I just finished summarizing vol. 29! At the moment I'm rereading some earlier volumes for making a brief summary about the Red Whales next.
MoB vol. 29 (Mugen Joudo/Eternal Pure Land)
The beginning of vol. 29 is about a mysterious disease that is spreading around Japan. This new disease has started recently and no one knows how people get it or how it's possible to cure. This disease is called "APCD" (=Acute Personality Conversion Disorder) since it seems to change human's personality dramatically. APCD patients are self-destructive and they also use violence against to the other APCD patients. The amount of infected people is rising everyday and companies are getting in the trouble when their employees are infected and can't come to work anymore. Specialists are wondering if the electromagnetic radiation from computers and cell phones are causing brain damage but even people from rural area have got sick. Another mysterious point is that APCD is only found in Japan.
Nikaidou Reiko (that investigator woman in vol. 13-19) is investigating the origin of APCD. She hears that Shikoku is the only area where aren't any APCD patients. The most weird thing is that many patients try to get in Shikoku and after they go there they're cured. Something happened in Shikoku one and half year ago. After that electricity hasn't work there anymore so the island has become a place where modern humans can't live anymore. Cell phones, compasses and radios aren't working, you can't take photos or record anything, aircraft can't fly there anymore, it's hard to start car's engine and the weather in Shikoku doesn't have seasons anymore (it's like the end of autumn everyday) and it's always cloudy.
*lots of investigating here*
Then there is a scene where Takaya's former classmates, Yazaki Tooru and Kimura Naomi, from his high school are meeting at the cafe in Nagoya city. Yazaki is having part-time work at the local news broadcast company and Naomi is also working in Nagoya. They discuss about APCD and how Naomi's friend has died of that. They also wonder if Yuzuru is also infected because no one has seen him after he went to Kumamoto alone. And that happened almost three years ago. Takaya is also missing.
Ayako was captured at Azuchi (where Nobunaga's main residency located in the past). She was released by monks of Mt. Hiei who attacked to Azuchi. They had luck because Nobunaga and high rank Oda retainers weren't there, only few guards. I'd like point out one historical thing here why monks of Mt. Hiei are against to Nobunaga. In the past the monks had alliance with Asakura and Azai clans that were big enemies to Oda clan. Mt. Hiei didn't surrender so Nobunaga leaded his army there and caused one of the biggest massacre of Japan's history. These monks who died at the siege are now onryous and want their revenge. Ayako has to stay with the monks since she is in danger alone and she doesn't have any place to go. Uesugi isn't same anymore and Kagetora is missing. She wants to meet Kagetora so badly but now she can just exorcise onryous in Kyoto. It seems that this APCD is result from being possessed by onryous. But of course ordinary people doesn't know about this or Yami Sengoku. While she is helping one girl to save her big brother who is APCD patient, she meets Hyoudou Hayato. Ayako has heard rumors that Kagetora has joined to the Red Whales but she can't believe that. Hayato is busy with his own mission so he asks Ayako to come visit him later if she wants to know about their organization.
*more about APCD here*
Takaya is staying at Mt. Tsurugi from where he supervises the pilgrimage and other areas of Shikoku. His body and Shikoku are now connected so if something happens for example in Ashizura, Takaya feels it through his body as pain or blood starts to bleed. He is staying there with few servants and Kotarou (he is in a form of black panther). Takaya is leaving for Urado because the Red Whales will have meeting there soon.
The Red Whales has changed. Most of the members don't have physical body anymore but they're in spiritual form. Some of them feel very grateful but some of them think this is a curse to live without body. And there aren't need of fighting either because Shikoku has become peaceful for onryous to exist. Basically the Red Whales was military group of peasants but their life is relatively boring now and some members are quite unsatisfied to this situation. Especially Reijirou feels sorrowful because Kusama died in that huge explosion when Shadow Shikoku was created, and Takaya has locked his feelings and keeps himself isolated at Mt. Tsurugi. Ushio mentions to Reijirou that it's very impudent to complain about this situation since Takaya sacrificed his own curing for the sake of everyone.
*Red Whales things happening here*
Takaya and Naoe are alone on the roof balcony. Takaya asks how is the situation at Ashizura. Naoe tells that retsumyousei is getting stable and it isn't causing danger anymore. Many people has died in Shikoku due to the loss of electricity. For example, patients who need machine for living (respirator..) have lost their lives because even the emergency generators at the hospital can't produce electricity. Naoe asks how many people have to die for the sake of dead people (he means onryous/the Red Whales). Is Kagetora doing this for being forgiven? He has exorcised so many souls so that this is just a compensation for allowing the Red Whales to become kanshoushas as well? Living people are escaping from Shikoku since it's impossible live there anymore. Is devastating a whole society what Kagetora wanted? Making Shikoku to be a world where spiritual living dominates material living? The members of Red Whales doesn't need to possess their yorimashis anymore, they can just exists as their own spiritual form. Even kanshoushas can live in Shikoku without body. This world Kagetora has created has neutralized the death. Naoe says that Kagetora has given to the dead people the right choose if they continue living or go to Heaven. Dead people all around Japan are coming to this "Pure Land" and walk the pilgrimage leaving their hatreds and regrets to Shikoku before purifying their souls at Ashizura cape and rebirth.
Normally in MoB after someone dies, his souls gets purified and then rebirths as a new person who doesn't remember anything from the past lives. This is called 'rinne' in Japanese. The endless cycle of death and rebirth until this person becomes enlightened. However, now being a kanshousha is normal in Shikoku so this normal cycle of life has changed. Newborn babies doesn't have soul anymore so kanshoushas take over those empty bodies. In other words Shikoku is literally becoming the land of death. But Takaya says that he going to seal every kanshousha's memories. "That's why I'm 'Present Kuukai.'"
N: "Why did you choose this kind of way to live? I know you want to carry all responsibilities all alone but I can't let you do that. You aren't the only sinner, I'm also."
T: "You tried to stop me."
N: "No, I tried to save you. I'm a man who would sacrifice the others for your sake."
This touches Kagetora's heart. "Naoe..."
Naoe admits that on that day he really hoped to be the stronger one of them. However, he also mentions that isn't it nice that the world will forgive their (kanshoushas') existence from on since it has become normal. Takaya answers that even now he doesn't accept their existence.
Next is a scene that contains hardcore sex moment between Naoe and Takaya. Oh my goodness...!! And this happens on the stairs! As having passionately intercourse against to the wall Naoe whispers their own dirty language, only what he and Takaya understand, into Takaya's ear... While enjoying the sex Takaya also worries about his own future. He doesn't want to die yet... He feels very scared because he though that his end would be still far in the future... But now the death is just behind of his back.
Right after that comes a flashback what happened after creating Shadow Shikoku (in the end of vol. 28). Naoe rescued Takaya and took him to Mt. Tsurugi. Takaya was unconscious for months but Naoe stayed by his side all the time. Finally Takaya woke up and saw Naoe crying... In novel it was described that his tears were like a rain in the middle winter... Naoe couldn't say any words because he felt himself so powerless. He regretted to not been able to stop Takaya creating Shadow Shikoku. But Takaya was sure he will survive even if he didn't use retsumyousei (next time it's possible to use after 50 years). They both understood this was stupid. Rather than thinking their own ego, they both should compromise more. Takaya felt terrible understanding how much his resolution hurt Naoe who was just thinking Takaya's best. Naoe without saying anything forgave Takaya and they started to make love. In his heart Takaya thought: "Thrust everything into me. All of you, deeply inside of my shabby body. Your restless soul can't be healed so I won't leave you behind. This isn't the end. This definitely isn't the end of us. Our path together still continues far beyond those waves..."
Naoe is thinking about his and Kagetora's/Takaya's relationship. His love for Kagetora and fear of losing Kagetora are struggling in his heart. He wonders that maybe it was better that Kagetora won that battle between them... Kagetora would have suffered quite lot if Naoe had won. Kagetora won't forgive his own existence so by saving the others he feels a bit less guilty. Naoe remembers that Kagetora's smile has always been his sanctuary, the most important thing to him. He wants to make Kagetora happy so he decides to give up his own fears and support Kagetora as much as he can. But he won't give up for finding an another way to save him from the soul demise...
I think Naoe and Kagetora have taken a big step to the better relationship. Somehow what happened in the vol 28 was essential for mental growing together. They're both very stubborn for their own ideals and if they don't compromise at all there will definitely be a conflict between them. Especially I can see that Naoe has changed his attitude. He had struggled with this winner-loser thing more than 400 years and even after vol. 20 there was still some remains of those thoughts. As we saw in vol. 28 Naoe didn't accept any other option than using retsumyousei for what he thinks it's the best. Even if he meant only good for Takaya, he didn't respect Takaya's opinion at all.
The Red Whales are having meeting. It seems that Nobunaga has taken over Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya too (in vol. 28 Nobunaga took over the Grand Shrine of Ise). Takaya gets worried because both of those shrine are places where the imperial regalia are stored. The imperial regalia of Japan are three treasures: the sword of Kusanagi, the mirror of Yata and the jewel of Yasakani. The sword of Kusanagi is stored in Atsuta shrine and the mirror of Yata in the Grand Shrine of Ise. The location the jewel of Yasakani is not revealed yet. Something very weird is also happening in Japan: there is golden rain above of some shrines. o__O
Ayako goes to see Hayato at Jingo-ji temple. She asks if he knows Ougi Takaya. Hayato tells that commander Ougi is his boss. Ayako of course can't believe that and thinks Hayato just trying to bluff her.
A: "You're lying. Kagetora would never... Why would he... How did you onryous manage to tempt him? What do you use for extorting him?!" (`@A@´)
H: "So your matter is about Uesugi Kagetora not Ougi Takaya... "
*Hayato points his rifle towards to Ayako*
H: "Who the hell are you? You smell same as Ougi and Tachibana... " >:I
Ayako gets more confused after hearing name 'Tachibana'. She wonders if Naoe has joined to the Red Whales too. Then Hayato shoots but Ayako managed to yield. After that Hayato tells that this temple they're now is directly connected to Shikoku so exorcism doesn't work here. Nakagawa rushes to them and begs Hayato to not kill her. Hayato is like "Don't come to disturb Nakagawa... This chick is from Uesugi. It's better to get rid of her right away." (ò_ó) But Nakagawa says they will get in the trouble because one very high ranking guest has arrived to the temple gate and wants to get Ayako. Taking Ayako as a hostage Hayato rushes to the gate and meets a suit dressed man who introduce himself to be Akechi Mitsuhide. Everyone confused why THAT Akechi Mitsuhide is here!
Historical point: Mitsuhide was Nobunaga's very trusty general who after all betrayed Nobunaga causing his death at Honno-ji temple in 1582. In MoB he already appeared in vol. 15-19 and he's the leader of Anti-Oda Alliance together with Kikkawa Motoharu, Ikkou-Ikki and Takeda clan.
Mitsuhide wants the Red Whales to release Ayako but that will be postponed till next day. Ayako needs to stay one night together with the Red Whales. Hayato comes to talk with Ayako in her room. While arguing Hayato pushes Ayako on her back on the tatami floor and comes on the top of her looking deeply at her eyes.
H: "He and we have overcame the death. From now on even if someone loses his body, he can continue living with his own will if he wants that. Everyone can choose whether they exist or die."
A: "That can't be true... That.. That is.." (;__;)
After that Hayato moves away from the top of laying Ayako.
H: "I don't feel like sleeping with a person who has weak soul."
Hayato walks to the door and says that Ayako's friend, Yasuda Nagahide, died at Shikoku.
A: "Whaat?!" (;__;)
H: "I shot him. No idea what happened to his soul but I guess it's wandering somewhere in Shikoku with the other dead pilgrims."
*Ayako is shocked*
H: "You're such a pretty girl. Take care that the other guys won't sneak into your room to make out with you."
Hayato leaves and Nakagawa comes in seeing Ayako fixing her shirt's collar.
A: "Who does he think I'm? Of course I'd refuse if someone tries to get too intimate..."
Nakagawa asks why Ayako is on Mitsuhide's side. Aren't Uesugi and Mitsuhide enemies? Ayako explains that so many things have happened and Uesugi isn't same Uesugi anymore. It seems that Ayako saw Takaya last time a bit before he went to Kumamoto so more than 2 years ago. In that case it's obvious that Ayako doesn't know anything about Takaya's body condition. Nakagawa introduces himself and decides to tell everything about Kihachi's poison to Ayako.
Next Hayato and Mitsuhide meet at one fine restaurant in Kyoto. They're all alone just two of them. Mitsuhide asks if the Red Whales are planning to take over the capital (Kyoto). Hayato sneers and says that Shikoku is their capital and they're not interested in the other areas of Japan. The Red Whales are only inviting the lost souls (who have became victims of Yami Sengoku) to live in Shikoku. Mitsuhide says that the Red Whales have 10 days time to withdrawal from Kyoto. If not, the troops of Mt. Hiei will attack. Hayato is like "Whatever. Go head. We'll kick on your ass" >:I Mitsuhide gets angry and says that why Kagetora is befriending with the Red Whales. Kagetora was part of their Anti-Oda Alliance so why he would help some peasants warriors of Shikoku... Hayato says that they will release Ayako tomorrow but won't leave Kyoto. Mitsuhide is mad but can't help.
Takaya is very worried about what Nobunaga is planning so he wants to travel to Ise for seeing the situation by himself. Reijirou refuses because Takaya is now Present Kuukai so he can't leave Shikoku. He also has to take care of the dead pilgrims. Reijirou propose Takaya to become the leader of the Red Whales because Reijirou feels he doesn't have enough leadership skills. Moreover, everyone is worshiping Takaya now. For example, dead pilgrims are thinking him almost as God. Suddenly Takaya pisses off as Reijirou is telling how divine Takaya is. Then following happens:
*Takaya punches Reijirou to his face*
T: "Do you think I have changed? I'm a saint? Don't tell a shit... Do you think I didn't shiver at all? Why the hell do you think so?!"
*Reijirou is shocked seeing Takaya reacting so strongly*
T: "You don't know anything!! Do wanna be worshiped like this?! I can give up my position to you, I don't care!!"
*soldiers are gathering to see Reijirou and Takaya assaulting*
T: "Do you say you're just ordinary guy?! Don't make any excuses!! When did Kada Reijirou become so weak?! If you're such too wuss to carry your own responsibilities, then I'll be the leader!! The Red Whales doesn't deserve leader who has so small balls like you!!" (`@A@´)
R: "What the hell did you say?!!" (`@A@´**)
*Reijirou pisses off totally and punches Takaya*
When Reijirou and Takaya are seriously start to have fistfight the soldiers rush to separate them. Naoe takes Takaya to cool down to the stair corridor. Naoe mentions that this was very rare of Takaya to start such a fight. Confused Takaya doesn't know why he has this kinds of mental breakdowns and rage moods so often... Suddenly he starts to cough and covers his mouth with wet towel Naoe gave him. There is blood in the white towel. They're both shocked and Naoe wants to know when this kind of symptom started. Takaya tells it happens sometimes... Usually when he wakes up in the morning there is blood on his pillow. Sometimes it also feels as if his heart is about to explode or his mind becomes blank. Takaya is very scared of what's happening to him. With his own trembling hand he holds Naoe's hand tightly and begs Naoe to not tell about this to anyone. In his heart Naoe is praying to the gods that Takaya's soul demise wouldn't happen yet...
The golden rain at Izumo and Aso shrines is continuing. It has also started at Itsukushima in Miyajima and at some other shrines as well. Higaki Kogenta (member of the Red Whales) and his Ashizura navy are staying permanently at Miyajima. But after this golden rain started no one from Shikoku could connect them anymore. The Red Whales sends an inspection ship to check Ashizura navy's situation but it seems that everyone in Miyajima has disappeared. Both souls and bodies too. At this point the plot is getting very interesting. The golden rain that makes people disappear? Sounds quite scary!
While these mysterious disappearing are happening Ushio and Muroto navy rescues a young man whose small craft was sailing close to the cape of Muroto. This young man is injured and famished. His craft didn't have even engine so no one knows how long he has drifted on the sea. This man is in panic and wants to see Kuukai because people in Nachi are in danger because 'Hiruko' will come to kill all of them. Everyone is like "?!"o__o
Ayako is released and she decides to leave Kyoto and head for Shikoku to see Kagetora and Naoe. She wants to know the truth and if they've joined to the Red Whales, she will exorcise both of them. On the street Ayako sees a big group of people gathering in font of the huge tv screen. It's a live broadcast about the rock band singer Shiba Eiji (Nobunaga). There is news that Shiba was kidnapped and kept under imprisonment for two years. o__O On this live broadcast Shiba tells about this terrible incident and blames cult religion for doing this to him. This same cult is also behind this APCD disease. Then Shiba shows Takaya's picture to the viewers and tells that Ougi Takaya is the leader of this evil cult religion. Ayako is shocked.
And at last, in the end of this volume Takeda Shingen goes to see Narita Yuzuru who had been kept inside of coffin for few years. Suddenly Yuzuru wakes up when Shingen is about to touch him. Eventually Shingen's soul is eaten by Yuzuru. As many may remember Yuzuru's true self is actually Miroku, maitreya bodhisattva, who should save the world in the future. Yuzuru laughs like a psychopath: "Wait for me, Takaya! I'm coming to eat your soul!"
Nobunaga as Shiba Eiji is back with his terrible plans! D: And crazy Yuzuru is also coming... Yuzuru isn't normal Yuzuru anymore since his Miroku side has waken up... Takaya is in big trouble. >.<
Takaya/Naoe's relationship was very Mirage in volume. So sad but also somehow very beautiful. I loved their reunion scene after Takaya woke up. It me reminds of scene in vol. 20 when Takaya tried to make suicide and woke up seeing Naoe crying beside his bed. But this was more sorrowful...
Reijirou is great guy but have to admit that in this volume I disliked him quite lot. I can't understand how anyone can be so selfish and complain how boring life is now after your friend has risked his own life for your ideal world. :( Aarrgh! But their fistfight made me smile and especially how Takaya told straight out his opinion! :D
It was nice to read about Ayako! Isn't almost 7 volumes since last time? I feel so sorry for her how the things are going on... I wonder why she doesn't try to connect with Irobe? Irobe is also all alone now...