Rating 5/5 – The Saga Continues…or Begins…or runs alongside the original…
This should really be a two-sentence review: New Rurouni Kenshin material exists. Now go buy it.
However, you probably want to know more, and the editors around here tend to frown on two sentence reviews, so let’s dig into this first volume (of two) that serves to enhance the volumes of Rurouni Kenshin that no doubt already adorn your bookshelf. If that last sentence has you scratching your head and wondering what Rurouni Kenshin is, you have some serious reading to do. Fortunately, it’s a good read, and you’ll no doubt be glad you picked up Restoration to help enhance your manga history lesson.
This book exists as what creator Nobuhiro Watsuki calls a “parallel” storyline. Not necessarily an Elseworlds (for DC fans) or a What If…? (for the Marvel crowd), this is more of a “fill in the gaps” kind of story to help build a bridge between the existing Kenshin manga and anime story and the live action movie that Watsuki hoped to tie this volume into. If the book fails anywhere, it’s because it tries to put a bunch of loose stories and one-shots together and build a coherent narrative out of it. This is not the book you want to read if you’re absolutely new to the world of Rurouni Kenshin. Go and read the original manga first (or watch the anime…it’s good, too!) and then come back to this continuation of the story. It’ll make more sense.
Still, if that’s the only negative thing I can think to say about Restoration…and it pretty much is…then the Kenshin faithful are going to love this book. Watsuki’s artwork remains as crisp, clean and action packed as ever, and the Act Zero story (the 2nd half of this tankobon) is a really great example of why Kenshin is such a beloved story in the first place. I have nothing but the highest praise for someone who can write this well *and* produce art of this quality. To reiterate – if you’ve never read Kenshin, you’ve missed out, and it’s well worth your time to find out what you’ve been missing.
Covering the full spectrum of comics culture