Rurouni Kenshin is about a samurai who fought in the revolution, but then decided to become a peaceful wanderer with a reverse blade sword to enforce his policy of not killing people.
Kenshin Himura is an amusing, likeable, powerful, interesting samurai. He has a small group of friends with Kaoru, who is a sword teacher and seems to be romantically interested in Kenshin, but is sometimes a little too ditzy and over dramatic, the big, powerful and tough Sano and the little apprentice named Yahiko, who hates being called little. There is also a group of ninjas during the second season who help them out called the Oniwaban with the cool Aoshi as the leader of the Oniwaban with his dual kodachis and the most amusing and cutest character in the series by far named Misao.
There is a group of villains also during the second season, who are the main villains in Rurouni Kenshin called the Juppongatana and led by an expert swordsman and successor to Kenshin Himura named Makoto Shishio. Makoto Shishio is an incredibly fighter who manages to plow right through four of the main protagonists in the series before he is finally taken down. He is also backed up by Sojiro, who is an interesting expert swordsman with a dark past and no ability to feel emotions because they have been locked away in his subconscious. There is also Usui the blind swordsman who has a great battle with Saito and Anji the incredibly strong monk, who also has a dark past.
There is a lot of great sword wielding action in this show and many interesting abilities and fighting styles are shown. This is also a thinking man’s show sometimes during the action scenes, which makes the action more interesting and engaging. Everybody seems to have a motive of some kind during fights and no fight is fought without some depth to it.
There is a lot of humor in this series. Pretty much every character even the serious Aoshi is poked fun at once in a while in this series. Some characters are pretty much just comic relief such as Misao. This is also one of the most light hearted animes I have ever seen, which is a polar opposite to the very dark number two choice on my list of Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.
This is a discrete, moralistic show most of the time and doesn’t have too much of the perverted fan service in it either. The women are all shown in a positive way and way ahead of its time for 1800s Japan with Kaoru being a teacher, Megumi being a doctor, Shura being the leader of some pirates and Misao being a capable and proud ninja, although also a little bit of a spaz.
The setting is 1800s Japan right after the big revolution, during the aftermath, so it’s an interesting setting because there are a lot of real life, historic things actually going on during this series.
The music is fantastic whether it be the serious, dramatic music during a big fight or the light hearted music during an every day scene in the lives of our main characters. This anime occasionally lets up with some down time during less serious parts, so there is breathing room. I loved watched Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood as my second favorite anime, but it never seemed to let up for a moment, which makes it heavy to get through. The opening theme songs, even the first one with the slightly annoying, high pitched voice are great and the ending theme songs particularly the rocking Heart of Sword, dramatic It’s Going To Rain and energetic song during the third season with the Japanese title are all great. Rurouni Kenshin is considered one of the lesser classics in anime, but I think it’s the best anime I have ever seen. With great characters, action, humor, mood, morality and music, what is not to like about this epic series, that even first time anime watchers is bound to enjoy?