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Many and grateful thanks to [livejournal.com profile] 99me for translating the first 3 chapters of volume 21 of Mirage of Blaze for those of us who get baffled within the first two characters of a Japanese sentence. It is wonderful to sit down and read MoB again, and volume 21 has a lot to offer thus far.


SPOILERS follow:

By the end of chapter 3, we have already encountered our four principal Yashashuu and gotten a mention of Irobe. (Poor Irobe! The buck has stopped with him again.) Our principal four all get a good showing. Haruie is haggard but indomitable as a prisoner of the Oda. She's always pulled her weight, but it's nice to get dramatic illustration of how psychologically strong she can be under tremendous duress.

Chapter 1 also introduces us to the infamous betrayal of Nagahide, which I'd rather thought came later. Now, not having access to most of the story, all that I know about his selling out to the Oda comes from bits of hearsay on forums and my own common sense. I feel like both indicate that the betrayal is not actually for really real. To me, the dead give in chapter 1 is Nagahide's lack of any sign of remorse. That he'd choose to reject the Uesugi I could maybe, barely believe but not without some indication of pangs of conscience. The fascinating part, however, is that Haruie seems to believe it. Now, for all I know, she's just pretending, but if she's not, it says a lot about the delimitation of their relationship across 400 years (and/or a lot about how ragged she's really been run by six months in prison). I shall stay tuned with anticipation.

Naoe is predictably a mess after losing Takaya. We don't see a lot of him, but what we see is very Naoe: the self-destructive collapse followed by gradual pulling himself back together just enough to go back in search of Takaya, all punctuated by much angst over abandoning the Uesugi but no doubt as to his course of action.

Takaya is also very Takaya, and I love this Takaya: solitary, snippy and unlikable, all in the service of protecting others from the onnen that has infected him. I enjoyed his chat with Ushio and look forward to more Ushio, who spent his first few pages in an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood: it was cute. I have always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you, Ushio.
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