| || |
Yeah, everyone's got a list on their site. I guess I'm no different. Anyway, if you're new to Rurouni Kenshin, and you're confused as to what order you're supposed to watch everything in, feel free to read this. Or, if you're just really bored and have some time to kill, by all means, enjoy.
Please note: There's an episode list at the bottom of this page, so if you feel like skipping all the chatty banter, you might want to head down there.
| Gah! What order to I watch all these in?|
I watched the TV series first, then the Movie, and then OAV1 (Trust & Betrayal). I then read the Jinchuu arc. Finally saw OAV2 (Seiso-hen) after everything else. I thought that was a really good order to see them in, but it's not the only way to watch it. Read on if you're a glutton for punishment and want more details.
TV SERIES (95? episodes on 22 DVDs)
If you're completely new to RK, then I'd start right here. You really only need to see seasons 1 and 2. Season 1, the Tokyo arc, was great fun. Season 2, the Kyoto Arc, was utterly and absolutely amazing!
Season 3 has a few good episodes in it, but most of it (in my humble opinion) was crap, and none of it really affects the rest of the RK timeline anyway. The entire 3rd season consists of filler episodes that aren't in the manga. Ignore them if you want. You won't really be missing much. The first few storylines of season 3 are all right, but the rest rapidly deteriorates into nonsense. Probably worth watching, but not really worth buying. That's my opinion on the matter at any rate.
RK - THE MOVIE
aka ISHIN SHISHI NO REQUIEM
I'd recommend watching this after you've seen seasons 1 and 2 of the TV show. Eh, it was all right. It seemed more like a glorified TV episode to me as far as artwork and storyline went. A decent movie with some really nice emotional moments, but if you don't watch it, you won't miss out too much on the overall RK timeline. Because it doesn't really affect the timeline much, it doesn't matter if you watch this before or after the OAV's. Watch this or skip this. Doesn't matter. It's nice to see for completeness sake, but you won't remember it a week after you've seen it.
OAV1: TSUIOKU-HEN (4 episodes)
aka SAMURAI X: TRUST & BETRAYAL
aka RUROUNI KENSHIN: REMINISCENCE
Hands down, one of the best movies (animated or not) I've ever seen in my life. I love this. It consists of 4 thirty-minute episodes (2 episodes for Trust, 2 episodes for Betrayal) and takes place before the beginning of the TV series.
Because it's a prequel, it can be watched before the series. It does have some mild spoilers for the Kyoto arc in it, but nothing that will give any major plot points away. However, I highly recommend watching it after you've seen the Kyoto arc. In my opinion, you get so much more out of the story if you know what Kenshin becomes in the future and all the struggles he goes through for redemption. It adds a whole new layer to the viewing experience.
Also, since the OAV and series are so different in tone, some people are a bit surprised when they see the dark and serious OAV 1 first and then move on to the much zanier series. Really, the tone of this is completely different from the show. Very dark. Very intense.
I really had no idea what a treat I was in for when I first bought these. When I read the DVD cases, I admit I wasn't really all that impressed. I'd only bought these because I was so obsessed with the show. I was blown away when I watched this. It is my favorite part of the entire Ruroken timeline.
RK MANGA (28 volumes)
It's currently being released by VIZ comics. (Ever so slowly, one volume at a time.) If you can't wait that long, there are translated versions available on-line (see my links page), although they're hard to find now that VIZ has started printing them. I'm told that you can download the manga from Kazaa-Lite, but I've never used Kazaa or Kazaa-Lite, and I have no idea how to get them this way.
The manga is excellent and is well worth reading. It's mainly broken up into 3 major arcs: Tokyo arc, Kyoto arc, and Jinchuu (or Revenge) arc. The Tokyo and Kyoto arcs are covered in the TV series in season 1 and 2. Part of the Jinchuu arc, called the Memory arc (considered to be a seaparate arc all-together by some) is covered in OAV 1 (Trust & Betrayal). The rest of the Jinchuu arc (the parts with a grown-up Enishi) is not covered in either the TV series, movie, or OAV's.
It's useful to read the Jinchuu arc (also known as the Revenge arc) before seeing Seiso-hen since it covers the years between the Kyoto arc and the beginning of Seiso-hen. Seiso-hen also features a few, very brief scenes from the Jinchuu arc. The scenes are short, but they contain massive spoilers. They condense an entire manga arc into a few minutes of screentime. Really confusing (and potentially very disappointing) if you haven't read the manga!
OAV: SEISO-HEN (2 episodes on 1 DVD)
aka SAMURAI X: REFLECTION
This really ought to be seen last. (That is, if you want to see it at all. Many people don't, for disturbing reasons I won't go into here.) First, it chronologically takes place after everything else. Second, it does not stand well on its own as an independent story. If you aren't familiar with Rurouni Kenshin, you will most likely find this OAV very confusing. And third, it contains major spoilers for the TV series, OAV1, and the manga, including the Jinchuu arc. In fact, the second half hour of this OAV runs almost like a quick Cliff's Notes-like summary of the entire RK timeline. You get little bits and pieces of some of the high points and fights of the show and manga. I really wouldn't recommend seeing this until you've seen season 1, seaons 2, Tsuioku-hen, and the Jinchuu arc from the manga.
Well, I hope that was helpful. And if you're more confused than ever, sorry! I tried!
Was this episode guide helpful? (Note: Please do not post questions here. If you have a question to ask, please go to the Contact page.)
| RK Television Series|
The TV series is available on DVD. Each DVD contains 1 volume. Each volume contains about 4-5 episodes. The entire 3-season series consists of 95 episodes on 22 DVDs.
I hear that there is actually a 96th episode called the Memorial Episode floating around out there somewhere. I'm not sure if this exists or not, but I've been told that it's difficult to find and that it's only available in some kind of special edition box set. It supposedly aired in Japan but is not a part of the normal DVD set released in the U.S. If anyone out there has knowledge of this supposed 96th episode, please do let me know, and I'll post the info here.
SEASON 1: WANDERING SAMURAI (Tokyo Arc)
- Vol 1 ::: Legendary Swordsman
- Vol 2 ::: Battle in the Moonlight
- Vol 3 ::: Shadow Elite
- Vol 4 ::: False Prophet
- Vol 5 ::: Renegade Samurai
- Vol 6 ::: The Flames of the Revolution
SEASON 2: LEGEND OF KYOTO (Kyoto Arc)
- Vol 7 ::: Shadow of the Wolf
- Vol 8 ::: Ice Blue Eyes
- Vol 9 ::: Heart of Sword
- Vol 10 ::: Betwen Life & Death
- Vol 11 ::: Faces of Evil
- Vol 12 ::: Blind Justice
- Vol 13 ::: Innocence & Experience
- Vol 14 ::: Fire Requiem
SEASON 3: TALES OF THE MEIJI (Filler episodes not in the manga)
- Vol 15 ::: The Firefly's Wish
- Vol 16 ::: Son of God
- Vol 17 ::: Holy War
- Vol 18 ::: Fall from Grace
- Vol 19 ::: Dreams of Youth
- Vol 20 ::: Soulless Knights
- Vol 21 ::: A Shinobi's Love
- Vol 22 ::: End Song
| RK Motion Picture & the OAV's|
- Ishin Shishi no Requiem = Rurouni Kenshin Motion Picture
- OAV: Tsuioku-hen = Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal (2 DVDs)
- Vol 1: Samurai X Trust (2 episodes)
- Vol 2: Samurai X Betrayal (2 episodes)
- Director's Cut: Combines Trust & Betrayal onto 1 DVD.
Good things about this version: No interruptions between the 4 episodes. It basically runs continously like a movie. There is a tiny amount (and I mean about a minute's worth, if even that much) of extra battle footage which is rather cool. It's cheaper to buy 1 DVD rather than 2.
Bad things about the director's version: It's not true widescreen. They just stuck black bars at the top and bottom to make it look like widescreen. In reality, you actually lose a lot of the picture. It simply gets cut off. Also, a lot of the most beautiful orchestral music in the OAV is either drastically decreased in volume or gone all together.
Personally, I like the original 2-DVD Trust & Betrayal version much better. The Director's Cut does have some cool new footage, but not enough to offset all the negative points for me.
- OAV: Seiso-hen = Samurai X: Reflection
| Rurouni Kenshin Manga|
I'm not going to list specific volumes since there are a ton of places you can find them on-line. I will only list the major arcs and extra stories.
- Tokyo Arc (Vol. 1-6)
- Kyoto Arc (Vol. 7-18)
- JInchuu Arc (Vol. 18-28) - Some people separate the Bakumatsu/Tomoe story from OAV 1 into another arc, the Memory arc. Others include it with the Jinchuu arc.
- RK Extras
- Kenshin Kaden
- Yahiko no Sakabattou
- Special: Meteor Strike: part of volume 28