Review and Synopsis by Anime Girl
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Tsuioku-hen aka Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal Review by AnimeGirl.io
Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal starts with a bandit raid. A young boy named Shinta becomes enveloped in the raid. Hiko Seijuro saves him and fights off all the bandits. Hiko tells the young boy to go the nearby village to seek refuge. When Hiko returns shortly, he finds that Shinta has buried all the dead bandits.
Hiko learns that he has actually ended Shinta’s enslavement to the bandits, rather than killing his family. Shinta’s real family died when he was young, from cholera. Hiko offers to train Shinta to fight to protect himself from future raids. He also changes Shina’s name to Kenshin, which he feels is a more appropriate name for a swordsmen.
Hiko trains Kenshin for years. Kenshin leaves to join a revolution which wants to help protect the innocent and vulnerable and overthrow the government. Through his work the revolution, he becomes a hardened leader and killer. Kenshin has also become an assassin and kills a bodyguard named Kiyosato, for which he earns a cross shaped scar in his forehead.
Kenshin soon meets a beautiful woman, Tomoe. He meets her while binge drinking at a restaurant, not knowing she is the fiance of the main she killed. She gets to know him better, and decides to live at the inn his clan is residing at. She becomes a server at the inn. Katsura, a member of the clan, suspects a spy in the group after learning Kenshin informs him of the assassination.
Katsura soon arranges for Kenshin and Tomeo to live in a remote village in a remote village called Otsu. The two have grown quite close and are actually posing as a married couple. After living for several months in peace, Tomeo’s brother arrives and tells Tomeo that Shogunate warriors are coming. They have come to avenge Kenshin for Kiyosato’s death. At this point, Kenshin still does not know that Tomeo is the fiance of his previous assassination target.
Tomeo has fallen in love with Kenshin and doesn’t seek revenge. Instead, she leaves when he is asleep and attempts to deceive the assassins into believing he is not there. She appears to care about him.
A comrade of Kenshin informs him that Tomeo is the spy they clan seeks. She has setup to fall in love with Kenshin to let his guard down so that assassins can kill him and avenge Akira’s death. Instead, Tomeo does the opposite and does not help the assassins find Kensin. He says she has left to meet with her conspirators instead of leaving to help. Kenshin does not know that the person claiming Tomeo is the spy is actually the spy himself. Kenshin goes to find Tomeo and encounters several assassins along the way, whom he fights and becomes seriously injured by. When he finds Tomeo, she steps in between the leader killer and Kenshin. The sword goes right through the leader and through Tomeo, killing her as well.
Kenshin is very sad. He wishes to stop killing to fulfill his previous wish of ending raids and enslavement. Instead, Katsura requests he become a guerrilla swordsman who pursue the Shogunate directly on the front lines. He wants instead to find and kill the actual spy that caused Tomeo’s death.
The Shogunate who killed Tomeo is near it’s end. The revolution started to protect the innocent has nearly completed, and Hitokiro has disappeared.
The series ends with Kenshin returning to the graves of the travelers he buried long ago, leaving Tomeo’s scarf in memory of her name.
Like many stories of Japanese swordsman, Samurai X is heavily layered with personal battles. These battles often involve post traumatic stress disorder. In this case, PTSD comes from using abilities like those of Kenshin to do things that both avenge the death of family and early enslavement. He also feels terrible for becoming an assassin who works against his original goal to help people.
Samurai X is well regarded for a short series as having beautiful animation. The telling of the original story is said to be easier to understand as well with the four episodes. The four episodes detail his origin, becoming a swordsmen, meeting Tomeo, and a final chapter ending the saga.
Tomeo is the primary female character and one the story leads. She almost always has a serene, almost sad look on her face. She likely has this look because the writers introduce her after her fiance has died. Tomeo partially blames herself for Kiyosota’s death because she did not express proper job when he proposed to her.
Tomeo slowly falls in love with Kenshin instead after spending significant time with him. He also promises to protect her and the happiness he has provided her.
Tomeo comes from a fractured family. Her mother died giving birth to her brother. Tomeo then become a surrogate parent to her brother as both a sister and mother figure. Tomeo and Kiyosota meet as kids and plan their marriage, so they have known each other for a long time.
Tomeo’s death is accidental. Tomeo finds herself divided in feelings between Tatsumi and Kenshin. As the two fight,
After Tomeo’s death, they often see Tomeo’s spirit as a source of comfort. Her brother sees her spirit as a source of comfort and confidence to defeat his worst enemy.
As a female character, Tomeo has one of the most conflicted roles. She knows that Kenshin murdered her fiance, but she is also well aware that Kensin is attempting to change for the better. He has sworn to protect her, and continues to fulfill his promise. She also feels bad for her fiance because she feels, somehow, that her lack of expression when proposed to lead to his death.
The ghost of Kiyasota visits Tomeo and expresses forgiveness to her for falling in love with his murderer. Tomeo then forgives Kensin for murdering Kiyasota.
Tomeo is more complex for her desire to keep the Shogunate from having revenge against Kenshin. She distracts them because she is falling in love with the peaceful person Kenshin has become.
The title of the story of trust and betrayal comes from the development of trust between Tomeo and Kenshin. She sees that he actually has changed when he spends time peacefully in a remote area and loves the person he has become. Some say she betrays him (or him her) by getting in the middle of the fight when Kenshin’s own assassins come though Kensin can handle them.
Kenshin is a complex character from the female perspective. He becomes a fighter by chance with the sudden presence of a sword master surprised by his motivation to bury the dead. Shinta, as he is known early on, lost his parents to illness as a child.
Kenshin is soft spoken and humble. He often comes across as effeminate compared to other loud, bolsterous fighters. While they except respect for their fighting abilities, he is more skilled and doesn’t have much to say about his own. Kenshin is quite polite to most.
Througout his training and within his teenage years, Kenshin is a fairly typical teenage boy who is awkward with girls. Kenshin becomes embarrassed at the thought of going to the red light district. Considering that Kenshin spends most of time his time training to become a swordsmen and is focused on saving the innocent, this is no surprise.
While Kenshin is truly a master swordsman, his own world view prevents him from using his abilities more readily. He does not wish to fight though is pushed toward training by the desire to protect the innocent. He accepts that even as the foremost swordsman, he will readily face the hatred and disgust of the family of every person he has killed.
As an assassin and the Hitokiri Battosai, he becomes more cold and distant. His moral considerations are mostly gone and his polite speech patterns are lacking. Kenshin can stop taking the personality of Hitokiri, or the master swordsman. Worth noting for Samurai X, the movie and show are very violent and often depict large amounts of blood. Bodies are shredded by swords, especially when Kenshin become a master. The show accurately reflects how violent Kenshin can be. Love and the despite for peace changes Kenshin for the better.
Saiti is Kenshin’s rival. Saito has a bit of an opposite personality compared to Kenshin. Saito becomes arrogant with a slight sense of humor and is foremost morbid and sadistic. Saito is part of the shogunate group who attempts to have Kenshin killed for his involvement in Akira’s assassination.
Saito is a smart fighter. He is also a quick thinker and analytical. He is a superb fighter as well. Unexpectedly, Saito is said to be a married man though he seems embarrassed to admit this under his current facade. His wife’s name is Tokio, and is mostly mentioned for making his favorite food. He also appears to have somewhat of a soft heart as they have an adopted son whose family was killed at some point.
He seems a bit more sensitive then expected though. Once he learned that Kenshin does not have the desire to kill anymore, he quickly ends the rivalry. Rather than continuing to attempt to seek revenge, he understands that the life Kenshin lives is not by choice.
Saito is similar to Kenshin in the sense that he actually seeks peace. He wants revenge brought upon people who have harmed him and his people, but doesn’t want to his violence to create more than that.