A Play of Opposites

Episode 30 "Fukushuu no Akki . Shishio Makoto no Bouryaku"
(Evil Monster of Revenge . Shishio Makoto's Plot)
Episode 31: "Todokanu Omoi.... Kenshin no Tabidachi!"
(Never Reaching Feelings.... Kenshin's Departure!)

NOTE:   Here's the mandatory *SPOILERS AHEAD* warning, although I seriously doubt there is anyone here who hasn't watched these pivotal episodes....In any case, I've tried to be as detailed as possible without being too descriptive.




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In the scene where Saito Hajime & Kenshin meet, there is a sense of the enormous past bearing upon the present.  It is all the more intense when one remembers that the story is set in a true historical context.  Juxtaposed against this, the peace of the dojo becomes a mere limbo in the power & unity of time.  Kenshin is faced with his past as he faces the present Saito.

Throughout the past episodes, Kenshin's struggle is with Hitokiri Battousai - the Killer.  He attempts to banish his Battousai nature in various ways -- to wipe the slate of his past clean, he disappears; he makes a vow never to kill again; he wears a Sakabatou; he calls himself Himura Kenshin.

But all this is in vain because the nature of his duality - of Killer and Protector - is of Oneness.   Like his Sakabatou, the line that divides "killing" from "protecting" must exist for either to prevail.  

It is in these episodes that Kenshin becomes truly and acutely aware of his nature.  He realises that, Battousai can at most be suppressed, not exiled.   He admits it himself.  With Jin'eh, Kaoru's voice pulled him back from the transformation.  With Saito, he could not stop himself from becoming Battousai again.  

Kenshin must exorcise his past through his present.


These are my humble and personal observations on episodes 30-31of the RK Anime (My Favourites!!) I'm no writer. Grappling with complex philosophical, intellectual & moral issues is not what I do...still if you agree/disagree with certain issues raised or want to point out errors etc - feel free to just mail me! Of course, I'd probably ignore you unless you're sending me "bouquets".

For the manga translations of these episodes, head to Maigo-chan's.




Demo...    Someone stop them!


No where else in the Anime, is the theme of contrasts played out as dramatically and as visually as in these episodes.  Consider these scenes:

  • As Kenshin strides forward to meet Saito's challenge, Kaoru holds him back.  She stands with her back against the light.  He faces the darkness, mien hidden.  He walks into the darkness and does not/ cannot turn back.
  • By no coincidence, the fight begins with the setting of the sun.   In the darkness and the white heat of the battle, the Hitokiri slowly emerges.
  • The slow-mo imagery of petals floating in the colourless twilight plays further on the polarity of light & darkness.
  • In the farewell scene, Kaoru leaves the light of the dojo to wait for Kenshin.  In the quiet of the night, against muted colours and the soft glow of the fireflies, Kenshin appears from behind the darkness.  Their embrace radiates a soft luminescence.  Then he bids her farewell and melds into the night. 
  • She weeps ... and her tears are of light.

Hotaru  Fireflies  Goodbye  Tears of Light
"Those times have begun again."

"In my days here, while my heart was at ease, I felt like I had changed from the Hitokiri to an ordinary swordsman . . . But the fight with Saitou forced me to realize it. My innermost heart has not changed The madness of the Hitokiri still lives inside...
With Jin’eh, I became Battousai to save you, and your voice brought me back. But with Saitou, I became Battousai only for the sake of the fight. And so your voice couldn’t even reach me. The difference is crucial."

(Extracted from Maigo-chan's Ruroken Translations)









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