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In the early Meiji era, after participating in the Bakumatsu war as the assassin "Hitokiri Battousai", Himura Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need as atonement for the murders he once committed.

In the story Kenshin is said to revert to the murderer Hitokiri Battousai he once used to be. Why would killing revert his full personality back in to that of a murderer permanently?

NOTE: He did sometimes temporarily revert to his murderous self but soon after gets pulled out of it by people such as Kamiya Kaoru.

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In the OAV series Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal, we get to learn more about Kenshin and his trip from being a simple orphan to Japan's most feared assassin Hittokiri Battousai, and then to the peaceful Ruroni.

As Hittokiri Battousai, he wasn't exactly evil. He had good intentions, and saw assassination as the only way he could help the weak and the downtrodden. Through his interactions with Tomoe, and her final fate, Kenshin begins to realize that he had been doing it all wrong. Helping people by spilling blood was not the way to go. That's when he dons the character of pacifist Ruroni Kenshin, who refuses to kill no matter the provocation or how evil the other person is.

But that conviction is a very hard one to keep, especially for a trained assassin such as Kenshin. He knows that if he slips just once, and kills as a means to an end, he would fall back in to the endless cycle of blood letting that dominated his life as Hitokiri Battousai.

  • Did you mean, OVA? – Madara Uchiha Apr 18 '13 at 16:36
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    OAV and OVA are used interchangeably. Unless one of them has been standardized now. – System Down Apr 18 '13 at 17:20
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He took a vow to never kill again, and that forms the core of his being. During the war his psyche became extremely fragile from killing as he is naturally a kind and good person. Killing required him to bury those parts of himself. When the final battle is over he disappears from the world vowing never to kill again. He heals mostly but he is not stable. If he kills again there is a chance that his mind would break and he would no longer be able to find the parts of himself that were good.

Kaoru is able to appeal to Kenshin's good side as he loves her, which gives him the strength to fight the killer in his heart.

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