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Official Synopsis: Japan is about to enter the Meiji era and transition from the Middle Ages to industrialization. The samurai have no place in this modern society where warriors are less useful than traders. Unemployed, having lost the right to wear the sword, and facing guns and cannons, the samurai will gradually disappear into legend. Kenshin is one of such lost warrior. Once a grand master of the sword he is now a vagabond, wandering the roads of Japan. However, his chivalry and courage will make this one-time mercenary a loved and respected vigilante.
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Running Time: Unknown
Release Date: August 25, 2012 (Japan)
MPAA Rating: Unknown
Starring: Yû Aoi, Teruyuki Kagawa and Takeru Sato
Directed by: Keishi Ōtomo
Written by: Nobuhiro Watsuki (manga, Kiyomi Fujii (screenplay)and Keishi Ohtomo (screenplay )
Produced by: Warner Bros., with actual film production done by Studio Swan
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚- Rurōni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Rōmantan?) , also known as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The fictional setting takes place during the early Meiji period in Japan. The story is about a fictional assassin named Himura Kenshin, from the Bakumatsu who becomes a wanderer to protect the people of Japan. Watsuki wrote this series upon his desire of making a shōnen manga different from the other ones that were published in that time, with Kenshin being a former assassin and the story taking a more serious tone as it continued. Although the tragic tone was highly expanded as the manga advanced, Watsuki became determined to give it a happy ending as it was aimed at teenagers.
The manga initially appeared in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from September 2, 1994, to November 4, 1999. The complete work consists of 28 tankōbon volumes, while years later it was reprinted into twenty-two kanzenban volumes. Studio Gallop, Studio Deen and SPE Visual Works adapted the manga into an anime series which aired in Japan from January 10, 1996 to September 8, 1998. Besides an animated film, two series of original video animations (OVAs) were also produced. The first adapted stories from the manga that were not featured in the anime, while the second was also a sequel of the manga. Writer Kaoru Shizuka has authored three official Rurouni Kenshin light novels which were published by Shueisha. Several video games have also been released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable consoles.
The United States release of the manga has been completed by Viz Media. Rurouni Kenshin is subtitled "Wandering Samurai" in some English releases, as a rough translation of "Rurō ni" (流浪に lit. "Wandering"?). The TV series later licensed in North America and released on DVD by Media Blasters. The first two seasons aired on the United States Cartoon Network as a part of the Toonami Block, while the third season was only featured in DVD. The English-language versions of the OVAs as well the film were originally released as Samurai X, although the original title was included in the DVD releases. The OVAs and film are now released as Rurouni Kenshin titles in the English Blu-ray Disc releases. The first light novel has been translated by Viz and distributed in the United States and Canada. None of the video games of the series have been released in North America.
The series has been highly popular in Japan, the United States, Brazil and Europe, being recognized as one of the best of all time. The manga has sold over 47 million copies in Japan as of 2007 while the anime has ranked among the 100 most watched series in Japan multiple times. The anime and manga have received praise and criticism from various publications for anime, manga and other media, with both having received good response on the characters' designs and the historical setting. The OVAs have also received praise due to their animation and music.