Rurouni Kenshin episode 95
As many of you may have read on my twitter feed, back around my birthday I found all 95 episodes of Rurouni Kenshin at McKay’s (our local used books and stuff store) for $30. How awesome! It took under a month to watch all 2000+ minutes, and I’d say about 1900 of them were great. There were 100 or so minutes of filler for filler’s sake (dude, we need 3 more minutes; which montage of semi–relevant scenes should we insert?) and 20 of those minutes were in episode 95. Now, some of you may fear that this might be a big spoiler. It’s not. If you’re a real purist and don’t want to know what happens at all, just move along and come back after you’ve seen the show…
OK, are they gone? Great! So, here’s a synopsis of episode 95. A synopsis of the whole series (in case you haven’t seen it and don’t care if you know what happens) will follow, but I didn’t want to say “no spoiler” so long as you can skim past all of this total spoiler material. So jump to the part with all caps to get to the full synopsis.
Now, I know that from this brief summary you may get the impression that perhaps I didn’t love this series. But in that assumption, you would be wrong. I LOVE Rurouni Kenshin! It is one of my favorite series. I used to rush home from the worst job ever (well, really second worst, and really only that I have had, not ever on the face of the planet), and watch it on the cartoon network. It is the ONLY show I have ever considered planning something around. I have to admit that I connect with Kaoru every time the other characters tease her and she rises to the bait (and then punches someone). And Kenshin is very likable (and badass). The story is interesting, and the animation is good. I even like a lot of the music. It’s a really really good show and I think anyone (except people like my mom who would never watch an animated show because she can’t believe there would be anything for adults in an animated form) would enjoy it. But, like other anime series that have been awesome up until the final episode (you know who you are *cough* Eva *cough*), it felt like the animators finished episode 94 and then did a recount, realized they were one episode short, and then dropped 30 hits of acid.
On that note, and without further ado, a scene by scene recap of episode 95:
Kenshin & Kaoru go on a day trip. Yahiko hangs with his little “girlfriend” (because no one in this show is allowed to acknowledge an actual relationship) and helps out around the Akabeko while Sanosuke is hanging out with the doctor, and we get a big smack over the head that perhaps they like each other too.
Lots of slow panning scene setters.
Scene setters turn into video clips.
Slow panning video scene setters
Kenshin & Kaoru in grave yard. The other characters briefly interact in their scenes.
More scene setters, this time of a beach.
Kenshin & Kaoru walk in the posterized video of the ocean and it looks weird.
Everyone gets rained on.
Kenshin & Kaoru are stuck on the island with the grave yard because the ferry doesn’t want to get wet (or something) and won’t come to take them back until tomorrow (Gee, Fred, What are we going to do in this dark old barn?**) They determine they will go find a place to stay at someone’s house. Sanosuke is cutting wood and has to take a bath at the doctor’s house while Yahiko gets embarrassed about his “girlfriend” at the restaurant during dinner.
Long shot of Kenshin & Kaoru at someone’s house… Then just the house…. Then the upstairs light goes on in the house…
Small talk inside house. Kaoru is embarrassed. The time frame of the story is called into question. Kaoru yells at Kenshin. They go to bed next to each other, but with plenty of room for the holy ghost.
Shots of everyone we have seen this episode sleeping.
Kaoru is sneaky and holds Kenshin’s hand.
Kaoru has a bad dream where Kenshin leaves. Wakes up to find he’s gone (OH NO!!)
Long shot of Kenshin on the beach (with posterized ocean). Kaoru running behind him! Kenshin, don’t leave!! *cry*
Kaoru trips and Kenshin catches her.
Somewhere in here we get a montage of every time Kaoru cried, several Kenshin fighting with everything he’s got, Kaoru worrying, & other shots of the two of them chosen seemingly at random.
Quick cut to Kenshin’s back as he walks, Kaoru’s shadow on his back (coolest shot of the whole episode). Kenshin turns around and gives Kaoru a pink shell (which we can only, in our flithy little minds, assume is an allusion to sex). Fade to white.
Friends on a bridge as Kenshin & Kaoru ride a boat toward it. Close up on each character pans over group shot.
You know, I’m okay with the lack of story here. We have a few loose ends to tie up, which is really a bit odd for an anime as far as my experience has been. I get the impression that, unlike our culture, the Japanese aren’t so bothered with an ending that isn’t all neatly tied up in a bow. I would have been okay with the series ending on episode 94, status quo regained. The really painful thing was the way they just drug every shot out in an obvious attempt to fill their 25 minute allotment. Was the animation budget THAT tight?
In case you have never seen the show and are curious what else happened (but don’t want to invest the time to watch a really awesome show and are therefore potentially lame) OR you haven’t seen the show in a long time and need a refresher, here is a quick synopsis. THIS PART COULD DEFINITELY BE CONSIDERED A SPOILER! DO NOT READ IT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. (I don’t think this is really that bad because you get no details, but I’d hate to leave off the warning and then find out I’d ruined the show for someone):
First Tokyo story line:
Kenshin meets his friends.
Sexual tension between Kenshin and Kaoru begins.
Bad-guys from the past pop up to test Kenshin’s resolve to never kill again.
Other bad-guys show up for general defeating.
Everyone settles into life at the dojo.
Really big bad-guy shows up and throws a wrench in things.
Kenshin leaves to go fight really big bad-guy.
Every in Tokyo is sad/mad.
Kenshin is travelling.
Everyone in Tokyo decides to follow him.
Kenshin travels some more.
Everyone else travels a little bit.
We get to Kyoto and people meet. Big fights happen that test Kenshin’s resolve to never kill.
Kenshin trains to be more badass.
Kenshin goes to fight really big bad-guy.
Friends fight other big bad-guys.
Everyone is worried.
Everything works out.
Kenshin & friends must return to Tokyo.
Government needs Kenshin’s help in Kyoto again.
Everyone works together.
Sexual tension and inaction between Kenshin & Kaoru is driving other characters crazy.
Another big bad-guy threatens Japan. These bad-guys are German.
We learn to work toward our personal goals (or something like that).
One more big bad-guy threatens to rearrange things poorly.
We think the series will end with this storyline and Kenshin & Kaoru will finally get together.
We were wrong.
Final episode (finally, we’ll tie up all those loose ends)…
SPOILER IS OVER IF YOU WANT TO CATCH THE WRAP UP…
So that was that. I really want to get Samurai X now. I really did enjoy the show. I think I would get even more out of it if I knew more about Japanese history (beyond simply the art history) and if I understood all of the little allusions and cultural tags. But isn’t that they way it is with all media from a culture other than your own.
**That would be my favorite scene in Scooby Doo… OK, I can’t just leave all of you hanging. Scooby and the gang are having a school dance in an old abandoned barn (and there’s some sort of treasure hidden nearby I’m sure). The power goes out and all of these unchaperoned teenagers are left in a dark, abandoned barn in the middle of the countryside. Daphne exclaims “Oh no, Fred! What are we going to do in this dark old barn?!” Then they decide to go for pizza and solve a mystery (I don’t remember in which order).