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  • Rurouni Kenshin episode 23: Saito arrives at Kamiya Dojo to challenge Kenshin and the puppeteer behind the scenes reveals himself
Kenshin as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)

Rurouni Kenshin episode 23: Saito arrives at Kamiya Dojo to challenge Kenshin and the puppeteer behind the scenes reveals himself

Rurouni Kenshin episode 23, titled The Wolf's Fangs, was released on Friday, December 8, 2023. This episode was packed with suspense and high-octane action as Kenshin confronted a familiar adversary, Saito Hajime. The intense but evenly matched confrontation between the two was a sight to behold and kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

In the previous episode, viewers had witnessed the dramatic return of Saito Hajime, who first launched an attack on Kenshin’s friend, followed by a shrewd trap set specifically for Kenshin.

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But the battle between the two in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 also brought out something negative in Kenshin that he had suppressed and kept hidden deep within himself.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers.


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Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 shows Kenshin’s Hitokiri Battosai persona return

Kaoru gets a visitor

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Kaoru as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)

In Rurouni Kenshin episode 23, Kaoru discovered Kenshin was out on an errand, which she found odd. Yahiko speculated that Kenshin might be with a woman, but was scolded for his inappropriate thoughts.

Saito arrived at the dojo in search of Kenshin and introduced himself as Fujita. Upon learning that Fujita was sent by the police chief, Kaoru was relieved. Saito revealed that the police had information about a threat to Kenshin and decided to wait for his return.

Later, Kaoru expressed to Megumi her suspicion that the same people who targeted Sanosuke were after Kenshin. Megumi advised her to be cautious, stating that the attacker seemed to be indiscriminate. Meanwhile, Yahiko observed Saito carrying a katana and was surprised, as he thought the police only used sabers. Saito explained that he found sabers to be brittle and unreliable and had special permission to use a katana.

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Akamatsu vs Kenshin

Akamatsu as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)
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Elsewhere, in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23, Akamatsu was satisfied, as he assumed Kenshin was nearly dead and confessed to being an assassin like Saito and Jine, hired by politicians.

Akamatsu speculated that a VIP, aware of Kenshin from the Kurogasa case, feared their misdeeds from the Bakumatsu Era being exposed and ordered his assassination. Now that Kenshin had enough information, he got back on his feet and swiftly took down the assassin.


Saito confronts Kenshin

Saito as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)
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In Rurouni Kenshin episode 23, Kenshin returned home to find Saito, whom he had not encountered in nearly ten years since their battle at Toba-Fushimi. Saito, once the Captain of the Shinsegumi's Third Unit, had taken on the name Goro Fujita.

Kenshin remembered Saito as a shrewd yet honorable opponent. However, he had now started using deceitful tactics, like hurting Sanosuke and deploying Akamatsu. Saito laughed off Kenshin's accusations and suggested that Kenshin's struggle against Akamatsu reflected his own weakness.

Kenshin believed in his strength as a rurouni and not needing to rely on his hitokiri powers. But Saito countered him by pointing out his repeated failures to protect his friends. Saito reminded him of their shared belief from their Shinsengumi and hitokiri days that evil must be swiftly eliminated. Yet Kenshin maintained his stance that he would not be taking any more lives.


The battle begins

Kenshin vs Saito as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)
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Since Saito challenged Kenshin, the latter allowed him to strike first. Saito accepted and lunged at Kenshin, but Kenshin easily evaded him. Even while Yahiko was celebrating Kenshin's strength, he was stabbed by Saito’s anti-air Gatotsu. Kaoru attempted to protect Kenshin from Saito, but Kenshin asked her to move away.

Saito believed that Kenshin had matured in the decade they had been apart since, despite battling numerous foes in a short span and being wounded by him, he was able to stand back up. It indicated that he was unknowingly reverting to his Hitokiri Battosai persona.

Kenshin charged at him faster this time and abruptly altered his course to attack him from below. Saito managed to dodge the attack and wanted to confirm his hypothesis about Kenshin. So, he decided to go all out and attacked Kenshin with Genuine Gatotsu. As anticipated, Kenshin dodged the attack, and unlike before, when he was hit by the follow-up sweeping attack, Kenshin evaded the second attack as well. Thereafter, he hit Saito on the back of his head with his sword.

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Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 showed that Kenshin was prepared to kill Saito. As their swords clashed, Kaoru felt that she needed to intervene before the Kenshin she knew was lost forever. At that moment, Saito’s katana broke.

Sanosuke arrived at the scene and explained to Kaoru that there was no stopping Kenshin, as he was not aware that he was in the Meiji Era but was mentally in the Bakumatsu Era. The only one who could stop them was someone who had experienced the turmoil of the Bakumatsu Era, the few who had experienced chaotic Kyoto.


The battle is interrupted

Toshimichi Okubo as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)
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In Rurouni Kenshin episode 23, a man in a speeding carriage asked Kawaji how long Saito had been at the Kamiya Dojo. Kawaji responded that it had been over four hours, leading the man to worry that they might be too late.

Back at the dojo, Saito, adhering to the samurai code, refused to retreat. He valued his honor over his life and attacked Kenshin again.

They both lost their swords, and hand-to-hand combat ensued. Saito landed a series of punches on Kenshin's abdomen and attempted to break his neck with his coat, but Kenshin managed to free himself by striking Saito's head. Both of them were exhausted, and Sanosuke predicted that the next hit would be decisive.

Kaoru tried to intervene, but was unsuccessful. Kawaji, who had just arrived, also attempted to stop the fight by reminding Saito that his mission was to assess Battosai's strength. However, Saito ignored him.

Finally, the other man from the carriage, Toshimichi Okubo, a former Revolutionary warrior from Satsuma and the current Home Minister of the Meiji government, intervened. He said he would not let either Saito or Kenshin die needlessly in such a place. But Kenshin recognized him to be the mastermind behind the attacks.

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Rurouni Kenshin episode 22 recap

Megumi and Sanosuke as seen in Rurouni Kenshin episode 23 (Image via LIDEN FILMS)
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The previous episode kicked off with a dream sequence where Kenshin was engaged in a battle with Saito. Although it was not real, the confrontation left him feeling uneasy even after he woke up. In an unexpected twist, Saito appeared in reality disguised as a peddler of medicines and gravely wounded Kenshin’s friend, Sanosuke, who was then nursed by Megumi.

It was then revealed that Saito was now operating under the pseudonym Fujita Goro, and was serving as a police officer for the government. He was also identified as the one who had sent Jine to fight with Kenshin. In addition to this, Saito also sent Akamatsu after Kenshin while he made his way to the Kamiya Dojo.

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Edited by
Babylona Bora
 
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