Episode 1 - Slashed man†
Under the full moon, a cloaked man is drinking sake by the river while a group of travelers walking along a pathway. A little red-haired boy is holding his top on one hand and the other holding a woman's hand. He smiled up to her. Then, out of nowhere, a group of bandits attack the travelers who are unable to defend themselves. One by one, the ground is covered with dead corpses and blood. The little red-haired boy tries to fight them back with a sword that is too heavy for him to carry. 3 women held him back and try to protect them. 2 of them pled with the bandits to spare the boy's life but are brutally slashed to death.
The third woman tells the boy that he must survive this and live. Live and find a path. The bandit grabbed her head and stabs her through the neck. She dies. The boy stared at the dead bodies, stunned. The bandits are about to kill him when they heard a commotion. The cloaked man (the same man who drank sake) kills the bandits with lightening speed. He tells the boy to seek shelter in the next village since the dead can never return. He walks away.
Later, the cloaked man reflects on his usage of the Hiten Mitsurugi before deciding to bury the bodies of the travelers. He walked to the field and is shocked to find it covered with wooden crosses. In the middle of field, he sees the red haired boy standing in front of 3 stones. The red boy tells the cloaked man that he had also buried the bandits. He further explains that the 3 stones represent his 3 guardians (Kasumi-san, Akane-san, and Sakura-san ) who took him in after the death of his parents. To honour them, he had found the largest stones to mark their graves but wishes to find flowers for them. The cloaked man poured sake onto the graves. They have gone to a better place. The cloaked man introduces himself as Hiko Seijirou and asks for the boy's name - Shinta. Hiko comments that the name is too gentle for someone who is going to live a hard life. He will name him as Kenshin and he will make him a swordsman.
In the year 1864, a group of people is walking through the streets of Kyoto. An elder congratulates one of them as he is getting married next month. The young man thanks him but comments that it isnít the time for happiness when the country is in turmoil. Kenshin (known as Hitokiri Battousai) appears from the shadows and attack the group, killing them one by one (a bloody scene, I warn you!). The young man fights back but is no match for Kenshin. However, he does manage to slash his cheek, causing a permanent scar. Before the young man dies, he reaches out his hand to some plum blossom flowers that are lying on the ground. Later, Mitsuka (a friend of Kenshin's) appears at the scene and is surprised to see a wound on Kenshin's face.
Kenshin leaves the scene and goes to a well to wash himself. He remembers his training with Hiko Seijirou. The desire in Kenshin's eyes to become stronger impressed Hiko.
Back to the present, Kenshin's boss, Katsuran (part of the organization - Ishin Shishi) invites him to a meeting but Kenshin politely rejects and leaves. Katsuran's right hand man, Kabun is displeased with conduct but Katsuran quietly feeds the fishes in the pond. He recalls meeting him at his friend, Takashuki's training ground. Even though Kenshin is the youngest among the potential fighters, he has displayed such excellent swordplay, catching Katsuran's attention.
Night comes and Kenshin has assassinated another person. As the blood flows, he recalls his dispute with Hiko Seijirou. Kenshin wanted to help people in these troubled times but Hiko Seijirou insisted that he completed his training before involving in such affairs. However, isn't the Hiten Mitsuguri supposed to help people in need? If Kenshin thinks it this way, then he is a fool (baka deshi!). A sword is a tool for murder. Learning how to use a sword is learning how to kill. To save people is to kill people. Wasn't it true when he killed the bandits while saving Kenshin? If Kenshin chooses to leave, he'll meet people who will claim that their cause is righteous and they'll ask him to kill in order to pave the way for a new era. Kenshin is too naÔve! However, if he chooses to leave, it's fine with Hiko Seijirou. Kenshin bows and thanks him before leaving.
Mistsuka arrives at the murder scene (apparently, he is supposed to clean up the mess or something) and tells Kenshin that his face is bleeding again.
The next day, Kenshin is walking along the streets when he senses something and hides himself into the crowd. A group of Shinsen men (they opposed the Ishi Shishi) walks by, causing the crowd to pave a way for them to pass. (Saitou Hajime is among them!) Mitsuka comes along and passes Kenshin a message. Then, he comments about the smell of plum blossoms and points out to a woman in white kimono with a purple shawl.
At a restaurant, Kenshin is drinking sake and having memories of Hiko Seijirou telling him about the best times and places to drink sake. He then leaves and set out for another assassination. Mitsuka appears later and comments on his swiftness and letting the opponent having a chance to defend himself. Once again, he tells Kenshin that his face is bleeding. At Katsuran's place, Kenshin is washing his hands while Mistuska tells him about the meeting that Kastsuran mentioned earlier.
Kenshin remembers when Katsuran asks him to kill in order to build a new era. After his first kill, Kenshin stares up at the sky and meets Mitsuka for the first time. He warns Kenshin not to leave evidences behind. Otherwise, the dead man's accomplices might trace him. Later, Kenshin is seen looking out of the window, holding a top. Katsuran comments on Kenshin's capabilities but his heart is still the same as the first day they met.
At a restaurant, a woman is white kimono is drinking sake. It starts to rain and Kenshin is being attacked. During the fight, the woman leaves the restaurant and happens to be walking in that area. Kenshin kills the attacker by slicing him in half. He looks up and sees the woman. The blood that had spattered during the kill stains her clothes and face. The woman whispers that the rain has become red. The shocked Kenshin drops his sword.