Top 5 Strongest Swordsmen in Ruroni Kenshin
Ruroni Kenshin, sometimes called Samurai X, chronicles the tale of a red-haired swordsman, Kenshin, who seeks to atone for his past sins as an assassin dubbed "Battosai the Man-Slayer". Haunted by the murders of war he committed years ago, Kenshin now wields a reverse-blade sword (capable of striking foes with a blunt edge to prevent them from dying), and wanders Japan, protecting innocent lives as penance for his past.
Throughout his travels, he encounters a variety of characters, and many powerful swordfighters. Kenshin also struggles to contain the murderer within himself, and repress his natural talent at killing.
Well, good luck with that, Kenshin, but we're here to examine the six best fighters seen in the series, and what makes them so powerful!
Warning: spoilers ahead.
5. Hajime Saito
First, the brutal anti-hero, Hajime Saito, who fights for the harsh justice of "aku soku zan", slay evil immediately. Saito begrudgingly works alongside Kenshin to thwart the efforts of rebels, and the two are acquainted from Kenshin's days as Battosai. S
Saito wields a katana and the techniques of the real-life Shinsengumi. He had a brutal battle with Kenshin in the anime, and both fighters barely walked away alive. This swordsman's signature move is a thrust called the Gotetsu, a quick strike capable of being launched in various ways. Additionally, he's skilled in hand-to-hand combat, easily defeating Kenshin's brawling friend, Sanosuke,
Best part about Saito? He was an actual historical figure with impressive sword skills.
4. Aoshi Shinomori
The reserved Aoshi Shinomori leads a group called the Oniwabanshu, Aoshi excels in defensive swordfighting, moving fluidly across a battlefield with a technique called Kaiten Kenbu. Later, he trains himself to wield two kodachi swords at once, increasing his already formidable offensive potential.
Aoshi has a compassionate heart buried beneath his cold exterior, but can be misled. At the end of the day, he proves a steadfast ally to Kenshin. Impressively, Aoshi is the only of four (the others being Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke) who battled the evil Shishio and wasn't knocked out.
Plus, he once defeated Sanosuke in a single blow. Sano loses many of his fights, granted, but he's always able to endure a long beatdown before falling - except against Aoshi.
3. Makoto Shishio
The diabolical Makoto Shishio replaced Kenshin as an assassin after Kenshin became disillusioned with murdering. Betrayed by his own government, Shishio survived an assassination attempt - but his body was heavily mutilated. This helped influence his beliefs in social Darwinism; only the strong deserve to survive.
Eventually, he crosses blades with Kenshin in a climatic battle. Fans like to dispute who the stronger of the two really is; both are certainly powerful swordsmen. Shishio possesses one of the sharpest minds of any character in the series; once he's seen an attack, he instantly understands its weaknesses and can exploit them.
Shishio's biggest weakness is time - he can only safely battle for fifteen minutes before his body temperature rises to dangerous levels. You gotta give this guy credit - he fought, and mostly defeated, four main characters in a row (though all of them had been previously injured). Still, perhaps there are stronger assassins around..
Kenshin Vs Shishio
This clash is a topic fiercely debated, in my mind, Kenshin emerges victorious.
Both swordsmen possess analytical minds, and it's true Shishio knocked Kenshin out. But that was only because our ginger hero had previously fought two incredibly talented warriors, obtaining injuries in the skirmishes.
Additionally, Shishio 'cheated' multiple times in their battle, like when he cut through his own girlfriend's body to land a sneak attack. Plus, Kenshin landed five hits at one point that would have surely torn Shishio apart had he been wielding a normal blade.
Seriously, you're going to regret that on Valentine's, Shishio.
2. Kenshin Himura
Protagonist Kenshin takes today's silver medal. His small height and thin build make him physically weaker than some characters, but his legendary speed and incredible technique more than compensate.
As the series progresses, Kenshin completes his training of the Hiten Mitsurugi sword style, and masters the ultimate sword technique, an inhumanly quick sword draw. He also learns an attack that strikes nine different spots on an enemy's body at once.
Kenshin wields the reverse-blade sword, designed to spare opponents' lives; if he used a regular weapon, his adversaries would quickly perish. Though his days as a man-slayer are over, the fact that he can still beat talented swordsmen who don't handicap themselves demonstrates his amazing talent with a sword.
Still, I'm afraid you're not quite number one, Kenshin..
Reasons not included
Powerful wielder of the same sword style Kenshin uses.
Not in most of the series, and considered to be a "filler" character.
Relies completely on speed and lacks experience.
Effectively wields a spear and shield despite being blind.
Simply not quite skilled enough.
Ruthless swordsman who can magically paralyze opponents.
Strong-spirited foes can break his magic spell.
1. Hiko Seijuro XIII
First place has to go to Kenshin's teacher, the thirteenth student of the Hiten Mitsurugi style.
Hiko matches Kenshin in speed and technique, but far surpasses him in physical power. He's is an interesting mentor to our protagonist; he always lends a hand, but is sarcastic and verbally abusive the whole time.
Student and mentor separated in the past when Kenshin wanted to use his skills to end a war; Hiko protested, believing that Hiten Mitsurugi followers should be free from ideologies or loyalties. Despite their previous disagreement, Kenshin readily admits Hiko's skills are "undoubtedly the best".
In fact, the creator of the show had trouble incorporating Hiko into the plot, stating that Hiko is strong enough to solve Kenshin's problems easily. He isn't bloodthirsty, but unlike his disciple, he's willing to kill when necessary, adding an extra deadly edge to the character.
Lazy, antisocial, and blunt, Hiko appears rough around the edges, but wields the most lethal blade of all.
Which fighter do you prefer?
Kenshin's adventures are a few decades old by now, but there's still a lot of fun to be had with them. If you're looking for an anime with both silliness and drama, realism and fantasy, give Roruni Kenshin a try. The English dub of the show is surprisingly good, too.
I'll see you at our next countdown, and remember, despite what anime teaches you, stabbing your girlfriend through the heart will not make her love you.