Book Review: Rurouni Kenshin Volume 24

June 3, 2016


I hope that everyone is doing well, especially now that we are in the month where seasons officially change from spring to summer, or, if you live in the southern hemisphere, fall to winter.

Things have been pretty good here, aside from some issues that I plan to talk about sooner or later, but I still have to go through a bit of the backlog of my books, so that will probably have to wait a bit.

Speaking of my backlog, I have so far covered two of the seven and five remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Rurouni Kenshin Volume 24 by Nobuhiro Watsuki.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Enishi and the remainder of his comrades finally enact the real plan for Jinchu against Kenshin, and seem to succeed, as Kenshin starts to grow depressed over having failed to protect another person that was important to him.

However, KenshinÔÇÖs friends are not about to let things end the way they did when they find out that things were not as they seemed to be or how they would turn out, and the only one that could something about it needs to find the answer that he sought over the course of his journey.

I kind of liked this book.

Back in the previous volume, Enishi started to make to make his move towards Kaoru and one of the people allied with him, who was thought to have been defeated, ambushed Kenshin so that Enishi could get down to business.

Here, it immediately picks where thing left off and finally goes through with what was obviously going to happen sooner or later.

While Enishi was still being just another common kind of enemy looking for revenge, it really helped develop Kenshin as a character and seeing him get depressed, once Enishi accomplished his goal, really made me feel pretty sorry of Kenshin, as his bond with Kaoru really tightened itself after the Kyoto arc.

I also liked how the situation was handled with Kaoru herself.

Seeing as the last volume made it seem like Kaoru was going to die, and seeing her lifeless there in her dojo was pretty believable, I was not too sure how this series would really continue on for four more volumes, though I do kind of remember that Kaoru did survive the whole ordeal present in the Jinchu arc.

These events seemed to be kind of like the situation with Sherlock after Arthur Conan Doyle had completed The Final Problem and stopped writing Sherlock stories.

However, while Conan DoyleÔÇÖs reason for killing Sherlock in The Final Problem was because he had grown tired of writing stories about him, Nobuhiro did not seem to be tired or writing Rurouni Kenshin or have grown annoyed with Kaoru, at least according to what he says within the pages of the volume.

If I had to say though, Kaoru surviving the events that occurred at Kamiya dojo appeared to be a bit more believable than Sherlock surviving his first and last confrontation with Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.

Then again, Nobuhiro did seem to plan to have Kaoru survive, even if it was in a fashion similar to And Then There Were, where the culprit faked his own death.

Still, Nobuhiro does deserve some praise because he did not have to think of a way to explain KaoruÔÇÖs survival as quickly as Conan Doyle did for The Empty House, which was the first story to feature Sebasitan Moran, and that does deserve some bit of praise, especially because this series was originally printed in a weekly publication.

It was also nice how KenshinÔÇÖs friends were not all so quick to give up hope on him, even when learning of an all too common occurrence of characters thought to be dead actually being alive.

During the course of his life that he had led after leaving tutelage of Seijuro Hiko XIII, Kenshin met two people who had really influenced his life and help him turn away from his life as an assassin and lead a peaceful life and, with the supposed death of Kaoru, he ended up depressed.

However, Sanosuke and Yahiko kept going to where Kenshin was and tried to get him out of the mess that he was in at the time.

While I cannot say that it was right of Kenshin to abandon everyone like he did, since everyone experiences a moment of great despair, whether that be because of the pain one feels from losing something important or finding out that what one believed was all a lie, I liked how Kenshin had good friends who try to get him to come back from the miserable place he fled to after his battle with Enishi.

Since these guys have been through a lot together in both Kyoto and Tokyo, I would not expect anything less and Kenshin will probably become a whole lot stronger once he finds the answer he needs to continue on.

There were two things that I like the most though.

First, Enishi was explored a bit.

When he first arrived on the scene, he seemed like just another one of those characters that want to go after Kenshin for selfish reasons, since he did not realize that his sister sacrificed herself so that Kenshin could live on.
Because of this, I did not really understand why Enishi would do what he did and not kill Kaoru, which even Kaoru herself did not understand, since the only thing on his mind throughout the entire Jinchu arc was to make Kenshin suffer because he, himself, was hurting.

Here, however, it is shown that Enishi was affected by TomoeÔÇÖs death in more ways than those that leads to people to seek revenge, which is the kind of hurt that comes not only from losing a loved one, but finding out that they were killed by somebody, not from natural causes.

When we find out that Enishi spared Kaoru and is at the place where Kenshin and Enishi would have their final dual, which was shown in Samurai X: Reflection, we find out that Enishi not only has a grudge against Kenshin, but other issues with the past that Tony Yao talks about in a post on Manga Therapy.

As Tony states, with Enishi and Tomoe being the only people in the otherÔÇÖs life, Tomoe had a lot of responsibility to take care of herself and raise Enishi at the same time and losing her was just as devastating to him as if a little kid had lost their parents, enough so that he has a physical reaction, brought on by certain conditions, much like how Kotomi Ichinose from Clannad went into isolation after the occurrence of a bus accident because her parents died in a plane crash.

However, unlike Kaoru, I really doubt that this happens every time he tries to kill a woman, since Enishi himself said that he had killed a couple that tried to help him when he arrived in Shanghai sometime after the events that led up to the moment of Tomoe YukishiroÔÇÖs death.

If I had to say, Kaoru and Tomoe must have some kind of similarity in more than just age and, in the case of the Reflection OVA, appearance.

Of course, that will only be answered in the final four volumes of the series, but Nobuhiro is doing a good job of making Enishi stand out from the rest, especially because his appearance allowed the audience to learn of Kenshin complete story, instead of the bits and pieces shown prior to the Jinchu arc.

The other nice that I really liked was the thoughts from the author.

In the previous volume, I was a bit annoyed with how the thoughts and words of Nobuhiro seemed to be misplaced, which was mainly because of how it read within the volume and saying that he be back in the next volume.

Here, however, even though he still says that he will be back in the next volume, it felt more like an intermission than the end of the volume, like it usually does, because he states that the Jinchu arc is heading into the climax.

If these kinds of pages were more like this than suggesting the volume was over, I would not be bothered so much by this because it does offer some kind of break.

Unfortunately, it is kind of hard for a writer to determine where exactly the story is at in any particular point in time.

Yes, outlining and other forms of planning can help, but, just like things in real life, stories can deviate from what was originally planned, which means that while the notes and such can say that this is where things are to start winding down, the way the story has gone can demand that it be continued on.

In the case of Rurouni Kenshin, this is definitely where things need to progress because KenshinÔÇÖs past has finally caught up with him and there are only four more volumes after this one.

Because of this, I have to give Nobuhiro quite of praise.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, aside from the usual comedy.

The fact EnishiÔÇÖs goals and actions got explored, thus making him something more than just another antagonist out for revenge, and that KenshinÔÇÖs comrade continued moving forward when Kenshin gave up, as well as the fact the Nobuhiro final words for the volume actually sounded like an intermission, instead of the end of the volume, made this book pretty enjoyable.

Although there were some things that I liked, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, nothing really seemed to bug me.

As a result, I will have to say there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like in this book and not too much to hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Rurouni Kenshin.

As for everyone, I recommend reading the previous volumes first, because it will become important to see how Kenshin developed over the course of the series the closer to the end it gets.

What are your thoughts on Rurouni Kenshin Volume 24? Did you like it or hate it? Wad there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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