KENSHIN’S COMEUPPANCE

Even though the anime/manga Rurouni Kenshin is a widely popular story, I did not like the final story arc. Kenshin has fought many detestable villains throughout the story, but there is one that I actually sympathize with and rooted for. That villain was Kenshin’s vengeful ex-brother-in-law Enishi Yukishiro. When Enishi was a child, his sister married Kenshin and was accidentally murdered by Kenshin some time after. Enishi’s sister was his only form of familial attachment and the closest thing to a mother he ever had. Robbed of his sister, Enishi was forced to survive on his own. He had to drink from puddles to stay hydrated and feasted on carcasses in the street to fight off starvation.

At one point, Enishi was saved by a wealthy family, but since his only familial connection was dead and Enishi had lived like an animal for a while, he had no connection to the family who saved him. Therefore, he killed them and stole their wealth as well as discovered a book about a sword style that rivaled Kenshin’s Hiten-Mitsurugi Style: Watojutsu. Lacking a teacher, Enishi taught himself Watojutsu, using the book as a reference. With the dead family’s wealth, Enishi found his way into the Shanghai mafia, eventually becoming the head honcho.

Ten years later, armed with his completed training in Watojutsu and the resources of the Shanghai mafia at his disposal, Enishi was ready to commence his revenge on Kenshin. Enishi recruited other individuals who were wronged by Kenshin and they helped him in a campaign of vengeance against Kenshin and everyone close to him. Eventually, Enishi fought Kenshin for the first time, besting his ultimate technique. Enishi acquired his revenge by faking the death of Kenshin’s beloved, Kaoru Kamiya, by replacing her with a flesh doll in her likeness. Mad with grief, Kenshin entered a catatonic state in a village full of criminals and outcasts while Kaoru was kept prisoner by Enishi. Enishi intended to return Kaoru home as soon as Kenshin died of grief and Enishi’s revenge would be complete.

However, Enishi’s revenge came undone when Kaoru’s friends discovered she was alive and Kenshin woke up from his stupor. Upon learning this, Enishi made up his mind in killing Kenshin instead of making him mentally suffer. Enishi would fight Kenshin again and would lose despite having the upper hand early in their duel. Enishi would end up in the same village that Kenshin was in when he was catatonic.

Overall, out of all the enemies Kenshin faced, Enishi was the one who deserved to win against him the most. Even if it was accidental, Kenshin still murdered Enishi’s sister and forced Enishi to live through a hellish existence. Sure, Enishi may have blood on his hands and his actions as the head of the Shanghai mafia exacerbated it. However, due to his past as a mass-murdering assassin, Kenshin had a lot more blood on his hands than Enishi and his contributions to the formation of the Meiji government indirectly led to a much higher body count. Enishi would have his own comeuppance in due time, but Kenshin was the one being judged in this story arc. Some may say it was not necessary for Enishi to drag those closest to Kenshin in their grudge match, but I disagree. Enishi did not bring Kenshin’s friends into this, Kenshin himself did the day he came into their lives. Kenshin did terrible and unforgivable things while he was an assassin and did he really think there were not going to be consequences for his crimes? When you have wronged as many people as Kenshin has during the Bakumatsu, sooner or later, those individuals will inevitably come seeking retribution. When that happens, any friends Kenshin made would be caught in the crossfire. Kenshin can live in a fairy tale and believe that protecting the innocent and giving up killing would make his sins magically disappear, but all evil deeds stink. You can forget them for a while, but they don’t go away. Based on all of this, Enishi deserved his revenge against Kenshin and it would have been better for the story if Kenshin did not have a happy ending. People with a past as checkered as Kenshin’s don’t deserve a happy ending. It would have been preferable that Kenshin either stayed catatonic or died by Enishi’s hand. It would have been an ideal way for the consequences of Kenshin’s sins to come full circle.

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