I said things could only get better, and it suits for this one as well. There are villains here that I remember truly loving when they first showed up in the anime. I have a soft spot for the Oniwabanshu, and it doesn't hurt that their leader is fiercely loyal and absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Nobuhiro Watsuki, you really know how to draw. MAJOR kudos on Aoshi. But the thing is that our author-artist all in one is still able to create ways to unfold more of who the characters around him are. They're constantly getting chances where they reveal new aspects of themselves, and we see parts of that in Sanosuke and Yahiko each in this one. Plus, we're introduced to a new character, Megumi, who is really a tragic character but who has her areas of personal weakness like all of our characters. Not a single one of them is perfect, and that's what makes this story so good to read. Every single one of them has a place they come from, something that they're dealing with, and Megumi's story is another person who has lived through the past ten years carrying her own burden.
The new enemies here as well, as I've already mentioned, have their own sense of wholeness. Even though they seemed initially to be some random new punk-ass thugs, it only takes a look at the higher members of the Oniwabanshu to know that there's a lot more going on than just a scuffle of drunken brawlers here. For the first time, men of a different path than the samurai have stepped into this book, and we have ninja now to face.
In addition to all the action going on, our author and creator of Rurouni Kenshin included his pilot of the series in this volume! We actually get to see the 45 page-long concept that he first submitted for approval and critique when he was coming up with the idea for this manga, and although things are slightly different, you can see where Rurouni Kenshin has stuck to its roots, even in the familiar characters that we get to see within it.
Overall, it's a great volume to experience, and it's widening the world around us readers as well. We're no longer just stuck in the dojo. Steadily, this story is spreading its wings, and I know it's going to take us to new heights. Hope to see you for the next one guys! Keep reading. <3