The Jinchū Arc is the third and final arc of the Rurouni Kenshin manga. It begins when Himura Kenshin is confronted by his brother in law, Yukishiro Enishi, whose sister (Kenshin's first wife, Yukishiro Tomoe) was killed by him 15 years ago right in front of his eyes. The arc involves Enishi leading a campaign of 'Jinchū' (human punishment) with his own band of warriors against Kenshin and his allies in the hopes of plunging him into a living hell and making him suffer as much as possible. It spans through volumes 18-28, or more specifically, covers chapters 152 to 255 of the manga, but was never animated due to the cancellation of the anime in 1998. This arc is preceded by the Kyoto Arc.
The Six Comrades Edit
Enishi seeks to inflict the most cruel revenge upon Kenshin, by making those he cares about suffer right in front of his eyes. However, what he doesn't know is that Kenshin's killing Tomoe was a mistake, that his true intent was to protect her, even if it meant dying and that Tomoe's death left Kenshin badly grief-stricken. Enishi organized and spearheaded a union of warriors known as the Six Comrades, with the Ninja puppet master Gein being his right-hand man. The 6 of them began attacking places associated with Kenshin in any way, such as the Police Chief's house (and family), which was attacked by Otowa Hyōko and Inui Banjin as well as the Akabeko, which was blown up by Kujiranami Hyōgo (luckily, no one was inside at the time).
Kenshin and his best friend, Sagara Sanosuke managed to protect the Police Chief, but Hyoko and Banjin escaped the battle. This was all merely the beginning of the true sinister plan at hand.
Enishi's Sinister Plan for Revenge Edit
A little while afterwards, Enishi appears before Kenshin, who immediately recognizes him and upon seeing him is struck by the image of Tomoe. Enishi tells Kenshin how he suffered for years, following his sister's murder and how he spent countless days and nights hungry, sick and alone in China and that he eventually managed to become a mastermind arms dealer, leading a gigantic organization that sold illegal arms. He also admits to having armed Shishio Makoto with the Rengoku, although he says that he would not have done so, had he known that Shishio was seeking to hunt down Kenshin and was glad that Kenshin survived the war against Shishio and his henchmen since he wanted revenge all to himself.
Enishi reveals to Kenshin, his plan, saying that in 10 days time he and his comrades will lay siege upon the Kamiya Dōjō. He says that Kenshin will suffer by his hands, just as he had suffered for years, following his sister's death. Kenshin tells Enishi that he alone is responsible for Tomoe's murder and that the others should not be involved, saying that Tomoe would never wish for such a thing. Enishi disagrees, believing that everyone associated with Kenshin and Japan itself is most deserving of justice and punishment. Enishi bursts with rage upon hearing Kenshin mention Tomoe's name and throws his pistol directly at Kenshin's face, hitting him hard and leaving a bruise. He tells Kenshin that if he dares to mention his sister's name again, he'll order 10 Rengoku ships to burn Tokyo to the ground. He then parts and tells Kenshin to be prepared, also saying that being a mastermind arms dealer is only the first of his great skills and that Kenshin will know about the other skill when the time comes (the other one being his superb skill at the art of Kenjutsu).
Sorrowful past Edit
Kenshin goes back to the Kamiya Dojo and says that he is going to take a nap after being assaulted verbally and physically by Enishi. Kaoru notices that Kenshin seems to be very worn out, like he has never suffered so much in his life as he just had. Kenshin unable to figure out how to atone for killing Tomoe finds himself in Hell, and realizes that he is just as worthy of being in Hell as Shishio is. To his dismay, he also finds Kaoru in Hell, and is so distraught when he sees her he drops the honorific for the first time in the manga. He wakes up screaming when he sees Tomoe's face in his nightmare, covered in sweat and panting heavily. Kenshin notes that the ghosts of his past are getting to him, to the point of where he is going insane; to make himself feel better he goes into the dojo to where Yahiko and Kaoru are fencing. He notices that Yahiko can sense the impending crisis, which makes him train harder. Kaoru asks Kenshin if he is feeling alright since he would appear to still be spacing out and looking miserable. Kenshin thanks Kaoru for her concern and holds her arm noting that her warmth is comforting and real, as is the sweat and wounds from Yahiko's training. Finally he realizes that he must reveal his past to his friends and tells everyone the true mastermind behind the operation, i.e. Enishi whom he refers to as his "brother", but then corrects himself, calling him his "brother in law" and the brother of "Himura Tomoe", his wife whom he murdered with his own hands.
This part of the arc introduces Yukishiro Tomoe to the Kenshingumi, and it is discovered that Kenshin was married to Tomoe during the revolution, but accidentally killed her. Kenshin had killed Tomoe's fiancé during the revolution during a routine assignment, and Tomoe wanted to take revenge for Kiyosato by killing him. She contacts a group of assassins who instruct her to study him, which she does. After a bloody first introduction, the two slowly begin to know each other, and after two months, Kenshin has very strong feelings towards Tomoe, and decides to marry her and go to Otsú. Tomoe stoically agrees, but her true motive to get close to Kenshin was to find his weak point. Over time, she accidentally falls in love with Kenshin, claiming that he is too gentle to be an assassin. Enishi as a child is then sent to go retrieve Tomoe by the ninja assassins, but she refuses to go back with him. Enishi is deeply upset and confused at Tomoe's choice to protect Kenshin and runs back to the Yaminovu. Later that night, Tomoe decides to open up to Kenshin about who Enishi is and why she was there to kill Kenshin (no mention of Kiyosato) and breaks down crying. Kenshin embraces her by the fire and the two talk about each other's past more in depth. Kenshin says that living with Tomoe has taught him that the only thing he can really do is protect the one's around him and that he will protect Tomoe's happiness to the bitter end. They make love to each other that night (not explicitly shown in the manga like it was in Trust and Betrayal) and Tomoe leaves Kenshin the next morning to tell the ninjas to call off the attack. Kenshin follows where she went, where he is blinded, deafened, and beaten badly until he reaches the cabin with Tomoe. Tomoe learns that she was a part of the plot just to create Kenshin's weakness by making him fall in love with her, and will be killed along with Kenshin since she too is in love, which dishonors the memory of Kiyosato and the Shogunate. Kenshin while fighting a skilled fist-fighter realizes that he will die, and is about to sacrifice his life to kill the assassin saying he just wants Tomoe to live in peace. Tomoe at the last second jumps in between the two and she along with the fighter die from Kenshin's blade. Enishi witnesses her death and his hair turns white out of shock. Kenshin completely heartbroken returns to their cabin in Otsú and cremates her body and vows to never kill again after the revolution is over. This tragic backstory created the non-killing and insecure Kenshin that is shown in the Meiji Era.
The True Meaning of Jinchuu Edit
When Enishi finds out about Kenshin's blossoming feelings towards Kaoru, he comes up with a sinister trick to destroy Kenshin emotionally and spiritually. Enishi knows that by "killing" Kaoru, it will send Kenshin into the same living Hell that Enishi went through when Tomoe died. He succeeds and leaves behind a professionally-made decoy of Kaoru with a sword in her heart, making everyone believe that she had been murdered. Upon seeing her corpse, Kenshin has a complete emotional breakdown, claiming that he is worthless for being unable to protect the dearest person to his heart. He runs off to the slums of Tokyo, where he remains until being discovered by Sanosuke's friends two weeks after the incident happened at the Kamiya Dojo. With his soul completely shattered, he wanders in and out of consciousness and frequently sees himself in Hell, where he begs Shishio to take his life. His friends' words cannot reach him, and the Kenshingumi splits up. Eventually, Tomoe's father meets Kenshin, and after a week of talking to him, Kenshin leaves the slums when he learns that Yahiko is in danger.
After saving Yahiko, Kenshin passes out from exhaustion and has a dream. He sees Tomoe in his dream and she tells him that all she really wants is to see Kenshin and Enishi happy. At the end of his dream, Tomoe tells Kenshin that he needs to go to Kaoru and be happy with her. Kenshin wakes up mentally revitalized and proclaims to the group that it was time to save Kaoru. The Kenshingumi goes to rescue her on Enishi's island. A battle between Kenshin and Enishi follows and after an exhausting duel that lasts for several chapters, Kenshin wins by exploiting Enishi, as he has no defense when using his nerves of insanity. After the fight and saving Kaoru from death, Enishi escapes custody and disappears into a similar village Kenshin himself went into and unknowingly meets his father again, whilst Kenshin and Kaoru return home to live together.
Four years later, in 1882 (Meiji 15th year), Kenshin is married to Kaoru and has a three-year-old son named Himura Kenji. Kenshin encounters Kaoru's student, Myōjin Yahiko, who taught himself his own sword style during the past four years. They have a spar in which Kenshin barely wins. As a sign of Yahiko's coming of age, Kenshin gives him his own reverse blade sword.