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Reborn to Salvation is 48th episode of anime
The hidden depths and trampled life of Yukyuzan Anji now come to light. But as his tale concludes, wrath and hatred against the world begin to consume him even further! With every brutal blow of the Futae no Kiwami lacking against the willpower and spirit of its wielders, Sanosuke and Anji, the two wail at each other in anger and ferocity, continuing to clash their resolves. At the end of it all, it is not about who will win- Who will realize the truth first?
Ten years ago, upon the end of the turbulence of the Meiji Revolution, amongst the clutches of winter, a small village awaited the calls of spring. Outside of the village, a small Buddhist temple, whom had a caretaker monk, and five orphaned children, lived there peacefully beyond the flames and bloodshed of war in calm and still peace.
There were some days that the children misbehaved and played pranks on another, and to Tsubaki, the eldest sister of the children, she always had come to chastise and scold them for their trouble. One day, when the boys were stealing each other's toys, even to the caretaker monk who wanted them to behave, she expressed that he too needed to behave proper, to turn his face into like that of a demon for the sake of the children's discipline.
Day by day, the children played and learned, while the monk taught them and took care of them to raise them into good people. But, one day, the village elder and two of the strongest men came to their home. As they talked with the monk, they expressed that the temple they lived in will be torn down soon, as the new government did not like Buddhism for the acts they did in the past. For the sake of the orphaned children that he took care of, he defended their home, but the men also told him that the children came from families that fought the new government during the wars, and were also not liked in the village.
As the elder and the men left, the children, hearing everything that the men said to the monk, asked him if they were really going to make them leave their home. He comforted the children, and told him everything was going to be alright. Knowing that the small village was to be in the past, he told the children that they would all be moving soon, and they were all delighted to go to another city. In his heart, the monk prayed to Buddha and wished for the welfare and safety of the children, knowing of how much they had to go through.
At night, as the children fell asleep, the monk left for a final exercise, meditating under a waterfall. But when he was away, his home was covered in fire so bright, even he could see it in the distance.
The monk ran as fast as he could to the burning temple, and shouted all of their names to know if they got out. As he got to the entrance of the temple, a large staff hit him hard on the head, and the monk fell to the ground, hurt and bleeding. In pain, and unable to do anything, the man prayed from the depths of his heart, for Buddha to save the children, trapped inside the burning temple. As he prayed and prayed, the man fell into a deep sleep.
The next day came, and the sun rose on that cold winter morning. As the monk got up, the temple was all burnt down, all black and charred, the fire having consumed all. Looking around, he could only look forward. The children, did not survive the fire, and they died, surrounding the statue of Buddha for his safety. In sadness and agony, the monk screamed with all of his pain in his heart. Angry and upset, the monk cried tears and punched Buddha in the face, having prayed with all of his heart. His faith in Buddha was gone. Staring at the ground, the monk felt the cold wind all around him. To Tsubaki's hand, he touched her with his fingers. The monk then wiped his eyes with her ashes. From that day on, the monk was consumed in vengeance and hatred.
Five years later, the monk grew immensely strong. On a full moon, the monk came back to the small village, learning of why the elder and his men set fire to his home and killed the children within. Walking to his house, the monk killed both of the village's strongest men by punching them as hard as he could. Before him, the monk made his way to the elder, cowering in fear and begging for his life, for his mercy, and said that he did not burn down the temple. The monk ignored him. He grabbed the elder by the head, and with all of his might, with both hands, he pushed harder and harder, staring at him with fury and wrath. Namu Amida Butsu, was all he had to say to him. The elder died, as his head was crushed into nothingness by the monk's raw strength. The monk, fallen from grace and consumed by wicked wrath, completed his act of vengeance, for the sake of the children.
Anji, before Sanosuke, Kenshin, Saito, and Yumi, has finished his tale of his own life's dark turn and bereavement. Renouncing the world as a place scarcely deserving the deliverance of salvation, his fury rises to its peak, yelling further, that until the day that those children are reborn into the world once more to escape the cycle of Samsara, he will never lose a battle and never stop destroying, as Anji the Myoo.
Kenshin, wishing to mediate Anji, for his sake to discontinue his path of blind fervor, cannot speak further, as he is beyond reasoning at this point, and Sanosuke steps in and formally halts him in light of this truth, as his own battle begins once more. Seeing his mentor's vengeance possessing him into a fanatical rage, Sanosuke, frustrated beyond words and common expression, explicitly damns the world for the situation that now has come about. Throwing down his coat and with Anji ripping off his own vestments, they charge at each other, beginning only the first blows of a brutal battle.
Stepping in with a straight dash, Sanosuke lands another blow onto Anji in his midsection, but as he remains unfazed, Anji returns with a counter by slamming onto Sanosuke's back with a double clenched hammerfist. Sanosuke, feeling that huge impact, dismisses the pain and returns with a right hook, with Anji retaliating with a large left. Sent flying back, Sanosuke turns around and punches Anji in the chest. With his eyes staring up at his mentor, he asks him: Why is it like this? Muddled and in frenzy, Anji punches at Sanosuke in the face. As he is sent flying, Sanosuke flips in recovery and runs straight at Anji, with their blows descending further into wild swings and exchanges. Explaining to him and shouting at Anji, that he is only what Sanosuke used to be, that his anger overtook him where it blinded his heart, all in the deaths of those who they inspired and admired, Sanosuke purposely takes a punch, and halts it, telling Anji off that he is nothing but a sack of coal with a chip on his shoulder. Anji, lost in obsession and vindication, shouts back that he does not know about anything, but Sanosuke punches at his face, refusing to hear any excuses from his mentor.
At the balcony, watching the two endlessly brutalize each other, both Saito and Kenshin can only witness the fearsome might of the Futae no Kiwami, known to pulverize all that it touches as a trumping attack, be only merely like that of rhetoric action, like that of a simple strike, between them. Kenshin, analyzing the battle, deduces that the two are unflinching and unstoppable due to their wills that drive them, beyond the pain and ignoring the damage done, but Saito notices an edge that Anji has been hiding for a while, desiring to know what purpose that sword has for him.
After the final blow by Sanosuke, Anji jumps back, and pulls out his sword. Realizing only seconds too late, Anji then performs a Kiwami Touate, sending a pulverizing shockwave that reverberates through Sanosuke and sends him flying. As he gets back up, Sanosuke then jumps to escape the next wave of the Kiwami Touate. But as Anji has read his motions, Sanosuke throws his right fist, clashing with Anji's left.
In a split second, time stops, the two absorbed in the duel between them. Communicating with their fists, Sanosuke tells Anji that he must let go of his hatred against the world, and that he must let his wounds begin to heal, but Anji states that he only has deep scars, and are the only things left to him in this world. Stating that pain means nothing to him, and that his dark quest of destructive rebirth as Anji the Myoo is what those children wish for, Sanosuke has had enough. Having pushed his limits and patience, Sanosuke immediately bursts his fist wide open, sequencing his attack into the Sanjou no Kiwami. Striking Anji with a threefold attack, he demands him to take a wide look at the ihai that he carries with him, and that the children within cry tears, as they are covered in blood that he has shed.
Flashing back to his final moments with Tsubaki, Anji remembers her wishing for all of time to stop in the sake of everyone's happiness, and that, no matter what, Tsubaki would always be by his side. Anji, realizing the man that he has become, closes his eyes, shedding tears of blood, and alone, in the darkness all around, reflects upon the terrible things he has committed. Kneeling in shame, penance, and grievance, five souls that shine behind him, remind him that no matter what he has done, what sins he has committed, Buddha will always forgive him. As the souls depart, Anji turns around, and realizes who is talking to him- the children that looked up to him. Reminding him that they are a family, and that they will be together, no matter what, beyond even the boundaries of life and death, the children coalesce into a golden light into the distance. Shining brightly before him, the third eye of Buddha summons back Anji into the living world.
Rising up from his unconsciousness, Anji sees Sanosuke, worn and powerless, lying on the floor. As he approaches him, Sanosuke sees that he has changed, through his eyes, and that he now has a second chance at life. Though Anji wishes it were to be that simple, and that the world cannot be saved with kindness alone, Sanosuke tells him that the children he looked after were saved by his kindness, before passing on into the next life. For the sake of all of them, Sanosuke states that Anji cannot die. In realization of his ways, and enlightened to the truth, Anji, in bitter yet benevolent loss, confesses to his errors, having lost the will to fight.