Table of Contents
What is Rurouni Kenshin?
Rurouni Kenshin is a manga written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The series was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump from 1994 to 1999, and in Shueisha’s Jump Comics Deluxe from 1999 to 2003. It depicts the adventures of a fictionalized version of the historical figure Kenshin Himura, a former assassin during the Bakumatsu period who becomes a wandering samurai in Meiji era Japan who protects the people from evil with a vow never to kill again.
The manga was adapted into an anime series by Studio Gallop, which aired on Fuji Television from 1996 to 1998 and has been licensed for release in North America by Media Blasters. The anime has been followed by three original video animations produced as prequels to the anime series. There have also been two anime films produced with another planned for release in early 2014. Several video games have been released, including two on Sony’s PlayStation consoles, and over a dozen different kinds of Rurouni Kenshin merchandise have been released including more than 40 CD soundtracks, action figures, model kits, trading cards and video games.
Rurouni Kenshin Plot
The story begins in the 11th year of the Meiji period in Japan, in which the samurai of the fallen shogunate have been replaced by “rōnin” (masterless samurai), and are roaming the country as bandits. Kenshin Himura, once a feared killer by the name of Battōsai, is now a peaceful wanderer who has renounced his sword after his wife was murdered and he became a pacifist. While returning from an errand, Kenshin meets a young woman named Kamiya Kaoru, who is in search of her father’s murderer.
After Kenshin rescues Kaoru from an attack by an assassin named Yukishiro Enishi, Kaoru invites Kenshin to stay at her dojo for safety. Although reluctant to reveal his true identity at first for fear that he will be forced to kill again, he accepts when he learns that Kaoru has unknowingly taken shelter in the home of her father’s killer. After learning about Kaoru’s quest to avenge her father’s death at Enishi’s hands, Kenshin agrees to help her on condition that she never fight Enishi alone. Over time, Kenshin discovers that Kaoru has become a strong and independent young woman, and has also fallen in love with him.
How Much Filler is in Rurouni Kenshin?
The Rurouni series has a remarkably high filler episode rate. There are a total of 100 episodes in the series, and there are a total of 40 episodes which are filler episodes, which gives it a score of 40% filler episodes.
Quick Filler & Canon Lists
Complete Filler List
|1||The Handsome Swordsman of Legend: A Man who Fights for Love||Mostly Canon||01/10/1996|
|2||Kid Samurai: A Big Ordeal and a New Student||Canon||01/17/1996|
|3||Swordsman of Sorrow: The Man Who Slays His Past||Canon||01/24/1996|
|4||Bad! Introducing Sanosuke, Fighter-for-hire||Canon||01/31/1996|
|5||The Reverse-blade Sword vs. the Zanbatou: Beyond the Battle||Canon||02/07/1996|
|6||The Appearance of Kurogasa: Visitor from the Shadows||Canon||02/14/1996|
|7||Deathmatch under the Moon! Protect the One You Love||Canon||02/21/1996|
|8||A New Battle! The Mysterious Beauty From Nowhere||Canon||02/28/1996|
|9||The Strongest Group of Ninjas: The Horrible Oniwaban Group||Canon||03/06/1996|
|10||Aoshi: Someone so Beautiful it's Frightening||Canon||03/13/1996|
|11||Farewell, the Strongest Men: The Clash of Light and Shadow||Canon||04/24/1996|
|12||Birth of a Boy Swordsman: The Battle of First Apprentice Yahiko||Canon||05/07/1996|
|13||Strive for the Grand Championship: Toramaru's Sumo Battle Log!||Filler||05/08/1996|
|14||To Save a Small Life Lady Doctor Megumi to the Rescue||Filler||05/15/1996|
|15||Two Legendary Manslayers Two Legendary Slashers||Filler||05/22/1996|
|16||A Promise From the Heart The Secret Sword Technique of Shiden||Filler||06/05/1996|
|17||Fly to Your Dreams Marimo, The Human Cannon||Filler||06/12/1996|
|18||Run, Yahiko! Run Yahiko! Get the Reverse-Edged Sword Back||Filler||06/19/1996|
|19||Raijuta's Ambition The Fantasy of the Forbidden Kingdom||Canon||06/26/1996|
|20||Revival of the Shinko Style Revival of the Killer Sword – Shinko Style||Canon||07/10/1996|
|21||Dissolution of a Nightmare Destruction of a Nightmare||Canon||07/17/1996|
|22||Danger on a Runaway Locomotive Surprise Incident on a Runaway Locomotive||Filler||07/31/1996|
|23||Sanosuke's Betrayal The Fateful Reunion||Canon||08/14/1996|
|24||Midnight Battle: Kenshin versus Sanosuke Revisited||Canon||08/25/1996|
|25||The Crimson Pirate The Red Pirate – Kenshin and Kaoru Separated||Filler||08/28/1996|
|26||Lightning Incarnate Shura, The Mysterious Female Pirate||Filler||09/04/1996|
|27||Burn, Island of Terror! The Red Pirate - Conclusion||Filler||10/16/1996|
|28||Prelude to the Impending Fight: The Shadow of the Wolf Draws Near||Canon||10/30/1996|
|29||Strongest Opponent From the Past: Merciless Fangs Strike!||Canon||11/06/1996|
|30||A Devil of Vengeance: Makoto Shishio's Plot||Canon||11/13/1996|
|31||A Wish Unrequited: Kenshin Departs||Canon||11/27/1996|
|32||Change Tears to Courage: Kaoru Kamiya's Choice||Canon||12/04/1996|
|33||For the Title of Strongest: Aoshi's New Conflict||Canon||12/11/1996|
|34||The Girl Bandit: Misao Makimachi's Hidden Side||Canon||01/08/1997|
|35||Conquered Village: The Grasp of Shishio's Hands||Canon||01/15/1997|
|36||Across the Boundary Between Edo and Meiji: Kenshin and Shishio Face to Face!||Canon||01/22/1997|
|37||Shock! The Reverse-Blade is Broken: Sojiro's Tenken verses Kenshin||Canon||01/29/1997|
|38||Sanosuke's Secret Training: The Challenge of Anji the Destroyer||Canon||02/05/1997|
|39||The Creator of the Reverse-Blade Sword: Shakku Arai's Final Swing||Canon||02/12/1997|
|40||A Killer Without Mercy: Fight to the Death Against the Cho of the Juppongatana||Canon||02/19/1997|
|41||The Ultimate Technique of the Hiten-Mitsurugi Style: Reunion with a Mentor, Seijuro Hiko||Canon||02/26/1997|
|42||The Formation of an Alliance: The Day When Aoshi Joins with Shishio||Canon||03/05/1997|
|43||Between Life and Death: Master the Ultimate Technique, Amakakeru Ryu no Hikameki!||Canon||03/12/1997|
|44||A Decisive Battle Like Violent Waters: The Strongest Troop Juppongatana||Canon||03/19/1997|
|45||As if to Fly: Stop the Launch of the Battleship Purgatory!||Canon||04/16/1997|
|46||Purgatory Bursts into Flames: The Destiny of Makoto Shishio||Canon||04/23/1997|
|47||Crash! The Lethal Punch, Futae no Kiwami: The Fist of Sonosuke Screams!||Canon||04/30/1997|
|48||Reborn to Salvation: The Beginning of Anji’s New Life||Canon||05/14/1997|
|49||The Wolf Destroys the Eye of the Heart: The Fierce Attack of the Zero Stance Gatotsu||Canon||05/28/1997|
|50||The Promised Time Has Come: Aoshi and Kenshin Fight Again||Canon||06/04/1997|
|51||Wake Up Now! Ignore Your Wounds and Fight to the Finish||Canon||06/11/1997|
|52||To Make a Miracle: The Battle at the Aoiya||Canon||06/18/1997|
|53||The Giant Versus Superman: Like an Arrow Shot at a Time of Despair||Canon||06/25/1997|
|54||Hiten versus Shukuchi||Canon||07/02/1997|
|55||The Tragedy of a Stormy Night||Canon||07/09/1997|
|56||A Duel With an Extreme Moment||Canon||07/16/1997|
|57||Two Men at the End of an Era||Canon||08/06/1997|
|58||The Age Chooses Shishio?||Canon||08/13/1997|
|59||Not Out of Luck!||Canon||08/20/1997|
|60||The Man Who is Chosen for Victory||Canon||09/03/1997|
|61||The Juppongatana Who Remain (aka The Choice for Life)||Canon||09/10/1997|
|62||Kyoto, the Engraved Memory||Canon||09/17/1997|
|63||The Legend of the Fireflies||Filler||10/14/1997|
|64||The Birth of Prince Yahiko||Filler||10/28/1997|
|65||Find the Lost Treasure!||Filler||11/04/1997|
|67||The Gleaming Blade of Legends||Filler||11/18/1997|
|68||The Medallion of Destiny||Filler||11/25/1997|
|69||To the Battlefield of Shimabara||Filler||12/02/1997|
|70||Shock of the Rai Ryu Sen||Filler||12/09/1997|
|72||The Days of Remorse||Filler||01/06/1998|
|73||The Sneering Demon||Filler||01/13/1998|
|75||The Last Crusade||Filler||01/27/1998|
|77||Himura Dojo in Shimonoseki?||Filler||02/10/1998|
|79||Kaishu-Katsu and Kenshin||Mostly Canon||02/24/1998|
|80||The Unending Revolution||Mostly Canon||03/03/1998|
|81||Conspiracy of the Beniaoi||Mostly Canon||03/10/1998|
|82||Kaishu-Katsu's Determination||Mostly Canon||04/14/1998|
|84||The Sanada Ninja Squad||Filler||05/05/1998|
|85||A Straying Journey||Filler||05/19/1998|
|86||A Heatwave from Beneath the Earth||Filler||05/26/1998|
|88||The Two Guides||Filler||06/09/1998|
|89||To My Angel Misao||Filler||06/16/1998|
|90||Feng Shui Surprise Attack!||Filler||06/23/1998|
|91||The Magic of Feng Shui||Filler||07/21/1998|
|92||Tokyo Under Martial Law||Filler||08/04/1998|
|93||The Enemy Awaits in Senjogahara||Filler||08/18/1998|
|94||The Elegy of Wind and Water||Filler||09/09/1998|
|95||The Man of the Slashing Sword||Canon||01/20/1999|
|96||The Lost Cat||Canon||04/21/1999|
|97||The Previous Night at the Mountain Home||Canon||06/19/1999|
|98||The Cross-Shaped Wound||Canon||11/22/1999|
|99||After So Many Years Have Lapsed, Part 1||Filler||12/03/2001|
|100||After So Many Years Have Lapsed, Part 2||Filler||12/03/2001|
List of filler episodes for Rurouni Kenshin in chronological order – Learn if it is worth watching
Episode 13 Strive for the grand championship! Toramaru’s sumo battle log
Episode 13 is in actual fact a filler episode. It was not originally meant to be part of the series, but was later added due to public demand. Due to it being a filler episode, it does not contribute to the overall plot of the story and is never mentioned again after its first viewing in the series.
There are many reasons why this episode is considered a filler episode by fans and critics alike. The main reason for this is that it does not contribute to the overall story or development of characters in any way. There is no new information revealed in this episode that was not already known beforehand, with exception of, possibly, Senryoyama’s ability at sumo wrestling from his childhood days.
What could be argued as being development for characters is left ambiguous and up to interpretation by viewers, as nothing happens between Senryoyama and Toramaru after this confrontation. Some may argue that Senryoyama realizes his mistake and henceforth makes amends with Toramaru by paying off his bill at Tae’s restaurant from earlier on in the episode; however, there is no concrete evidence for this argument being made. This could just as well have just been a one-off event that will never be mentioned again in any future episodes.
Other minor things that could be considered as character development in this episode are Yahiko’s and Kaoru’s willingness to stand up for someone in need, with Yahiko standing up to Senryoyama’s thugs to protect the dignity of Toramaru and Kaoru taking a stand against Senryoyama himself. However, this again could have just been one-time events and was never mentioned again after this episode. They both act differently in later episodes, making it hard to believe that they have grown based on this one event.
It is also debatable whether or not Senryoyama has in fact changed his ways for good after the events of the episode. It can be argued that he paid off Toramaru’s bill as an apology for his previous actions towards him; however, it can also be argued that he paid up only because he was afraid of what would happen if word got out that he refused to pay up. There is no concrete evidence for either of these arguments being true and so the viewer must decide for themselves what they believe on their own accord.
The anime filler episodes themselves were also an issue amongst fans, as they would often leave characters out of the story or add new ones without explanation or reasoning. This was one of the main reasons why the anime series was taken off-air. Due to this, it is possible that fans of the series may have been confused as to why a certain character has suddenly appeared in an episode or when a new character has been introduced without explanation. This may have been one of the main reasons for Episode 13 being considered a filler episode, as it adds another new character, Senryoyama and also leaves out his rival, Toramaru from the story. Toramaru’s absence is not explained at any time during this episode and it is only later on that he makes a brief appearance in Episode 14 when he stands up to Senryoyama for beating him up at Tae’s restaurant.
Episode 14 To save a small life doctor lady Megumi to the rescue
Episode 14 was a filler episode that aired between episodes 5 and 6. The series had to be halted for a week at the time, due to the death of Emperor Meiji. The episode was never intended to air as part of the series and is technically an anime original. The episode was written by Watsuki Nobuhiro himself, and was designed to flesh out the character of Megumi.
The episode is told entirely from the perspective of Sanosuke, who had been on the receiving end of Megumi’s medical care in the first episode. The episode also introduces Kaoru, Yahiko and Myōjin Yahiko to the viewers. In this episode, Sanosuke’s problem is that he cannot pay for his treatment at the Akabeko clinic because his wallet is stolen. He does not want to reveal that he does not have enough money for treatment (which would cause him to be called a cheapskate) and hence asks his friend Tomo to pay for him instead. However, when Tomo tries to pay Megumi with a counterfeit 100-ryō note, Sanosuke knocks him out (to protect his pride).
Megumi treats Sano’s wounds without being paid and treats Tomo on credit because his friend insists on paying her later. This forces Megumi into financial problems, which she covers up by borrowing money from her father, while pretending she has a thriving business at the Akabeko. She then takes an advance payment from a new patient but when he is unable to pay her back, she visits his family and tells them that he will pay her later, causing them to give her a china set as a form of gratitude.
Megumi, being a woman in a man’s world, is shown to be very sensitive about people judging her on the basis of her gender. She feels bad about being so helpless because she knows that Sanosuke does not think of her as an equal. In addition, she is also shown to be shy about revealing that she has feelings for Sanosuke. This becomes clear after Kaoru and Yahiko tease Megumi by saying how pretty Sano looks when he sleeps (because he is shirtless). In response, Megumi stutters while trying to explain that they are “cousins” and not “lovers”. The two youngsters then tease Megumi even more by saying that they knew all along that Megumi had feelings for Sano. They then go on to say how it is “obvious” from the way she treats Sano (tending his wounds and dressing him) but point out that there is nothing wrong with it because any woman would want to get married to someone like Sanosuke.
Episode 15 Two legendary manslayers two legendary slashers
Episode 15 is a filler episode, as it has no real bearing on the main plot of Rurouni Kenshin. Although it does show that Kenshin and Heihachiro are in good terms (this is important later in the series), and it also shows that Heihachiro was once an enemy of Kenshin, there’s nothing really substantial in this episode.
Kenshin and Heihachiro’s relationship is explored in Episode 15. What are the themes presented in this episode?
Episode 15 shows that Kenshin and Heihachiro have a friendly relationship, as they were able to joke around with each other. However, there was also an underlying theme of the cost of peace. The radicals wanted to use Heihachiro to assassinate political leaders using his reputation as a teacher for children, but Heihachiro refused because he doesn’t want innocent people to die. It’s through this episode that we realize that Kenshin values peace and the well-being of innocents more than anything else.
As mentioned previously, one major theme in Rurouni Kenshin is peace. The radicals wanted to use Heihachiro (who was once an enemy of Kenshin) in order to assassinate political leaders, but Heihachiro refused because he didn’t want innocent people to die. Kenshin and the others didn’t want to kill the radicals (as they were former friends) but they were forced to take them out when they threatened the children.
We learn that peace is more important than anything else, as Kenshin saved Heihachiro and the children from being killed by the radicals. We also learn that former enemies can become friends, as even though Heihachiro was an opponent of Kenshin in the past, they have since made amends.
Episode 16 A promise from the heart the secret sword technique of shiden
Episode 16 of the Rurouni Kenshin anime series is a filler. The previous episode was the origin story of Himura Kenshin, his travels with Sagara Sanosuke and his meeting with Tomoe. This episode is a flashback showcasing the last time Himura Kenshin met Tomoe before he left to Tokyo. It also highlights Himura’s character development from a cold-blooded killer to a man who uses his sword to protect others.
Soujiro Seta, Himura’s student in Kyoto, has been killing innocent people. Heihachiro Okina, the man who taught Soujiro, is now facing criticism for not stopping him from becoming a killer and is also trying to find out if Soujiro is still alive. Okina asks Sanosuke and Kenshin for help to find Soujiro before he kills again. They get into a fight with Soujiro at night at Kyoto’s Shinkabukiza Theater during an opera performance when Soujiro almost killed Kaoru. After injuring Soujiro and helping Kaoru escape, Okina tells Kenshin that he wants to kill Soujiro himself because that will be the only way he can clear his name for not stopping him from becoming a killer. Kenshin, Sanosuke and Okina spot Soujiro at the Kyoto Imperial Palace. While Kenshin is fighting Soujiro, Okina approaches Soujiro and stabs him with a sword in the back. Soujiro walks away while remarking that Okina taught him well.
Kenshin and Sanosuke discover that Soujiro was actually brainwashed by a group of people who plotted to assassinate the emperor. After beating this group of people up, Kenshin finds out that another student of Okina’s named Tomoe has been held captive by them all this time. Kenshin frees Tomoe from captivity, then takes her on a date while Sanosuke watches them from afar.