Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning is the fifth and final installment in the Rurouni Kenshin film series. The live-action film is directed by Keishi Ōtomo and is based on a manga series of the same name. The samurai narrative centers around frightful warrior Himura Kenshin, also called Hitokiri Battosai or Battosai the killer.
In the fifth and final installment, director Keishi explores the past life of Himura before he turned into a peaceful protector. The film follows his love life with Tomoe and his pledge to protect the revolution until the new age arrives. For many viewers who have already seen “Rurouni Kenshin: The Final,” watching The Beginning can become a tiring and yawning task. Yet for fans, here it is.
Set in 1864 Japan, the plot quickly establishes the opposing fractions. With Japan open to foreign trade, some rebels seek to end the Shogun’s rule and restore the emperor’s authority in the land. An eccentric, Himura Kenshin becomes the face of the revolutions and pledges to upend the Tokugawa shogunate.
In the opening scene, Himura slew pro-shogun Tsushima. An official investigates the slaughter scene and declares it a rebellious act of cold-blooded, emotionless killing machine, Battosai the killer (Himura’s other name).
On April 5th in Tokyo, Himura slaughters a group of official inspectors where the will of one peculiar samurai, Lord Kiyosata, sows a seed of doubt and emotion in Himura’s consciousness. Himura is called upon by Choshu clan leader, Katsura Kogoro, who warns him of a special Shinsengumi police force called “wolves of Mibu.” It has been formed to curb the rebellion and kill their biggest threat Battosai.
While hiding under the command of Katsura in Kyoto, Himura meets a beautiful and ferocious woman, Yukishiro Tomoe. As the two befriend each other and share their life’s philosophy, the Choshu hideout is attacked by Shinsengumi forces during the Ikedaya incident.
Katsura commands Himura and Tomoe to live in hiding as a couple in the village of Otsu. The two soon start sharing a life, and the arrival of a woman melts Himura’s anger. Tomoe becomes his weakness. But there is more about Tomoe’s identity that meets the eye.
‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning’ Ending Explained
Katsura suspected a spy inside the Choshu clan, but they failed to dig out their identity. A fellow clan member, Iizuka, visited Himura and Tomoe at their village hut. In Tomoe’s absence, Iizuka revealed to Himura that the suspected spy was Tomoe. He asked Himura to read Tomoe’s secret diary to clear his doubts.
Through her diary, Himura discovered that Tomoe was engaged to her childhood friend, Lord Kiyosata. He visited Kyoto for Tomoe’s happiness but was mercilessly killed by a warrior, Battosai, aka Himura. From that day, Tomoe had been burning with a vengeance. She started working for Battosai’s nemesis, Yambinobu as a spy and swore to kill Battosai. However, later she fell in love with Himura and couldn’t execute the task.
Yambinobu planned a discreet attack in the wilderness to put Himura to the sword. Himura tried to fight against the enemy, but Tomoe’s betrayal crushed his warrior’s soul. Tomoe understood that Yambinobu had been using her all along to fuel his vile plans. Thus, in the climax combat, she sacrificed herself to save Himura. In her diary, she had already started the reason for her sacrifice. She inscribed, “I am sure he will preserve many more than he has killed. I must not let him die now. I will preserve him though it means my life.”
Tomoe’s ultimate sacrifice was not only to save Himura but future Japan had under his revolution. She died for the love of her life and her country.
In the end, Himura revealed to Katsura that he would wield his sword and keep on killing until the new age comes. Being true to his words, during the Battle of Toba–Fushimi (1868, Kyoto), when Choshu seized Shoguns, Himura abandoned his precious sword and walked away. From being a killer, Battosai, Himura now embarked on a journey to become a protector of the new Meiji era.
Upcoming Events leading to ‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Final’
In Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, Himura will be attacked by Tomoe’s younger brother Yukishiro Enishi. He arrives in Asakusa, Tokyo, to avenge his sister, but Himura refuses to pick up the blade again.
However, the exciting turn of events will lead to a final battle between Enishi and Himura. Both the characters will find their respective closures.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning is a 2021 Period Samurai Film directed by Keishi Ōtomo. It is the fifth and final installment in the Rurouni Kenshin film series.