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Rurouni Kenshin takes place in year 1878, ten years into Japan's Meiji Era. It is a story about a wandering swordsman named Himura Kenshin and his many adventures. There are three major arcs in the Rurouni Kenshin series: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Revenge, as dubbed by fans. (Note: The following contains spoilers.)

Tokyo Arc
A rurouni wanders through Tokyo, beginning the series. The Tokyo Arc is basically you're introduction arc. The main characters, Kenshin, Kaoru, Yahiko, and Sanosuke are met, and the more important of the side characters, Megumi and Aoshi, are also introduced. There always seems to be a villain after Kenshin, wanting to defeat him because he was the legendary Hitokiri Battousai. Prime examples are Zanza, Aoshi, Jin'e, and Raijuuta. Not only does Kenshin prove to his friends that he is an expert swordsman, but Yahiko proves that he is no ordinary ten-year old. There is a side story that involves Yahiko defeating a yakuza-like group in order to help his soon-to-be girlfriend Tsubame. Sanosuke's past is also discovered further through the side story with Katsuhiro and the revival of the Seikihou Tai.

Kyoto Arc
Kenshin is encountered by an old enemy from the Bakumatsu, the surviving Miburo, Saitou Hajime. Saitou lures Kenshin into a fight, which was just to see if Kenshin could take on Shishio Makoto. Shishio, Battousai's replacement after Kenshin had left the duty of being a shadow assassin, wanted to bring the downfall of the Meiji Government. The government had burnt Shishio because they were afraid he'd expose their dirty secrets. Toshimichi Okubo pleads that Kenshin assist them. Once Okubo is assassinated by Soujirou, there is not much of a choice left. Kenshin begins wandering again with his destination being Kyoto.

Everyone follows Kenshin, even though he had left only because he could not fight to his full extent when he has to worry about others, especially ones close to him. Kaoru and Yahiko head off separately from Sanosuke. On his way to Kyoto, Kenshin meets with Misao, an Oniwa Banshu member, who becomes a rather important character for this arc. There are numerous events that take place in the Kyoto Arc, including the Sakabatou being broken, Sanosuke acquiring a new technique, and Kenshin's Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu training being completed. This all leads up to two separate battles that take place at the same time, one at Shishio's headquarters and the other at the Aoiya restaurant. At both, Shishio and his men are defeated.

Revenge Arc
With Shishio defeated, Kenshin can relax peacefully, but the past comes back to haunt him. Yukishiro Enishi returns to Japan to get revenge on the man that killed his sister. Assisting him are five other comrades who all want to see the deaths of the former hitokiri. Kenshin finally tells everyone his dark past in this arc just before the big fight takes place.

When the battle at the Kamiya Dojo comes to an end, it is Kenshin who loses. Kaoru has been killed and the rurouni falls into a deep state of depression. Aoshi and Misao travel from Kyoto to Tokyo with Tomoe's diary in possession. Tomoe's diary is their only hope of ending the madness of Enishi. During this time, Sanosuke travels to off to another town where he meets up with the family he left behind.

It is learned that Kaoru is not dead. The corpse of Kaoru was just a dummy created by Gein. Once it is proved true, Kenshin and the others, now all regrouped, head off to an island where Kaoru is being held prisoner. The final battle between Kenshin and Enishi takes place and this time, only one can be declared the victor. Guess who it is?

Concluding the series, everyone heads off their separate ways. Kenshin and Kaoru get married and have a child named Kenji, Yahiko becomes one of the most well-known swordsmen in Tokyo, using the Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu and Kenshin's Sakabatou, Sanosuke becomes a wander, travelling the entire world, Megumi moves back to Aizu, and Saitou is repositioned to Hokkaido.