Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚- Rurōni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Rōmantan?), also known as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The fictional setting takes place during the early Meiji period in Japan. The story is about a fictional assassin named Himura Kenshin, from the Bakumatsu who becomes a wanderer to protect the people of Japan. Watsuki wrote this series upon his desire of making a shōnen manga different from the other ones that were published in that time, with Kenshin being a former assassin and the story taking a more serious tone as it continued. The manga initially appeared in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump from April 11, 1994, to November 4, 1999. The complete work consists of 28 tankōbon volumes, while years later it was reprinted into twenty-two kanzenban volumes. Studio Gallop, Studio Deen and SPE Visual Works adapted the manga into an anime series which aired in Japan from January 10, 1996 to September 8, 1998.
Besides an animated film, two series of original video animations (OVAs) were also produced. The first adapted stories from the manga that were not featured in the anime, while the second was also a sequel of the manga. Writer Kaoru Shizuka has authored three official Rurouni Kenshin light novels which were published by Shueisha. Several video games have also been released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable consoles. The United States release of the manga has been completed by Viz Media. Rurouni Kenshin is subtitled “Wandering Samurai” in some English releases. The TV series was later licensed in North America and released on DVD by Media Blasters.
The first two seasons aired on the United States Cartoon Network as a part of the Toonami Block, while the third season was only featured in DVD. The English-language versions of the OVAs as well as the film were originally released as Samurai X, although the original title was included in the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. The first light novel has been translated by Viz and distributed in the United States and Canada. None of the video games of the series have been released in North America. The Rurouni Kenshin manga has sold over 55 million copies in Japan as of 2012, while its anime has ranked among the 100 most watched series in Japan multiple times. The series has received praise and criticism from various publications for manga, anime and other media, with both having received good response on the characters’ designs and the historical setting.