Episode 12 - The masterpiece of Akai Shakku; The man who made the Sakabatou


Shishio returns to his fortress where his army eagerly hails his name. The news of the arrival of the Juppongatana swept through the zealous army.

In the town of Kyoto, Kenshin still remembers the bloodshed that occurred in the streets 10 years old. Times are certainly different here. Misao yells at him to stop daydreaming and turns his head to a restaurant, Aoiya. She cheerfully greets an old man, who was sweeping the leaves off the entrance. He responses enthusiastically and gives a backbreaking hug as punishment for being late. The old man recognizes Kenshin as Hitokiri Battousai even though Kenshin has covered the cross scar on his cheek. He invites him in.

Later, they have a talk. Kenshin has told the old man, Okina (A member of the Oniwabanshi. The restaurant, Aoiya, houses a lot of the oniwabanshi members after the fall of the Tokugawa era) about his meeting with Aoishi. Both feel that it is best that Misao doesn't know about it. Okina believes that Kenshin has come back to Kyoto because of Shishio Makoto. He wants to join Kenshin in his battle. Kenshin protests but Okina laughs it off. Kenshin finally agrees but he has one favour to ask of him. He needs to find 2 men - Arai Shakku and Hiko Seijirou.

The next day, Kenshin receives word that Arai Shakku has died. He was one of the greatest sword makers in Japan. Misao then understands that Kenshin needs to make a new sword as soon as possible. But Arai Shakku is dead. Fortunately, he has a son named Arai Seikuu. Due to the ban of making swords in the Meiji Era, Seikuu has to craft kitchen utensils to support his family. At the store, Kenshin, Misao and Okina area greeted by Arai Seikuu's little son, Iori. Kenshin decides to experiment on one of the kitchen knives. He takes out a huge turnip and slices it in half. Then, he presses the half pieces together, joining them into the previous form. Okina is amazed. The veins of the turnip are so finely cut and the damages are so negligible that they can be joined together. This skill will included not only a master swordsman but the craftsmanship of the sword as well.

Arai Seikuu turns down Kenshin's proposal. His father's weapons are made for destruction despite his father's words that his sword will make a new era. They are living in a peaceful era so they don't have to make swords. Kenshin politely thanks him and left. Arai Seikuu's wife feels that Kenshin badly needs a sword. Why don't he give him the last sword that Arai Shakku made? Unknown to the couple, they are being spied on by Shishio's men.

Misao nags at Kenshin for being so nice to Arai Seikuu. Kenshin tells her that they have to respect his wishes. Okina agrees with him. Even if they force him, the quality of the sword will not be excellent as the former. Shouldn't Misao know that? Immediately, Misao & Okina fall into a 'friendly' fight. Kenshin hopes that he has made the right decision. He doesn't want to involve innocent lives in this mess.

Back to the Shishio's fortress, one of the Juppongatana, Katanagari Cho has arrived. Shishio and him get caught up talking about swords. Shishio's right hand man, Hoji, informs them that Kenshin is spotted near a blacksmith's store. The owner is Arai Shakku's son Arai Seikuu. Shishio knows that Kenshin is trying to get a replacement for his broken Sakabatou. Hoji also says that there is another sword, which is rumoured to be the last sword of Arai Shakku. Cho is aroused and decides to pay them a visit.

At Arai Seikuu's store, Cho threatens the Arai family to tell him where the last sword is hidden. It is at a shrine, which is dedicated to the late Arai Shakuu. Cho leaves, taking Iori as a hostage. Arai Seikuu fears that once he has the sword, Iori will be killed. Misao arrives at the scene, hoping to talk sense into Seikuu. She finds the weeping couple. Instantly, she sends out a messenger pigeon.

The pigeon flies to Aoiya where Okina reads the message. Within seconds, Kenshin rushes off to the shrine.

Cho walks up the long staircase and sees Kenshin. He demands to him to reveal his identity. Kenshin shows him the crossed scar on his cheek. Red hair, the crossed scar. Who else can be than Hitokiri Battousai himself?


Screen caps

The Oniwabanshi


Arai Seikuu