into Flames

#20 - Purgatory Bursts into Flames

Season 2 - Episode 18

Sanosuke uses the Futae no Kiwami Anji taught him to stop Gatling gun bullets from hitting him. He then throws the bombs Katsu gave him before he left Tokyo right onto the Purgatory, damaging the engine and leaving a hole in the ship. The Purgatory eventually sinks, but not until Saito, Kenshin, and Sanosuke get off safely. Shishio issues a challenge; Kenshin can only meet him at his base and get to him by completing one-on-one fights. Kyoto is spared from the Kyoto Grand Fire as well, thanks to intervention by the Oniwaban, now headed by Misao.

star 8.18
39 votes
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The Ultimate Technique of the Hiten-Mitsurugi Style

#21 - The Ultimate Technique of the Hiten-Mitsurugi Style

Season 2 - Episode 13

Kenshin finds his master Hiko Seijuro living as a potter near Kyoto, but Hiko is initially unwilling to take Kenshin back due to his walking out to join the Revolution. Yahiko and Kaoru meet Misao in Kyoto after learning that she saw Kenshin leaving, and later leads the grateful pair to him after they meet Okina at the Aoi-Ya. Kenshin seems initially upset at the sight of Kaoru, but later replies he is only "half" angry. They leave Kenshin to train, and on the way Misao's affiliation with the Oniwabanshu is revealed as well as the fact that she does not know of the fate of Aoshi's group in Edo.

star 8.15
42 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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Farewell, the Strongest Men

#22 - Farewell, the Strongest Men

Season 1 - Episode 11

Kenshin narrowly defeats Aoshi. Aoshi asks Kenshin to finish him off, and when Kenshin refuses, Aoshi vows revenge. Kanryū shows up with a gatling gun and kills the four members of the Oniwaban group, who die defending Aoshi. Megumi tries to kill herself for her past misdeeds, but they save her just in time. Aoshi buries his comrades and swears that he will defeat Kenshin for their sake.

star 8.15
61 votes
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A Decisive Battle like Violent Waters

#23 - A Decisive Battle like Violent Waters

Season 2 - Episode 16

The Juppongottana have gathered in the temple of Shishio in Kyoto, and are ready to commence the Kyoto Grand Fire and be on their path to victory.

star 8.10
41 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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The Age Chooses Shishio?

#24 - The Age Chooses Shishio?

Season 2 - Episode 30

The fight between Kenshin and Shishio continues. Kenshin and Shishio then start talking about Shishio's greatest shura that he trained himself, Sojiro. Shishio doesn't believe that Kenshin understands the laws of nature, and then he tries to show it to Kenshin, by using the Homura Dama. However, after creating a circle of flames around Kenshin, he picks him up, and ignites the gunpowder tucked inside his gauntlet. This the second Secret Sword attack, known as the Guren Kaina. This knocks out Kenshin, nearly causing his death! However, not all hope is lost. Saito busts through the door, using his Gatotsu attack (the first style). Due to a metal protection on Shishio's forehead, this doesn't affect him. After trying all of the Gatotsu styles, Saito gets knocked out by Shishio. Sanosuke attempts to attack him, but fails. Suddenly, when all hope seems lost, Aoshi appears to engage in combat with Shishio.

star 8.09
36 votes
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Midnight Battle

#25 - Midnight Battle

Season 1 - Episode 24

Sanosuke throws a party at the Kamiya Dojo for everyone. Little does everyone except Kenshin know, Sanosuke is really planning to leave the Kenshin group for good to revive the long lost Sekihoutai with his friend Katsuhiro. Kenshin goes to stop Sanosuke and Katsu from destroying the Internal Affairs Department with bombs. Kenshin stops Sano, and Sano rejoins Kenshin's group, and Katsu stops making bombs.

star 8.08
41 votes
Directors: Kaeko Sakamoto
Writers: Clark Cheng, Eric P. Sherman
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