As an assassin during the Bakumatsu, the Battousai, Kenshin Himura often faced the Shinsengumi in the bloody streets of Kyoto. Advocating for different ideals, Kenshin crossed swords many times with the Shinsengumi Captains, particularly Saitou Hajime and Okita Souji. After he left his life of killing behind after the battle of Toba-Fushimi, he may have thought that the Shinsengumi was behind him, even if any of his old antagonists had survived into the Meiji era. But when Shishio Makoto begins to threaten the peace of the new era, Kenshin’s dreams of the Shinsengumi become too real as one of them appears in his life again…
The mangaka, Watsuki Nobuhiro, usually credits fictional sources – novels, etc – for his take on the Shinsengumi and characters that were inspired by the Shinsengumi. Of the “Moeyo Ken” novel series by Shiba Ryotaro, he referred to it as “his bible”, and blending that with other novels, video games and his own ideas, Watsuki presented a version of this Shinsengumi that captured fans around the world.
RK was first published by Shueisha in Shounen Jump from 1994 thru 1995 in 28 tankoubon volumes. In 1996 an anime-adaptation was made consisting of 95 episodes and lasting thru September 1998. In 1997 a feature film was released called “Ishin Shishi e no Requiem” followed by two OVA adaptations. The first OVA “Tsuiokouhen” (Remembrance) was released in 1999 in Japan followed by a US release in 2001. This OVA was widely heralded as one of the greatest anime works consistently garnering high ranks in polls and anime ranking sites. Finally in 2001, the final OVA was released called “Seisouhen” (Reflection) in Japan providing an end to one of the best anime of all time.
Various video games was released from 1996 up to 2010 which kept interest in the series alive in the minds of RK fans. Aniplex will be releasing in 2011 the blu-ray editions of the OVAs and film. While it has been confirmed that a new Rurouni Kenshin anime will be coming this fall of 2011 and a new live-action film will be released in 2012.