← Episode 10
Episode 12 →
|Rōmaji||Saraba Saikyō no Otokotachi! Hikari to Yami no Gekitotsu|
|English Title||Farewell, the Strongest Men: The Clash of Light and Shadow|
|Air Date||April 24, 1996|
March 31, 2003 (US)
PlotEditShinomori Aoshi continues battling Himura Kenshin, giving him an extremely difficult time. Aoshi reminds his opponent that he has nothing against him, but being the strongest Ishin Shishi, he must slay him to take that title for the Oniwabanshū. Kenshin tells Aoshi that despite being a Rurouni, he must stop him from continuing to harm others. Kenshin eventually figures out a way to counter his attack, despite the edge Aoshi has in speed as a result of using a Kodachi - Kenshin holds his sword by the blade, shortening its length and allowing him the speed to attack Aoshi with the sword and then use the hilt of the blade to strike his throat.
Aoshi, impressed by Kenshin's skills, uses his ultimate attack, Kaiten Kenbu, which nearly kills Kenshin, saying afterwards that no one has ever survived that attack. Kamiya Kaoru, Myōjin Yahiko and Sagara Sanosuke all look on in shock, believing Kenshin has been killed. Yahiko, devastated, vows to kill Aoshi at any cost, but Kenshin then stands up and tells the young lad that he is a great student of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū, who should not end his life here. Aoshi is completely startled by Kenshin's recovery and the latter tells him that he had used his sheath as a shield at the very last moment, to lessen the impact.
Aoshi commends Kenshin's skills, saying that he is truly worthy of the title "strongest", but that this title will be taken from him, after he is defeated. Aoshi tries to repeat the Kaiten Kenbu, but this time, Kenshin catches his Kodachi just as he attacks, utilizing the brief instant when he is off-guard, and reverses the momentum, and the hilt of his own blade hits Aoshi hard in the throat. Aoshi realizes the hard impact of the blow and knows he's been defeated, which devastates him. Just as he is about to fly back, however, he lands a hard hit on Kenshin, causing both of them to fall, however, Aoshi is the one knocked out from the exchange of blows, though Kenshin loses his senses for a moment.
Aoshi's students then arrive (Beshimi, Hyottoko, Shikijō and Han'nya), just as Kenshin and his friends plan to rescue Takani Megumi, now that the battle is won. Aoshi does a hand gesture to his underlings, telling them to stay where they are and he asks Kenshin why he didn't finish him off and Kenshin tells him that he is a Rurouni who refuses to take lives. Kenshin asks Aoshi why he doesn't use his extraordinary skills elsewhere. Han'nya and Shikijo tell Kenshin that Aoshi was offered a high-ranking position as an army officer, but turned it down for the sake of his disciples, who had no place to go and nothing to do in the new era, being old-fashioned warriors. Aoshi says that it was his responsibility to do whatever he could for his disciples, since he made them into members of the Oniwabanshu.
Having lost the fight, Aoshi asks Kenshin to end his life and that if he doesn't, he'll target him as many times as it takes to win the title of "strongest" from him. Kenshin has no problem with that, as long as no one else is involved in their battles.
Kanryu says that he has no intention of simply being a drug lord, but wishes to use his proceeds from the opium business to establish himself as an underground arms dealer, selling weapons like the Gatling gun he has in his possession, or in Kaoru's words, being a "merchant of death". He says that Kenjutsu means absolutely nothing and that money is the true determinant of power.
Kenshin, now wielding his Sakabato, is the prime target of Kanryu, who fires towards him. Kenshin charges straight forward and jumps. Just as he is about to be shot like the others, the bullets stop. It is the result of Beshimi's dart, which is stuck in between two bullets, causing the weapon to jam. Kenshin then cuts through the handle of the Gatling gun. Kanryu, seeing Kenshin right next to him with a devastating look in his eyes, begins pleading for mercy and Kenshin tells him to ask his money, hitting him hard in the face with his Sakabato, knocking him out.
The group then heads for Megumi. As they do, Kaoru looks at Aoshi and the Oniwabanshu with a sad look on her face and Kenshin tells her that they were truly the ones who defeated Kanryu's Gatling gun. Aoshi clenches his fists in anger and sadness, having lost everything and everyone he cared about. Aoshi then roars, although the sound is muted.
Meanwhile, Megumi decides to end her life to make amends for all her crimes, thinking to herself that she was glad at having met Kenshin and the others.
At the end of the episode, Kaoru tells Megumi that she is welcome to visit the Kamiya Dojo whenever she pleases and Megumi thanks her and bids farewell to Kenshin and the others, as she goes off on a journey to become a Doctor, under the guidance of Doctor Oguni Gensai. It is revealed that Kenshin was able to use his trust with the Police Chief, to clear Megumi's name, despite the truth behind Kanryu's accusations. It is also revealed that Aoshi and the corpses of his followers were nowhere to be found on the crime scene, when the police had arrived.
Aoshi is then shown standing before the tombstones of his followers, telling them that someday he will place flowers on them, but that he cannot do so now (since he still has not defeated Kenshin and so has not earned the title of "strongest").