This episode opens up with a tall man with spiky brown hair beating the crap out of some thugs.
Kenshin, Kaoru, Yahiko, Dr. Gensai and his two granddaughters are all once again at the Akabeko steakhouse in the village. Kenshin overhears three drunks arguing over democracy in the new regime, and one man throws a blind plate, and Kenshin blocks it with his head so it won't hit Kaoru, acting like it was an accident. The same brown-haired man from the opening is sitting in the corner watching this. He approaches the drunks, who get angry at him, and the four of them exit into the street to duke it out. The man, who is revealed as Sanosuke Sagara, wearing a kanji character that means 'Bad!' on his back. He states that he hates seeing the weak being picked on by stronger people, so he in turn deals crushing blows to the drunken fools. One almost pulls his sword, but Kenshin approaches this one from behind, calmly stating that he must reconsider. The drunks flee, and Sanosuke now approaches Kenshin. It appears that he noticed Kenshin intentionally getting hit by the plate, and is intrigued by his skill. He offers Kenshin a duel, but Kenshin, of course, declines.
Later that night, Sanosuke is in a hut talking with a mysterious man... who is revealed to be Gohei, now thumb-less. He contracts Sanosuke to take care of the Battousai, Himura Kenshin. Sanosuke, still anxious to fight Kenshin, agrees, and heads straight to the Kamiya Dojo.
Kenshin senses Sanosuke approaching even before he sets foot in the dojo, and goes outside to meet him. Yahiko and Kaoru follow at a distance. Sanosuke states his mission to Kenshin, and Kenshin is puzzled by this, hearing it come from someone who hates when others pick on weak people. Sanosuke tells him to drop the no-killing act, or else he'll lose the battle. Gohei is seen watching from behind a fence. Sanosuke reveals the Zanbatou, a huge sword that was built during the revolution to take out a soldier/horse with one blow. He rushes Kenshin, who jumps out of the way, flips off a tree, and lands on the other side safely. At this point, Gensai's two grandchildren come out. Sanosuke decides to postpone the battle until they can be alone, and takes his leave, just as the tree limb that Kenshin had rebounded off of falls and smacks Gohei on the head. . .it appears he cut it in the split-second his feet touched it. Kenshin takes the girls back inside, and Sanosuke retreats into the darkness...