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Grade A series, but this volume in particular is a bit of a tease...
on February 4, 2006
I give rurouni kenshin on the whole 5 stars. Given the nature of the beast (This is a series, and you are going to end up buying all the volumes, no matter how good each individual one is), it seems a little pointless to write an individual review for this one volume in the series.
However, I feel the need to proffess that both vol's 5 and 6 have a nice bit of character development, but in terms of plot, it just doesnt FEEL like it goes anywhere. Watsuki himself states that this volume is slow and that the series will pick up(Boy, does it...).
The volume takes us through a story involving Yahiko first. This is a nice story, as it really does show us how little yahiko is evolving as a swordsman (He just seems useless compared to the uberpowerful baddies sanosuke and kenshin are always schooling) through Kamiya Kasshin Ryu. Yahiko was in need of some panel time, as he always seemed from the beginning to be a gimmick character created by Watsuki. It also shows that Kaorou is not the wimp she's made out to be (Again, she suffers the same problem as Yahiko, she just doesnt seem strong compared to the Sano and Kenshin calibur).
So a little over the first quarter of the book is devoted to some character development. After that, we have the entrance of the next arc, the Raijuta arc.
The Raijuta arc is particularly interesting, simply because it causes a further linkage coming up. And it introduces Yutaro, who becomes Yahiko's rival. Their exchanges are particularly funny. Anyway, Raijuto is a high calibur swordsman who just seems to go around bullying dojo masters into accepting challenges from him, for no other reason than to be a jerk and get said masters to shut down their dojos. Yutaro seems to be his annoying twerp of an apprentice. Of course all of this makes an odd twist midway through, which I wont spoil for you. While not really left at a cliff hanger (Unlike volume 7, grr), you will still want more (and i mean more than usual) because this volume seems to not tell much in its 200 pages. The overall plot moves along maybe an inch as we see the little sub plots of yahiko's battle, yutaro v. yahiko, etc move. It's simply unfulfilling by the end. This is easily avoided though, by purchasing volume 6 with 5. Volume 6 "suffers" from the same problems (takes a while to get somewhere, but we do get a conclusion, a satisfying one at that), and it delves into a rather interesting side story involving sanosuke.
In essence, volumes 1-6 are all just the calm before the storm. They compromise the first main arc (there are 3) of the RK series, the Tokyo Arc. The Tokyo Arc is personified by the little individual adventures that dont seem to have much relation to each other. Volume 7 is where the series really picks up, as it goes full blown into the Kyoto Arc, one full of awesome political intrigue, awesome sword fights, and more revalation into Kenshin's mysterious past. The Kyoto arc will connect all these little stories the Tokyo Arc told you, and it will get the MAIN plotline chugging along.
But I really digress. 5 and 6 seem almost meant to be purchased in a pair, so i recomend you do as such. This one vol by itself isnt filling enough to satiate your RK needs, trust me.