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Series are multiple stories that go together; the order they are listed in on the tables of contents and directory pages are their chronological orders within the universe, not the order they were written or posted in. A tilde (~) denotes an original fiction series, while an abbreviation such as HP denotes a fanfiction series.

Rurouni Kenshin

-Warning: Spoilers ahead-

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The series Rurouni Kenshin is a surprisingly well-written shounen fighting series with an unfortunate dearth of main cast, but a fortunate lack of love interests for all but the title character. It doesn’t have the beauty of some series (not that the art is poor – it isn’t at all, but it’s not beautiful), but the plot makes up for it. It follows the adventures of Kenshin, a former assassin who has sworn to never kill again making a new life in a new era.

My analysis is based on the manga, as I haven’t seen the anime in a while. Please keep in mind that though this is only my own opinion, I have tried to be very objective. If you disagree, please don’t be offended, I only call it like I see it.

In Brief:

Plot World Characters

Bonding

7

Setting

5

Variety

6

Canon

1

Isolation

1

Company

6

Age

10

Bishi

7

Backstory

3

Ratio

6

Possibilities

3

Chemistry

8

Total:

5.75

In Depth:

Plot

Bonding – Does the plot force male characters to become close friends or allies?

It actually does, for the most part; Kenshin is the nexus, of course, but no characters remain unaffected. 7.

Isolation – Are the male characters isolated together for any length of time?

Frankly, they’re never alone for more than the length of time of a sword fight, and even then there’s usually a girl or three in attendance. 1.

Backstory – Do the characters have a past that implies sexual tension or chemistry, or otherwise ties them closely together?

The only characters who actually have a history are Saitou and Kenshin, and that’s kind of trumped by Kenshin of history of having been married… it only gets a 3.

_ – =*= – _

World

Setting – To what extent does the setting allow or encourage yaoi?

Homosexual relationships would have been more acceptable before the Meiji era (see my rating of Inuyasha for that), but with the influx of Western influence and the abolition of the samurai traditions, this rating dropped significantly, to a 5.

Company – Are there other, canon, yaoi couples?

There is one gay villain, and another who is a crossdresser without necessarily being gay – good enough to get a 6.

Ratio – The female to male ratio of the main characters of the series.

6 – 3 females to 5 males, 1:1 2/3, rounded up to 1:2.

_ – =*= – _

Characters

Variety – The number of different male main characters available to mix and match for yaoi.

There are five main male characters, a slightly less than reasonable cast, giving a score of 4.

The characters I used follow, with basic pros (anything that can be exploited for) and cons to (anything that stands in the way of) their use in yaoi. All ages come from references in the manga, aside from Saitou, whose age is never given; his age is take nfrom the real person whom the character represents.

What you do with the characters is your own business, but I feel legally obligated to list being under the age of 18 as a Con.

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Himura Kenshin
Age: 28
Pros: is cute, can be scary, is a caretaker and protector
Cons: is self-denying, is in love with Kaoru

-

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Myojin Yahiko
Age: 11
Pros: is spunky, and an apprentice
Cons: is 11, has a “girlfriend”

-

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Sagara Sanosuke
Age: 19
Pros: hotheaded punk
Cons: not interested, mostly likes to punch things

-

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Shinomori Aoshi
Age: 26
Pros: is both pretty and angsty, seems uninterested in women
Cons: is an icicle

-

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Saitou Hajime
Age: 34 (based on the real Saitou)
Pros: is a bastard, loves to screw with people
Cons: is a married bastard, mostly likes to kill things

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Age – The average age of the main characters thought of for the “variety” rank. Between 18 and 30 is ideal.

The average age of the characters is 23.6, giving a score of 10.

Bishi – The rating of how beautiful and fascinating the bishounen are.

Ruroken lacks the overwhelmingly beautiful character a lot of series have; Kenshin is by turns cute and scary, Saitou is “mature”, Sano and Yahiko are your punks, and Aoshi’s the “tall, dark, and handsome” one, but there isn’t a perfect ten… so it only gets a 7.

Canon – Are any of the main characters gay in canon? If one character is designed by the creator as gay or bisexual, this is automatically a five.

1… Um, no, really. Kenshin and apparently Yahiko are straight. Saitou’s married. Sano’s putting all of his testosterone into his fists. Aoshi doesn’t give a damn. In theory you could make a flimsy case for Aoshi, but it would mostly consist of “he ignores Misao”, so… no.

Possibilities – How possible or likely is it for the characters to actually make a yaoi situation work, within their world?

The fact that most of the characters aren’t in love with others is encouraging, but the fact that the ones who don’t look completely uninterested, and the fact that they aren’t exactly surrounded by temptation or opportunity gives it a 3.

Chemistry – What sort of chemistry do the male characters have with each other?

8. There’s no overt sexual tension (unfortunately), but there is a surprising amount of chemistry between almost every pair of characters, be it mutual respect, teasing, never ending rivalry, a bond of friendship, emotional support, or the gift of the will to live.

_ – =*= – _

In Addition:

Based on solely personality and character interaction, these are my picks for the top pairings. Again, my own opinions, but again, I tried to be objective. They aren’t necessarily all normal pairings, but they’re ones that actually seem like they would work well.

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1 – Kenshin X Sanosuke

rk_kenshin166-smallrk_sagara017-smallWho is seme: Probably Kenshin, to begin with at least; he is older and in theory has some sort of experience. After that it could go either way.
What it is:
Friendly. They have some mutual respect and “I can count on you” going on.
Why it wouldn’t work:
Kenshin is in love with Kaoru.
How it could work:
Behind her back and under her nose. =D

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2 – Aoshi X Kenshin

rk_kenshin163-smallhk_aoshi011-smallWho is seme: Most likely Aoshi. He may not be the instigator, but he’s a leader and is used to controlling things. It depends on how “Battousai” Kenshin is feeling at the moment, though.
What it is:
Chock full of angst with the occasional hurt/comfort – and one of those pairings with the needy seme and caregiving uke.
Why it wouldn’t work:
Aoshi has the emotional depth of a black hole – he takes everything in, but only angst comes out. And also, Kenshin is in love with Kaoru.
How it could work:
If Aoshi needed more than pretty words to want to live.

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3 – Saitou X Aoshi

rk_hajime035-smallhk_aoshi068-smallWho is seme: Whoever happened to win that time around.
What it is:
Violent, intense, and meaningless.
Why it wouldn’t work:
They’d probably end up killing each other…
How it could work:
Alcohol. Saitou said he gets violent, Aoshi said he can’t handle it… Let’s find out what happens.

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Bonus – Hiko X anyone

Hiko Seijuro, the Seme

Who is seme: Hiko, baby.
What it is:
Insta-uke. You want Aoshi angsty or Saitou submissive? Here’s guy who can master them.
Why it wouldn’t work:
Hiko’s off on his mountain, playing with pots and not giving a damn about anyone.
How it could work:
Geography isn’t much of an obstacle, and he could always be encouraged to give a damn.

_ – =*= – _

In Conclusion:

Rurouni Kenshin is not nearly as yaoi-able as I wish it was. There are only a few characters, and although they’re of quality, it’s difficult to pair them together and make it look reasonable.

Yaoi within the series is difficult… but it might work better to set it outside of the series, either before or after the timeline, or in an AU. It’s mostly the circumstances; there’s nothing wrong with the characters themselves, except for an over-willingness to fight and under-willingness to relate… just put them in different situations, and you may find yaoi more possible.

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