If there’s one thing we’ve always loved, it’s stories about samurai and their adventures. If you enjoy incredible sword fights, stories about freedom and democracy, and a great Samurai plot, Rurouni Kenshin or Samurai X is the anime for you.
Set in Japan’s tranquil Meiji period, this anime succeeds in enthralling the journey of an ex-assassin named Himura Kenshin, who seeks to leave his murderous past behind and live a peaceful existence.
How cool it is to have a reversed blade katana just because he has vowed never to kill, warning the villains that if necessary, he could break his vow.
Rurouni Kenshin initially aired as a Japanese anime series comprising three seasons and 95 episodes and an animated film, two OVAs, two specials, and five live-action films.
A tale that includes everything from romance, humor, intricate sword combat, and a backdrop of 18th century Japan, there are plenty of rich characters to fall for in this anime. It is undoubtedly an anime that any otaku should not miss.
With that being said, let me guide you through the release orders and the chronological orders of this fantastic classic and make your experience worthwhile.
1. Release Order
I. TV Series
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Season 1 (episode 1 – 27) (1996)
- Season 2 (episode 28 – 62) (1996 – 97)
- Season 3 (episode 63 – 95) (1997 – 98)
II. Movie (animated)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Motion Picture (1997)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (1999)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (2001 – 02)
- Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc (2011 – 12)
- Rurouni Kenshin Recap (1997)
- Rurouni Kenshin Special (1998)
V. Live-Action Films
- Rurouni Kenshin (2012)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (2014)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (2021)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Begining (2021)
2. Chronological Order (Anime)
Here, I have only considered the anime series, animated movies, and the OVAs.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OVA)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Season 1
- Rurouni Kenshin: Season 2
- Rurouni Kenshin; Season 3
- Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (OVA)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Motion Picture
- Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc
3. Chronological Order (Live-Action)
The chronological order for the live-action movies is given.
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Begining
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Final
For both the animated shows and live-action films, the recommended watch order is the given chronological order for each.
The specials can be skipped as these are the recaps of the episodes of animated tv series.
The OVA, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal itself acts as a standalone and can be shown anytime you want. Keep in mind that the pacing and tone of this OVA vary significantly from the original series, but it is still a fantastic four-episode treat that depicts another side of Kenshin’s tormented life.
The live-action films add another dynamic to the already established franchise, and it has only been significant in continuing the legacy of this classic anime. The live-action movies are a must-watch to complete your Samurai X marathon.
5. Where Can I Watch Rurouni Kenshin with Subtitles or Dubbed?
The original anime series is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, while the live-action films are partly streaming on Netlfix and Funimation.
Let me give you a list of streaming channels providing either subtitle or dubbed or both.
- Rurouni Kenshin (tv series) – Amazon Prime (English Subtitles) and Hulu (Dubbed)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Begining – Netflix (English Subtitles)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Final – Netflix (English Subtitles)
- Rurouni Kenshin – Funimation (English Subtitles)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno – Funimation (English Subtitles)
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends – Funimation (English Subtitles)
6. Can You Download and Watch Rurouni Kenshin Offline?
Amazon Prime Videos, Hulu, Netflix and Funimation, all provide the download option to their subscribers.
Amazon Prime Video and Netflix easily provide you with the download option without any special subscription package. All you need to do is to be a subscriber to their channel.
Funimation also provides the download option but only to the subscriber who has the Premium Plus subscription ($7.99 per month) or the Premium Plus Ultra subscription ($99.99 per year).
Hulu also has a subscription package that provides the download option to their subscribers. You need to have Hulu (No Ads) ($12.99/month) subscription package or the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV ($70.99/month) subscription package.
7. How Much Time Will it Take to Complete Rurouni Kenshin?
It would take you around 58 hours and 11 minutes to complete all the shows of this franchise, that is roughly three days of binge-watching.
The total runtime includes not only animated shows but also live-action films.
Let me give you the run time of each of the shows –
- Rurouni Kenshin (tv series) – 2350 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Motion Picture – 91 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal – 120 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection – 84 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc – 92 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin Recap – 47 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin Special – 25 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin – 135 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno – 138 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends – 134 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Final – 138 minutes
- Rurouni Kenshin: The Begining – 137 minutes
8. About Rurouni Kenshin
It is a Japanese manga series penned and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 1994 to 1999. A TV anime adaptation was also broadcast to 1996 to 1998, and it even has an anime film along with numerous video projects.
The English manga version was published by Viz Media, and the English anime version was released by Media Blasters.
The story revolves around a former assassin who, after going against the feudal government, changed his name to Himura Kenshin and changed into a wandering swordsman who protects the people of Japan. He made a vow to never take another life.