The first volume of Rurouni is composed of six chapters.
Chapter 001: The series opens with Kamiya Kaoru, adjutant master of the Kamiya Kasshin School (a sword dojo), attacking a sword carrying man with a star shaped scar on his cheek that she believes to be the Himura Battousai, a legendary swordsman that fought in the end of the Edo era and the man committing murder in the name of her school. She defeats him easily, wherein he states that he's a simple vagabond, or rurouni, wandering through the town. She asks him to explain his blade, where she realizes that it's a Sakaba – an unusual sword where the back edge of the blade is sharp, while the front is dull (reverse of a normal katana). They are then attacked by a large assailant that everyone assumes is the Himura Battousai. The Rurouni saves Kaoru from the attacker and ends up visiting the Kamiya Kasshin School with her. They talk briefly about how Himura Battousai has affected the dojo along with Kaoru's butler, Kiheh, before the Rurouni leaves.
A few days later, Kaoru and Kiheh find the Rurouni again, being harassed by the police for openly carrying his sword (an actionable offense in the post-samurai world). Kiheh bribes the police to leave the Rurouni alone as Kaoru and the Rurouni talk about the killings again. She gives him a belated thanks for saving her the other night before the Rurouni leaves to investigate a dojo that may contain the alleged Himura Battousai – he seems to have been seeking it since he left the Kasshin school. When he arrives, he is soon surrounded by assailants after asking for the Himura Battousai. Meanwhile, back at the Kasshin School, Kiheh reveals that he is the head of the Kekeikan, a crime family that has been using the reputation of the Himura Battousai to discredit the school so they could buy the devalued school out right. His brother and the rest of their gang has shown up to force her to sign over the school so they can own the land. Kaoru fights back but she is soon out matched. Just before she is forced to sign, the Rurouni shows up, having defeated the rest of the gang. After exchanging some words, he quickly defeats the gang, with the exception of the two head brothers. Kaoru guesses that the Rurouni is indeed the Himura Battousai before the larger brother launches his attack. Through his speak and attack, the Rurouni confirms his identity and defeats the larger brother. The Himura Battousai apologies for not telling Kaoru of this, but explains that he does not like to discuss his identity if possible. Having defeated the false Himura Battousai and helped Kaoru, he turns to leave. Kaoru then asks the Rurouni to stay and help her run the school. After some dialogue, he reveals his name as Himura Kenshin and agrees to stay for a little while.
Chapter 002: While talking to Kenshi at the dojo, Kaoru is frustrated as none of Kasshin School's students have returned after the defeat of the false Himura Battousai. Kenshin and Kaoru visit town to shop and part ways briefly. A cab pulls up and an important looking visitor to the town asks for directions to the police station from Kaoru. She tells him, he thanks her and leaves – Kaoru pauses to reflect on the matter before running to catch up with Kenshin. The visitor reveals to the reader that he is looking for the Himura Battousai after Kaoru leaves.
When Kaoru catches up with Kenshin, she finds that he is being again harassed by the police for openly carrying a sword. A unit for sword bearing police show up and continue to harass Kenshin. The new unit of police eventually threaten to arrest the entire audience viewing this commotion and draw their swords to kill any who resist. Kenshin draws his sword and threatens the police unit to leave the crowd alone.
The scene flashes to the visitor seeking Kenshin at the police commissioners office, who states that he has been seeking the Himura Battousai for years to reward him with a government office as thanks for his actions in the war. He thinks he is at another dead end when an officer interrupts the meeting to announce the skirmish that the sword carrying police are in to the commissioner. He mentions that the assailant has a star shaped scar on his cheek, which gains the interest of the visitor, who knows it must be the Himura Battousai. The visitor rushes to the scene of the fight, where Kenshin has defeated almost all of the police unit. As the battle finishes, the visitor rushes to Kenshin, who Kenshin recognizes as Yamagata Aritomo, the general of the Ishin Shishi, the strongest unit of the Emperors Army. Arimoto offers Kenshin a position in the new era government, but Kenshin refuses, preferring to protect people with his sword as he always has. Aritomo protests, but Kenshin is firm. The issue ends with Kaoru considering Kenshin in a new light, as she begins to understand why the famed Himura Battousai became a vagabond instead of joining the new government.
Chapter 003: The issue opens with Kenshin getting his wallet stolen by a young pickpocket that Kaoru catches. The Kaoru gives the wallet to Kenshin but Kenshin gives the wallet to the pickpocket, telling him not to get caught next time. The pickpocket states that he does not need charity, as he is Myoujin Yahiko, the son of a Tokyo samurai. Yahiko leaves and the Yakuza he works for finds him, seeking his monthly payment. He refuses to pay and he is brought before the head of the family to be punished. He stands his ground against the family and refuses to steal for them anymore. The head of the family ridicules him and his family before he physically lashes out and defends his name. The Yakuza move to attack him but Kenshin breaks into the meeting, saving Yahiko. Kenshin defends Yahiko and asks for his freedom. Yahiko is to proud to admit that he needed Kenshin's help but they leave together, walking past a hallway filled with men Kenshin defeated to save Yahiko. Yahiko tells Kenshin that he wants to be strong to defend his family's honor. Kenshin brings Yahiko to Kaoru and has him enroll in the school as a new student.
Chapter 004: Yahiko's training is not going well for Kaoru as both are stubborn and refuse to work well with each other. Soon, former students of the Kasshin school show up at the dojo seeking shelter from attackers – they claim that they are harmless victims in this situation. Yahiko stands her ground but soon retreats as an entire gang are coming for the former students. While Kaoru, Yahiko and the students discuss the situation, the gang produces a large gun called a Mokuhou and blows down a wall of the dojo. Kaoru discovers that the students provoked the gang into attacking by drawing their swords first. The gang attacks again and Kaoru decides to offer her life to protect the rest of the people in the dojo. Yahiko defenses Kaoru and chastises her for her foolishness. Kenshin arrives on the scene and the gang attacks him with the gun. Kenshin cuts the large bullet in half, causing the gang to quickly disperse in front of his show of power. Kenshin kindly asks the former students to leave, to forget their former association with the dojo and to never pickup a sword again. The issue ends with Yahiko deciding to be a better student for Kaoru.
Chapter 005: This issue opens with the reader meeting a new fighter that has defeated all the attackers in whatever room he is standing in. This fighter is carrying a wrapped weapon and announces that he is seeking a new challenge.
At the Kasshin school Karou has found a painting that she hopes to sell to gain some money for the dojo. Karou, Kenshin and Yahiko go to town to sell the painting, but go to a restaurant first. An argument between near by patrons gets out of hand and Kenshin gets hit in the head with a bottle. Yahiko asks them to apologies and the situation quickly escalates. The new fighter challenges the drunk patrons to a fight, where he quickly defeats them. He recognizes Kenshin's power and challenges him to a fight. Kenshin declines and the fighter leaves. As he walks away, Kenshin seeks that he has the kanji for “evil” on his back, which causes him to pause and consider the fighter.
Later, the Kekeikan brothers from issue 001 are in a meeting with the fighter to have him kill Kenshin. He agrees, but only because he wants a challenge. The fighter learns that Kenshin is the legendary Himura Battousai, which excites him. The issue ends with the fighter announcing that he is the street fighter Zanza.
006: The issue opens with the Kekeikan brothers acting worried that Zanza might have run off as it has been two weeks since they issued him the challenge. Zanza cryptically announces that he's just been in the fight before leaving. Zanza goes to the Kasshin school and challenges Kenshin to a fight. He tells Kenshin of his past, which he has apparently been learning about in the past two weeks. As the fighters line up for the battle, the Kekeikan brothers creep up with a gun, seeking to shoot Kenshin after the battle, should Kenshin win. Zanza calls them out of the bushes and he destroys their gun, seeking to get rid of stupid interruptions to his fight. Kenshin and Zanza leave the dojo and walk to the river to fight. As the battle begins, Zanza announces his real name as Sagara Sanosuke. He reveals that his wrapped weapon is a Zanbatou, a giant sword meaning to kill horse mounted infantry. Zanza and Kenshin start to fight and Kenshin fails to defeat him with a single blow as he has done with all his challengers up to this point, making Kenshin's audience is fearful for his success. The issue ends with Zanza and Kenshin exchanging taunts.