One question: HOW in the world didn’t I know there’s an actual sequel to Rurouni Kenshin? Not a side story, not a one-chapter-special, but an actual sequel? 18 years after Kenshin was wrapped up, there’s a sequel?
Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan was the very first manga I was seriously obsessed about. I don’t remember my first manga, it was something I borrowed from my older bother. The first manga I ever owned was Ghost in the Shell. If that’s not a great starting point I don’t know what. The first manga I ever seriously started fangirling about was Kenshin and let’s be honest: it’s a damn great shounen manga with some very strong and memorable character developments and amazing fights, it still stands as one of my favorite shounen.
Yes, I know, my favorite shounen is Fullmetal Alchemist, because that manga is nothing but outstanding, but Kenshin still holds his own. Some of my other favorite shounen are Slam Dunk, Rough, Gunnm and Trigun. Yeah… I’m loving the classics and among all of them Kenshin will always have a special place in my heart.
Now, how do I feel about the sequel? A part of me is super excited and another part of me not happy at all. Of course more Kenshin is good, but on the other ahnd the manga was finished and I mean completely finished. It had an ultimate ending point, it wrapped everything up and left the reader with an actual ending. FMA did the same, it’s just finished. Open endings or vague endings or soemthing else, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary to open up a book again and force some more pages into it, when it was already closed.
On the other hand, I can’t deny I’m incredibly excited about the sequel. That was until I read Nobuhiro Watsuki was arrested, because he violated the laws regarding child pornography. Oh dear. No denying, that’s bad. I mean, really REALLY bad. This is so bad I’m surprised Kenshin Hokkaido will actually continue to be published after the hiatus. Does this change my view on Kenshin as a whole? Definately not, because the manga by itself is still as good as it was before.
After having read the first 3 chapters of the Hokkaido sequel, I think they’re pretty well done, but there’s continuity problems, like Kenshin’s hair back to being super long and how he gets his blade back kind of destroys the moment in the prequel when he gives it away. I mean, he basically gave it away only to get it back 6 monthes later, because Yashiro decides it’s not for him and it will take him too long to master. I know they needed a reason to give Kenshin back his sword, because Kenshin and his sword belong together, but it just makes giving it away in the first place so pointless.
Another thing I really disliked was the implied soon death of Kenshin. I know this is nothing new as it has been implied numerous times in the prequel that Kenshin has a shortened life span due to his swordsmanship and stuff. And we also know the manga can be very very tragic to it’s characters so I wouldn’t even be surprised if the intended ending of the Hokkaido sequel involves Kenshin’s death. Just because I know all of that doesn’t mean I’m emotionally capable of accepting Kenshin’s death. I just really don’t want him to die. He’s a character who’s seen so much and who’s been through so much, he just deserves his happy ending and he deserves it to be as long as possible. Taking Kenshins Happy Ending from him by killing him is just too cruel. I’m okay with him living in peace together with Kaoru and their child and everything being roses and cute flying angels around him. I’m not okay with him dying.
I’m still traumatized my the ending of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (seriously, how can you be so cruel to a character?), I can’t take a cruel ending for Kenshin, he doesn’t deserve it. Even though he himself probably doesn’t see his death that way.
Also, yeah, I see why Yahiko is not joining them on their journey and it seems like he’s building his own life and this is great, but I just can’t imagine a Kenshin manga without Yahiko. He was part of the key cast. And talking about the key cast: HELL YES Sano is back, man! I was so waiting for him to appear. Can’t wait to see him.
Last but not least, when Kenshin and Yahiko were wondering how Kaoru knew Kenshin’s stamnia was going down, even though she never crossed blades with him, that was pure comedic gold. I mean, think about it. Think about how his wife could know about his stamnia without fighting him.
To wrap it up: will I follow the Hokkaido sequel? Probably. Will I enjoy it as much as the original? Most definately not. Was it necessary to produce a sequel 18 years after the original ended? I honestly don’t think so, but it’s Kenshin, so I take what I can get.