Rurouni Kenshin Manga Translations

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9

Rurouni Kenshin ~ Meiji Kenkaku Romantan ~

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All links have been disabled on this site, as Viz has announced their acquisition of the Rurouni Kenshin manga. Do NOT e-mail me asking where you can get chapters, unless you have an asbestos suit handy. It's pointless, anyway, since I no longer have these chapters on my hard drive. Thanks for paying attention.

June 4, 2004: Long time no update, and I can't guarantee any future ones, either. I'm kinda surprised I'm updating the site myself, but I figure this is as good a place as any for me to talk about anything Kenshin, right?
So this update-slash-Kenshinblog-entry is a fairly straightforward one. Basically, after a guerilla visit to my parents' place in the States (I got a call from my mother telling me that I was going to visit the next day, and the tickets were booked--something about a first-class ticket that was about to expire), I managed to snag a copy of Viz's version of RK volume 1 (and managed a few glances at the other three volumes out thus far). That's right, I'm a proud owner of the English processed-tree-carcass edition of Rurouni Kenshin. A few thoughts, though nobody's listening...
First of all, I don't think I have to tell anyone that I'm biased. Anyone who visited this site in its heyday can tell you the kind of heart and soul I put into the work, and how enthusiastic I felt at the kind of reception it got. I was happy to see that the same kind of enthusiasm and hard work was put into this volume.
One of the first things I noticed was that, instead of translating "de gozaru" as I (amongst others, including the anime translators) did, they translated "sessha" instead. I liked that. (Not to mention, the first volume reads a whole lot better with "this one" littered throughout the dialogue than "my pardons." :P) And they've got a pretty good translation on their hands. Not the most accurate, but it's true to the story, and that's one of the things that matters most.
This is where the word "but" comes in.
See, the thing is, I've always been a stickler to characters, and their voices. "This one" is a great start, but so far just about everyone sounds the same. I like Gerard Jones' editing style--I've seen the voices he's given to characters like Tatewaki Kuno in Ranma 1/2 (not to mention other characters in Ranma like...oh, I dunno, Ranma?)--so I'm wondering what's going on. Where's Kenshin's poetic rambling? Yahiko's brashness? What the hell is Sano doing, talking about "buying" and "selling" fights, and why does it seem like even he mixes up which one he's doing? The one voice I think works perfectly is, strangely enough, Watsuki.
There was one particularly brilliant line that made me snap my fingers and think, "why didn't I think of that when I was editing? Come to think of it, why isn't more of THIS in the dialogue?" and that line was in the first chapter: "...but in the face of such awful truth, the naive lie she tells is so much better. If this one had a wish..."
I'm harsh on the editing style. A lot of it is because I feel like RK's my baby. That's not necessarily right--I could liken it to stealing a child from a carraige, raising it like my own, and finally returning it to the parents further down the line, only to object to the child's upbringing after a few months. I would say that, beyond the extremeness of kidnapping compared to taking someone's intellectual property (from a common sense point of view rather than an RIAA/MPAA point of view), the analogy is appropriate. But I digress.
There are numerous other nits I have, mostly stylistic (as you've seen, I'm one for as much Westernization in the word-for-word department as I can get...I guess I'll talk about that in a bit), but one thing I noticed, and noticed quickly, was that the spelling of "rurouni" alternated between that and "ruroni," with a bar over the o (which I do not remember the HTML escape for, so forgive me). Copy editing needs a bit of work, I think.
I also don't care for the font. It's a little too comicky--too humorous for the drama, too serious for the funny. The one they used in Eva would've been great. Alas.
Personally, were I advising Mister Jones, I would've suggested that he be more consistent with what the Joe Consumer most likely already knows--the anime. Not necessarily taking things word-for-word, but you know. Use something along the lines of "that I do" (yeah, I know people find it annoying, but hey!) instead of "this one," can that whole "fight merchant" thing, and so on. Kenshin has a drastically different voice in the anime dub than he did in my editing, but that voice, that slightly weary, everyman voice, worked. The dub script lines sounded like things people might SAY (which is kind of a 'duh!' thing, since the VAs ARE saying it...), flowing naturally (for the most part), instead of feeling awkward. I would hope that was possible when it comes to comics, too, since that's what I was striving for with my translations. See? Bias.
Other things I would've appreciated are small bits, like liner notes. The glossary that they already have is a good start, but I keep thinking about things like later volumes of Evangelion and Azumanga Daioh, not to mention the RK DVDs, and I think it's a really, really big mistake not to include them. RK's steeped in Bakumatsu/Meiji history, not to mention the distinct Japanese flavor which the editing crew is so eager to capture. I'm also a big fan of editor freetalk. Kodomo no Omocha's Sarah Dyer was one of the greatest examples of why. I don't remember if the editor-freetalk concept carried to the actual volumes (I'm pretty sure it was in a couple of volumes), but I loved reading the lettercol from the promotional single-issues. I only wish more editors did that. I mean, Watsuki did it, too, and I loved that he did it. (Kudos to the Viz crew for translating all of that, by the way, including the "secret lives of the characters" sections I skipped over.) And I do these blogupdates, right? (Don't make that face, you know what I mean.) It's my little soapbox, and it brings you there at the screen and me closer together.
I guess since I spent so much time working on RK, I also forgot one thing: the voices I had in the beginning weren't what they became later on, either. Things change. Certain words and phrases were translated differently, I say. I got a better feel for the dialogue. I didn't have to run through all the hurdles the commercial editors do. There's a hell of a lot about the manga-publishing industry I haven't seen or experienced, and I probably won't, since I highly doubt that's going to be a career thing for me (seeing as, for one, I plan on living in a primarily-Francophone environment without anything remotely resembling fluency in French, not to mention that it's just not my thing).
So here's a word of encouragement to Mister Jones, one that odds are he's not going to ever read. I love your stuff. You brought me Maison Ikkoku, which is my other favorite manga of all time, and the way you brought out each character, from Yotsuya's mysterious and funny ramblings to Akemi's more streetwise, cut-the-crap tone to Godai just being annoyed, was one of the reasons I got addicted to manga in the first place. I know you can do better than this, and I'm really looking forward to when you get a better feel for the characters. 'Cuz that's gonna leave people breathless.
Wanna comment? If you have a LiveJournal account, you can. November 23, 2003: Three months of non-stop craziness in my social and academic life, and I don't know where to start describing it all. Let's just say that I don't think my life has been able to take a breather since around the time my HD crashed.
In happy academic news, I have now officially completed all my undergraduate coursework, and with a bit of luck, will be moving on to my graduate studies in Telecommunications Management come January. I've already started the introduction course, but I haven't officially enrolled yet. Wish me luck!
In not-so-happy news, still looking for a job. Or internship, or something to get me into the working week. Anybody in Geneva looking for a guy who has a good two years of tech-mooking experience, I'm your man.
By now, from what I understand, the first volume of Rurouni Kenshin in English should be out. I'm curious to hear what people think about it, and a few sample dialogue transcriptions (some dialogue between Kenshin and Kaoru, for example), as I'm not going to be going back to the US until March at the earliest. ;_; No scans necessary, I've already got the Japanese and French versions of the volume...
As you can tell, my mind is currently completely burned out. As much as I'd like to say I could fill you in with more Kenshin news, or more tidbits of my personal life, I'm lacking in the former and there's way too much stuff that also happens to be way too personal in the later. I was thinking of setting up a public LJ/LJ community for random discussions about RK/this site/whatever's going on in my life. Any takers?
That's pretty much all for the time being. We'll see you next update!
August 14, 2003: Where do I begin? The past two months have been a serious rollercoaster of events, from my graduation to my job-search (still searching!) to family trips to rock festivals to Europe's record-setting summer with no A/C. All this has culminated in my hard drive breathing its last this week. And seeing as my computer was a notebook, this is not happy news. I'm betting that the record-setting summer with no A/C has something to do with it buying the farm, although, as you can see from the March entry, I've had a history with this thing.
In RK news, it appears that Viz is using RK and (IIRC) Hikaru no Go to showcase their new Shonen Jump line of books. RK will have a preview on the November issue of SJ, and then subsequently go out to book form. And they've confirmed that SJ books will be published unflopped. Score! (I got this news from ANN a while back, so I can't be bothered to link to it. >_>) This does indeed make me happy. Next, I wanna hear that Fred Burke (the guy doing the bang-up job on Evangelion) is working on RK. (How often have I mentioned this? I don't know.)
I have this nagging feeling that, from now on, RKMT and fanscanning will become secondary in my life. If I do find work, I've got to try and do well in it so I can earn my paycheck. Meanwhile, I've developed a few more hangouts. If you want to find me, I've started lurking on the Bebop Board, and a friend's new project--PanFandom. On PanFandom, I can be found haunting their anime, 24, Other Music, Other Film, and MetaFandom forums. With any luck, I'll be haunting their Smallville forum, too.
Until next update!
June 10, 2003: *steps onto soapbox*
*dons asbestos suit*
Uh, 'scuse me, is this thing on?
Okay, good. I'm pretty sure all of you have heard that crazy shit going down about Anime Junkies and Urban Vision. If not, this should bring you up to speed. Now, I'm on my soapbox for a reason, and that's because, though I'm not a digisubber, I do something damn close to digisubbing, and I don't want to be anywhere NEAR associated with the kind of behavior AJ has displayed. Yes, I'm immature. Yes, I know I can have a temper flare. But will I act like a twelve-year-old AOLer, spouting four letter words and saying that a company who is asking that their product stop being distributed "suck a big fat [four letter word ending in 'ck']" as the topic of a chat channel? HELL NO. Especially since, in this case, UV fucking CO-PRODUCED the Ninja Scroll TV series. (I haven't even bothered watching it, so I can't make judgments on the quality or anything.) Frankly, the whole thing makes me sick to the core.
Obviously, I have no such qualms over normal fansubs. If I did, I'd never have made this site. I didn't do this site in the hopes that RK got translated--I figured that, eventually, it would. The same thing goes with just about any new anime series out there now: if it doesn't already have someone from the States financing it behind the scenes, it'll be picked up in a couple months. Anime is that hot a commodity, and there's less of it to choose from than manga. A lot less, for obvious reasons. But I digress.
The reason I DID do it was that I loved the RK manga. I own its entire run in French (well, except for Volume 28, which shall be rectified in the upcoming month, and the Kaden, which will also be rectified when it comes out), and up to volume 12 in Japanese (bought, admittedly, mostly for the purpose of this site). I still have plans on picking it up when Viz puts it out in English, even if that means having to purchase all the GNs over the course of a few trips back to the States. I love RK, with all my heart, and I don't mind pouring every penny I can into this series, as thanks to Watsuki, Jump, Glenat, and soon Viz (which is the same as Jump, I suppose).
I personally think that's one of the acceptable reasons to fan(sub/scan) a series. Not legit, obviously, but acceptable. If I didn't, you wouldn't be here. ^_^; However, I enjoy it when people start picking up random nowhere-near-high-profile manga from Japan and think, 'hey, this is cool!' a lot moreso than I do people like me, who fanscan stuff purely for commercial appeal. For example, one of the recent favorite scans I've been introduced to, courtesy SnoopyCool, is the wacky series Yakitate!! Japan, a series about--of all things--bread, and the adventures of one breadmaker as he tries to create bread that will define Japan. (Pan is the Japanese word for bread; thus, Japan = Japanese bread. Did I ever mention I was a sucker for puns?) Now--does THAT sound like a popular title for you? No? Because it wouldn't be. And, as far as I know--seeing as I don't live in Japan--it's not a popular title. And people probably think it wouldn't be in the States. But if enough people get exposed to it, and start demanding it, who knows?
I don't doubt there are fansubbers who are working on titles out of pure love. (Hell, I don't think anyone could NOT love Azumanga Daioh; lest they strangle someone after being overexposed to it.) However, judging from AJ's behavior, it's not the only motive for some people. (I should know, too: I'll freely admit that part of the reason I did this site was ego fulfillment.) People can say what they want, but the fact is, AJ ain't respectin' the anime. Just as, if Viz or Shueisha wrote to me and asked that I stopped doing RK, and I had told them to "rot in hell" (and that was the most polite insult they had), I wouldn't be respecting the manga. And now I'm getting long-winded in a 2AM rant.
All I really wanted to do was basically say: AJ, get that bug out of your ass, and remember why you decided to start fansubbing. If it was simply for the ego trip, stop fucking giving other fansubbers a bad name. If it was because you love the series, remember that you aren't the only ones who put sweat into it: there were animators, directors, designers, seiyuu, cel shaders, and so on. Accusing companies of making people pay for their product (how dare they!) is unfounded, since that pay DOES go to help everyone putting it out, on both sides of the Pacific.
Oh, and now one final inflammatory comment, so be warned. If you're a college/HS student whining about not having money and deserving of free anime series, fuck off. Despite being in the same situation most of you are in--in Switzerland, even, where they charge GREATER than retail for R1s (which aren't technically supposed to be distributed here)--I've somehow managed to amass something like 150 DVDs spanning something like twenty series; not to mention the manga currently sapping up shelf space. If I can do it, you can do it too.
Thank you, that is all. *steps off soapbox*
June 4, 2003: According to ANN, Shonen Jump has stated that RK will start in November. No word as to whether or not it'll be in GN format or if it'll just be released in Jump, though it'll most likely be the latter (from what I hear about the article, not what it says on ANN). And if you look at the SJ website, they've got a little picture of Kenshin from the volume 17 coverpic in the corner (maybe it's volume 18, but I know it's one of those two), plus Media Blasters' RK logo. Now if only Viz DID ship GNs overseas...I guess I'll just have to check it out next time I head Stateside. ;_;
Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with this site. Nothing's been set in stone yet, but I'm still thinking of general information, accompanied by fanart and possibly Photoshop wars (probably Photoshop wars and possibly fanart, more likely :P). Maybe even throw up a PHPbb while we're at it. And if I learn to draw, maybe I can follow through with my ideas for Kenshinmanga Daioh. Any takers?
And before I forget, the Laserchicken Productions AMV studio official webpage has finally been completed! Like, officially! It even looks halfway decent and stuff! If you have a .ORG account, you can even download the high-quality versions of the AMVs I've created. ^_^ (For those interested, one of those is indeed an RK video.)
See you next update! Don't forget to write now!
April 28, 2003: If you haven't already heard the news, Rurouni Kenshin has been announced for Shonen Jump.
I'll let you parse that one again.
Rurouni Kenshin has been announced for Shonen Jump.
That means this site has done its job. Obviously, it wasn't alone in this matter, but I'm glad to see that RK has finally attracted the audience of the US manga industry. It now has the attention it deserves; I sincerely hope it gets the treatment it deserves. It's already on the right foot, because Shonen Jump manga is published unflopped. Let's hope the translation stays faithful.
However, that also means that the core of this site is no longer. By the time you read this, I'll have asked the Iron Sysadmin Kesseki to take the files off of the FTP server. This is why you can't click on any of the chapters anymore. (Ironically, we spent yesterday discussing using BitTorrent to lighten the server load, and then this!) That doesn't mean the site is gone, though--I'll still keep updating this thing as sort of a blog, and eventually I hope to turn this into a superior Rurouni Kenshin general information website, with a dash of Somewhere Down the Crazy River-style silliness thrown in. (Given my current status as a soon-to-be-graduate, it might take a while, if it does indeed get off the ground.)
Still, for those of you who were here only for the manga chapters, it's been real. I'm glad there were so many people supporting me, even though it's been a year since I last put up a chapter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And into the night, he vanished...

April 1, 2003: We regret to inform you that Lawrence Chu has been kidnapped by aliens. Rurouni Kenshin Manga Translations shall herein be updated by his evil twin.
h3110 m41 p#r3nd5!1!!!11 7h15 1s l4wr3n(3'5 3v1l 7w1N 5p34king, n4D 3y3 \\/n473d 2 w15h u 411 t3# 6r3473s7 4pr1l ph00l5 d#3y EVAR!!1!11!! 3y3 R 1337! U W1ll l4l 0b3y!11!1!! lolol
We really, really regret this.
(Note: If it weren't for the HD problems mentioned in the last update, I would've posted a page from Volume 10 done entirely in 1337. Alas...)
March 28, 2003 Not much time online, just needed to explain why this month's "blog" entry isn't up--my computer HD go boom. Luckily, it only appears the Windows directory was corrupted, so I reinstalled Windows on it. However, I'm 99% sure there's a physical hardware defect in there (several months ago, I found sushi caviar in my notebook--AND I'M ALLERGIC TO FISH! I have no idea where it came from, since nobody else I know eats that stuff), partly because it took five attempts to start up my computer last time. Needless to say, I'm kinda loathe to install drivers on the thing requiring it to restart.
Luckily, since most all of the damage was in Windows, I was able to recover the few things that were really, really important to me on that computer: My Morrowind character/music collection, a few music files I was working on for the radio play I'm working on, and--the only one most of you guys care about--the first two chapters of Volume 10. I also have 4.5GB of Princess Nine footage for an AMV that I'll never be able to yank off without installing my burner, but I can always rerip that since it wasn't going anywhere anyway.
(Before you ask, I'm not ready to upload those two chapters of Volume 10 yet. Besides, it ends on a pretty harsh cliffhanger if you haven't seen the anime.)
Lordy, updating through Telnet is a pain. On the plus side, I've picked up a bunch of neat, old-school stuff recently while scouring through my home on spring break: The original editions of Bubblegum Crisis, Grave of the Fireflies, Lodoss OAVs, Ghost in the Shell, the Ranma movies, and the Tenchi movie. Also happened to pick up Noir 1 and Castle of Cagliostro (one I've been meaning to pick up for years now). Finally, I get to see BGC! Rawk. Still need to root through the other stuff, though.
Anyway, that's about all I can say for now. Hopefully Seisouhen DVD'll be at my comic shop when I swing by today. I've been looking forward to that for a while. Until next time!
February 14, 2003 I'm happy!: I got home today from a great night out on the town to discover that, in the meanwhile, CN decided to sneak Rurouni Kenshin on the Toonami schedule. Before anyone screams, 'nooooooo! Not my Kenshin!" and imagines billions of Dragonball Z-style fanatics jumping onto the bandwagon, take pride that you are one of the many people who discovered it before it went mainstream. I'm proud to see a show I love--so much that I dedicated a year of my life translating the comic format of it with as much care as possible--being broadcast to the public at large. I'm happy they're not calling it "Samurai X," and that they're using the Media Blasters version of the show.
I'm sad!: My grandfather, Jay Chu, passed away yesterday. He lived a fulfilling and eventful 81 years, saw all three of his children and four of his grandchildren off to college, and lived with his sense of humor and cheerfulness to the end. I love him with all my heart and won't ever stop. Thank you, Yeh-yeh, and take care of yourself.
January 28, 2003 Oh, by the way: If you haven't read the article already, you may already be a felon! For once, we don't blame Bush for signing the law into existence, we blame Clinton. I'm so glad I changed from straight-down-the-line Democrat to whatever-I-think-is-good-though-still-mostly-Democrat. Please remember that I provided you these translations and entertained you for a while if I accidentally drop the soap. ^_^;
January 27, 2003 Happy New Year, campers! Still no updates, as I am positively swamped in Financial Accounting and Macroeconomics work. Not to mention, having to housesit on a tight budget (well, not TOO tight, but when you own one anime DVD, you want to own them all), getting home at midnight three nights a week, yada yada yada. It's been pretty rough.
Someone misinterpreted an Anime Invasion article (or maybe Anime Invasion misinterpreted something that was put in the article), and for a second, people thought that Viz had acquired the rights to the Rurouni Kenshin manga. However, it wasn't to be...yet. However, Viz has just changed hands from Shogakukan to a new company (Viz LLC), half owned by Shogakukan, half by Shueisha, so there's still a very good possibility of it coming out in the US sometime soon. And Viz is starting to go Tokyopop with their GNs (from their April Release list, they're rereleasing the first two Ranma 1/2 tankoubon in a smaller size at $9.95), which means we may have a winner here.
And, of course, if that happens, this site goes down the minute I get the confirmation.
I'm glad I didn't watch the Superbowl last night. I hear it was a bad game, and living outside North America means I don't get any of the commercials, either. I DID download the new Matrix movie trailers, though. DROOL. God damn, I want to watch those badly.
Nothing else to talk about presently, beyond "Witch Hunter Robin rocks my supple ass" and "I hated the first two episodes of .hack//SIGN, damn Bandai for making the releases look so tempting!", so I guess I'll stop here. See you later!
December 25, 2002 Just a few words as I clean house in preparation for the folks coming back: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (a month late ^_^;), and have a Joyous Kwanzaa starting tomorrow!

Manga volumes:

Please keep in mind that these files and pictures are all named by their corresponding page in the book, not by ordered numbers. This is why Volume 1, Chapter 1 starts on page five, not page one. The pictures in the ToC usually come from page six (in Volume 1, it starts on page four). Aside from that, one page gaps between chapters are noticeable from the lack of the "making of the characters" section at the end of some chapters, as well as filler pages.

For general liner notes, click here.

Also note that, if a English-language manga publishing studio picks up Rurouni Kenshin and start publishing it (Please, let it be Studio Proteus if it does happen), this page will close down out of respect of the rights of the people holding the license.

What can I say? I'm a sad, sad little man. :P
#1: From the end of Chapter 6.
#2: From the Bonus chapter.
#3, #4, #5, #6: THESE might need a little explanation. For those who don't know what "All Your Base" is, This link should do the trick. The pages are taken from Chapters 9 and 10. And it should be noted that these are to be read in order.
#7: Taken from Chapter 14. Only those who have seen Excel Saga will get this one. ^_^;
#8: Cho is a man of constant sorrow. From Chapter 76.
Jen DeFord: Taken from Chapter two. Contains spoilers for Jinchu/Tsuioku Hen.
If you've got one you'd like to submit, e-mail me!

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Webpage design/content (C) 2001 Lawrence Chu. Artwork by Nobuhiro Watsuki used without permission. Rurouni Kenshin is the property of Jump Comics.