Episode 16 - Between Life & Death. The Ama Kakeru Ryuu No Hirameki


Hiko Seijirou is really beating the crap out of Kenshin. While Kenshin is knocked out, Hiko Seijirou recalls the first time they met. A group of travelers were brutally murdered by bandits. A red-haired boy stares at the bodies of 3 women. One of the bandits was about to kill him when Hiko Seijirou appears. (With a very cool line: It doesn't really matter because you will be dead.) He advised the boy to seek shelter at the nearest village.

Hiko Seijirou sits on a fallen tree branch, drinking his sake and asks when does Kenshin intend to get up. Kenshin feebly gives a moan. It's doesn't matter. He then recalls a funny incident that Kenshin ate some laughing mushrooms and really died of laughter. (It woke Kenshin all right.) Kenshin goes on saying that Hiko is rude, impatient and unsociable... What does he expect of him? What does he know how a master feels when his baka deshi left after spending some years of training on him? In this next fight, if Kenshin doesn't hit him, he will not teach him the hidden technique. Kenshin leaps high up and strikes.

Kenshin remembers witnessing the butchering of the travelers including his guardians. The blood. Their screams and their pleads to the bandits.

He awakens and finds out that he has lost conscious because he didn't land properly. The good news is that he has hit him. Hiko Seijirou proceeds to teach him the hidden technique. He reviews the basic steps of Kendo, basically the 9 vital parts of the human body. With the Hiten Mitsuguri, one can combine the 9 basic steps into one. He demonstrates, stunning Kenshin. This move, which is his favourite, is called Ku Ryu Sen (the 9-dragon head thrust). This is Kenshin's turn now. But where does he start? Hiko sighs. How does Kenshin improve his skills? Kenshin ponders. Come to think of it, how did he survive the Hiten Mitsuguri training? (Hiko comes in, sitting on a cloud - actually he was very lenient with him).

Kenshin closes his eyes and concentrate, piecing the movement bit by bit. Both men strike. Kenshin collapses. Did he do it correctly? Yes but there are 2 disadvantages that he has - he lacks strength and body weight. How does the Ku Ryu Sen affects the opponent depends on the user. In other words, Kenshin's Ku Ryu Sen will have no affect. Kenshin knows that he doesn't have time to build up strength and body weight. However, Hiko has another technique - Ama Kakeru Ryuu No Hirameki (what a mouthful). This technique lies within the Ku Ryu Sen. Kenshin has to figure that one out himself. It starts to rain, Kenshin decides not to proceed. Hiko could see the confusion in him and gives him till dawn to clear his thoughts. It's either do or die.

In a village, Hiko Seijirou asked if there was a boy who came here. Nope, nobody had come after the butchering. He thanked the villager and walked away. Maybe he should take him in. He stopped at a field and is shocked to find it covered with crosses. The red-haired boy standing in front of 3 stone graves. He had buried everyone including the bandits that Hiko Seijirou had killed. The 3 stone graves represented his 3 female guardians - Kasumi-san, Akane-san, and Sakura-san - who had took him in after the deaths of his parents. Hiko Seijirou poured his sake on them to honour them. They had gone to a better place. He asked the boy for his name - Shinta Himura. That name is unsuitable for someone who will lead a hard life. Hiko Seijirou gave him a new name - Kenshin Himura. He will make him a swordsman.

At the Kamiya dojo, Megumi prays for Kenshin's return. At Aoiya, Kaoru prays for the same. Meanwhile, Saitou arrives at the Kyoto police headquarters. He is brought to the prison cell where Katagari Cho is kept. Walking past some cells, he stops and looks. Inside is Sanosuke, chewing on a fishbone.

At dawn, Kenshin confess that he still hasn't figure out the inner conflicts in him. Hiko is slightly surprised at Kenshin's honesty. Well, at least, he knows it now than when he's fighting with Shishio. Hiko removes his cloak, urging Kenshin to start. Kenshin steps back, is he afraid? Afraid to die? Actually, he is hoping to die after the Tokugawa era. Or is he afraid to kill Hiko? Hiko charges.

A flashback occurs in Kenshin's mind. Though he tried to protect them from the bandits, he was too young and weak to do so. One of his guardians told him that he has to survive this and live. He has to choose his own destiny. He has to live. Kenshin strikes. A moment of stillness. Hiko softly tells Kenshin that he must live. No matter how many lives that he had taken, he must continue living. Though he struggles with his inner self, he must fight for those who care for him. Kenshin mustn't worry about him. It is the path that the teacher must take. However, this doesn't violate Kenshin's oath not to kill.

Hiko collapses. A deep and long scar appears on his chest


Screen caps

Kenshin and Hiko again

Hiko Seijurou