In the manga and anime, Rurouni Kenshin, supporting character Sagara Sanosuke is a freeloader, a gambler, a bum, a moocher and every restaurateur's worst nightmare because he has a penchant for skipping out on his bill or racking up a huge tab. Sekihara Tae of the Akabeko learns this lesson early on in Rurouni Kenshin.

Born into a peasant family in Shinshuu during the founding year of Manen (circa 1860), Sanosuke runs away to join the Sekihoutai when he is nine years old. Under the leadership of Sagara Sozo, Sano and best friend Tsukioka Katsuhiro go through Japan, bringing farmers in each prefecture over to the revolutionary side by promising to halve taxes. Captain Sagara tells Sano and Katsu of the revolution: "Our struggles will decide if it comes in one year or ten".

As it turns out, Captain Sagara never lives to see the revolution become a reality. Due to financial difficulties, the new Meiji government decides it can't stand behind the promise to lower taxes. The Sekihoutai are labeled as fraudulent and the soldiers hunted down and executed.

Because they were left at base, Sanosuke and Katsu are the only survivors when Captain Sagara and the others are killed and beheaded as a warning. For the next ten years, Sano grows more and more bitter and lives his life as a fight merchant, under the name Zanza. He uses the giant Zanbatto as his weapon and never loses a fight.

In the eleventh year of Meiji, Sano is hired by some local thugs to beat up a certain red-haired swordsman. Can Zanza beat Himura Kenshin? You'll have to read the story to find out.