Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal

Samurai X is a series of movies published around the realm of Rurouni Kenshin. Trust and Betrayal specifically shows Kenshin’s life before the events of Rurouni Kenshin, starting when he’s a young child to his service in the Ishin Shishi.

The story begins with a scene of a bunch of women with Kenshin, whose name at the time is Shinta. The group is led by bodyguards, to their new place of service as slaves. Kenshin’s parents died of cholera, and so now he is stuck in the life of a slave along with these women. Along the road, these bodyguards are ambushed by bandits, and every last guard and woman is killed, leaving Kenshin alone to defend himself. A man named Hiko Seijuro appears before Kenshin is killed, slaughtering the entire band of bandits. Hiko leaves, yet dwells on what has transpired, and how it is no different than the many years before. He concludes that he could at least bury the unfortunate women that died. When he returns to the scene, he finds that Kenshin has, himself, buried every last individual including the bandits. When he confronts Kenshin about this Kenshin says that in the end, they were all just people, and so he buried them all. However, Hiko notices that while the general marking for everyone seems to be a pair of sticks shaped like a cross, there are three lone stones in the middle. The stones were for three women he was closest to, even though he had only known them a short time. “Kasumi, Sakura, and Akane.” He wanted special stones for them, but couldn’t find anything better. Hiko said, “It is a shame to leave this world without tasting fine sake,” and pours sake on the three stones. Kenshin thanks Hiko for such. Kenshin’s spirit inspires Hiko, so he asks him for his name. Hiko deems Shinta too soft of a name for a swordsman, and says he’ll be known as Kenshin from then on, and takes him away to teach him the swordstyle of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu.

From this point on, there are many flashbacks. Kenshin is seen in the streets at night, hiding as he watches for a group of men. An older man in the group is an official for the Bakufu, and he is the target, but there is a young man as one of the bodyguards in the group. After verifying the main target’s identity, Kenshin quickly dispatches him, and the two guards, however, his fight with the younger of the two guards ends with a slash mark across Kenshin’s cheek. Reflection on his past is constantly drawn back on, including his training with Hiko. The two have differing ideas on how to use the technique, and because of such, they go seperate ways. Kenshin is introduced to the leader of the Choshu Clan, and undergoes his first killing, where he meets with Iizuka, the one in charge of keeping the assassinations that Kenshin goes off on secret, by disposing of the bodies.

Kenshin sits in a bar, where he drinks sake. A young woman comes in, and proceeds to drink herself drunk, while the other men in the bar watch and ogle her. Kenshin eventually leaves, and is approached in the streets by another secret assassin. He believes him to be with Shinsengumi, but second guesses the assumption. Kenshin dispatches the assassin, but Iizuka is unable to get the body disposed of in time. Tomoe, the woman from the bar, stummbles upon Kenshin just as the killing blow is made. She comments, “You made the rain bleed…” and feints into Kenshin’s arms. He carries her to the inn, and asks for a room to be made for her, and he is chastised about bringing a woman there so abruptly, stating that the inn was not a brothel. Such an accusation angers Kenshin, and when Iizuka brings it up the next day at breakfast, he stamps his sword to the ground, and leaves. Iizuka states “Don’t scare me like that!” The topic of the assassin is brought up in a meeting where Kenshin is also asked to accompany another meeting between the various leaders of the Ishin Shishi, at Ikeda-ya. He declines stating that he’s an assassin, not a politician. On the night of said meeting, Kenshin winds up going to the festival with Tomoe, and is approached in the evening about an attack on Ikeda-ya by the Shinsen Gumi. Kenshin takes Tomoe, and flees the city to a farm town where the leader of Choshu has arranged some provisions for hiding out. Iizuka functions as messenger between the two as they remain in hiding while deciding what to do about the Shinsen Gumi.

In hiding, Kenshin begins to see the kind of life he strives to bring for all people in Japan, which was his reasoning behind abandoning his training, and joining the war to save the people. He quickly learns that what Hiko was trying to tell him however, was true. In joining the war, though for his reasons of ending suffering, he became nothing more then a murderer. He begins to cherish the quiet and comfortable life he portrays with Tomoe, as husband and wife, and eventually, the two fall for eachother truthfully, and consummate such affections. However, Tomoe’s younger brother eventually shows up mysteriously, with the objective of taking Tomoe away back to her family. Iizuka turns out to be the spy within the Choshu Ishin Shishi, and is responsible for all the mishaps in the recent past. Iizuka tries to run off, as Tomoe goes back to her family by her own choice, however, to stop them from carrying out the plans they set in motion with Iizuka. Iizuka tells Kenshin that Tomoe was the spy, and he runs off, but is eventually hunted down by Kenshin’s assassination replacement, Shishio Makoto.

Kenshin wanders off in pursuit of Tomoe, to take her away from the ministrations of war, however, this is what her family had planned all along. Tomoe assumed she had been introduced into his life to find a weakness, when in fact, she was introduced into his life to create a weakness. Along the path, he fights four members of the Yukishiro family, each time winning the fight, but succumbing to some injury that hindered his senses of sight, sound, and strength. Eventually, he faces  Tomoe’s father, and in his weakened state, she fears he’ll die. In the final moments, she runs out and puts herself between her father and Kenshin, and with a dagger, attempts to kill her own father. However, her father stops the dagger, and Kenshin in his hindered state cannot stop in time, slashing with his sword through Tomoe and her father. He drops to his knees, and holds Tomoe in his arms as she dies. Before she dies, she uses her dagger to mark Kenshin’s cheek again, this time turning the single slash mark into the trademark cross-shaped scar. Kenshin would eventually return to the war for the Choshu clan, but instead of being an assassin lurking in the shadows, he went to the forefront of battles, and would eventually earn the name Hitokiri Battousai. He would be feared amongst many of the Bakufu forces, and it would be at this time that he would face Okita Soji and Saito Hajime numerous times. Of course, after the battles ended, and the war was over, Kenshin would put down his regular sword, and go into wandering, vowing to never kill again.


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