Okay, if you haven't seen the end of the Kyoto Arc (Shishio vs. Kenshin) and do not want to be spoiled about the events of the battle... LEAVE THIS THREAD RIGHT AWAY
Consider this the spoiler warning...
Okay, now the question lies in whether or not it is better to see the Kenshin OVAs before viewing the Kyoto Arc. Remember that originally, in Japan, the OVAs were released after Kenshin TV so there is no problem in that... you have to see Kenshin TV first. ^_^
But when Media Blasters and ADV, the Kenshin OVAs were released before Media Blasters even got close to the Kyoto Arc.
I believe that the Kenshin OVA should be viewed after the conclusion of the Kyoto Arc. Why? It leaves a stronger impact on the viewer for one sole reason: parallelism.
The entire build-up between Kenshin and Shishio's battle is that they are two sides of the same coin. Both were hitokiri for the Choshu Ishin Shishi, both weild swords from the same swordmaker, yet their ideals differ. Then, there's the largest similarity between them: the loss of their loved ones. While Shishio stabs through Yumi to injure Kenshin, Kenshin accidentally slashes through Tomoe, killing her.
Now, I'm sure Mayo Suzukaze (sp?) had no idea about Kenshin's past but her acting during that moment is superb. The anger portrayed in Kenshin was great... but it isn't until you view the Kenshin OVAs do you realize that Kenshin went through something very similar... and that leaves a better impact then seeing Shishio stab through Yumi and going "oh, just like the OVA.. sorta."
That's my opinion anyhow, anybody have anything to say? ^_^;; <-- hopes his post makes sense