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Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning • Superhero Ethics • Episode 289

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

Matthew, Riki, and Paul dive deep into the prequel film Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning in this episode of the podcast Superhero Ethics. We explore the complex themes of violence, redemption, and the pursuit of peace in a tumultuous era of Japanese history. Join us as we unravel the moral dilemmas faced by Kenshin, a skilled swordsman grappling with his past as an assassin during the Meiji Restoration.

Key Points:

  • Can violence be justified in the pursuit of peace? We examine Kenshin’s internal struggle as he wrestles with the idea of killing to usher in a new era of tranquility.
  • Is Kenshin a true martial artist or simply a highly skilled swordsman? We debate the philosophical differences between fighting styles and the deeper meaning behind the art of the sword.
  • How does the film portray the historical context of the Meiji Restoration, and what implications does this have on our understanding of Kenshin’s journey?

Other Topics Covered:

  • The tragic romance between Kenshin and Tomoe
  • The role of prequel storytelling in enhancing our understanding of beloved characters
  • Comparing and contrasting the film with its anime and manga counterparts
  • The power of non-verbal storytelling and its impact on the viewer’s experience
  • Exploring the cultural differences between Hollywood and Japanese filmmaking


Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning offers a captivating glimpse into the origins of a legendary character, forcing us to confront the moral ambiguity of violence in the name of progress. Through stunning visuals, masterful performances, and thought-provoking themes, this film leaves us with a deeper appreciation for the complexities of Kenshin’s journey and the enduring question of whether peace can truly be achieved through bloodshed. Join Matthew, Riki, and Paul in this unforgettable exploration of Superhero Ethics in Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning.

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.
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