Here is a summary of vol. 30! Starting from now the plot is getting complicated and many things are going to happen so I try my best to summarize this as clearly as possible. In my opinion this Mokushiroku arc is the most interesting arc in whole MoB series. Talking about the name of this arc, I had a bit trouble to translate it. 'Mokushiroku' means 'revelation' but 'youhen' is some type of black colored pottery that has indigo blue and silver painting. I don't know long did I stare at the pictures of this pottery and think what does Sensei want to say with such a title and how it's related to the story of this arc. :D After all my conclusion was that in this case it means 'universe'.
So far MoB has had many Buddhist themed arcs but this one is based on Japanese folklore and Shintoism. It's very fascinating! :)
MoB vol. 30 (Youhen Mokushiroku / The Revelation of Universe - Nachi)
Shiba Eiji's shocking coming back becomes breaking news right away. Everyone all over Japan is talking about 'Ougi Takaya' and 'the Red Whales'. Takaya's former classmates and Miike Tetsuya (Karin arc vol. 15-19) from Kumamoto are sure that this is just a big misunderstanding.
Takaya's former classmate from high school, Yazaki Tooru, is working for Shintoukai Broadcast company in Nagoya. There is chaos when he arrives to work. Not only because of the news about Shiba, but also for acquisition. Someone bought the whole company and the new CEO is arriving at any minute. For a big surprise Shiba Eiji (Nobunaga) arrives there like a Hollywood star by a limousine. Everyone is shocked why Shiba is there and what's going on. Then Shiba tells that he is the new CEO of this company. o__o
Btw, if someone is wondering Shiba Eiji's look I can give some information about that. He is quite tall and has well-trained body. Dark red hair curly hair. Before this volume he had quite long hair (check the cover of vol. 18) but recently he had cut his hair shorter (the cover of vol. 33). His clothing is very rock styled but at the company he wears high brand suit.
Takaya and Naoe hurries to Muroto for seeing the young man who was begging to see Koubou Daishi (=Kuukai). The man was drifting on the sea by a small craft. Famished and injured man's name seems to be Shigeno Tooru. He claimed that it's his fault that Yami Sengoku started, and he needs Kuukai's help for saving people in Kumano. When Takaya comes to see him Tooru doesn't look young at all. Ushio explains that Tooru started to get old suddenly. When they found him few hours ago he was still in his twenties but now his body looks like 40 years old. He isn't a hyouirei, not even a kanshousha. He is just a normal human but how he can know about Yami Sengoku or the Red Whales? After Takaya wins Tooru's trust, Tooru tells everything.
In Nachi (it's a small village in Kumano) there have been an ancient tradition called 'Hiruko drifting'. The area is very sacred and people's faith to the Shinto gods is very strong. In Nachi the newborn babies with extra limbs or body parts are believed to be a reincarnation of the God. 'Hiruko' means 'a child of the God'. It was also the name of first child of Izanami and Izanagi. In Shintoism they're the gods who created the islands of Japan. They're also parents of Amaterasu (the sun goddess). When Hiruko is born, everyone celebrates and raise the child as if he is an imperial heir. But when child gets 15 years old the villagers carry him into a small ark while the child is sleeping. The villagers make small holes in the floor and lock child in the ark. Then they send this ark drifting to the sea. And as you can imagine, this child will drown when the draft sinks. The villagers believe that Hiruko takes misfortune with him and Kumano will be saved from the natural disasters (in that area, there are often typhoons and storms). If Hiruko somehow survived Nachi guardians needed to kill him, because of course Hiruko was rancorous and wanted his revenge. That's why Nachi guardians are also called 'God killer people'. Who are Nachi guardians? Once Nachi people asked help from Kuukai. Hiruko who comes back would also bring many natural disasters along with him, so people wanted Kuukai to project Kumano. Kuukai promised that if one family becomes Nachi guardian and carries the curse of Hiruko, the others will survive and any disasters won't happen. Tooru's ancestors decided to sacrifices themselves and that's why the curse kills everyone in Shigeno family after they turn 25 years old. The curse is genetic error that makes body age fast. Tooru is now over 25 years old and the curse started to effect so he will die in few days. He says that he didn't want to have his own children because of this curse. He also thought that there won't be any need of Nachi guardians (=those who will kill Hiruko) because this cruel tradition was banned after World War 2. Last time it happened 50 years ago (in 1940s) when villagers send drifting Hiruko that had three arms. But it seems that this Hiruko with three arms survived and came back to Nachi after 50 years for having his revenge now. This Hiruko killed other Nachi guardians and Tooru is the only one who is still alive. When Tooru came home from work he found his family (and cousin's family too) murdered. He saw the murder who had three arms, so it's must be Hiruko. Tooru managed to escape but onryous started to chase him. In panic he drove his car to the beach and drifted himself to the sea by small draft. Before this he heard from the dead pilgrims of Kumano that in Shikoku Kuukai has resurrected by the group called the Red Whales. That's why Tooru tried to get to Shikoku to meet Kuukai and ask for his help since Tooru can't kill Hiruko alone.
Tooru cries and tells that his grandmother heard 50 years ago Hiruko cursing Nachi and Kumano people who drifted him. "I'll definitely come back! I'll come back with the other drifted Hirukos and kill all of you!!" This Hiruko also cursed that the next Hiruko will be burdened with all those calamities that people in Nachi has tried to avoid. Then Tooru starts to cry desperately.
About the translation I'd like to mention one thing here: in novel Kuwabara-sensei calls Nachi guardians as 'Nachi no mono' (那智の者) and exact translation would be 'a person from Nachi' or 'Nachi people' but for making this story easier to understand I call them 'Nachi guardians' since they're chosen people who protect people in Kumano.
Next Takaya and Naoe are outside and thinking about this Hiruko mystery. Tooru was blaming himself for causing the Yami Sengoku. In other words, is Yami Sengoku and Hiruko drifting related to each other? According to Naoe Yami Sengoku started 10 years ago. But Tooru said that the last Hiruko drifting happened 50 years ago, and Tooru wasn't even born then. Suddenly Takaya senses danger and rushes back to Tooru's room. A dark figure is hurting Tooru. Takaya and Naoe drive this creature away. They're shocked that this creature managed to invade in Shikoku trough the spiritual barrier. Tooru (looking already like an old man) is bleeding. There is following conversation:
Ta: "Tooru...! Hang in there!"
To: "Hiruko... said... that... the gods... that were... drifted away... will return..."
Ta: "Hang in there, Tooru! What was that creature?! Was it a friend of Hiruko?!"
To: "When the all crows... have died... Kumano will burn... In Kumano... many people will die... The war... will start... A holy person... like you... only you can... save them... Please... save them from the gods..."
Ta: "Tooru! What's Yami Sengoku?! Why did it start?!"
To: "Please... kill Kaoru... Protect Kumano from him."
Ta: "Don't die, Tooru!"
To: "Kill... Kaoru..."
After this Tooru dies. Takaya is feeling terrible because he couldn't project Tooru in Shikoku. Since Tooru was trusting on him and begged Takaya's help to save Kumano he has to go. Takaya calls to Reijirou for asking permission to leave Shikoku for a while. On the phone they become reconciled (they had fight in vol. 29) and Reijirou gives him permission to go. Reijirou says that he have had lots of stress and Takaya also apologizes for being so crazy at the time.
After the phone call with Takaya, Reijirou meets Maki who has just returned from Miyajima. Mysterious golden rain fell in Itsukushima shrine, and Ashizura navy of the Red Whales that was staying at Miyajima island disappeared. Maki says that together with Neiha (commander of Oki no Shima navy) they tried to find the others but nothing was left. Moreover, there was something very scary... There wasn't any signs of gods either. It seems that after the golden rain not only souls and people, but also the gods disappeared. Now the Itsukushima shrine is just an empty building without any spiritual energy. Suddenly phone rings. It's a call from Nakagawa in Kyoto. Hysterical Nakagawa tells that Takaya's picture is on the tv and everyone in Japan are talking about him and the Red Whales. Reijirou is like "What what... hold on a second!! What did you say?!" Nakagawa says that Shiba Eiji named singer blames Takaya and the Red Whales for kidnapping him. And also for spreading this APCD disease. Everyone thinks that the Red Whales is a terrorist organization!
At the same time Takaya, Naoe and Ushio are already on the board and they don't know anything about what's happening on media. On the ship to Kumano Naoe and Takaya discuss about Kihachi's poison. Takaya feels nervous to be outside of Shikoku because he is afraid of hurting someone with Kihachi's poison. Inside of the great spiritual barrier of Shikoku Kihachi's poison doesn't affect so strongly anymore so Naoe was able to touch Takaya without any life danger. But outside of Shikoku the poison is effective again so Takaya needs to wear special covered jacket, hat and spectaculars to avoid leaking the poison to the living people. Naoe has a health report that Nakagawa has made about Takaya's body condition. According to the blood test Kihachi's poison level has halved in one and half year. Naoe says thanks to having regularly sex with him has cured Takaya's poisoned body. Naoe's body (body fluids too..) contains powers of Bishamonten so it has curing effect, like a vaccine. More than one year Takaya has had lots of mental breakdowns and rage moods that are actually occurred as a side effect of the purification. But still Takaya's souls demise is serious problem and they're both very afraid of the future. Having sex with Takaya has damaged Naoe's current body (Tachibana Yoshiaki) so badly that in the near future he has to perform kanshou again to get new body. Takaya asks if Naoe feels bitter about what Takaya has done to him. Naoe shakes his head and says "No, I don't. Even if the all other people are against you... I'm the last and only person who will always take you under my wings.." After that Naoe tells about his fear of losing Takaya. There is nothing so scary as living the world without him. But Naoe promises that he will become stronger for Takaya's sake. This really touches Takaya's heart and he admires Naoe's bravery to face his biggest fears. Then comes a romantic moment! :)
Takaya notices Naoe's hand is shivering slightly. He understands Naoe is using all his strengths to not shiver. He has eyes of a man who is fighting against to the fear.
Naoe is also feeling extremely afraid. That's why they both need to be brave.
Standing on the prow Takaya turns towards to Naoe and extends his right hand to him.
T: "The path we're going to walk together from now on is a place where we can't have any regrets anymore. Is it fine to you?"
Naoe looks straightly into Takaya's eyes.
T: "If you vow you won't regret anything, take my hand."
N: "But there will be many regrets every time we stop."
T: "If you vow to not do so, take my hand!"
Naoe doesn't break their eye contact.
Even if everyone can obtain 'Ougi Takaya' or 'Present Kuukai', there is only one who is able to reach his soul.
Only one person and that person is...
T: "I give all of me to you, Naoe!"
Naoe grabs Takaya's hand and with all his strength he pulls Takaya towards himself. Naoe embraces tightly Takaya who is about to collapse on to his chest.
Even when we start to hear the footsteps of Death...
N: "I won't let you die..."
Naoe whispered those words to Takaya's ear with muffled voice.
N: "I definitely save you!"
After arriving to Kumano they head for a village that send Hiruko drifting 50 years ago. There villagers are extremely afraid of Hiruko's revenge and they're shocked to hear about Tooru's death (because he was the last Nachi guarding). Then one villager asks: "Isn't that Ougi Takaya?" Everyone starts to wonder loud why cult religion leader is here and they call the police. Takaya, Naoe and Ushio are confused what's happening and why the villagers know about Takaya and the Red Whales. They escape before the police comes.
Next they head for Nachi shrine (Kumano Nachi Taisha) and there they also feel that something seriously weird is going on because tourists and visitors are staring at Takaya and whispering his name all the time. They need to escape again. On the street Takaya sees a familiar face on the top page of the newspaper: it's Shiba Eiji. Takaya saw Nobunaga at Aso (vol. 19) so he recognizes Shiba Eiji's true identity. Naoe and Ushio are also shocked because for them it's their first time to see Nobunaga's current body. They read about Shiba's story being captured by the cult religion called the Red Whales and how they try to get new believers by spreading APCD. And then they see Takaya's picture and name on the paper. They are all shocked, especially Takaya who starts to shiver from the fear. He's terrified what will happen to Miya.
T: "Naoe", Takaya says and looks up at Naoe with begging eyes.
T: "Please, save her... Save Miya..."
N: "There is no way I'm going to leave you at the moment like this."
T: "But we don't know what will happen if everyone believes his false story! Miya is innocent! We have to protect her!! I need to-!!"
N: "Calm down, Takaya-san!"
Kagetora remembers quite well what happened 40 years ago. I haven't read Shouwa prequels yet but I heard Nobunaga killed Kase's (the name of Kagetora's body at the time) family.
They call to Reijirou who orders Takaya to stay away from Shikoku for a while because police and media are looking for him there. It's not easy in Kyoto either because media has surrounded Jingo-ji temple where Hayato, Nakagawa and some other members of the Red Whales are lodging. Reporters are knocking tightly closed the temple gate and begging for information if the Red Whales are really terrorists. It seems that monks of Mt. Hiei revealed their location to media. In vol. 29 Akechi Mitsuhide gave to the Red Whales 10 days time for leaving from Kyoto. If not, Mt. Hiei troops will attack. Looks like they're trying to make the Red Whales to escape from that temple.
*Nikaidou Reiko tries to meet Shiba Eiji but can't get permission for that since all person in charge of Nagoya police are possessed by (Oda's) hyouireis*
Takaya, Naoe and Ushio hide themselves in the storage hall. Naoe goes to get a car for them while Takaya and Ushio stay hidden. Suddenly the same creature that attacked Tooru in Shikoku appears and attacks. The creature is extremely strong and Takaya and Ushio can't win it. The creature also asks if Takaya is 'saniwa'. Then Ushio gets possessed by another onryou and they take Takaya as a hostage.
At the same Naoe comes back and finds storage hall empty. Then a huge bird with three legs lands in front of him.
Hijackers are driving but suddenly the car is stopped by a girl wearing Shinto priestess clothing. She whispers a spell that makes car's fuel tank to explode. The oil creature yells if she 'saniwa' too but the onryou possessing Ushio's body says: "It can't be! She is a Nachi guardian! How can there be still one alive?!" The girl sways a tamagushi (=it's a branch of sacred tree) and another explosion happens.
Takaya wakes up in the room and for his relief Naoe is there, but Ushio is missing. In the room there are also a junior high school aged girl, a middle aged man and woman, and a young man. Woman introduces herself to be Motomiya Eiko. The girl is her daughter named Motomiya Rei (she's deaf, so she uses sign language for communication). The middle aged and young man are actually hyouireis: Shigeno Yuuta and Shigeno Keita. They're Tooru's cousins who were murdered few weeks ago. Due to this horrible way to die they both became onryous and possessed the bodies of their friend and teacher. Both Yuuta and Keita were Nachi guardians but after losing their original body they also lost their spiritual skills. Being Nachi guarding is related to DNA, so only the body that contains Shigeno family's blood can be Nachi guardian. Naoe tells to Takaya that Yata crow saved him. Yata is a three legged crow that serves Amaterasu (the sun goddess). And Rei was the one took the form of Yata crow and brought Naoe here. Takaya and Naoe are astonished how Rei can have such a powerful skills.
Takaya, Naoe and Eiko have a walk outside. Eiko tells that Rei thinks them to be Kuukai's messengers but Takaya denies that. The big surprise is that actually Rei is Eiko's grand-daughter, not daughter. Rei's biological mother, Motomiya Satoko, gave born to her when Satoko was only 13 years old. That's why Eiko took the custody of Rei. Eiko had a secret relationship with Mr Shigeno and got pregnant. This means that Satoko was a Nachi guardian but she has passed away already due to the Hiruko curse. Having Nachi guardian mother makes Rei also Nachi guardian. Takaya and Naoe ask about Tooru and Kaoru. Eiko explains that they're bothers but Kaoru disappeared 13 years ago. Tooru, Kaoru and Satoko have same father (Mr Shigeno) but different mother.
Eiko confesses something shocking. Actually Kaoru is Rei's father! So without knowing being siblings Kaoru and Satoko had sex and so Rei was born. Having Shigeno blood from both parents makes Rei to be 'pure Nachi guarding' and that's why she has very powerful spiritual skills. So in the nutshell their family relations are following:
Mr Shigeno (Nachi) x Motomiya Eiko = Motomiya Satoko (Nachi)
Mr Shigeno (Nachi) x Mrs Shigeno = Shigeno Tooru & Kaoru (Nachi)
Shigeno Kaoru (Nachi) x Motomiya Satoko (Nachi) = Motomiya Rei (Nachi)
Yuuta (possessing his friend's body) and Naoe are having discussion. They wonder why Hiruko is looking for 'futsu'. Just before Yuuta was killed the murder asked him where is 'futsu', but Yuuta didn't know. Naoe also asks if Hiruko drifting really ended 50 years ago because Tooru's last words 'I should have finish it' sounds like Hiruko came back but Tooru didn't kill him. Yuuta confesses that Hiruko drifting actually happened after that, but he was still so young that he can't remember anything. It happened around 14 years ago and that Hiruko had 3 eyes. Even if Hiruko's family knew the prediction that this child will brings many disasters, they tried to hide his third eye so that their child won't be killed. However, someone saw the eye and their secret was exposed. This Hiruko was forcibly drifted by the villagers. But before Hiruko's boat sank someone saved him.
N: "Who did save him?"
Y: "It was... Tooru-san."
It can't be!
Y: "I heard that Tooru-san rowed all alone to the open sea and saved that Hiruko."
Isn't Tooru Nachi guardian who should be destined to kill Hiruko in order to protect people in Kumano? Why would he save Hiruko? Naoe asks if Yuuta knows who this Hiruko was but he doesn't know. However, looks like everyone else in Shigeno family knew it.
Meanwhile Ayako has arrived to Shikoku and she is on her way to Kouchi by bus. Suddenly the bus is stopped and hijacked by onryous. They're former members of the Red Whales who have lost their physical body and can't possess bodies anymore. They're feeling bitter for being only in spiritual form because they can't feel hungry, warmth or any other physical sensations. Without the body they don't feel it's real 'living'. They want to leave Shikoku, but without body it's not possible. They call to Reijirou and give him 30 minutes time to solve their problem or they kill everyone in the bus. In the headquarters Reijirou gets mad how stupid those hijacker guys are. Now everyone's eyes are on Shikoku due to this Shiba Eiji scandal and even Kouchi City Police Department has started to investigate the Red Whales and their location (fortunately there are spiritual barriers around the forts so modern people can't find them). Now is absolutely bad timing to involve modern people by taking them as hostage. The bus is heading for Kouchi on the high way. Satta (member of the Red Whales) catches them up by his own car and tries make hijackers to stop the bus. While the hijackers are paying attention to Satta, Ayako decides to exorcises all onryous but she's caught before finishing the mantra. The chase ends when Satta manages to shoot Oonishi (a hijacker who driving the car). Ayako takes the gun and demands to see Ougi Takaya.
It's late night and Takaya's sitting on the bench in the back yard of Motomiya family. He's mentally exhausted and shocked what kind of cruel material and rumors there are about him on the internet. The next scene is cute so translated a bit!
Suddenly he feels something warm placed on his shoulders. It's a blanket. As turning his head he sees Naoe looking at him worried.
N: "You will catch cold."
As seeing Takaya looking quite depressed, Naoe wraps up Takaya with the blanket and sits next to him.
N: "Are you alright?"
Naoe hasn't slept at all either. Till this very moment he had made many calls to different contacts outside. After coming back to indoors he found Eiko's note laptop open in the living room. He recognized that Takaya had seen those websites writing false things about him.
N: "One of my acquaintance is a hacker. I contacted him. He knows about you and is ready to fight against those bad websites."
*Takaya angsts he's unable to protect Miya*
T: "I.. I'll be... fine..."
As if trying to tell himself.
T: "I'm gonna be fine..."
Naoe looked at him sorrowfully. It was so painful to look at Takaya who was trying desperately to ease his own anxiety.
N: "I'll be on your side. Now you have to get some sleep and rest your mind."
T: "There isn't time for that..."
N: "No, exactly that's why", Naoe whispered those words into Takaya's ear.
N: "Even in this situation, there are many things we need to do. That's why it's better for you to rest a bit."
('Kumano will burn...!')
Takaya places the bracelet he got from Naoe on the chest, just above of his heart, and grasps it tightly. He has such a habit to do so when he feels anxiety or when he wants to get some courage. Naoe puts his own hand on the top of Takaya's hand.
On the horizon, the sky is getting whiter.
*Naoe decides to protect Kagetora from Nobunaga with all his powers*
*Naoe wonder what are Nobunaga's plans and why*
What are his true intentions?
What is 'Yami Sengoku' to him?
What if his target isn't Yami Sengoku... But something else?
Unintentionally Naoe pulled Takaya closer as if trying to get energy from him. Naoe buries his cheek on Takaya's black hair and stared at the distant sky quietly.
I find it very cute that Takaya wears that spiritual bracelet he got from Naoe (in vol. 25). This bracelet binds his powers so he can't hurt anyone since he can't control his powers by himself anymore. The bracelet contains also engraving that says "Don't forget your land". I guess this statement refers to Echigo, the province that the Uesugi clan governed in the past. Or to human world. Anyway, this scene is just sooo adorable! (;_;)
And I love Naoe so much in these last 10 volumes! He has become so kind and loving that no wonder Kagetora is melting into him... Naoe's character has improved quite lot what he was in the beginning of MoB.
In the morning Naoe and Takaya discuss about what Naoe learnt from Yuuta yesterday. Naoe guesses that 'futsu' means 'futsunomitama', 'the sword of Futsu'. It's a divine sword from Japanese folklore. In the story Emperor Jimmu got this sword from a person named Takakuraji (and earlier he got it from Takemikazuchi (=god of thunder in Shintoism)). With this sword Jimmu resurrected his army from the dead. It's known that the sword of Futsu is worshiped at Isonokami shrine in Nara, but the sword it's said to be replica not the real one. But why Hiruko and his friends are looking for that sword? 'The seal tells the location'. Takaya remembers the amulet Tooru was holding when he died. It had some kind of crest. Rei (who has come to yard too) sees that amulet and shows her own. Hers and Tooru's amulets are from different shrines but they both contain same scrawl. They ask Eiko from who Rei got her amulet. She says that it's originally from Mr Shigeno (Tooru, Kaoru & Satoko's father). Eiko can't read the scrawl but says that 'saniwa' may be knows the meaning of it. Takaya remembers that oil creature asked if Takaya is 'saniwa'. They have to protect Rei since she is the last survival of Nachi guardians. And they also have those amulets that may tell where the sword of Futsu is.
Takaya, Naoe and Rei go to visit some villagers who were possibly related to forbidden Hiruko drifting 14 years ago. One of them is a man called Kawashima. He doesn't want to tell anything and denies everything about Hiruko drifting. However, after Kawashima sees Rei he's seized with fear.
K: "Kaoru... Are you alive, Kaoru..?"
He falls on his back side in panic and yells: "P-Please, forgive us!! Please!! Don't kill us!!" Everyone is astonished, especially Rei who doesn't understand what's happening. Then Kawashima escapes and shouts that Hiruko has come back, run everyone, save yourself!!
Takaya and Naoe are shocked... Does this mean that Kaoru, who is also Nachi guardian, is three eyed Hiruko?!
Miya is alone at home in Matsumoto. Police took Miya's father for interrogation and haven't come back for days. Ougi family's house is surrounded by media and angry people. They are knocking door, throwing stones to the window glass, shouting and calling their phone all the time. She cries in her room and is very afraid of everything. She feels terrified to answer the phone because every time someone threatens her with saying to kill everyone in Ougi family. But then she gets weird feeling that she must answer the phone.
M: "Na... Narita-san? Are you Narita-san?"
Yuzuru Narita is calling! Miya starts to cry hysterically after hearing Yuzuru's gentle voice on the phone. Yuzuru calms her saying he's soon there and right after that doorbell rings. After opening the door Miya starts to cry again because Yuzuru is really standing there. Yuzuru hugs her protective and says that everything is fine now, don't worry. Miya asks does Yuzuru know where Takaya is but he doesn't know. Yuzuru says that he doesn't believe what Shiba Eiji says and it's better for Miya to leave Matsumoto for a while. Miya packs some clothes and leaves with Yuzuru. The house is surrounded by police, media and other people but no one seems to see them... as if they're invisible... Miya is confused. Yuzuru holds her hand and together they managed to leave Matsumoto.
To be continued.
Nobunaga has taken over the media and Yuzuru/Miroku came to pick up Miya... o__o Things are getting interesting!
What is your impression of this new arc? :)