Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 1 - Nobuhiro Watsuki
I've been a fan of the Rurouni Kenshin anime since I first saw it countless years ago on Toonami, on Cartoon Network. Back then, still a kid, barely a teenager, I fell in love with the man known as Himura Kenshin. He was a man that would forever change my life and continue to influence the type of people I admired in this world. Being able to come back now, and humbly read this comedic, playful, serious, gentle, badass, kickass, threatening, beautiful, engaging story is like coming up close and personal with a superstar that you always loved and admired from a distance, and are now able to meet face to face for the first time and speak with.

Reading just the first manga doesn't take anything away from the characters. If anything, it has only served to make each of them more personal, and open up more of who they are to me.

If you have never read this manga, I advise you to give it a chance, no matter whether you're into time period pieces, into samurai and the Japanese setting so common in manga and anime, or whether you've ever experienced a manga at all. This is one that has comedy, tragedy, romance, badassery, and more. You have an entire map of emotions and experiences you'll get to enjoy--

--and it all starts with a wandering, former samurai and assassin named Kenshin.

He's based off of a real man who fought to bring revolution, and in this story, he ceased fighting for an unknown reason, before reappearing nearly a decade later, after his name had become legend, only to step into the lives of average people trying to find their way in this era stuck between the way of the samurai and the new government that is continuously being abused by men with power and cunning, able to use the confusion to their advantage. He is kind and seemingly ridiculous at first sight, but when trouble truly arises and he cannot but unsheath his blade to fight-- he becomes an incredible force. A man who can knock down many opponents with the Hiten Mitsurugi Style, without killing a single one. He is a living contradiction, and though he wanders without intending to root himself to a single spot, he fights for those who need his aid. And in the process, they learn from him-- a girl of 17, a young boy of 10, and soon more to come. He faces each challenge with calmness and control, and does what he must to put others in their place when they threaten innocents with their abused power.

It's a story of redemption and respect, with mirth and joy mixed in to make it an enjoyable blend for anyone. It's a story anyone should give a try. The very first volume will show you what type of characters these people are, will reveal to you who they are, even if you do not know all of their story yet. It's a series that is incredibly honest with you, and makes no attempts at hoodwinking, but rather calls out the jerks and bad guys for what they do. It's one of the most open and forward series you'll ever come across, and it's well worth the read.

100% give this one your attention. You won't regret it.