Rurouni Kenshin: The Gentle Wanderer myOtaku page TokyoPop Yahoo 360 Minitokyo
My real pen name from now on is Scarred Sword Heart, Red Sword Heart or Scarred Sword, depending on how many characters a site allows.
The Kenshin fanfics I write are all based solely on manga canon. I believe Watsuki's genius can never be improved upon by TV executives. This means no references to crazy train trips, no Ayame/Suzume, no sumo wrestlers, circuses, crazy pseudo-Christians, German invaders, feng shui artists and absolutely no Seisouhen! The RuroKen story is, in truth a happy ending. In manga canon, Kenshin does not leave the dojo to continue wandering after Kenji is born. Kenji does not grow up hating his father. Kenshin and Kaoru do not get a disease and die before they have 20 years together.
These links are to the true end of Rurouni Kenshin: Yahiko no Sakabatou
and Haru ni Sakura
As a Kenshin fan who has read the manga, I can say without a doubt that Seisouhen is the most heinous betrayal of a manga by its anime counterpart that I've ever seen. The manga has a happy ending, where Kenshin stays with his wife and raises his child. There is never any mention of him leaving again to wander, getting a disease or any of this other garbage.
Everything in this OVA beyond Kenshin giving Yahiko his sword is filler and is in no way canon. The characters are bastardized beyond words. Kenshin becoming a deadbeat dad and negligent husband, Kaoru as this whiny, weepy woman who tells him it's OK to walk out on her and their son and "walk the spiritual path of atonement" and that she'll "wait as long as she has to" for him to return and then when he does return, asks him to infect her with his disease so she can follow him into death. Yeah, right! Really in character, really canon!
The background animation is well done, to be fair. But the characters themselves! They all have these weird, sunken, haggard features. Their eyes have no emotion in them. Kaoru's eyes are brown! What's up with that?
The supposed animation of the Jinchuu Arc is such a ripoff, it doesn't deserve to be called that. If it's the Jinchuu Arc, where are Gein, Banjin, Kujirinami, Otowa and Mumyoi? Where's the doll? Why doesn't Kenshin go to Rakuninmura? Where are all the others when Kenshin goes to the island to get Kaoru? They're not there because all of that, and thus the whole meaning of the story, was butchered out!
Kenshin's fight with Enishi is complete crap too. Kenshin actually allows Enishi to kick his face into the dirt and offers his life in exchange for Kaoru's? I can look through all my manga volumes and say that that is most definitely not canon!
It seems like the message of this OVA is Kenshin was never able to let go of his grief and guilt over Tomoe, Kaoru never gained the strength and resolve needed to keep Kenshin stable and that Kenshin became self-destructive after giving the Sakabatou to Yahiko. Again, I can look through my manga volumes and say that this is not canon.
This OVA betrays the message of Watsuki's manga, which is that one can best atone for one's sins by living instead of dying. The message of the OVA is that peace can only be found through death. Uh-huh. Really canon. My only prayer is that someday the real Jinchuu Arc will be animated and this betrayal, this blasphemy will pick up dust on the shelves.
A note on the ages of the characters: Up till 1902, the Japanese used a method of counting one's age called the kazoedoshi, which counted a person's age from their conception, rather than their birth. Thus when a person was born, they were counted as a year old. They are granted a second year upon the following New Years Day, even if they were born the day before. Kamiya Kaoru was born in June, 1862 and met Kenshin in February, 1878. By our standards, she'd be 15-16. In the kazoedoshi, she's 17. Thus, when I say that a character is so many years old in a fic, they are a year younger by our standards.
Watsuki aged all of the characters according to the kazoedoshi, except Kenshin. This was because the editors didn't want him to have a 17-year-old woman sharing her place with a 29-year-old guy. Thus Kenshin is called 28-29, when in the kazoedoshi, he'd be 29. I follow the kazoedoshi entirely, thus making Kenshin a year older than Watsuki portrayed him, since I'm not bound by editors. This necessitates moving Kenshin's year of birth from 1849 to 1850. In that way, Kenshin will be 29 in January of 1878, according to kazoedoshi while according to Western standards, he'd be 27 going on 28. So yes, I am breaking with canon, but it's nothing major.
Another minor break with canon: I leave Kenshin's hair long. I understand that cutting it is symbolic of breaking away from the past, but I simply prefer him with the long hair..