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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/14/2005 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Rurouni Kenshin, No. 11"

Rurouni Kenshin, No. 11
by Nobuhiro Watsuki
Published by VIZ

Review by Tom Good

Martial arts stories often include the idea of secret, ultra-powerful techniques that once learned, can make any fighter nearly invincible. This is a bit of an odd idea. Muhammed Ali, for example, did not win because he knew some mystical secret punch that nobody else knew how to throw. He won with the same basic techniques that other boxers used -- he was just better at them. And in reality, a simple technique you have spent many years practicing is probably more effective than a new, exotic one you just learned yesterday. Still, secret techniques make for great stories, and they provide a way to explore the master-student relationship.

At the end of Rurouni Kenshin, No. 10, Kenshin had asked to learn the final secret move of Hiten Mitsurugi swordsmanship. His master, Hiko Seijuro, refused because he thought Kenshin lacked proper character. Now, after learning more about Kenshin from his friends, he is moved to reconsider, and master and apprentice begin more training.

Elsewhere, Shishio plots to destroy Kenshin and attack the city of Kyoto, and Aoshi and Okina build up to an epic one-on-one battle. Fight scenes are common in manga, but this one is fantastic, with slicing swords, whirling tonfa, and of course some spectacular special techniques. The artwork uses a variety of angles to capture the ebb and flow of the battle. This is not just another fight scene, but a beautifully choreographed fight between interesting characters, which gives it real emotional impact. I would highly recommend this volume.


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