[Top 10] Rurouni Kenshin Best Swordsman

Rurouni Kenshin Best Swordsman
The proper way of asking for a favor despite screwing up so bad is to be on your knees and beg.

Who wields the sword to its best potential in the series?

Rurouni Kenshin tells the tale of a wandering samurai and his journey to redemption during the supposed peaceful times of the Meji era, directly after the revolution. Naturally, this change has caused samurais and other fighters alike, lost and without means to make money. Kenshin faces several of these fighters who are after their glory days during the height of the revolution.

Coming across several fighters throughout the series, there are quite a number of them that stand out more than the others. Of course, a lot of these people are swordsmen like Kenshin himself. Here are what I believe are 10 of the strongest swordsmen in the series.

10.  Yahiko Myojin

Yahiko vs Kenji Scene (OVA

The youngest member of Kenshin’s band of allies, Yahiko is the only son of a low-ranking samurai family but was orphaned at a young age. After getting rescued by Kenshin, he now is under the care of the Kamiya dojo and is an apprentice to Kaoru Kamiya.

Okay, while a lot of people may not agree with putting Yahiko in here, at least hear me out first. While he doesn’t get the chance to prove he is a great swordsman in the anime, in the manga he earns the title of “The Catcher of a Thousand Blades” at the age of 15 and is said to already have mastered the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu at this point of his career. We also should have seen this coming; he did manage to pull off some techniques from the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu in the anime by just watching Kenshin.

9. Sanosuke Sagara

Sanosuke Using His Zanbato Scene

A part of Kenshin’s main group of friends and a former member of the disgraced Sekiho Army. After his fight with Kenshin he ends his days as a fight merchant and now spends most of his time at the Kamiya Dojo. He serves as one of Kenshin’s trusted friends and his “right arm” in battle.

While most of us are familiar with Sano using his fists to fight, some of us may remember that he was first introduced as a fight merchant wielding a sword called the zanbato. I think carrying around a huge sword and being able to fight efficiently with it is reason enough he should be placed here. If Kenshin didn’t break his sword it could have been possible we’d see more of what Sano could do with the zanbato.

8. Cho Sawagejo

Cho Vs Kenshin Scene

Nicknamed “Cho the Sword Hunter”, he was formerly a member of Shishio’s Juppongatana but after his master’s defeat, he turned over a new leaf and joined the police. While Sanosuke calls him the weakest of the Juppongatana, Hoji mentions that Cho is actually one of the few members who has a fighting chance to survive if Kenshin were to fight as the Battousai. While he is slower than Kenshin, he makes up for his weaknesses with his maneuverability with his blades and circus-like tricks during battle.

7. Aoshi Shinomori

Aoshi Vs Kenshin Scene

The leader of the Oniwabanshu onmitsu. He starts off obsessed with the desire of being the strongest and defeating Kenshin was one of his goals when he was introduced. His obsession is actually fueled with his need to bring honor to his late comrades. After his second loss to Kenshin he realizes his action has dishonored his men as they would have never wanted him to join Shishio. After soul-searching he has now joined Kenshin as a trusted ally.

Aoshi uses a kodachi, a short sword which he uses for his defense and Kenpo for offense. His kodachi is only used as an attack blade during special exemptions such as when delivering his ultimate technique. Aoshi doesn’t just rely on his blades. He is known for his speed, strength, and his strange mix of armed and hand-to-hand attacks gives him a good edge over most opponents.

6.  Sojiro Seta

Kenshin vs Sojiro Scene (New Kyoto Arc Ver.)

Is the right-hand man of Shishio and the fastest and most-skilled member of the Juppongatana. He is a strong believer of the philosophy of “the survival of the fittest” and is usually seen smiling as a means to hide his emotions.

Sojiro has proven to be one of the more difficult opponents Kenshin had to face, someone who could actually rival his speed in combat. While his speed is one thing to note, the true genius of his fighting style is  how he hides his emotions. Once his resolve started to break during his fight with Kenshin, it was a down-hill battle from there. If he managed to keep his composure during battle, we may have had a different outcome.

5. Enishi Yukishiro

Enishi Vs Kenshin Scene (OVA)

The main antagonist of the Jinchu Arc. He is the younger brother of Kenshin’s past lover, Tomoe. He firmly believes that the death of his sister is the fault of Kenshin and has spent most of his life training in order to get revenge. 

We didn’t get a chance to see his arc animated back in the day, just a condensed version of his arc in an OVA. Einishi is a skilled swordsman using a style called Watojutsu which he learned on his own. The style focuses on speed and slashing attacks paired with the flexibility of the Chinese sword art using the Wato. He hardly defends and puts most of his effort in attacks alone. The dichotomy between him and Kenshin is often compared to the tiger and dragon. Wherein the tiger concentrates on attacking while the dragon puts emphasis on speed and agility.

4. Saito Hajime

Saito Vs Shishio Scene

Former captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi and currently a special agent for the Meji Government’s Department of Internal Affairs. Apparently, during the revolution period, he and Kenshin had a long-standing rivalry. Despite coming off as an antagonist due to his personality and looks, he is actually one of Kenshin’s strongest allies.

He is said to be on par with Kenshin as the two often met on the battlefield but their fights always end inconclusively. He is well trained using the Shinsengumi-Kenjutsu combined with his own swordsmanship style. He is also one of the few fighters who is ambidextrous, confusing his opponent on which hand will be used to deliver a strike. 

3. Shishio Makoto

Shishio Vs Kenshin Scene (New Kyoto Arc Ver.)

The main antagonist in the Kyoto arc. He was known as one of the possible successors of the Battousai during the revolution. However, some of his comrades attempted to assassinate him but failed. He had since spent his days amassing powering and developing an anti-government militia.

His title as the successor of the Hitokiri Battousai is no joke. Kenshin is shown to struggle with Shishio—as the latter is able to dodge, counter and block most of Kneshin’s attack. He can also take hit after hit even managing  to take Sano’s and even Kenshin’s combo of attacks. He executes techniques called The Three Swords Secret which makes use of igniting his blade to deliver certain types of blows.  If not for his Extreme Hyperthermia, Kenshin might have had to break his oath in order to take Shishio down.

2.  Kenshin Himura

Kenshin Learns the Final Attack Scene

Is the main character of the series, prior to the start of the anime he spent 10 years travelling Japan as a rurouni in search of redemption. He carries a sakabato as his blade, so he will not have to kill anyone if ever he finds the need to fight. He eventually stumbles into Tokyo where he takes residence at the Kamiya Dojo, his vow is constantly tested as old rivals appear and the country needs his swordsmanship skills to keep the peace.

Kenshin makes it easily in this list, perhaps not just as a swordsman but even as a top fighter in the series, the only other human capable of surpassing him would be his master Hiko Seijuro III. He is one of the few masters of swordsmanship in the Meji period to be able to perform modoshigiri, where in a swordsman is able to cut cleanly to the point the halved item can be put back together. He inherited a superhuman sword art style called the Hiten Mitsurigi-ryu which allowed him to become the government’s top assassin during the time of the revolution. In addition, he also learned the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu and mixes it with his own style. The only downside is because of his small frame he cannot perform the Hiten Mitsurigu-ryu to its full potential and he is later unable to use his swordsmanship skills in the manga.

1. Hiko Seijuro XIII

Hiko Vs Fuji Scene

The twelfth successor of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu and the master of Kenshin. He usually plays himself as a potter so as to not attract any attention. Unlike Kenshin, he doesn’t have any qualms about killing his opponent in battle, but he does firmly believe that the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu is meant to protect people. During his fight against Fuji he is shown to wield a reverse blade sword.

Hiko takes the crown as the strongest swordsman in the series, to the point he couldn’t be used as often in the series. Otherwise, Kenshin wouldn’t have had the need to fight as much. Unlike Kenshin, Hiko has mastered the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu to its maximum limit thanks to his muscular frame, allowing Hiko to perform all of its techniques without the side effects. If you followed the OVA Hiko makes a passing thought about the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu stopping with him since it is no longer relevant in the new era.

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