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Top note: Color page + 47 pages!!
Splash 1: NEW SERIALIZATION
Splash 2: The beginning of
a new legend!!Act 1 - "The beginning of the romantic tale"RUROUNI KENSHIN -KINEMA-BAN-
Bottom note: Live action movie "Rurouni Kenshin"
in theaters August 25th!
Check the latest info on Kenshin in the next page!!
Box: "Bakumatsu" - the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate
In the fifteen years from the arrivals of the Black Ships to the Meiji Restoration---
"Sonnou", "Sabaku", "Joui", "Kaikoku"
Ambitions and ideals were mingled in a vicious swirl.
[in the back, a man identified as Hitokiri Battousai is running, his sword drawn.]
Box: Tokugawa Shogunate and Ishin Shishi
All those who wielded a sword stood for one of these two factions, clashing in a bloody conflict
And in Kyoto, the vortex of this unholy war, there was a Ishin Shishi."Hitokiri Battousai".
That was his name.
[2 and 3]
Prepare to die!!
[Three Shinsengumi members attack Battousai.]HITEN MITSURUGI RYU
[T.N.: "Flash of the Dragon Ring"]
[In a blink of an eye, the members are slain.]
Shinsengumi: He's strong!
[Something hits the Shinsengumi member]
[The man pierces the Shinsengumi member and lunges forward to strike Battousai.]
[Battousai also pierces the Shinsengumi member with his sword. The blade pierces the man's both hands.]
[Battousai stands back after hitting his oponent.]
[The man grins at his own wounds.]
Man: This feeling...
I like this!
Shinsengumi man: Stand back, Udou.
I will deal with this guy.
[In his sword, it's engraved "Aku Soku Zan".]CAPTAIN OF THE 3RD UNIT OF THE SHINSENGUMI
SFX in balloon: SHPLAF
[Battousai looks at his feet. He has just stepped on a blood pool.]
Saitou: What happened? Are you worried about the blood pool?
If you want to, we can fight in another place.
Battousai: ... no.
This place is fine.FOR NOW---
THIS PLACE IS FINE----
[In the background, the cross shaped scar bleeds.]
the days of turmoil were over
and this tale begins
in the 11th year of the Meiji Era (1878)---
[a man in traditional Japanese clothing, with long hair, a cross shaped scar on his face and wearing a scarf around his neck walks on the street.]
Man: It is the first time that
this lowly self
comes to Tokyo.
It is now very different from the Edo that----
[A kid jumps and kicks him]
Kid: FOUND YOU!!!
Kid: Don't walk around wearing a sword!
You will get arrested!
[The kid pulls the man by grabbing his scarf.]
Kid: If something happens to you, I will be in trouble!
Man: Things are a bit unclear,but are you in trouble?
allow this lowly self to be of use.
[A large mansion is shown.]
Announcement: Promoted by the brilliant merchant Sir Takeda Kanryuu,
These are the afternoon matches of this edition of Sword Arts Performance Show!!
For today's final bout, we have in the West side,
the legendary Hitokiri!!
[The crowd cheers.]
Announcement: HIMURA BATTOUSAI!!
Man (taken aback): Oro?
Announcement: A true devil who killed many to create a new era with his blood drenched sword!!
Kid: Hurry up and go!
Man: But this lowly self...
Announcement: The strongest swordsman is here!! Among us!! NOW!!
[The kid kicks him.]
Kid: You know it, right?
This is a show and you are a fake.
You were hired for this, right? So do your job now!
Announcement: And in the East side---
The sole woman of this show!!The comely swordswoman---
[Kaoru is shown. Kaoru and the man face each other in the ring, while the crowd cheers.]
It seems you are quite popular.
Kaoru (embarrassed): Gee, thanks.
[poising for combat] If you call yourself Battousai, then surely you are skillful, right?
it doesn't matter who Takeda Kanryu pits against me.
I won't lose.
I will protect the dojo!
Judge: One-game match!Begin!!
[Kaoru lunges forward.]Kaoru: YAH!!!
[Kaoru simply whacks him on the head.]
Kaoru and Man: !?
[The man is knocked down.]
Are you all right?!
No, I mean---
Why don't you fight?
Why don't you draw your sword?
Man (smiling): This lowly self has no reason to fight.
And this lowly self would prefer never to draw his sword.
[Kaoru is surprised.]
Man (to the judge): Judge, this match is settled.
Crowd (enraged): WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?
A HITOKIRI WHO DOESN'T DRAW HIS SWORD!?
WHAT KIND OF BAD JOKE IS THIS!?
THIS IS A SCAM!!
I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!
I WANT MY BETS BACK!!
[The crowd jeers.]
Man (looking at Kaoru): So this was
a gambling show.
[Kaoru casts down her eyes.]
Crowd: ARE THESE THE WAYS OF THE ALMIGHTY SAMURAIS!?
[A well-dressed, rich man appears in the balcony of the mansion.]
Rich man (clapping his hands): Please!
Please, calm down.
Rich man (smoking a cigar): I understand your anger.
As an apology, I will return your money with a 50% extra.I, Takeda Kanryuu, am a brilliant merchant.
Unlike those samurais, money is not a problem for me.
Crowd (cheering): You rock!!
That's the way!!
Kanryuu: By the way,THIS
is the real one.
Large man: I! AM!
Kid: ... uh-oh.
I didn't expect you to find beforehand a weakling to earn an easy victory before the crowd.
That was a good plan, miss Kaoru.
Kanryuu: I like the way you do business.
"Battousai" (laughing): Are you that afraid of me!?
Man: Sorry to interrupt.
But this lowly self would like to say that he got here by accident.
He saw all this hustle and bustle and thought it was a festival of some sort.
So, this lowly self just dropped by to see what was going on.
[The kid is surprised.]
Man: So, this lowly self
humbly apologises for all the trouble.
Kanryuu: ... you thought you could get a free meal here?
A victory is a victory.
One more left to fulfull the promise.
I wish you good luck, miss Kaoru.
[Night fall. They are at Kaoru's dojo.]
Man: "Kamiya Kasshin ryu"?
Kaoru: It is a sword school created by my late father.
But now, I, the assistant instructor, am the only person practicing it.
Kaoru: It was a small school from the very beginning.
And then came the Restoration, the Anti-sword Act, the Westernization and all.
[Kaoru gets some medicine for the man's head.]
Man: Hence the gambling, then.
Kaoru (slapping the man's head): Sorry.
It's not like that.It's over.
[The man lies on the floor, writhing in pain.]
Kaoru: I'm not taking part in that to make a living.
Kaoru: I'm doing all this to protect this dojo.
To protect the Kamiya Kasshin ryu.
Kanryuu: "Nice to meet you. I'm a brilliant merchant who is about to start business in this neighborhood."
"My name is Takeda Kanryuu."
"This dojo is built on a leased land, right?"
"I have bought the rights for this land."
"So, from now on, either you will have to pay twice the rent you used to pay,"
"or you buy the rights from me in one lump."
[end of flashback]
Man: He wants this dojo?
This small building, which is almost falling apart,
located in a suburb no one wants to live in?
Kaoru (strongly rubbing the man's head): Oh?
It seems that your head is still swollen.
Here's some more medicine.
[The man lies on the floor, writhing in pain.]
Kaoru: I can't pay twice the rent nor buy the rights now.
So, he said---
Kanryuu: "Then, how about this?"
"If you win ten times in a row in the Swords Arts Performance Show I'm hosting,"
"I will recognize your proficiency and will hand you the rights for the land."
[end of flashback]
Kaoru: Only after I stood on the ring did I realize that it was a gambling show.
He would get his profit regardless of my victory or defeat.
He really got me.But I need just one more victory!
If I win tomorrow's bout...!
Kid: Get real.
You are the main grabber for his show.
He won't let you have the victory and will make you start from zero again.
You are very useful to him, he won't let you go.
Kaoru: Oh, that boy?
He's a menial of Kanryuu.
Kid: Not a menial! I work as a watch for him.
Name's Myoujin Yahiko!
[The left half of Yahiko's face is swollen.]
Man: The left side of your face used to be fairer, didn't it?
Yahiko: It's all your fault!
Why does a weakling like you walk around wearing a sword!?
Kaoru (sighing): It seems that he was beaten up for his failures.
Kaoru: Let me apply my traditional medicine on you too.
Yahiko: Get off! I don't need that!
Kaoru: Yes, you need. Grab him.
Man (smiling): Yes, ma'am.
Yahiko: Hey, stop!!
[Kaoru applies the medicine on Yahiko. Yahiko is silent.]
Kaoru: Better not to work for a man like him.
You deserve a better future.
Yahiko: Shut up.
You don't know anything about me.
Kaoru: You're right.
I don't know.
I don't go around asking about your past.
Kaoru: Everyone has one or two things about their past they don’t want to talk about.
The most important thing is how to live the present in order to make a brighter future come true.
You are a kid of this new era called Meiji.
[Kaoru applies a plaster on Yahiko's face.]
Kaoru: So, it's all the more true in your case,
[Yahiko goes away in a fit of embarrassment.]
Yahiko: That's none of your business!
You should care about yourself, not about me!
I'm off to sleep!
Kaoru: Don't forget to go to the lavatory first!
Or else, once again the blanket will get---
Yahiko: SHUT UP!!
[Yahiko shuts the door violently.]
Man: That boy isn't a watch.
Kaoru: You're right.
He will be beaten up
whenever I try to do anything suspicious to Kanryuu.
That is his role.
In a way, he is a hostage.But...
today, you protected him, didn't you?
Kaoru: And you stood up for me too.
[Kaoru's voice echoes on the man's head, as he leaves]
Kaoru's voice: You don't seem to be a bad person.
[The next day, Kaoru and Yahiko are at Kanryuu's mansion.]
Servant: You will take part in the night matches today.
Please wait in the appropriate room till the time comes.
Kaoru: Night matches?
Yahiko (surprised): Night matches!
Kanryuu: Any problem?
Just that I didn't know there were night matches...
Kanryuu: Well then---
[Yahiko remembers Kaoru's kindness. He grabs Kaoru's wooden sword.]
Yahiko: Don't go!
Don't take part in the night matches!!
I don't know how the matches are,
but I've heard no one got back alive from them!!
Kaoru: Don't worry.
It doesn't matter how the matches are.
I won't lose.
[leaving the room] Thanks for worrying.
[The door closes. Kanryuu hits Yahiko on the head.]
Kanryuu: What do you think you're doing, brat?
This kid is really useless.
Get rid of him.
[elsewhere in the city, "Battousai" is leaving a restaurant.]
Restaurant staff: Please, pay the bill!
"Battousai": What?! You demand money from the famous Hitokiri Battousai!?
Is this how you thank the person who brought peace for you to live---
[The man stands in front of "Battousai".]
Man: We need to talk.
"Battousai": No, we don't!!
["Battousai" starts drawing his sword.]
"Battousai": A fake Battousai who can't even draw his sword is not worthy of my---
[The man blocks "Battousai"'s movements with the hilt of his sword.]
Man: "Who can't draw his sword"?
Or who doesn't want to draw his sword?
Man (glaring in a menacing fashion): Enough of this.
Let's just say that, when this lowly self draws his sword,
he becomes an entirely different person.
[The man turns his sword, inflicting massive pain to "Battousai".]
Man: Takeda Kanryuu.
He calls himself a brilliant merchant, wearing modern Western clothes and even building a large Western mansion.
Yet he supports those Sword Arts Shows for the samurai and the swordsmen who were unable to swim with the tide.
he pays too much attention to an old, small dojo located in the outskirts of the town.
It doesn't make sense.
So, who is that man
and what is he planning?
[A beaten up Yahiko is leaning against the wall.]
Man: Are you in trouble?
Yahiko (a tear showing up in his eye): ... Yeah.
Man: If so,
allow this lowly self to be of use.
[In the mansion, Kaoru and three other swordsmen are standing in a large hall. There are several stone slabs full of holes.]
Announcement: Promoted by the brilliant merchant Sir Takeda Kanryuu,
These are the night matches of this edition of Sword Arts Performance Show!!
Swordsmen: Where the heck are we?!
Where is the crowd?!
[The door opens.]
Kanryuu: This is the basement of the mansion.
There will be no crowd to watch this.
The rule is simple: only one will survive.
The match will be all of you against me---
TAKEDA KANRYUU with
"Battousai": "Takeda Kanryuu is a man who earned his fortune in the Boshin and Seinan Wars."
"A merchant of death!!"
"First of all, he built that large mansion as his headquarters and he wants to seize all dojos in the neighborhood to use them as warehouses for his weapons."
"The logic behind it is that no one would think that those old-fashioned dojos would hold modern fireweapons."
[end of mini flashback]
"Battousai": "So, his priority is the dojos."
[The swordsmen start running towards Kanryuu.]
Swordsmen: So, from the beginning you didn't want us to win!!
We will kill you before you kill us!!
"Battousai": "The Sword Arts show is just an extra."
"In other words---"
[He starts shooting the Gatling Gun.]
"Battousai": "It's for Takeda Kanryuu's personal 'entertainment'."
[Two of the swordsmen are taken down. Kaoru takes cover behind one of the stone slabs, while Kanryuu shoots relentlessly.]
Kanryuu: Hey, hey, what happened!?
Where are your strength and skills now!?
From the very beginning, I hated all of your kind!!
You samurai never had any money!!
Yet you were always playing the arrogant!!
Kanryuu: To hell with the samurai superiority!!
And a toast to the equality between classes!!
Kanryuu: CALL ME SIR KANRYUU!!
YOU BITCH!! !! !!
[The bullets destroy the stone slab Kaoru was using for cover. She is wounded. Kanryuu sighs and grins.]
Kanryuu: During the day, a clown for a gambling show.
And during the night, a wimp unable to protect yourself, let alone defeat your opponent.
[Kaoru is panting heavily.]
Kanryuu: How long did you train, how much effort did you put in honing your skills?
Kanryuu: I'm sure it was far from negligible.HOWEVER! If you have money, you can put your hands in a superior power, like this!!
Without any effort!!!
the ultimate proof of power!!
Even Hitokiri Battousai, the strongest swordsman,
wouldn't be able to stand against this!!
Is that all you want to---
[Suddenly, the man appears and puts his hand on Kaoru's arm.]
Man: Is that all you want to say?
Man: Yahiko made a plea.
Allow this lowly self to be of use.
Kaoru (surprised): I couldn't feel his presence...
When did he arrive....
Kanryuu: So, it's you,
of the fake of Hitokiri Battousai.
Kanryuu: I can't afford to spend one single bullet of my Gatling Gun with you.
Get out! Nobody asked you to come here.
Indeed, in this new era of Meiji, this lowly self should never be called to act.
everything changes if anyone tries to taint this peaceful era with blood.Takeda Kanryuu.
You are stepping on a pool of blood.
Kanryuu: I TOLD YOU!!
CALL ME "SIR", YOU IDIOT!!
I WILL MAKE BOTH OF YOU
DISAPPEAR FROM MY SIGHT NOW!!
[Kanryuu shoots. The man and Kaoru do seem to disappear.]
Kanryuu: WHA---They did disappear---HITEN
[38 and 39]RYUU-TSUI-SEN!!!
[T.N.: "Flash of the Descending Dragon"]
Kanryuu: From above!!!!
[The man had held Kaoru and jumped really high. He releases Kaoru and strikes with all his strength, splitting the Gatling Gun in half and knocking Kanryuu down.]
Box: This tale begins
in Tokyo, 11th year of the Meiji Era (1878) ---
Man: The sword school of Hitokiri Battousai
is called "Hiten Mitsurugi ryu", an old school based on a godlike speed.
And without this reverse blade,
it is slaughter
with deadly swiftness...
You telling me that...
Yahiko: No way...
So, the fake of the fake...
was the real one!!
Kaoru: The real...
Man: Never again will this lowly self slaughter anyone.
Never again will this lowly self pour pools of blood.
Such is the oath made upon this sword.
Now, this lowly self is just a wandering "Rurouni".
His name is Himura Kenshin.
Box: With a former Hitokiri meeting a young girl devoted to the sword arts----
Kanryuu: That brat!! That girl!! That idiot!!!
I will never forgive them!!!
Man1 (smoking a cigarette): Didn't expect you to be out of jail so soon.
Another proof of your dear money's power?
Man2 (grinning): And the man stronger than your money is
Hitokiri Battousai, right?
Kanryuu: SHUT UP!!
That's why I spent all my money with you guys from the underground!!!
[Several men appear in the background.]KILL HITOKIRI BATTOUSAI!!!!
Box: Likewise, the fateful meeting with the blood pools...
Box: ...was about to happen once again----...
Left note: The deep-seated grudges from the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate are awaiting...!?
Bottom left note: Rurouni Kenshin - Kinema-ban --- continued on the July issue
Bottom right note: Calligraphy of the names - Amemiya Keita
Translator's ramblings (may contain slight spoilers):
- OMG! OMG! Never thought I'd translate again a new chapter of Rurouni Kenshin after... more than 10 years! *_*
- This Kinema-ban is kind of a "remake", a release that theoretically will be synched with the live action movie. Let's see how the story unfolds from now on.
- The names of the characters are in Japanese order, i.e., family name first, then first name.
- I used one or two passages from maigo-chan's translations as a homage to her great work.
- For those who have never read Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X, "oro" is Kenshin's trademark line. It's closer to an interjection, rather than to a word with a precise meaning.
- I have left many Japanese words "as is". So, here's a very brief explanation for each of them:
1) "Sonnou" 尊王 means literally "Worship the Emperor". It was an ideology and a political view that involved returning the political power back to the hands of the Japanese Emperor.
2) "Sabaku" 佐幕 means "Supporter of the (Tokugawa) Shogunate".
3) "Joui" 攘夷 is xenophobia. There were fears that the Western powers wanted to reduce Japan to a colony (and they weren't wrong, for that matter...), and therefore many people acted to repel the "barbarians from the West".
4) "Kaikoku" 開国 means "Opening of the Country", that is, opening of diplomatic and trade relationships between Japan and other countries, especially Western countries. Let's remember that Japan was closed to foreign influence during the Tokugawa Shogunate and only few ports accepted foreign ships.
5) "Ishin Shishi" 維新志士 means literally "Men who strived for the (Meiji) Restoration" and were the opponents for the Tokugawa Shogunate supporters. Some translate it as "Patriots", but I don't like this translation - it seems that the Shogunate supporters were not patriots, which obviously was not the case.
6) "Hitokiri" 人斬り means "manslayer". Any Kenshin fan will tell you that Hitokiri Battousai was based on a real hitokiri, called Kawakami Gensai.
7) Ryuu-kan-sen and Ryuu-tsui-sen were techniques already present in the original manga. However, their spelling is different from the original. Now they are written as 龍環閃 (Flash of the Dragon Ring) and 龍墜閃 (Flash of the Descending Dragon), whereas in the original manga they are written as 龍巻閃 (Flash of the Coiling Dragon) and 龍槌閃 (Flash of the Dragon Hammer).
8) "Aku Soku Zan" is Saitou Hajime's motto in Rurouni Kenshin and means "Evil Immediately Slain". This motto is engraved on the habaki of his sword.
9) Sword Arts Performance Show is how I translated "Gekiken Kougyou" 撃剣興行. This was a real movement devised by Sakakibara Kenkichi, the representative of the Jiki Shinkage ryu school, in order to: a) present the Japanese martial arts to a larger number of people; b) provide a job for the samurais and the swordsmen who couldn't find work after the Meiji Restoration and c) find a way to preserve the Japanese traditional martial arts for the future generations.
10) In this chapter, Kanryuu and the crowd use the word "shizoku" 士族. Roughly speaking, this was how the samurais were known after the Meiji Restoration, so I left as "samurai".
11) Anti-sword Act is "Haitourei" 廃刀令, the law that forbade people from wearing swords, following "Dattourei" 脱刀令, the law that allowed samurai to walk without swords. The Westernization is how I translated "Bunmei Kaika" 文明開化. It was a time when following the Western tastes were "in" and keeping with the traditional Japanese ways were "out".
12) Boshin and Seinan Wars were real historical wars. The Boshin War was the battle that ended the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Seinan War was the last war fought by the samurai (again, roughly speaking).
13) For those who are not familiar with the original manga, "Rurouni" is a word coined by Watsuki, meaning something along the lines of "wanderer", "vagabond". So, you won't find it in any dictionary!
14) In the last page, the Kenshin fans will recognize several characters: Sagara Sanosuke, Saitou Hajime, Inui Banjin and Gein. Will Gein be portrayed as a handsome person this time? Let's wait and see.
15) Amemiya Keita is a famous character designer/producer in Japan. Tokusatsu fans should know his name from Kamen Rider ZO, Kamen Rider Black RX, Zyuranger, Liveman, Metalder, Jiban and so many other series. Game fans should recognize him as character designer of Onimusha 2. He was the person who drew the calligraphies, which were used in the "Kanzenban" edition and in this chapter as well. Probably the next chapters will feature more calligraphies of his.
- Random comment: after Takeda Kanryuu with Gatling Gun, will we get to see Takeda Kanryuu with lasers...? :P
- This translation is dedicated to all Ruroken fans, especially to those who were active in the late 90's/early 2000's. And to Tatsuko, who would have loved to see Ruroken once again in manga.