The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

Saito is a better role model than Kenshin.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2009 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,443 times Debate No: 8847
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)




This debate concerns the anime Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai (Actually Kenshin was never a samurai.) The fictional story is set ten years after the Meiji Restoration, which makes it about 1878. The main character is Kenshin Himura, a master swordsman and assassin in the war who swears off killing as a consequence of certain tragic events. Kenshin uses a sword with the cutting edge reversed so he will not kill as he fights for justice.

The whole anime series ran for 95 episodes, enough to introduce dozens of characters who interact with Kenshin. Plot themes include redemption, friendship, commitment, and heroism. The series was immensely popular in Japan and among anime fans around the world. The series ran on Japanese television from 1996-1998, and was released on DVD in English from 2000-2002. It remains an anime classic.

The character Hijime Saito is featured in a major plot sequence referred to as the Kyoto Arc. He is a police officer who previously served in a position similar to Kenshin's during the war. He is charged with taking down the very evil dude Shishio, who threatens to take over Japan, and he must get Kenshin's help to do so.

In the video clip, Saito (black hair and determined expression) challenges Kenshin in an attempt to show that Kenshin's skills have dulled since the war, so Kenshin will need to pick up the pace to defeat Shishio. Kenshin's romantic interest, Kaoru looks on.

One reason for the success of the Kenshin series is the interesting set of characters having distinct traits and personalities. Characters that have no quirks or strong traits do not make for interesting fiction, so they are sharply drawn. This leads to various fan quizzes on "What Rurouni Kenshin character are you most like?" That's not the subject here, but it is somewhat in that spirit. I'm asking, "Who is the better role model?" and offering Saito as the preferred alternative to Kenshin. A person who serves as a model in a particular behavioral or social role for another person to emulate. This grants that neither is ideal, because if they were ideal, they wouldn't be so interesting. The context is the role model for dealing with difficult, life-or-death situations as depicted in the series. Kaoru, for example, would be a better role model for teaching grade school.

1. Kenshin's determination to never kill places his friends, including Kaoru, at unnecessary risk. It puts the future of the country at unnecessary risk. In the anime, his serious opponents implode in various ways at critical moments so that Kenshin preserves his pledge, but it's a bad idea to depend upon that happening in real life. Saito has no such restrictions and does what needs to be done.

2. Kenshin is forever vacillating, unable to commit to his love for Kaoru, way past the point where he ought to. Saito is married; he does not fear commitment.

3. Saito is ingenious, thinks long term, and works to a plan. He obtains Kenshin's support in defeating Shishio. He goads Sanosuke into properly preparing himself to be a useful ally in the campaign against Shishio. Kenshin sets some goals, like defeating shishio, but does not formulate a strategy. He plays in by ear.

4. Saito remains focused on what is important. He is stoic and rational. He seeks justice and is not deterred. Kenshin is forever pondering personal considerations that should be subordinate in a life-or-death crisis.

So while Kenshin is a more interesting character because of his hang ups, Saito is better role model for dealing with crisis.

The resolution is affirmed.


Many greetings to my opponent. Lets begin swiftly.


My opponent would have you believe that because Saito is willing to kill his adversaries (a trait which Kenshin does not possess), that this would be him the superior role model.

1) An interesting phrase he uses is "what needs to be done." However, I'd have to disagree with my opponent as killing is most certainly not what "needs to be done." We must keep in mind that the act of killing is an attempt to resolve conflict. In Rurouni Kenshin, it was often employed in attempt to prevent killing However, any resolution from killing is merely going to exist on a short term basis. This is because violence begets violence. Through promoting the message that killing is the way to resolve a dispute, there is simply going to exist more killing in the future. And that's not good especially if it's killing which you wish to prevent or even avenge when you're killing. Indeed, an endless cycle of hatred (and I'm more than willing to clarify on this in the next round if needed).

Kenshin figured this out, thus part of the reason that lead him to atone for his past crimes in the way which he did. The ideals which Kenshin uphold are better for the world than Saito's as they are they don't continue or promote the cycle of hatred which is promoted through Saito's ideals. Rather, they are the ingredients for a more peaceful future.

2) It is because of this so-called flaw that Kenshin is actually stronger (mentally) than Saito. Whereas Saito doesn't have mental fortitude to prevent himself from killing even the evilest of opponents, Kenshin in fact does. Saito is simply taking the easy way out every time he kills.

BOTTOM LINE: In essence, this point demonstrates Kenshin to be a better role model on the basis that his ideals are what can lead to true peace and that they have in fact made him a stronger character than Saito. Peace is the ultimate way of dealing with these life/death situations as it goes about preventing them. :D

On the contrary: At the very end of the Rurouni Kenshin manga, Kenshin is shown married to Kaoru and with a six year old son named Kenji. The reason they did not marry each other any sooner is because they hadn't known one another for very long. In other words, like most successful relationships between individuals, theirs took time to develop.

All of this can be seen in the following chapter of Rurouni Kenshin:

BOTTOM LINE: Neither characters fears commitment, thus this point doesn't favor either my opponent's case or my own. However, I would like to point out the fact that Kenshin has a son whereas Saito does not. Thus, based on that, one could say that Kenshin is more committed than Saito.


I'd have to disagree with my opponent here and question his source as I don't ever recall Saito's intentions being to get Sanosuke to prepare himself. What my opponent doesn't mention is the fact that the only reason Sano's skills had developed was because he had been trained by the Juppanganta member known as Anji. There is absolutely no way Saito could have anticipated that the two would meet each other, much less train together.

In addition, Saito is simply a cynical character and seems to have a fascination with speaking ill of Sano. Even during Sano's fight with Anji, all we do see is constant criticisms from Saito. In fact, Saito didn't even believe Sano would win initially (contrary to what Kenshin believed). This would suggest that Saito is not as analytical as my opponent would have you believe. If anything, this scene proves that he is less analytical than Kenshin.

As for obtaining Kenshin's support to defeat Shishio, this was not Saito's doing. Saito was ordered to do this by his superiors. We can In other words, not Saito's plan, thus not something which he can receive credit for.

We have to keep in mind as to who it was who bested Shishio in battle (after having already fought two different opponents). Kenshin was the one to defeat Shishio. Ladies and gentleman, we have to remember that the battles in Rurouni Kenshin are won by real time tactics and heavy battlefield analyzation. Kenshin being able to best foes which Saito can't only suggest that Kenshin is the superior tactician.

Finally, when comparing the two warriors battle styles, it is clearly Kenshin who is above Saito granted that Saito's techniques are one dimensional and easy to anticipate (since he only relies on the Gatotsu and its variations). We can see this in the vid which my opponent posted as well as the one I posted above.

BOTTOM LINE: Everything points to Kenshin being a better tactician than Saito, not to mention that my opponent's reason for claiming the contrary is based on false premises.


This is actually a reason to favor Kenshin over Saito. Let us note 2:43 -3:02 is the first video I submitted. After that please watch 5:30 - 6:00. The importance of both of these segments is that they demonstrate what both characters believe to be important. For instance, Saito values Ak Soku Zan (in english, slay evil immediately). He even tells Shishio that it doesn't matter if he dies after his battle; killing Shishio is all that is important. Now considering the fact that Saito has a wife at home whom my opponent claims he is committed to, it is most peculiar that'd he say that. On the other hand, Kenshin is shown not only to believe that defeating Shishio is important, but makes it clear that survival and being with his loved ones is important as well (incidentally, this should be taken as evidence that Kenshin is more committed than Saito).

BOTTOMLINE: Granted, I will concede that Kenshin is less "rational" than Saito, but this is by no means a flaw. On the contrary; it is a strength as it is the act of taking others (particularly the ones whom Kenshin means something to) into consideration. Whereas Saito was willing to have his wife (and perhaps anyone else who was attached to him) go through the pain of losing him for perhaps the rest of her days, Kenshin was not willing to do this. He aimed for a result that not only took into consideration what my opponent would deem as important, but also everything else that matters as well. Not to mention that valuing these subordinate matters is what gave Kenshin the motivation to continue battling Shishio even in his poor condition.

===========>MY CASE

Since most of my arguments in favor of Kenshin spawned from my opponent's own arguments in favor of Saito, the additional arguments which I shall simply present one additional argument.


During the Kyoto arc, the main villain twice compares himself or finds favor in Saito's mindset in comparison to Kenshin's. The first is when Shishio notes Saito's behavior at Shingetsu village . The second is in the first video I presented after Saito is shown talking about what he considers to be important (Shishio favors his mindset over Kenshin's). If anything, this speaks for itself. Surely a character who is shown being closely compared to a villain (the main one at that, not to mention someone who personally considers himself evil) is not a worthy role model.

And that'll do it for now.
Debate Round No. 1


1. My first contention was, "Kenshin's determination to never kill places his friends, including Kaoru, at unnecessary risk. It puts the future of the country at unnecessary risk." Con misstated my contention as "SAITO HAS NO PROBLEMS WITH KILLING HIS ENEMIES." I did not assert or imply what Con supposes, and moreover it is untrue that Saito has "no problems" killing people. Saito is completely devoted to justice and never killed anyone unjustly.

Kenshin's evil enemies all end up dead. They arrive at their death by various means including suicide. In the case of the most evil Shishio, Shishio conveniently explodes at exactly the right time. The death of the bad guys protects his friends and country from further harm, which clearly would have resulted had they all not committed suicide or exploded on cue. Using Kenshin as the role model, the message would be "you can count on evil dudes to explode all by themselves, so it is safe not to finish them off." Such a strategy poses the enormous risk that the bad guys won't do themselves in.

Con disapproves of my phrase, "what needs to be done." Con further argues, "Whereas Saito doesn't have mental fortitude to prevent himself from killing even the evilest of opponents, Kenshin in fact does. Saito is simply taking the easy way out every time he kills." That might be a good argument if there were borderline evil-doers who Saito unjustly dispatched. That was not the case. It being an anime, the bad guys who are dispatched, either by Saito or by Kenshin's lucky explosions, are not borderline cases of naughty behavior. They are full-blown homicidal maniacs. Does Con believe that Shishio did not need to be killed? Might Shishio have been rehabilitated by proper counseling? Shishio had super powers that would have allowed to him to always escape prison, so he had to be killed. In other cases there were lives in immediate jeopardy that fully justified the use of deadly force.

Con argues, "The ideals which Kenshin uphold are better for the world than Saito's as they are they don't continue or promote the cycle of hatred which is promoted through Saito's ideals." The assertion that Saito's ideals promote hatred is false, and Con provided no evidence of Saito either hating anyone or promoting hatred. Saito had the consistent attitude of working for justice and never acted otherwise.

2. Con points out that in the manga (graphic novel), Kenshin eventually marries Kaoru. (In the manga, Kenshin also dies at age 39 of tuberculosis.) The last episode of the anime implies a continuing relationship with Kaoru, but not marriage. This debate is about the anime, not the manga. Plot lines are frequently altered when an anime is made from a manga. In any case, my argument is "Kenshin is forever vacillating, unable to commit to his love for Kaoru, way past the point where he ought to." The anime makes in clear that Kenshin's degree of commitment to Kaoru is not keeping up with his true feelings. Kenshin might have committed to his love relationship short of marriage by expressing his feelings, but he did not do that. Kenshin's is not a good role model compared to Saito's model of commitment by marriage.

My recollection of the anime time line is that the story unfolds over about two and a half years, so it's not as if he and Kaoru were just going to the movies on Saturday nights. They went through continual life-or-death struggles together. Intense situations should produce strong bonds quickly. Kenshin was a poor role model in his vacillation. That's true even if there were some other reasons, perhaps tradition, that postponed marriage. Kenshin was psychologically damaged by a previous tragic marriage. That makes him an interesting character, but not a good role model.

3. Con argues that Saito did not originate the idea of recruiting Kenshin to defeat Shishio. If true, that's irrelevant to my point, which is that Saito developed the strategy for recruiting Kenshin and, moreover, for getting Kenshin to further develop the skills Kenshin needed to accomplish the defeat.

Saito goaded Sanosuke by claiming that Sanosuke was weak and incompetent, and that if Sanosuke were to attempt to help in defeating Shishio. However, the story reveals that Saito's true motive was to get Sanosuke to promptly prepare himself. Saito read Sanosuke's character correctly, knowing that the goading would inspire Sanosuke to greater achievement, rather than give up.

Before, Sanosuke left for Kyoto he fights Saito to show he is skilled enough to be helpful. Saito allows it to be a fist fight, which is Sanosuke's greatest strength. Saito beats Sanosuke badly, but it's revealed that Saito did not attack Sanosuke's previously injured right shoulder. Attacking that shoulder would have not only ended the fight quickly, but would have probably taken Sanosuke out of the picture completely with respect to fighting Shishio. Saito agrees to let Sanosuke go to Kyoto, albeit in a grudging way that provokes Sanosuke to continue on the path of improving his skills.

Subsequently, Sanosuke sets out for Kyoto, knocking down trees with single fist blows and repeating to himself that he must get stronger. (This is anime, so knocking down trees with a fist blow doesn't necessary put you in the class to combat real villains.) On the way to Kyoto, Sanosuke meets Anji and is motivated to enter into the life-endangering training that puts him in the shape needed to aid in fighting Shishio.

Saito fights Kenshin to a draw early-on, when Saito is recruiting him, so it's not clear who is the better swordsman. Moreover, my point was about strategy, not tactics. Whether Kenshin was the better swordsman or not, Saito had the strategy for getting him to fight for the just cause. That's a good role model regardless.

Kenshin's defeat of Shishio was the culmination of a group effort in which Shishio was kept fighting for so long that he exploded. Kenshin didn't plan that, it happened fortuitously like all of the other self-immolations that preserved Kenshin's ideals. Saito didn't know exactly how Shishio defeated, but he did know it would take both he and Kenshin and everything else that could be mustered, and Saito engineered that to happen. Kenshin was a loner without a plan.

Con says, "[Saito] even tells Shishio that it doesn't matter if he dies after his battle; killing Shishio is all that is important. Now considering the fact that Saito has a wife at home whom my opponent claims he is committed to, it is most peculiar that'd he say that." There is not the slightest evidence that Kenshin was concerned about sacrificing his life to save the world from evil. He left Kaoru just as Saito left his wife, both risking their lives. The difference was not concern over their lives, but rather with Shishio's life. Kenshin was willing to risk plunging the world into evil in order to preserve a personal vow not to kill. Kenshin's concern put his loved ones at risk for the sake of his personal vow.

In anime, the main evil villain is often shown to have some redeeming characteristic. In the Kenshin series, Shishio's redeeming characteristic is unswerving devotion to a cause. The literary purpose of comparing Saito to Shishio is to elevate Shishio, not to diminish Saito. The comparison also highlights the fallacy of moral equivalence. Unswerving devotion to cause is in fact an admirable characteristic by itself, but it is subordinate to whether the cause is good or bad. It depends upon how it is used. If the message is in doubt, Shishio is shown in hell, setting out with determination to reorganize the place for his own purpose. The hint is that in the context of hell, Shishio's determination might make an improvement.

In stark life-or-death confrontations, the best role model is to avoid unnecessary risk, commit to the cause, and depend upon a strategy, not just tactics. Above all, don't assume your opponent will explode when necessary.



1) My opponent contest my argument concerning his contention by first claiming that Kenshin's evil enemies all end up dead. This is claimed to indicate that Kenshin's problems were solved by luck rather than his ideals, hence such a strategy poses the enormous risk that the bad guys won't do themselves in. However, his conclusion couldn't be further from the truth. For instance, let us take into account the result of Kenshin's battle with Jinei. Although it did result in Jinei committing suicide, the fact of the matter is that Kenshin had already broken his the tendons in his arm that allow him to be a threat while wielding a sword. Taking this into consideration, we can also consider the demise of the first antagonist in the series (Hiruma Gohei) and note that Kenshin simply broke his hands. What do these two instances have in common? Adversaries were completely removed from being considered a threat to anyone without having to kill them. In other words, reliance on luck is not necessary when upholding Kenshin's ideals, contrary to what my opponent would have you believe. Kenshin could have just as easily crippled Shishio from being able to kill anyone else and he most certainly would have if not for the explosion.

2) PRO questions me on whether or not I believe Shishion needed to be killed? I'd say he didn't. I'd even go so far as to claim that he could have been rehabilitated. We have to keep in mind that this was a man who had never tasted defeat and had lived his entire life on the principal of survival of the fittest. Not to mention that in spite of his rash ideas, he was regarded as being highly intelligent. To be defeated, hence proven wrong by Kenshin would have gave him ample motivation to doubt his own philosophy. To add, Kenshin could have simply crippled him as he has former opponents, thus preventing Shishio from being able to escape any prison. I say all of this because this is precisely what occurred during Kenshin's prior battles with Aoshi and Soujiro (minus the crippling part). Both warriors who could be regarded as homicidal maniacs were rehabilitated due both to Kenshin's swordsman's skills as well as his deep understanding psychology (or perhaps just an understanding of fellow warriors).

3) PRO claims that my claim on Kenshin's superior mental fortitude is flawed. His estimation of Saito's character is quite false as Saito was shown trying to kill Kenshin in the very video he posted, in spite of the fact that Kenshin isn't evil, nor was it even his assignment to kill Kenshin.

4) As I said, I would clarify on my comment if necessary. The point I'm getting at with "the endless cycle of hatred" idea is that justification of killing as a means to end conflict is simply going to encourage more killings. Kenshin's ideals are better as they not only don't abide by this "endless cycle of hatred", but they even serve to encourage rehabilitation and become peaceful with one another. As we can see from our current prominent world philosophies, the elimination of blood shead is an effective way to better society.


Even if we are to argue in accordance to the anime, Saito's commitment to his wife is vastly inferior to Kenshin's committment to Kaoru. I reiterate the point I made at the end of the previous round: Saito himself had claimed that it didn't matter if he had died after killing Shishio; killing Shishio (or rather Aku Soku Zan) was all that was important. He wasn't concerned with how his wife would feel about his deathl he was only concerned with his extreme values. This mindset is quite selfish. If there is any commitment between Saito and his wife, it certainly isn't much. On the other hand, Kenshin was clearly shown concerned with getting back to Kaoru rather than stopping Shishio at the price of dying. Fumbling every now and then when it comes romantic opportunities does not compare to this.


1) PRO points out that it's irrelevant that Saito was not the one to originate the idea of recruiting Kenshin,however I'd be inclined to disagree. Once we move past the idea of recruiting Kenshin, the execution of such a plan is hardly a feat. All Saito had to do was fight kenshin to test his strength, only to then tell him about how he was needed in Kyoto. Incidentally, Saito couldn't even do this properly. Instead (as can be seen in the video), Saito is simply lulled into a battle to the death with Kenshin, only for his superior to end up having to clean up his mess. Unless my opponent can explain what brilliance there could have possible been in Saito's handling of an assignment given to him, I'm afraid there is no reason to buy this argument posited by CON.

2) Once more, PRO argues that it was all part of Saito's plan for Sano to be in Kyoto. He explains that Saito's goading was an attempt to inspire Sanosuke to greater achievement. However, this is clearly false we ALWAYS see Saito goading Sanosuke. Even AFTER he was in Kyoto. In fact, he does this all the way up to the battle with Shishio (he even did it during battle as I showed in the previous round). In essence, evidence points to such goading simply being in Saito's nature. I challenge my opponent to present a direct quote which indicates that this was part of Saito's plan. Otherwise, we have every reason to believe it wasn't.

In regards to Saito's fight with Sanosuke, I would request that everyone observe the video to the right:

Notice that Saito DID attack Sanosuke's right shoulder (twice I might add). Everything points to my characterization of Saito rather than my opponent's. If anything, it's more reasonable to believe that Saito's mock battle with Sanosuke was simply a means to show him that he didn't have what it takes to fight in Kyoto . . . only Sano ended up surprising him in the end.

3) Kenshin's defeat of Shishio was only the culmination of a group effort since he had been severely injured in his two previous back to back battles. There is ample reason to believe that a completely refreshed Kenshin would not have required any assistance. Granted, Saito had been injured as well during his initial encounter with Shishio, but he had only been injured by one opponent (one who was inferior to Kenshin's two opponents) not to mention that Shishio himself claims that Saito would not have been able to best him even at full strength. Furthermore, one could say that Saito was just as much as a loner as Kenshin. After all, he had come into the battle with the intents of killing Shishio himself. Aoshi was the only one who was trying to buy time for Kenshin to recover, hence the only one who wasn't a loner in terms of the battle.

Furthermore, when again taking into consideration that Saito was simply "following orders", there's absolutely no reason to describe him as a team player, much less someone with a plan.

4) PRO claims there is not the slightest evidence that Kenshin was concerned about sacrificing his life to save the world from evil. ON the contrary, the second video I provided proves this beyond a notion of a doubt. The flashbacks of what Kenshin's teacher had taught him as well as all those dear to him even leads him to say "The will to live is stronger; stronger than anything else." He was concerned about sacrificing his life (which he had considered being okay with prior to the flashbacks in said video) and he was concerned about the impact this would have.

As I've already discussed, Kenshin's vow is most important as its principals are the ingredients to true peace.

Outta space and time. Will have to drop the last contention I made and concede. :(

Debate Round No. 2


A splendid debate! No trivial topics like the existence of God or freedom of the will here.

The series is about Kenshin, not Saito. Kenshin is certainly the more sympathetic character, and the more multi-dimensional. This debate is not about that, it is about whether Kenshin's indecision or Saito's rational determination is the better role model for dealing with crisis.


1) Con claims that Kenshin takes no extra risk by crippling his early opponents rather than killing them. The problem is that doing just enough damage to cripple an opponent risks either not doing enough to quell future threats or failing entirely and losing while withholding lethal force. In the case of Jinei, Kenshin would have to rely upon being successful in just attempting to cripple as the risk of losing, and also that Jinei would not learn to wield a sword with the other hand or pose a threat in some other way with the other arm. There was also the risk that Jinei was not really as badly injured as it seemed. The same is true of Shishio. The risks are making a mistake and not adequately crippling him or losing the fight entirely due to holding back fatal strikes. The story reveals that Shishio had superhuman recuperative powers, magnifying the risk. One might argue that Kenshin might never make a miscalculation, but our debate is about role models. Every police and military force teaches that if life is at stake, shoot to kill, not to wound. It is too risky to do otherwise.

2) As to Shishio being subject to rehabilitation, especially in the light of the clip in which Shishio thrusts his sword through his faithful woman companion to surprise Kenshin, well, I think any parole board would have trouble after that one. It's purely a debater's assertion that of course rehab is possible. Moreover, we know from the subsequent scene of Shishio setting out to dominate hell after his death that defeat did not prompt him to mend his ways. Shishio was as evil and arrogant as ever. Pro contended that defeat would prompt rehabilitation, but it did not.

As to Jinei, the history of rehabbing guys with a skull head and red glowing eyes is poor. Taking the risk of trying to merely injure a glowing-eyed miscreant, and fortuitous circumstances is not a good model.

The cases of Aoshi and Soujiro were different, because Kenshin was able to recognize that they were not truly evil. Kenshin had the ability to "read souls," which aided his fighting. So that's fine for Kenshin, but again it is not a role model for people without that ability. The role model for those without mystical powers who are charged with saving lives from immediate danger is "shoot to kill." It's too risky to stop short.

2) Pro argues that because Kenshin in mentally stronger than Saito, because Kenshin sticks to his semi-pacifist pledge despite all logic to do otherwise. True. Kenshin would be still stronger mentally if he became a full pacifist and stood by and watched his friends get killed. That would be really hard to do. The debate is not about who is mentally stronger, it is about who is better role model: Kenshin's risk-taking in indulging his philosophy, or Saito's logical decisiveness in pursuit of justice.


The anime reveals, through a remark by the old doctor in Episode 31, that by the time Kenshin leaves for Kyoto he has been living with Kaoru for nearly a year. Yet Kenshin is still unable to commit emotionally. We understand Kenshin's tragic past, but the results of a tragic past is not the stuff of role models.

Kenshin is the hero of the story, so of course he gets a flashback to emphasize his will to live -- and not Saito. the story makes it clear that none of Kenshin's allies are lacking a will to live, despite their not meriting flashbacks. Moreover, all of them are placing their lives at great risk for the sake of the future of their society. No one gave up or only claimed to stick it out so long as they were not injured. Kenshin, however, was the only one worried about escaping without killing Shishio, an unwise concern.


1) Con contends, "Once we move past the idea of recruiting Kenshin, the execution of such a plan is hardly a feat. All Saito had to do was fight Kenshin to test his strength, only to then tell him about how he was needed in Kyoto." Kenshin himself refutes that assertion. As he says goodbye to Kaoru, Kenshin explains, "The battle with Saito taught me that deep inside there is still the Battosai that will never go away." Kenshin then moves from avoiding battle that might cause his dark side to re-emerge to being determined to cope with his Battosai spirit. He moves to the realization that he must live with his dual nature. His decision to go to Kyoto was for the higher good of his country, but also to avoid having to work out the resolution of his dual nature in the presence of his friends. Kenshin rightly felt that would be dangerous. Just telling Kenshin of the need to go Kyoto would not have worked.

Saito knew that a necessary precondition to Kenshin being useful was to awaken the Battosai within. To accomplish that, he had to put Kenshin in an apparent life-or-death situation. To increase the drama of the battle, at that point Saito had been painted as being thoroughly evil. Only later do we learn that Saito had been working as an undercover agent to expose the evil-doers with whom he was associated. The purpose of that plot twist was to make it appear to the viewer that the lives of Kenshin, Kaoru, and Sanosuke were in great danger from Saito's apparent evil. After the true motivation is revealed in the Police Commissioner's office, Kenshin walks collegially with Saito and asks what Saito is going to do. Saito replies, "It's simple. Go to Kyoto." At that point, we know that Kenshin understood the plan behind Saito's provocations.

2) In the clip of the fight between Sanosuke and Saito, it appears that Saito attacked Sanosuke's shoulder wound. Saito even lectures Yahiko that it is fair in battle to strike the opponent's weakness. However, the appearance of attacking the wound was an illusion. After the fight, Sanosuke reflected upon what had happened, thinking, "That creep [Saito] was humoring me the whole time. In the whole flurry of punches not one landed on my wound. He missed my wound on purpose with that first punch too." Saito ended the fight prematurely saying, "If you feel that strongly, then go to Kyoto." Sanosuke leaves for Kyoto saying, "I'll get stronger. I have to get stronger." Saito was not confronting Sanosuke in the first place for the purpose of stopping him. If Saito had wanted to do that, he could have easily killed or permanently disabled him. Clearly Saito's purpose was to make Sanosuke aware that he had to get stronger. Saito's plan worked.

3) Whether or not a "refreshed" Kenshin could have defeated Shishio alone is irrelevant. It would have been unwise for Saito to have planned that Kenshin could do it alone, or that he (Saito) could do it alone. He got both Kenshin and Sanosuke to the showdown with him, and both of them fully prepared to fight. If Kenshin had a plan to do everything alone, that was a much inferior plan. The Japanese origins of anime lead to stressing the value of group efforts, and this was an example.

4) Saito remains focused on what is important. He is stoic and rational. He seeks justice and is not deterred. Saito's paradigm is Davy Crockett ("Be sure you are right, then go ahead.") Kenshin's is Hamlet ("Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them." ) In a crisis, you want Davy Crockett with you, not Hamlet.

Kenshin is more charming, more interesting, and more sympathetic, but Saito is the role model for dealing with crisis. The resolution is affirmed.


Indeed, such a momentous debate should never be forgotten. That crap about science or religion has overstayed it's welcome.

PRO starts off by saying that the series about Kenshin rather than Saito. He uses this to excuse the lack of depth to Saito's character. This is completely understandable, but doesn't excuse the faults that the character has even when looking past his lack of depth.


1) PRO argues that there is simply too many risk in trying to cripple your opponent rather than kill him/her. He points out that one may be able to argue that Kenshin would never make such miscalculations when concerning these risks, but that this debate is about role models. I couldn't agree more. The point I'm getting across isn't to say that all people can be precisely like Kenshin. What I'm getting at is that individuals should attempt to live their lives in favor of his ideals rather than Saito's. What I've posited in this debate is that if individuals in general were to adhere to Kenshin's values on the importance of life, that there would be far less instances of where one is placed into a situation where killing is means to resolve such a situation. The reason individuals back during the time period of Kenshin (and even Saito) were so quick to kill in attempt to resolve conflict is because this ideal is the only one they had ever known. I dare say that if Shishio, Jinei or any other big time Kenshin villain had been raised in our modern era, they most likely wouldn't be fulfilling their ambitions in a manner which results in the deaths of others. In our more modern era, although we still do end up resorting to manslaughter in attempt to resolve conflict, it is most certainly not in the approach or at the rate which Saito or others during his time period have taken up. On the contrary: Police officers put their life at stake every day, but their manor of dealing with criminals is almost always non lethal. The military is a different story (one I'll get to momentarily).

WHY TO VOTE CON: No matter how one looks at it, Kenshin's non lethal ideals lessen the frequency of these crisis's (which we are discussing) by a great deal. Granted, our own modern views still have a ways to go as war is still a pretty ongoing means of settling differences with a different society, but the initial progression which we've already seen based around Kenshin's ideals is reason to believe that more adhering of this ideal could result in wars essentially being a thing of the past as well.

2) Considering the nature of the murders which Aoshi and Seijoro himself have been a part of, their own rehabilitation should still serve as evidence that Shishio could have been rehabilitated as well (which shows that it's not merely an assertion, contrary to what my opponent has claimed) in terms of what a parole board had thought. :D

As for Shishio being shown in hell, we must refer back to my statements in the previous round. They were all based around the notion of Kenshin having been successful in besting Shishio, only to cripple him afterwards. Given that Shishio simply bursted in flames, the duel between him and Kenshin was inconclusive, hence why it makes plenty of sense that Shishio wasn't inclined to change his ways; he was never bested, thus never given reason to believe that he wasn't strong. If anything, he killed himself.

As for Jinei, see my arguments concerning this issue of risk which PRO keeps mentioning.

The cases of Aoshi and Soujiro were not at all different. Both had embraced evil ideals (no different than Shishio). Soujiro had Shishio as a role model for nearly his entire life. All it took was seeing Shishio's ideology proven false for him to amend his ways. Given the siimalarities between the master and apprentice, one could use this as evidence of my assertion that Shishio would have changed had he been bested by Kenshin.

Kenshin's ability to "read souls" is superstitious nonsense at best. His methods were entirely psychological; he had known both Aoshi and Soujiro's philosophies in advance and got to the two to heavily question and doubt their ideals during battle and after actually defeating them. There is nothing strange about this. Being one who embraces psychology is definately worthwhile when it comes to being a role model. This allows one to utilize logic moreso than brute force when settling differences.

2) PRO doesn't explain how having superior mental strength is not a quality which one should take into consideration when considering your role model. Furthermore, I've explained why Kenshin's ideal is more logical all the way in round one. If individuals in general embrace Kenshin's ideals of Saitos, it lowers the rate of these crisis situations which Saito is engaged in and individuals conclude that blood shed should not be used to resolve conflict. A quick comparison of our modern society to the society during the era of Rurouni Kenshin is all the one needs to view this fact in clear detail.


Being out of time, I will concede to PRO's position on Kenshin being unable to commit emotionally and shall simply focus on the fact that Kenshin's value of life is what makes his committment stronger than Saito's/

PRO is incorrect. Saito doesn't get flashbacks to emphazie his will to live not necesarrily because he isn't the hero of the story, but because his own words flat out confirm that his will to live is nearly non existent. Again, refer back to him claiming that he doesn't care if he loses his life provided Shishio dies. It is completely irrelevant that all of them are places their lives at stake. Though this is true, Kenshin comes out ahead in role model status because he values his life more whereas Saito doesn't think much of his own (or his "wife" for that matter)


1) I agree with all of the facts that PRO presents, but his problem is still the same. Where is there any indication that Saito had this planned out all along? Although there were indeed benefits from his encounters, it is illogical to assume that there were only benefits because Saito intended for their to be benefits. Telling Kenshin that he needs to go to Kyoto wouldn't have worked, but there is nothing to suggest that Saito knew this.

And, out of time. Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
A couple of debater's issues: 1. Failing to respond to an argument is not a conduct violation. A conduct violation is either insulting one's opponent or failing to obey the rules of debate. Forfeiting, is the common conduct violation on ddo because it is a discourtesy. Saying merely, "I don't have time to resopond," avoids the conduct violation, but may mean the argument is lost. I don't think there were any conduct violations in our debate. An unanswered argument may be import or, if it was not prima facia, it may be nothing. 2. The number of sources does not determine the "references" category. The question is whether the assertion made by the debater was backed up by an unbiased reference. I don't think references were a big deal in this debate, since the whole Kyoto arc of the series was referenced by both sides. However, in the argument over whether Saito really meant to stop Sanosuke, Con missed the key quotation from Sanosuke in which Sanosuke revealed that Saito had deliberately avoided seriously hurting him. That's an error in using the reference material.

I'm reminded of the moderator's stern admonition on an internet chat forum. The moderator noted that passions ran very high on the subject, and they he went into all the standard warnings about keeping debate civil, etc. etc. The subject of the forum was: barbecue! A subject where passions run higher even than anime.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Edit: "Con's contention . . ."
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
CONDUCT: PRO. CON didn't respond to every argument (though he had a good excuse, it doesn't matter).

SPELLING AND GRAMMAR: CON rushed that last round and the round before. I don't even have to look to know who had better spelling and grammar.

Convincing arguments: I'm not convinced for a moment that Saito's babaric practices make him the better role model, even for dealing with situations of crisis. PRo's contention that Kenshin's ideals result in their being far less death in the first place (in comparison to individuals in general adhering to Saito's practices instead) was quite powerful, but I'm not sure how to weigh the arguments. I personally think that such an argument is the most important, I don't have the heart to vote due to the lousy conduct on CON's part.

Reliable sources: CON presented more sources, thus this goes to him.

Thanks for the debate. Sorry I couldn't give my full attention. Adios :D
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Okay, I don't know why I said what I said in #3 on Contention 1. The point I meant to establish is that is takes more mental strength to resist killing these homicidal maniacs while actively working to rehabilitate them in the heat of battle than it is to simply kill them. For instance, if you saw a serial killer swing a knife at you and had no choice but to fight back, you wouldn't be trying to think of ways NOT to kill this person and perhaps even rehabilitate him/her, would you?

In any case, I hate that I had to cut down on most of my intended rebuttal, but I've at least been able to keep the important points in tact.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
I can relate with all the anime I bother to complete quite well =3=
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
Rez, Yes.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
"My theory is that anime poses worlds too dissimilar to relate to."

Do you mean that anime poses worlds too dissimilar to the real one to relate to?
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
LM, right, it was an OVA, but I couldn't find a specific reference. The problem with these fictional characters is that they are prone to parallel existences in which they do different things.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
NOT RELEVANT TO THE DEBATE (hence I'll post it here): Quick Note: I vaguely remember Kenshin dying of Tuberculosis, but it wasn't in the manga. It took place in some OVA film. If you haven't seen it, I don't recommend you watch it as it is a very depressing film (pointless too). Not to mention that Saito isn't in it. :(
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
I am forever trying to get my fellow old folks interested in anime. Not Naruto or Pokemon, for sure, (boring!) but the really great stuff like Habane Reinmei or even just Miyazake. I can report it almost never works. No interest. My theory is that anime poses worlds too dissimilar to relate to. Young people are still trying to figure out how to relate to the world, so they want more input. My theory is probably wrong, but it's better than no theory.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by rougeagent21 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Alex 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 8 years ago
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