I wanted to know what people think about Kaoru in RK. I personally think that she matures and becomes stronger throughout the manga series, but there seems to be alot of hatred or misinterpretation of this character (not just from the anime, where she's over-dramatic but from manga readers as well)...
I once said to my sister "I think Watsuki's alright with [writing] female characters" to which she replied "I don't; they're weak!". She used Kaoru as an example, claiming that all she does is cry [this was while I was reading volume 16 - the near ending of the Kyoto arc by the way] and that his male characters never emotionally break down, no matter how feminine they are(?)
To me, the Jinchuu arc actually contradicts this...if you count Enishi's tears as an example of emotionally "breaking down" and Kaoru's resolve to listen to Kenshin talk about his past...
But anyway; what do you guys think about the kendo girl in RK? Is she weak as a character and sobbed up, or someone who grows in maturity and strength throughout the manga?1/9/2006 #1 Report
A good question indeed. One reason I detest the anime and OVAs is the way Kaoru is portrayed. All she does is weep and weep when Kenshin leaves.
In the manga, she cries at first but after Megumi warns her about how Kenshin could die if something like the fight with Shishio were to happen again, Kaoru steels herself for her duty to Kenshin. She grows stronger and learns to stand up to Kenshin's stubborness.
In the Jinchuu Arc, when they invade the dojo the first time, she actually orders Kenshin not to fight and to allow Megumi to look at his wounds while Yahiko and Sano do the fighting. This to me shows that she was growing stronger, something she obviously failed to do in the anime/OVA timeline.
As for characters breaking down, don't forget that Kenshin suffers a total nervous breakdown when he sees the corpse doll. Hope this answers your question.1/9/2006 #2 Report
I'm not sure what manga the anime writers were given as reference but I seriously doubt it was RK.
Kaoru does mature a lot in the manga as Watsuki generally got more serious with her, which overall I enjoyed. Goodness, she was pretty vulgar at the beginning (I laughed like a fool when she gave Megumi the finger). OTOH, although I loved the Jinchuu arc, I found her characterization rather blah toward the end of it as I thought he made her a little too mannered and a little too compliant during her rescue; personally I would have liked to have seen her belt Enishi across the chops at least once (at least she yelled at him a couple times) although I suppose hitting Enishi would have been a Dangerous Thing To Do. Anyway, I like Tomboy Kaoru; that's why I was glad to see her mixing it up with Yahiko in both the last manga chapter and in Yahiko no Sakabatou :)
Watsuki cut the comedy from the relationship from Kyoto onwards, which I kind of missed. Kenshin stopped pulling Kaoru's ponytail and making fun of her cooking pretty quickly and I think the last time she whacked Kenshin was on the roof of the Aoiya before Shishio. I also missed the schtick between Sano and Kaoru, which is why the teasing he gives her at the end is enjoyable. IOW, although I generally approved the growth of Kaoru's character, I think she lost a little of her fun along the way.1/9/2006 #3 Report
I agree completely about Megumi telling her off; not only did it make her become stronger for Kenshin, but it also made her stronger for her friends (ie Yahiko, Tsubame, etc.)
I've noticed that in fanfics the writer tends to treat Kaoru like a Mary Sue; the innocent, emotionally fragile and extremely naive girl who must always be rescued by Kenshin from "villainous" characters like Enishi (stop mis-treating Enishi! _1/10/2006 #4 Report
Well I think Kaoru and Kenshin stopped having those things between them because they fell in love. Would you yank the hair or bean the head of the person you were in love with? It was good to see Kaoru grow up the way she did (actually I haven't read all of Jinchuu yet, but I'm guessing). And she beats up on Yahiko when he gets mouthy in the later chapters too. Hell, she'll probably still be beating him up when he's 30 or at least tell Tsubame to do it.
I absolutely hate it when Kaoru is portrayed as weak in the fanfics I read. I just want to scream! She's a shihondai for goodness sake. Give credit where credit's due. She was only kidnapped twice in the manga: by Jinei and Enishi. One was a hitokiri and the other was a madman who was so strong, he fucked Kenshin up when they first fought. Against the average thug on the street, Kaoru is more than a match.1/10/2006 #5 Report
I read a fan comic which was set AFTER Jinchuu, and Kaoru was portrayed as a weakling who STILL didn't know whether Kenshin loved her! *shudders* when she meets Enishi in this comic, she breaks down and says "Why can't you leave Kenshin alone??" _ It makes me want to reach out to the person responsible for such tripe and beat the stuffing out of them! You could tell that they didn't read ANY of the Jinchuu arc let alone the manga at all!
And as for hair-tugging...just look at Kenji XD he's sho adorable...1/10/2006 #6 Report
Kaoru's not weak. She is a female shihondai running her own dojo in Meiji Japan where traditional gender stereotypes are the absolute rule in society. What's weak about that?
For Kaoru to simply do what she does much less allow a wandering male vagabond to live with her shows a very strong character.
So what if she wallowed for a while after Kenshin left? She IS seventeen and worried and in love with someone who is determined to push her away and leave her behind. The important thing is she got a grip on herself (with the help of her friends) and went after Kenshin.1/10/2006 #7 Report
She's very strong. She took out those two Hishi Manji Guron thugs with her bokken. She knocks Kenshin, Sano and Yahiko around like there's no tomorrow. And most importantly, she learns how to stand up to Kenshin and order him to stop fighting and rest. He needs that kind of grounding because otherwise, he'll go out and risk himself when he's about to drop dead. And with a child like Kenji to raise, she'll have to be damn strong if Kenji is anything like I picture him being.
The only two times Kaoru ever gets kidnapped are by a hitokiri and the psycho Enishi, so she's very strong, but not at their level.1/10/2006 #8 Report
Amen :) She grows and develops throughout the series. Interesting that she understands Enishi's pain and is the one who gives him the diary...1/11/2006 #9 Report
I believe she can act both strong and weak at certain moments in manga.
~when she is fighting with her kendo style
~Going to Koyko to see Kenshin despite the danger
~Beating the ki spell in the fight in vol.2
~helping to defend the Aoy-ia
~falling into depression after Kenshin lefted for koyko
~Getting kidnapped in vol.2 and by enishi
In end, her character does grow stronger with each struggle. So, she can both be strong or weak in some situations. However, she is still a great character to admire and it's like their creator said "She only appears weak because Kenshin and Sano are so powerful." Her fighting skills are at a national level.4/18/2006 . Edited 4/18/2006 #10 Report
You have to give the girl props. She's tough but still is a girl so she will have moments like when Kenshin left. That was very hurtful. I have somewhat of a respect towards her for the way, after a few words with Megumi and Yahiko about just laying around feeling sorry, she got up to go after him. And threatended to belt him once she found him after practically attacking Misao. That was funny.6/13/2006 #11 Report
Yeah, I think people are too hard on Kaoru about the whole "sayonara" thing. I'll admit I was too, but now that I think of it, Kaoru was only 17 (kaz) and 16 (Western). She's still young and in the process of maturing, so some compassion is needed. How many of us at 16 and 17 would've reacted differently, seeing the person you've come to regard as your safety and your rock suddenly walking out of your life, just the way your father did and possibly never coming back?6/13/2006 #12 Report
I would have done the very same thing. With loads of ice cream and chocolate with the possibility of a sappy chick flik or something. lol!
One thing I REALLY cannot stand it the fics making her out to be some weakling who can't do anything. I read one where she accadintly cut her hand with a knife and started bawling like a baby. That was it for me. Personally, I love her strong personality and how she is such a strong female character. But, even though the fic was an ok one that wasn't far enough to really explain anything, and the fact that is was sort of an AU and that she was 15, I had to stop reading it. That just pissed me off bad.6/15/2006 #13 Report
What I really hate are the "damsel in distress" fics where every thug and his cousin are able to kidnap Kaoru. I mean c'mon people, she's a shihondai! She's a national level champion and is skilled enough to take out most thugs and yakuza types. The only times she got kidnapped were by guys who gave Kenshin a run for his money: Jinei and Enishi.6/15/2006 #14 Report
that's true. even if the story happened to be rather interesting, i would not read it if she was like that.
and does anyone know of a good beta who wouldn't mind betaing an RK/IY AU fic? cause i have no other idea how to find one...7/11/2006 . Edited 7/11/2006 #15 Report
I think Watsuki did a good job with Kaoru's character. He stated in the beginning that she was a strong character, and developed that quality in the Jinchuu arc. I especially saw it with Yahiko, with the secret and Otowa, and of course, on Enishi's island, for mental integrity.7/15/2006 #16 Report
Actually, Kaoru was still 15 (by Western standards) when Kenshin said saynora. Though her b-day was less than a month away.
*Is still weirded out by how young she is*
Anyway, I love how strong she is in the manga. One thing that BUGS me about the anime is how annoying and weak she is. She really doesn't get enough fights- she gets ONE- and that's why people think she's weak. Because she never has a chance to show her skills. She's stronger than Yahiko until the very end of the manga. (very unlikely by the way since the manga takes place over 6 months or so and half the time Yahiko was slacking off. NO ONE gets that good in 6 months. Not even a 'genius'.) Yet Yahiko got four or five fights and she got one.
But yep. I love strong Kaoru.8/19/2006 #17 Report
Actually, Kaoru was still 15 (by Western standards) when Kenshin said saynora. Though her b-day was less than a month away.*Is still weirded out by how young she is*Anyway, I love how strong she is in the manga. One thing that BUGS me about the anime is how annoying and weak she is. She really doesn't get enough fights- she gets ONE- and that's why people think she's weak. Because she never has a chance to show her skills. She's stronger than Yahiko until the very end of the manga. (very unlikely by the way since the manga takes place over 6 months or so and half the time Yahiko was slacking off. NO ONE gets that good in 6 months. Not even a 'genius'.) Yet Yahiko got four or five fights and she got one.NOT FAIR.But yep. I love strong Kaoru.
Yep, one month shy of her Western birthday. I'm glad I found out about that Eastern/Western age thing early or I would've gone nuts trying to figure out how old everyone is...
Yeah, Kaoru got shafted when it came to fights. I would've let her do some ass-kicking during Jinchuu instead of just be the damsel in distress.
Yahiko did seem to get good too fast. I know a lot of Kaoru fans resent that the student surpassed his teacher when he was still 11. I can understand that. I would've at least let Kaoru do some more fighting. However, I don't think Yahiko was slacking off anymore by the time they were in Kyoto. He trained every day and that's why he was able to beat Henya.8/19/2006 #18 Report
I learned about the Eastern-Western thing about a year ago but thought Watsuki hadn't applied it to RK and onloy learned he DID (except with Kenshin) a few days ago.
Well, good point about Yahiko. But Kaoru (AND MISAO!) should have SO gotten more fights.
My poor Mi-chan...... lol.8/19/2006 #19 Report
Actually, don't the Japanese have a different way of counting how old someone is, i.e. instead of being 0 when you're born, you're 1 year old? I don't think Watsuki-san would make that obvious a mistake, especially when they blantantly state the character's ages in the first volume of the manga.8/24/2006 #20 Report
Yes, the Eastern age reckoning or kazoedoshi. You can read about it in my profile.8/24/2006 #21 Report
Rather funny when you consider that Kaoru would probably be among the top-ranked kendo people in the world.
Modern-day standards.... using modern ages and modern names for martial arts and a guess at rank
8th Dan in Kendo - Assistan Master in an ancient Japanese dojo (10th dan would be master)
? 3rd Dan in Karate (not a primary, more of unarmed combat) ?
10th Dan in Iaido - Master of the entire style
10th Dan in Kenjetsu - Master of the entire style
? 10th Dan in Karate - Master of hand-to-hand combat ?
Both of them would be extremely high-ranked martial artists, especially for their ages! To be so good at martial arts by their ages would take a lifetime for a normal person to do!
Let's call getting from a novice to 1st dan 2 years. 2 years to 2nd dan. Three more to third dan, etc!
It would take a person, going at maximum pace, approximately 56 years to be able to reach the rank of 10th dan. I have two teachers in Karate who have spent over 35 years in the martial arts, moving up slower! An 8th Dan took nearly 40 years now, and a 7th Dan who took nearly 35 years!
Very experienced and strong school, as my style has about 3 Shihan's (6th Dan), and about 8 Shihan Di's (5th dan)! We have an extremely strong school. My current dojo is being taken over by a Shihan Di, after Kyoshi (7th dan) is going back to Honbu (our main dojo).9/12/2006 #22 Report
Two years minimum for an extremely talented person to get first dan. I know because a shihan di of karate made shodan in 2 years. It takes a minimum of as many years as the number of the dan. To get out of shodan, one year. Out of nidan, two years. Out of sandan (sempai), 3 years. Out of sandan (sensai), 4 years. Out of shihan di (5th dan), 5 years. ETC. It takes a seriously long time...
WHy do you think the Japanese masters of dojos are very old men trained traditionally since they were children? Alot of high-ranking people are older then the masters because they're not trained until they're older.
Hanshi is about 55, and Kyoshi is about 50. Both have trained in New York City, before branching off to form the style I use.9/12/2006 #24 Report
Well, RK isn't really all that realistic. Plus tehcnically thought he may known a few hand-to-hand things he's only trained in Hiten Mitsurugig Ryu.... so that's less.
And yes Watsuki made 'so blatant a mistake' because the Japanese would have known about it. It's just something they would have known.
And Kenshin IS actually 28 by our recknowing (turns 29 by own reckonowing during the series)... so that's a 13 year seprataion.
BLAGH! STUPID WAYSUKI! DON'T HAVE ONE CHARACTER HAVE OUR SYSTEM OF AGE AND ALL THE OTHERS NOT!
But check the dates of their births. Kenshin is 28 by all of our accounts while all the others are actually younger than is stated.
Blaghhh... another question I should have asked Watsuki. Once in a liftime oprrutunity and I forget so MANY of them...9/12/2006 #25 Report
*sniff* That means Hollywood lied to me! *throws rocks at movie producers*
So that means there's really no way in Hell Kenshin could've mastered HMR by age 15 if he hadn't left Hiko's mountain, since he was taken in and began training at age ten? He would've had to have been more like 20 or 21 if this went more by reality, huh?
Well, what can one expect in a story where you have two guys over 20 feet tall, one of whom has a gas bag in his gut? :-)9/12/2006 #26 Report
Arigatou for the great info. We hope to see you back here soon!9/12/2006 #28 Report
*Points* According to my Kenshin Hiden (Or technically "Kenshin Profiles" since it IS different a bit...) he started training with Hiko when he was 6.
I think it was that anyway... *can't find it* but I read it just yesterday and was surprised he was so young.
Which proves that Yahiko really has the power to surpass Kenshin if he was only 8 or so and by the end of the manga surpassed Kaoru.
THERE'S ANOTHER UNREALISTIC THING! In only 6 months Yahiko went from brand-new trainee to better than an 8th dan?
You can tell me as much "natural" genius stuff as you can. It's SO UNREALISTIC. Especially since, at least at the very biginning for a month or so, he slacked off alot...9/12/2006 #29 Report
Well, in manga 12 when Hiko was reminiscing, he said he met Kenshin 19 years earlier. Since Kenshin is 28 or 29 when he's being retrained, that would mean he's nine or ten when Hiko takes him in. Also, when he was talking with Tomoe in Otsu he said he found himself training in HMR at age ten.
Yahiko is ten years old Western and 11 in kazoedoshi. He was born in 1868 (Meiji 1), so is the same age as the Meiji Era. Easy way to remember.9/12/2006 #30 Report