Hot on the heels of Kenshin tearing Jin-e apart like it’s the bad old days, Kenshin’s next battle begins. He must now contend with a beautiful doctor and her troubled past. For some reason, Rurouni Kenshin Episode 8 starts with the ending of Episode 7.
Episode 8 — Beauty on the Run
Rurouni Kenshin: Past and Present — A Running Beauty
Yes. The episode “Beauty on the Run” starts with a beautiful woman running. Well, it should, anyway. That’s how it started back in 1996. Megumi is running through a crowded street. The 2023 iteration begins where the previous episode ended. Jin-e gives exposition with his own sword in his chest. So nice they did it twice. Look. Jin-e was a psycho, but we didn’t need to see him die twice. It’s just not as satisfying the second time around.
Back to our beauty on the run, we see Megumi running away from bad guys, but it’s down a quiet and deserted alleyway. We cut to Kaoru, who is looking for Kenshin and becomes worried that he’s wandered off again. This part doesn’t exist in the 1996 version, where viewers cut right to Sanosuke and Kenshin hanging out with some of Sano’s friends. They’re gambling at a restaurant named Shueiya. Contrary to before, when Megumi ran down a crowded street in 1996 and down a desolate alley in 2023, Shueiya is more crowded in 2023 and almost empty in 1996. The gambling game looks different in both iterations, too. Also, Kenshin got his predictions right in 2023, whereas he got them wrong back in 1996.
In a minor scene, Sanosuke’s friend Yoita is said to have died from an opium overdose. It’s made clear in 1996 that Yoita was tricked into taking opium by someone who told him it was medicine.
Another minor change was how Beshimi’s sengeki rasenbyo worked. In 1996, Kenshin could stop both with a tatami mat. In 2023, they pierced that mat and had to be blocked by Kenshin’s sheathed blade.
Rurouni Kenshin: Past and Present — Hiding at the Kamiya Dojo
Megumi is found carrying opium in her sleeve at the restaurant in 2023. Her connection to opium wasn’t discovered until later in 1996. Another difference between the two iterations, which seems like an odd change, is when Megumi gets to the Kamiya Dojo. In 1996, Kenshin and Sanosuke truthfully explained that Megumi was in danger and needed help. In 2023, Sanosuke claimed that Megumi was their gambling prize. Their opponents couldn’t pay up, so Kenshin and Sanosuke took their girl. This is meant to avoid discussing her involvement with opium. However, Kaoru knows that bad people exist, and merely explaining that she was being chased would have been enough. It worked fine in the prior adaptation.
Kaoru kicks the three out of her dojo, allowing Sanosuke to interrogate her about Kanryu and the opium. This is starkly different from the 1996 adaptation but true to the original manga.
The rest of the episode follows the manga, which the 1996 version deviated from. Sanosuke, Kenshin, and Megumi went to the bridge and joined a crowd as the police found the bodies of two of Kanryu’s men. Aoshi gave Beshimi, Han’nya, and Hyottoko to capture Megumi. Kenshin wrote down a basic outline of Kanryu’s forces. The episode ends with Hyottoko crashing through the wall. The 1996 episode ended after that particular fight played out when Han’nya pulled a downed Beshimi and Hyottoko out of the battle.
Yes, I know Hyottoko has a different color scheme. We’ll discuss that next week.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
Kenshin used his ability to predict the enemy for a game of dice and got it right. It really is a “hidden badass” moment. Later on, Kenshin took some hits from an infuriated Kaoru. He obviously took those hits head-on as part of his crouching moron nature. He also let Megumi snuggle up next to him. I mean, who wouldn’t? She’s a hot doctor and makes moves Kaoru is too shy and proud to make. Kenshin could shake her off in an instant but doesn’t.
Rurouni Kenshin Ep. 9: The Oniwabanshu Strike
The next episode will see Kenshin and Sanosuke take on Hyottoko, and likely Beshimi, if it follows the manga.
We’ll pit Kenshin against the digital swordswoman Asuna for this week’s fantasy fight. The Asuna POP UP PARADE Figure: Aria of a Starless Night Ver. figure from the Sword Art Online section is now available for pre-order.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you miss Megumi’s foxy attitude with Kenshin? Were you excited to see Aoshi appear? Let us know in the comments below.