Love triangles, a trope that shows up in many media as a convenient plot machine to develop drama in ~ a story, together a narrative an equipment aren’t naturally bad. They’re favor near any other stare device. The efficiency of the maker can change depending on the creator and also how the machine is used. The love triangle as a plot device isn’t secular to western media, yet occurs in anime a lot as well.

Property of Viz Media & Rumiko Takahashi: Kikyo, Inuyasha, and Kagome in a too many dramatic promotion picture.

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In Inuyasha, because that example, one of the mirrors longest overarching plotlines to be the watch never ending love triangle in between Kagome, Inuyasha, and also Kikyo. This love triangle to be terribly done. Kagome was often pushed aside for Kikyo, and it make Inuyasha appear wishy-washy in regards to his emerging romantic connection with Kagome. Repeatedly, Inuyasha appears to “chose” Kikyo over Kagome, never totally acknowledging the Kikyo is her own human being within the story and also capable of making her own choices, specifically when castle both nothing agree v Inuyasha’s very own perspective.

This love triangle didn’t perform the characters any favors. Kikyo come off together cold, and her willingness to kill Kagome the end of jealousy over she being the “alive girlfriend” made she seem petty. Kagome’s narrative to be bogged under by this love triangle and also never being validated through her very own narrative that she was good enough. Inuyasha looked like a meat-headed jerk that couldn’t pick between his former undead girlfriend who stole the souls the young women and also didn’t want anything to perform with him and also his new alive would-be girl friend who sustained her transparent the whole series.

It to be awful, back I’ve been told that is less so in the manga, which bring me to an anime—specifically manga—love triangle the I think emphasizes the ideal the an equipment has to offer. The relationship in between Kaoru, Kenshin, and Tomoe in Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin.

The factor I lug up Inuyasha in direct comparison v Rurouni Kenshin is due to the fact that they share some narrative similarities. Both Inuyasha and also Rurouni Kenshin use a historic backdrop as their setup and pat loosely within that historical playground. Both space filed under the subset that shounen stories and also employ some typical shounen tropes such as over-the-top battles, big cast of miscellaneous fighter types, and finally a love triangle. In both the love triangles of Inuyasha and Rurouni Kenshin, the masculine hero has actually experienced an initial love and also tragic loss of that an initial love. Because that Inuyasha, it to be Kikyo. For Kenshin, it to be Tomoe.

Property that Nobuhiro Watsuki: Rurouni Kenshin volume 26 cover

In a manga-only arc of Rurouni Kenshin, readers learn the full details the Kenshin’s previous as a federal government manslayer—in the anime you can make a drinking video game out that how often someone call Kenshin “Battousai the Manslayer.” that volunteered in ~ thirteen, leaving his Master and also guardian to join the Meiji government’s army. The federal government used his exceptional skills to kill their enemies and also by fourteen, Kenshin had garnered a reputation together a feared manslayer together with severe depression and survivor’s guilt.

It’s here, in ~ Kenshin’s lowest point in the war, where he meets Tomoe. The two don’t have any type of sort of standard courtship. Similarly to Inuyasha and Kikyo’s romantic relationship, Kenshin and Tomoe’s is subtle and also quiet. Tomoe and also Kikyo room both outwardly reserved human being whom don’t showcase much open emotion. They even both betrayal our male heroes; however, the way they’re both cure in the narrative considerably differs.

Tomoe to be an active participate in her betrayal of Kenshin, wanting revenge top top him for killing her former fiance. However, she ends up fall in love through him and attempts to conserve his life in the end. Tomoe’s fate is tragic, yet strangely peaceful. Kenshin accidentally killing her and also while the cries, we watch Tomoe smile for the an initial time due to the fact that her appearance. She finds tranquility in her death, due to the fact that she is able come be v the man she once loved and was able to conserve the male she now loves.

Kenshin and Tomoe’s story is no the manipulated tragic happenings that managed Kikyo and Inuyasha in their own love story. Furthermore, after ~ Kenshin to learn of Tomoe’s betrayal, and also her link with a man he self slew, he never ever blames her. He continues to mourn her, and also her death remains a shackle ~ above his heart even after the battle ends.

Property that Nobuhiro Watsuki: Kaoru Kamiya in Rurouni Kenshin.

This is whereby the second component of the triangle come in: Kaoru. By the moment Kaoru mets Kenshin, he is twenty-eight years old and also wandering the Japanese countryside under one oath to never ever kill again. Much of Rurouni Kenshin centers approximately the themes that redemption and also Kenshin’s oath. The story repeatedly obstacles his views, and Kaoru is a personification that them. Old sufficient to mental only small aspects the the front war, but young enough to have totally experienced their consequences and every its political fallouts, Kaoru fiercely to trust in her family’s method of teaching swordsmanship, the id that swords should give life and be used to safeguard others.

Instantly, after Tomoe’s early introduction, reader can draw parallels to the foiled characterization that Kaoru and also Tomoe. Similarly to Kagome and Kikyo, this foiled facets of their personalities are conveniently identifiable. Kaoru is loud, brash, a young woman that is really open with her feelings and opinions, and both practices and also teaches swordsmanship. Tomoe, by contrast, was quiet, graceful, and also thought of as traditionally beautiful. The two women can easily be pigeonholed into “The Kick-butt action Girl” and “The Perfect Wife,” yet luckily aren’t.

Tomoe is quiet, and also she knows it, even struggles with it a bit. During their short-lived marital relationship (yes, Kenshin got married come Tomoe as soon as he to be fifteen), when town children come to play through Kenshin castle often speak to her “scary.” Tomoe apologizes to Kenshin who defines to her that she’s fine the method she is. This is as soon as Tomoe starts to reciprocate Kenshin’s feelings for her. Then us see various other moments where Tomoe display screens compassion and also kindness in her own subtle ways.

She and Kaoru have this in common. Kaoru is the facility of the Rurouni Kenshin story. She acts as the glue that keeps everyone in the story together. She kindness and acceptance that others because that all your faults and also tragic pasts attract the main cast together to heal and form a sense of family. Kaoru’s compassion is what allowed Yahiko to find out swordsmanship and also grow native a bitter orphaned child into a young man with strong morals and also sense that justice. Kaoru’s compassion allowed Sanosuke to cure from his very own experiences in the war and also create for himself a brand-new family. She sister-like connection with Megumi is just one of both teasing rivalry and deep sit respect.

When Kenshin discover his marital relationship to the group, that is Kaoru that speaks up and urges the to finish his tale. There is concern from the group towards her, everyone discovering she’s in love through Kenshin, but she proves the she is above being jealous. Megumi especially points this out, an overwhelming Kaoru’s obvious easy accept that Kenshin when loved and also was married to one more woman before her.

Kaoru, however, is rapid to shut the line of reasoning down. She open minded admits to respecting Tomoe a an excellent deal. Kaoru see Tomoe’s circumstances as the tragedy of battle that lock were. And when Megumi asks if Kaoru might die for Kenshin like Tomoe was willing to, Kaoru says she wouldn’t, since her dice would only hurt Kenshin.

Property the Nobuhiro Watsuki: Tomoe’s Death

This is whereby the triangle excels. The story doesn’t pit Kaoru and Tomoe against one another in any way, shape, or form. It no emphasize Tomoe’s more traditional traits above Kaoru’s less traditional ones as something great or bad. Tomoe is her very own character, together is Kaoru. They aren’t positioned in such a means that vain is meant to it is in perceived.

Megumi points this the end by saying Kaoru there is no taken right into account the her scenarios are greatly various from Tomoe’s. This, however, is a good thing, because Kaoru is Kaoru and Tomoe is Tomoe.

Near the end of the critical arc, Enshi, Tomoe’s brother that witnessed her death, kidnaps Kaoru after ~ faking she death. ~ above awakening, Kaoru attempts come escape and is struck by him. Enshi is can not to kill her due to the fact that of the trauma of seeing his sisters murdered together a child. The story describes it together Enshi gift unable to kill any kind of young woman who is of similar age to his sister at the time of her death.

The story frames this, and Kaoru later confirms, together Tomoe protecting Kaoru. Her heart watches end Kenshin, Kaoru, and Enshi protecting castle in various ways and enabling them come heal. By the end of the story we see that Kaoru garners stamin from Tomoe that in return protects Kaoru.

Kagome and also Kikyo’s relationship is vastly various in the Inuyasha anime (I have yet to check out the manga), which is filled v strife, jealousy, and attempted murder on much more than one occasion. The narrative of Inuyasha pits Kagome and also Kikyo against each various other in various ways. Native Kikyo gift a far better priestess 보다 Kagome, come Inuyasha’s back-and-forth affections, Inuyasha himself makes miscellaneous passing comments comparing Kagome to Kikyo early on in the anime series.

It may be one unfair comparison, given that Kikyo is undead in Inuyasha if Tomoe is dead by the moment Kaoru and Kenshin meet, though her spirit and presence in the story is no less weighted and also important. What makes the love triangle in Rurouni Kenshin compelling is just how it subverts the competition trope that exists in ~ the story device to begin with. Tomoe and also Kaoru are never ever in competition through each other and not just since Tomoe is deceased.

The story emphasizes both your strengths and also flaws together individual characters. With thoughts and feelings external of their partnership with Kenshin. They exist on your own and aren’t in competition through each other on any narrative level. Kenshin doesn’t to compare them, except to recognize they were both his most person and also carry the weight of their deaths—in Kaoru’s situation fake death—on his shoulders. Kenshin shows nothing but respect and love in the direction of both women throughout the food of the story.

Kenshin, Kaoru, and their son Kenji.

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In the end, Kenshin and also Kaoru get married and end up having actually a child. Their friends go their very own ways and find your individual delight as well. Enshi’s fate is left approximately the reader, however there’s a possibility of the finding his very own redemption under Tomoe’s spirituality support and also continued compassion. Overall, it’s a satisfying ending that offers everyone hope because that the future without emotion shoe-horned or forced.

The love triangle the exists in Rurouni Kenshin isn’t used to draw out drama or store readers top top the edge of who Kenshin will chose, since in the end, the story isn’t about that. Kaoru and also Tomoe weren’t objects because that Kenshin to success or control. The a contrast to exactly how Inuyasha experienced his connection with Kikyo who, after she’s resurrected, swears to she he’ll defeat Naraku and also get revenge for her also though that’s no what she desires. Kikyo has actually no attention in Inuyasha search vengeance on she behalf. She’d quite kill Naraku herself, but then, Inuyasha had actually no attention in respecting she wishes yet rather was focused on his own selfish desires.

It was factors such as that because that why the love triangle in between Kikyo, Inuyasha, and also Kagome was so frustrating to watch in the anime. And why the love triangle in between Kaoru, Kenshin, and Tomoe is for this reason refreshing. One pits the woman characters against each various other for a male character that disrespects both of lock at miscellaneous times during the food of the story. The other gives both female characters their very own individual outlooks top top life and also respects their place in the story. No is in competition because that the other, and also our hero doesn’t place one over the other in any means throughout the story. There’s mutual respect on every sides.

So in the end, the reader can walk away happy the Tomoe, Kenshin, and Kaoru all uncover peace in their lives. When a comparable ending happens in Inuyasha, with The last Act, and I was happy through that ending, ns can’t ever before enjoy the love triangle the existed in the show. It to be messy and damaging in the direction of all three personalities involved. Rurouni Kenshin take it the usual love triangle trope and also revised the to wherein all three characters were respect to a high degree. Out of the two, Rurouni Kenshin absolutely wins out.