Young Kaoru, heiress of a respectful Döjö in Meji-Era Japan, meet a wandering ("rurouni"), master-less samurai. She confronts him, as she thought he is the infamous killer "Battousai", but he saves her life from the one who's calling himself "Battousai" and it's making a bad reputation of Kaoru's deceased father's Döjö.
The Imperial Police are looking for Himura Kenshin at Kaoru's dojo. Kenshin is out, so Kaoru sent Yahiko to town to warn him. Soon they will be faced with violent policemen and Kenshin will meet again with someone from his past.
During lunch at a restaurant, Kenshin and the group faces three drunken bandits, calling themselves "pro-democracy". They soon prove their double-standard, threatening innocent people. A young man appears and defeat the men. Later he is introduced as a "fighter-for-hire", known as "Zanza", and he will be offered to fight against Kenshin under contract.
The young man known as "Zanza" will finally have his match against Kenshin. "Zanza" is no ordinary fighter, he's the only one who mastered the use of the giant sword "Zanbatou". He's also an orphan, who was under Captain Sagara teachings, a leader of the "Sekihötai". He holds a huge resent against the "Imperialists", which he sees represented in the figure of "hitokiri battousai", Kenshin Himura.