[RK Rewatch] Episode 2: Kid Samurai - A Big Ordeal and a New Student

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 Laura Fitzgerald

Brief Summary:  It’s been a little too quiet at the dojo lately so Kaoru thinks to liven things up by having Kenshin take her and Dr. Gensei’s family out for a moderately extravagant lunch -extravagant at least to the penniless wanderer!

While out on the town, they run across a young pick-pocket named Yahiko Myojin. Yahiko has been forced into service for the local Yakuza in order to pay back a debt owed to them for medical expenses incurred by his now deceased mother.  Tender-hearted Kaoru pushes her way into the situation hoping to convince Yahiko to leave the syndicate and gets the both of them in-over-their-heads.

My Thoughts: There really is not a lot to say about this episode.  It is quite basically a vehicle to introduce Yahiko’s character.  Funnily enough, I think Kaoru is more interesting in this episode than Yahiko.   In the RK fandom there are two camps: those that HATE Kaoru and those that absolutely love her.  Kid Samurai illustrates many of the major arguments of these opposing sides.  

We definitely see the worst of Kaoru’s bossy nature as she bullies Kenshin into lunch and literally drags him around Tokyo.  She shows no restraint over her temper and acts according to her whims and wants rather than from any mature calculation of the moment.  And predictably in what will become a trend of the show, she winds up in the hot-pot after barging into the Yakuza headquarters and getting tricked into a game that she cannot win.  

But we also see that her spontaneity comes from her enthusiasm to do good in this world and protect those that need protecting.  That her personal safety could be at risk comes as a secondary consideration.  It’s a pretty typical stance for your standard Anime heroine, but I think it is absolutely necessary for Kenshin to have that around him and is what endears her to him. 

What I liked about this episode is that it does show Kaoru as a warrior and not just a damsel in distress even if she does end-up needing a bit of rescuing at the end.  To her credit, she is not a bad swordswoman.  She successfully fends off a group of eight Yakuza before being disarmed by their leader.  She wasn't even doing badly against said leader until he pulled out a concealed sword and shattered her bamboo blade.  Kaoru was not unqualified as a fighter to stand up for Yahiko, but wooden swords cannot stand up to steel and the Meiji Era is not yet a perfect world where her innocence and idealism can survive. 


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