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I just finished reading the part of volume 24 generously translated by [ profile] 99me. Many thanks to her for the enjoyable reading experience! This volume is a bit difficult for me because I haven't read vol's 22 or 23, but below the cut are my impressions and some questions...

Spoilers Follow:

Naoe and Takaya... I'm really not sure. There's much to like in their interactions in 24.13-24.16, yet I'm partly annoyed. The boys are behaving badly to each other again, and they're behaving so badly and with such little insight into each other that I find it hard to sympathize. Naoe is pretty much raping Takaya again (or very close to it)--to this credit, he actually realizes that's what he's doing this time and backs off a bit. Takaya, however, does even worse: he makes a rather serious attempt eradicate Naoe's memories of him. In Farscape term, he mind-rapes him.

Now, I can make the usual excuses for them: the emotions are running very high; they're desperate; they haven't seen each other since vol. 20; they're suffering from 400 years of stress compounded by the past couple of years of extreme stress; neither is thinking clearly. But to paraphrase Xander, there comes a point when that excuse just stops working. Really, they've been through enough now, and they know each other well enough now, that they just ought to know better.

OTOH, conflict is fundamental to their relationship, and I can't say their behavior is either out of character or uncompelling; it's just maybe a bit much. I'd like to see more maturation by this point. I'd like to see a bit less of Takaya panicked and tied to beds too.

They also have bits I undividedly love. Like most everyone else, I love the scene where Takaya leaps on Naoe in a fit of passion, thus surprising him. It is both amusing and emotionally important in the annals of Kagetora's sexual healing. I also love the scene where they just talk, and Naoe puts into perspective Takaya's role as a leader among the Red Whales. After all the sex and yelling and pursuing and tying-to-bedding, etc., it's appealing to see them have a real conversation, the first since vol. 20.

Question: It is supposed to be a big secret that Takaya is Kagetora, yes, because the Uesugi are considered enemies of the Red Whales? So when Naoe calls Takaya, "Kagetora-sama" at the end of 24.16, he has basically given the game away, yes? I assume he must have done this on purpose because he almost always calls Takaya, "Takaya-san"; this doesn't seem to be a slip he would make even if he being careless. So why??? (Or am I missing something?)

Nobunaga makes, I think, a reference to Miroku, towards the end of 24. This surprises me. I didn't realize that Nobunaga knew that they were headed toward some sort of apocalypse. I had assumed he was planning a massive takeover, not the destruction of the world as we know it. But I have always been deeply confused by the Miroku plot, so my bafflement is not surprising. I look forward to maybe being slightly unconfused someday.

Nobunaga also seems very calm and patient, which is unusual for him but interesting. I am pleased he doesn't trust Nagahide because a) he'd be a fool to and b) it suggests that Nagahide is not being entirely trustworthy, which I should sincerely hope he's not!

Speaking of which, Nagahide! We only got a tiny bit of him here, but I'm grateful for any new bits of Nagahide. This section saw the beginning of Nagahide's encountering the Mountain God girl, Miho, which I've previously seen alluded to and have been eager to read. I look forward to more of it being translated. I don't have much more to say about it now, except that I sympathize with Nagahide's bemusement over her. Miho reminds me just a tad too much of Mika in Gungrave, such that I could easily imagine her distress call to be a fingernails-on-chalkboard squeal. She has that effect on me.


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