Rurouni Kenshin episode 3: Kaoru's former students cause trouble for Kenshin and Yahiko

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3: Kaoru
Rurouni Kenshin episode 3: Kaoru's former students cause trouble for Kenshin and Yahiko (Image via Liden Films)

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 was released on Friday, July 21, 2023, bringing with it the exciting continuation of the series’ early introductory stages in a continuously engaging manner. While the television anime adaptation of author and illustrator Nobuhiro Watsuki’s manga series is moving faster than most other shonen series of its time, the intro stage is still relatively slow.

That being said, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 does speed viewers through Yahiko Myojin joining Kaoru and Kenshin’s group, seemingly becoming a dedicated member by the episode’s end. Likewise, fans can expect the fourth episode to focus on some new story element, whether related to Yahiko specifically or not.

In any case, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 sees the series continue to impress despite boasting significantly less action than the first two episodes of this 2023 adaptation remake. Hopefully fans will see a return to the battle shonen action Watsuki’s series is known for in next week’s installment and those in the near future and beyond.

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 sees Kaoru and Kenshin’s team grow to include one more member

Episode recap

Kenshin saving Yahiko from the Yakuza (Image via Liden Films)
Kenshin saving Yahiko from the Yakuza (Image via Liden Films)

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 began with the final moments of the previous episode, seeing Yahiko beaten by the riverside for wanting to quit pickpocketing for the Yakuza. Kaoru, walking home from practice, goes over the bridge above the river and sees Yahiko being carried away when looking down below.

Yahiko is then taken to the Yakuza boss’ house, where the boss tries to convince him to see the error of his ways and stick with pickpocketing for the Yakuza. Yahiko rejected this offer once more, leading to his being beaten up by the Yakuza underlings while they insulted Yahiko’s father, a samurai, and his mother, who became a courtesan and died shortly thereafter.

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 saw Yahiko fight back, but just as it was clear he’d become overwhelmed, Kenshin appeared. He asked the boss to let Yahiko go in exchange for not getting into more of a fight, to which the boss agreed after seeing the look in Kenshin’s eyes. After a brief exchange, Kenshin and Yahiko left and returned to Kaoru’s dojo together.

Here, Kenshin introduced Yahiko to Kaoru as a student and master, to which both of them initially objected. As expected, their first day of training was unproductive, with the two calling each other names and refusing to submit to one another. This was interrupted by a flashback to a recent day prior, when over 15 prospective students showed up to Kaoru’s dojo.

However, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 revealed that they came with the expectation of learning Kenshin’s sword style, which he said he wouldn’t be teaching. Returning to the present, Kenshin points out that those students wouldn’t have been dedicated anyway, meaning that Yahiko is Kaoru’s only hope of reviving her dojo and teaching her father’s sword style.

As Kaoru and Yahiko continued bickering, two of Kaoru’s former students arrived, being chased by two men wielding scythes. Kaoru quickly dealt with them, prompting her former students to claim that they ran into a drunken group of men, causing a riot in town. The two held them down to stop them, but their friends arrived and resented them for their actions, leading to their being chased.

On cue, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 saw a massive group of scythe-bearing men in similar clothing appear, called the Hishimanji Guren Gang. After retreating inside the dojo, Kaoru revealed that Kenshin left to go shopping, meaning they couldn’t rely on him here. Yahiko then pointed out that Kaoru’s former students are reeking of booze, accusing the two of them of starting the riot and drunkenly picking a fight.

The two didn’t deny this, instead apologizing to Kaoru. The Hishimanji Guren Gang then began shooting clay cannonballs at the dojo out of a wooden cannon. It was then revealed that Kaoru’s former students used swords and injured someone, prompting Yahiko to lecture them even more for coming back and seeking refuge in the dojo after misusing the lessons they learned.

Yahiko intervening upon Kaoru volunteering to take responsibility for her students (Image via Liden Films)
Yahiko intervening upon Kaoru volunteering to take responsibility for her students (Image via Liden Films)

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 then saw Kaoru offer herself up to the Hishimanji Guren Gang, claiming that she shares responsibility for their swords as well. However, Yahiko intervened, not allowing Kaoru to lump herself and him in with her former students. With perfect timing, Kenshin returned at that moment, fending off the gang and telling Kaoru’s former students to forget they were ever her pupils.

Yahiko then proudly volunteered to become Kaoru’s student, saying they needed to hurry up and clean up the dojo so they could practice. The episode ended with a brief narration of the trio, their titles, and their roles in the dojo, claiming that on that day “a small, new step was definitely taken.”

Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 review

While significantly less action-packed than previous installments, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 is nevertheless engaging and has enough excitement to keep viewers engaged. While certainly lacking in action from a relative standpoint, the third episode makes up for this by advancing the introduction stages of the series fairly rapidly.

Likewise, the episode’s storyline is still fairly engaging thanks to details on both Yahiko’s and Kaoru’s past being revealed. Including a brief appearance from her former students adds to the worldbuilding, emphasizing that not everyone noble enough to devote themselves to a dojo will actually use their lessons in a respectable way.

While a relatively small and subtle detail, it helps to make the world feel fuller and also lends credibility to why Kaoru is the acting master of her dojo in the contemporary series. Combined with its effect on convincing Yahiko to become her student, the episode seemingly wraps up and (for now) shelves the necessary development of these two in a neat and tidy way.

In summation

Overall, Rurouni Kenshin episode 3 is still an engaging and high-quality episode despite lacking the heavy action earlier installments had. The development of both Yahiko and Kaoru is certainly welcome and sets up a promising dynamic between the two of them for the future. With the series’ intro stages seemingly coming to an end, fans are excited to get to the thick of the overarching plot in the coming weeks.

Be sure to keep up with all Rurouni Kenshin anime and manga news, as well as general anime, manga, film, and live-action news as 2023 progresses.