|Well-drawn pencil manga with numerous problems.
I know it's supposed to be an action manga, and it's pretty hypocritical for ME of all people to comment on plot, but I think it's fair when of 137 strips, only 7 are combat-oriented: The plot is about as intelligent as...ok, it's stupid. The Kenshin-taken supereasy morality is grating, and the entire thing reads like a wish-fulfillment fanfic.
Then there are the characters, every main one of whom is a such a direct ripoff I pinpointed their origins on the first appearance, long before they explicitly announced their affinity for Rurouni Kenshin: The main character is Kenshin Himura, the other main guy is Largo from Megatokyo crossed with a total misinterpretation of Saito Hajime, the main enemy is Gatts from Berserk, etc. The side characters are the same Anime/Manga stereoarchetypes you see in every Anime/Manga regardless of subgenre.
This wouldn't be a problem if the fight scenes were good...they're not. The extent of the techniques displayed by these "masters" are: horizontal slash, vertical slash, side-dodge. One time there was a one-handed throw that is physically impossible unless you're 5 times stronger than an average man of the same height. One time there was a kick, technically illegal in the kendo setting they were supposed to be in. Another, the Largo guy uses his sheath (GASP! SUPERPOWER!) to PUSH AWAY (not deflect) what's supposed to be a Gatts-styled heavy claymore. Right.
Plus, there's almost no visually-shown fighting at all. Almost all of the "techniques" are rendered as slash lines instead of illustrating the weapon and limb, and in the second-to-most recent fight (4 on 1 fistfight), the entire fight scene occurs off-panel...in a comic that's supposed to be focused on the fighting.
Honestly, I was surprised to read in the forums that the artists knew some (sorta) martial arts, because I couldn't tell and I almost always can by reading the works. The problem is that, while they want to draw Kenshin Himura's basic fighting style (just his...not the other manga's characters' techniques, nor Kenshin's special moves), the artists seem to believe that "Skill" is nothing more than "speed" and "strength."
I know that action is much harder to draw than just copy-pasting stick figures on a couch with word bubbles, but it's not like no one else online does it better:
Falcon Twin <-- uses Aoshi Shinomori's double-weapon-style fighting combined with American Kickboxing moves
Swords are Cool <-- a better-rounded Kendo experience than this, although not as well drawn
Godlike <-- Capoeria/Breakdancing-based fighting with some grappling
Plotless Violence <-- my thing. While everything I draw is ugly, at least I show more than the same 3 moves over and over.
Occasionally, Emerald Blades is funny. But I think it's fair to evaluate it as an action manga given it implies that IN THE NAME.
Now, I'll still keep up with this webcomic because I have a high tolerance for bad kung fu plot, want to study their art style, and love webcomics, but I can't say I could recommend it to anyone who isn't as obsessed with those things as I.