Thoughs/Summary of vol. 28

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Thoughs/Summary of vol. 28

Hello everyone! 

First of all, English isn't my mother tongue so I'm very sorry if there are grammatical mistakes or weird words! (.__.) This volume was super long and lots of things happened, so while writing this I needed to skip most of plot parts and concentrate on only the main events. I also added some historical notes because it maybe makes easier to understand what's going on and who is this and this and so on.

But here it comes!

MoB vol. 28: Onshuu no Mon ~Hajouhen~ (The Gate of Revenge ~Devastated Land~) 

Volume 28 starts with the naval battle between the Red Whales and Date clan.

Date clan has barricaded themselves in the Uwajima Castle (in Shikoku) and the Red Whales are attacking from the sea. Takaya doesn't allow anyone to use powers to hurt yorimashis. Yorimashi is the host body that is possessed by hyouireis. Takaya uses only goshinha for protecting everyone. The Red Whales asks Date clan to surrender but Date Masamune refuses.

*lots of fighting happens here*

When Date clan is about to lose Masamune orders his vassals to prepare using retsumyousei. Kojuurou is againts using retsumyousei because they can't know how big disaster it will cause. Then Masamune senses something weird... His little brother Kojirou isn't normal. Masamune asks "Who the hell are you?!" The one who is possessing Kojirou doesn't answer but attacks and injuries Masamune badly. Finally the person in Kojirou starts to speak. He says "Date Toujirou Masamune. In your past life you pretended quite well to obey that little monkey who tried to tame you but failed. One-Eyed Dragon, you deserve better to die by your own brother's hand." Little monkey? Then Masamune gets the point. This little monkey means Toyotomi Hideyoshi to who Masamune served in his original life. The only person who called Hideyoshi like that was... Oda Nobunaga. 

Historical point 1: After Nobunaga died Hideyoshi became the ruler of Japan. Masamune was very against to Hideyoshi. However, he couldn't do anything but obey him. After all Masamune started to work for Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Historical point 2: Nobunaga called Hideyoshi "monkey" because Hideyoshi was short and looked a bit like monkey. 

Masamune and Kojuurou are shocked to meet Nobunaga in this way. Nobunaga uses hakonha and kills some Masamune's vassals. Then he aims the Red Whales with weapon that is made of a piece of retsumyousei, and is ready shoot them. The Red Whales are having several ships on the Uwajima Bay. Takaya sees that something big, like the sun, is coming towards them. This 'sun' falls on the ship where Hyoudou Hayato is and destroys it completely. Everyone is shocked and they scream Hayato's name. 

Then they hear Nobunaga's voice. If the Red Whales gives Uesugi Kagetora to Nobunaga, he won't kill the others. But if Kagetora won't surrender Nobunaga will use retsumyousei again and kill everyone. Panicking everyone starts to wonder if they should give Takaya to Nobunaga. But then Naoe shouts that this is Nobunaga's trap. Takaya doesn't want to sacrifice anyone anymore but Naoe and the others refuse to let Takaya go alone. They're ready to die together and try to project themselves by goshinha.

Masamune is still alive and tries to stop Nobunaga. Kojirou whose body Nobunaga is using, tries to get rid of the seed of demon king. At the same time warrior monks from Mt. Kouya also arrive to the Uwajima castle. After all Kojirou manages to break the seed and is finally out of Nobunaga's control. Date clan surrenders to the Red Whales and the battle that lasted almost 4 months is finally over.

Masamune gets hospitalized since his injuries are very serious but he will survive. Takaya visits him at the hospital. When Takaya is leaving he meets someone in the corridor... It's Hayato! His ship and men were destroyed but somehow Hayato managed to escape! He is the only one who came back alive. After seeing Takaya shedding tears he asks if they're tears for living people. Hayato is super angry that Takaya didn't attack at all, only defending. That's the reason why Hayato's crew of 400 men were killed. He also blames that the only one reason why Takaya is protecting humans is because they're alive. Suddenly Naoe comes there and he is surprised seeing Hayato alive.

Then something interesting happens! Hayato quickly steals a kiss from Takaya's lips right in front of Naoe. Takaya is shocked. (o_o;;) And Naoe of course pisses off and is about punch Hayato in the face but then Takaya stops him. He says to Naoe to not beat seriously injured person (Hayato has just came back from the battlefield). Hayato walks away. Naoe asks what did Hayato say to Takaya. Takaya just asks if Naoe is also going to blame him for what happened. Naoe denies. But then Takaya shouts "Just say it!! I know you're thinking that you should have exorcise every member of the Red Whales right in the beginning!! Without the Red Whales this many people wouldn't have died today!!" But then Naoe answers "That's not true. Without the Red Whales you didn't have any will to live anymore. I want you to live. If you blame yourself, it's exactly what Nobunaga wants. He wants to make you suffer. What happened isn't your fault but Nobunaga's." Takaya walks away angrily and Naoe can see him crying. "Takaya-san..."

Takaya meets Ushio. Actually Ushio's true identity has been released: he is also a kanshousha, named Kunitora from Aki. He can control water and that's pretty cool skill! Ushio tells that Nobunaga has taken over the Grand Shrine of Ise. Nobunaga is also planning to pump Shikoku's spiritual energy from Mt. Kouya into Ise. Everyone is wondering for what kind of purpose Nobunaga is doing that..

At same time Naoe meets Hayato and asks what the hell did that kiss mean. Hayato doesn't answer. Then Naoe wants to know what did he say to Takaya. Hayato says that Takaya didn't project his friends (members of the Red Whales)... Not even yorimashis. He was just protecting "bodies to perform kanshou later"."You asshole!!" Naoes shouts but then Hayato continues saying that if living humans disappear, kanshoushas (=persons who can perform kanshou) can't have bodies anymore (=kanshousha will die). In the future kanshoushas will definitely have fight for having the right to live. Naoe is shivering from the rage. He is so mad how Hayato can even think about so! 

N: "What the hell do you want from him, Hyoudou? Can't you understand how much he is suffering from?!"

H: "Ougi can't be saved before he is unleashed. And you're the one who is binding him. You will always prefer living humans and that's why Ougi also prefers living humans. Ougi has already accepted the fact that only strong ones can survive."

N: "That's not true!"

Naoe remembers that Kagetora has always cherished nature and living beings. 

N: "He isn't projecting physical bodies, but the human life inside of that body!"

Then Hayato explains that eventually living humans will always be victims. Many people died at Uwajima but their souls are still there. They're angry for being killed so they will become onryou (=vengeful spirits). If Takaya and Naoe doesn't want to perform kanshou anymore they should become onryous as well. Naoe grabs Hayato's shirt and asks: "Do you mean we should become hyourei like you guys?"  

H: "If you don't want to perform kanshou anymore you should fight for living. If you wanna live you should project your own body. Or is it fine if weak persons can perform hyoui?"

N: "You're sick, Hyoudou Hayato."

The scene ends Hayato mentioning that hyouirei's are after all just people without their own body. They have their emotions and will to live, they just don't have their original body anymore. The meaning for 'being alive' and 'life' has changed. Then Hayato walks away leaving Naoe to think what actually Takaya is planning to do with the Red Whales.

*the Red Whale things happening*

Naoe feels something bad has happened because Takaya doesn't arrive as it was planned. Finally Nakagawa runs to see Naoe and tells the situation. Takaya is kidnapped by monks of Mt. Kouya. Mt. Kouya is the main place for Shingon sect. Naoe goes right away to chase them by car. Kiyomasa drives his helicopter to see where the car that the monks have is heading for. Looks like they're heading for the Matsuyama Airport so they're planning to escape from Shikoku. In the monks' car Takaya realizes the same thing. His heart is desperately calling Naoe to save him. Naoe rushes at the airport with Nakagawa and both of them are looking for Takaya and the monks from the departing lobby. Then Nakagawa sees monks' car outside... They're about to get on the small private aircraft. Naoe runs with all his strength. Kiyomasa tries to land on the highway so that monks' aircraft can't take off but it doesn't help. The aircraft takes off. Naoe and Nakagawa rush to check when is the next flight to the Kansai Airport (it's in Osaka, not so far from Mt. Kouya). The earliest one is departing soon! Naoe steals someone's boarding pass and runs to the aircraft (the gate closes right after he gets into aircraft so angry airport staff and security officers won't catch him :--D). 

On board one monk tells to Takaya that onryous in Shikoku shall be destroyed soon. Takaya is shocked and says "What do you... mean?" The monks of Mt. Kouya are planning to exorcise all vengeful spirits by using spiritual shock.

Okay, I think now is good time to explain a bit about Shikoku and Mt. Kouya. Take a look of the map of Japan. The island of Shikoku looks a bit like a wild boar. Tosa-Shimizu and Muroto are legs, Kouchi area is stomach, Anan is nose, Naruto ears... Can you see it? Like a wild boar, Shikoku is 'a living thing', spiritually. It's breathing its spiritual air right towards to Mt. Kouya (in Wakayama prefecture). On Shikoku island there is a Buddhist pilgrimage with 88 sacred places related to Kuukai/Koubou Daishi who is the founder of Shingon sect. These 88 places forms the great spiritual barrier of Shikoku. So Shikoku and Mt. Kouya are connected with each other. 

Kuukai was a priest who brought esoteric Buddhism into Japan more than 1000 years ago. He was the spiritual leader of this esoteric Buddhism that is known Shingon sect in Japan, And Mt. Mouya is the center of Shingon sect. Uesugi Kenshin and all members of Yasashuu are Shingon Buddhist since Bishamonten is one of the main deities in Shingon. 

Naoe arrives to the Kansai Airport and is heading for Wakayama station. Ushio calls him and says that he and Kiyomasa has arrived to the Wakayama Airport by Kiyomasa's helicopter. They meet at the train station and head for Mt. Kouya together. On the car Kiyomasa tells ultimately secret information about the great spiritual barrier of Shikoku. Kuukai made this spiritual barrier for transferring spiritual energy to Mt. Kouya. The energy inside of the barrier is like blood in the living body, circulating in the spiritual veins, and retsumyousei is the thing that produces this 'blood'. And then this energy comes to Mt. Kouya by passing the main gate of Mt. Kouya monastery. Naoe is shocked because Takaya hasn't tell about this kind of important thing to him. Ushio is also shocked. Naoe asks how Kiyomasa knows about this. He answers that he read Reijirou's mind (Kiyomasa can read other's mind when he touches them). Suddenly Ushio notices: "As I though... You're Naoe Nobutsuna, aren't you? You're that 'Naoe' who was chasing after Ougi!" Naoe gasps. (o__o;;;) Almost no one in the Red Whales knows Naoe's true identity.

Kiyomasa: "Stop it Kunitora! Saving Kagetora is our priority, we have to hurry! You can have fight later."  

*lots of plot things happen here*

Takaya wakes up in the dark room somewhere at Mt. Kouya. He can't move his legs or arms. There is a warrior monk named Kouran next to him. They have heard about Takaya.. A person who works for Bishamonten. They want to use Takaya's power to onryous. When they close the main gate the energy can't flow to Mt. Kouya anymore. Eventually the Shikoku barrier will explode and burn all the vengeful spirits inside of it. Kouran says that the monks are already making preparations and there are only 3 hours left before everything is ready. Takaya is in panic and begs Kihachi inside of him help him.   

At the same time Naoe, Ushio and Kiyomasa are trying to sneak inside of the spiritual barrier that surrounds Mt. Kouya. Finally they get in! Naoe and Kiyomasa fight againts some monks while Ushio finds Takaya from one temple hall. Takaya asks Ushio to take contact to Reijirou so that everyone can escape from Shikoku before it's too late. Then Naoe steps into hall and runs to hug Takaya. They're relieved seeing each other to be fine. Then they start to think what they should do. Naoe asks if it's really fine for Takaya to let the Red Whales and other onryous to stay alive. The spiritual shock that monks are planning to do is same as exorcism the Yashashuu is using. Wouldn't it be good thing that their souls can rest in peace finally? Takaya has already made a strong bond with the Red Whales so sorrowfully he confesses to Naoe that he can't do that.  Then some young monks sneak into the hall where Takaya and the others are. One of them, named Takigawa, says that they're against to other monks' idea for killing spirits in Shikoku. They want to help Takaya.

*lots of plot things happen here*

Huge earthquake occurs. Oda clan has exploded a mountain in the border of Wakayama and Mie prefecture (the Grand Shrine of Ise is located in Mie). Nobunaga is making his own route for getting Shikoku's spiritual energy for Ise Shrine. Everyone is terrified. What is happening here?! How Nobunaga can have that much power to blow away a mountain that easily?  

In order to prevent Nobunaga getting energy from Shikoku there are two options:

1. Using retsumyousei to create Shadow Shikoku (then spiritual energy doesn't flow to Mt. Kouya anymore)

or

2. Destroy the Grand Shrine of Ise

Take a look to the map again and turn Shikoku upside down. Instead of the wild boar, can you see a small headed demon dog now? That's Shadow Shikoku! It represents opposite to normal Shikoku. Dog's head is facing to Kyuushuu now so the energy won't flow to Mt. Kouya.

Naoe is absolutely ready to destroy Ise Shrine instead of creating Shadow Shikoku because after using retsumyousei once, the next time will be after 50 years and he knows that Takaya won't be alive then anymore. And creating Shadow Shikoku is very dangerous because any small mistake may cause enormous disaster. Hmm.... Talking about retsumyousei, it's some kind of star/meteor with great spiritual power. It seems that Kuukai locked it into secret place so that no one would ever use it, but after all the Red Whales stole it for their own use.

*lots of plot things happen here*

Takaya and other's managed to inform Reijirou to open to the gate of Shikoku so that the spiritual shock won't happen. Time is soon out! When they try to call back no one answers in Shikoku anymore. Takaya is about to lose his mind for being super worry if everyone is already dead or not. Naoe embraces him tightly and says that everything is going to be fine, don't worry. Then Naoe proposes they all should return to Shikoku right away. When they're escaping from the Mt. Kouya they're stopped by Kouran. Takaya uses Kihachi's power and covered by blood Kouran collapses onto ground. On the main gate of Kouya they can feel the wind. The energy is still flowing! Takaya and the others return in Shikoku by Kiyomasa's helicopter.

On board Takaya calls to Reijirou and for his relief Reijirou answers. Everyone is okay! Takaya sheds the tears of happiness hearing his friends to be alive. He tells about Nobunaga's plans to Reijirou and says that they need to create Shadow Shikoku as soon as possible.

*Naoe angsts why the Red Whales/onryous are so important to Takaya*

After returning to one hideout of the Red Whales in Shikoku Naoe takes Takaya to behind the house. He wants know what Takaya is exactly planning to do with the great barrier of Shikoku. Naoe asks if it's because of making Shikoku a good place to live as an onryou. Takaya is hesitating to tell so Naoe can't do anything but force Takaya to tell every single detail. After all he confesses that his plan is to make Shadow Shikoku. And he needs retsumyousei for that. 

Then there is the following scene: 

N: "I don't let anyone else to use retsumyousei! Especially for the sake of the Red Whales! Your soul demise can happen at any moment-"

T: "That's what I mean! I don't have any time left anymore, it's too late! So don't come on my way! There are so many things I need to do here in Shikoku!"

Pissing off Naoe grabs Takaya's shirts and pulls him towards to the wall. Keeping Takaya against to the wall Naoe buries his face to Takaya's neck and starts to kiss it hungrily. Takaya tries to avoid Naoe's kisses. "S-stop it..!!"

N: "I'm not letting anyone to use retsumyousei!! Curing you is my priority!! There isn't anything so important than that!!"

T: "Let me go! Someone will see-"

N: "Even if you're willing to go but I'm not going let you do so! I'll crush your leg and hip so you can't walk! And I'll enchant you so that you can't go!"

After shouting so Naoe rose Takaya's hips and started to touch his private area. Another hand blocks Takaya's struggling hands to the wall. With free hand Naoe opens Takaya's jeans zipper and dives his hand under Takaya's underwear. Naoe starts to caress Takaya's manhood with great power.

T: "Stop it... Naoe! St-"

Naoe didn't listen to Takaya's words but continued his actions down there lustfully. He also pressed more kisses onto bare skin of Takaya's neck. Takaya asks Naoe to stop by trying to keep his legs closed but Naoe is physically stronger and opens them quite easily.  

N: "I'll stop your foolish plans right here and right now!!" (`@A@´)

As tangled to each other they both collapses onto the ground. Takaya bites the hand Naoe uses to muffle Takaya's voice. Even if his hand is bleeding Naoe doesn't stop. Takaya who is still biting his hand, takes a grip to Naoe's hair.

T: "Fuck.. it.. off!!" (x__x;;)

Naoe's eyes shining like beast's. He slips his middle finger into Takaya and starts to penetrate him. In order to not lose his mind Takaya holds Naoe's shoulder tightly. Then they heard someone calling Takaya. It's Ushio's voice. Looks like he finished car preparations and came to inform Takaya. Ushio is confused seeing Takaya and Naoe in such a weird position, and assumes Naoe is going to kill Takaya.

U: "Tachibana! You bastard!!" (`@A@´)

Ushio throws a water blade that slashes a scar on to the skin of Naoe's cheek. Seeing Naoe stopping his actions Takaya pushes Naoe over so that their position has changed: now Naoe is lying on his back on the ground and Takaya is on the top of him. They stare each other few seconds... and then Takaya starts a very hungry and passionate kiss. Eagering for each other Takaya finally pulls back. They're both breathing heavily. 

T: "Don't try to stop me! Instead of just extending my lifetime, I'm going to LIVE. I won't die. But I'm not going to live just for not dying either."

N: "Takaya-san."

T: "Don't be on my way."

Takaya stands up but Naoe isn't going to let him go so easily. He grabs Takaya's arm and after he turns, Naoe hits him to stomach so that Takaya faints. After this Naoe carrying Takaya rushes into car and escapes. Ushio tries to stop him but can't.

Mihoto stops Naoe's car. I'm not sure who Mihoto after all is since I haven't read vol. 25-27 but it seems that she is ushi-oni, a cow demon, that appears in the folklore of Japan. There is some kind of curse among ushi-oni tribe and they can't become humans before the red-eyed beast in Shikoku is killed. And Mihoto thinks this beast is Takaya because he has an evil eye. Mihoto appears to be young girl but she can also transform herself into adult woman or other living creature. She is in love with Naoe and wants him to help her destroying retsumyousei in order to kill Takaya. Naoe of course is very against to this and tries to project Takaya. Takaya has waken up and together with Naoe they try to kill Mihoto. Suddenly she causes Takaya a painful heart attack that makes him to fall down. Naoe hurries his side and holds him tightly shouting his name. Takaya is about to die so Naoe begs Mihoto to stop. Mihoto wants Naoe to work for her. Naoe rises up and walks to her side. Takaya begs with desperate voice "Naoe... Don't... You can't..." Mihoto takes over Naoe and like a zombi Naoe takes a gun and is about to shoot Takaya. But then Naoe manages to break Mihoto's spell and he shoots Mihoto instead of Takaya. Mihoto still fights back and then Nagahide and pilgrim named Kannagi arrive. Kannagi is somehow related to Mihoto by blood but he doesn't care and shoot her causing her fatal injuries. Kannagi tells that real beast is Shikoku itself, not Takaya. Nagahide forces Naoe to be her lover for few minutes because she is dying soon. Takaya turns his back and says "Go head, Naoe... I won't watch." Naoe kneels down and holds Mihoto's hand. She smiles weakly and hopes that in the next life she would be real human, a beautiful woman. And then she would become Naoe's wife. Naoe of course can't make such a promise, but just watches silently when Mihoto dies a small smile on her face. 

Then Takaya tells that he will kill Nagahide (because he's working for Nobunaga now) and exorcise him by their own hands. Nagahide says "You bastard." Takaya orders Naoe to exorcise Nagahide but Naoe doesn't obey. Nagahide doesn't have any glue what's happening between Takaya and Naoe. Like why they're against to each other... Again! While they're arguing Nagahide escapes by car. At the same time Ushio and some other members arrive. Naoe binds Takaya's arms behind his back so that Takaya can't move. Naoe shouts to the soldiers "Stay back! If you don't want me to hurt him, don't come any closer!" 

T: "Naoe!"

But Ushio and the others know that Naoe would never hurt Takaya so they don't follow Naoe's orders.

U: "What the hell is on your mind, Tachibana?!"

Naoe whispers into Takaya's ear: "I'll take as my hostage and then let's escape together. Please, stay calm and do as I say. If you don't I'll exorcise them."

T: "!!"

Takaya turns his head and kisses Naoe in very passionately way and makes them both to fall down to the ground. Takaya moves on the top of Naoe, not letting him to move and with sad look on his face he says to Naoe "I beg you to obey me... Please, if you do love me...."

Naoe answers "You're so unfair."   (<.<)

Ushio arrests Naoe. Takaya orders soldiers to imprison Naoe to Mt. Tsurugi, but he mentions that he won't allow anyone to even hurt Naoe, just imprison. Naoe tries to struggle to get himself free and shouts "Let me go! You guys don't know anything! Retsumyousei is the only way to save him! He doesn't have much time left!"

T: "He tries to prank you, don't listen to him!"

N: "Let me go, Takaya-san...!!" Then one soldier gives him an electrical shock and Naoe faints. Heart broken Takaya watches when soldiers carry unconscious Naoe into the car. In his mind he promises to Naoe that he won't die.

Takaya returns to Toujindaba in Ashizura before midnight. There he meets his subordinates and Nakagawa. Hayato is also there and Takaya tells about his plans to him. Then they have the following conversation:

T: "I'm not letting anyone to disturb my plans."

H: "Do you mean that Tachibana is disturbance?"

Hearing that Takaya stops.

H: "Where is that dangerous man? We have to deport him immediately."

T: "There is no need for that. He is imprisoned for ten days at Mt. Tsurugi. He can't escape."

H: "I know is true intentions! He is very dangerous to the Red Whales. So please, dismissal him!"

T: "I already said I'm not going to do that."

H: "Is it because he is your man?"

Takaya glares at Hayato with very serious eyes. Hayato crosses his arms after seeing such a frightening expression on Takaya's face.

H: "We the Red Whales are onryou. Tachibana doesn't accept our existence in this world. Without you he would have already used exorcism to us. That's why he is extremely dangerous in our opinion. I recommend to deport him as soon as possible from Shikoku. Or if not, how about killing him?"

T: "I shall put down that person who even touches him."

Takaya said that with voice that was cold.

T: "My revenge shall be very personal."

Oh...!! I'm sure Naoe would be very happy hearing Takaya saying so! :D But poor Hayato, he is so jealous to Naoe.. Actually earlier in this volume Hayato begged Reijirou to kill Naoe. However, Reijirou knows about Takaya's and Naoe's relationship so he refused saying that trusts Takaya's choices. 

At the same time Naoe comes back to his conscious on the car that is heading for Mt. Tsurugi. Ushio and one another member of the Red Whales are also there. For Naoe's surprise, Ushio attacks and kicks the driver out. He wants to know what did Naoe mean when he talked about saving Takaya by using retsumyousei. Naoe tells him everything and Ushio gets terrified because he doesn't want Takaya to sacrifice himself for everyone's sake. He tells to Ushio that he isn't going to let Takaya to use his left lifetime for saving others. For Naoe's and Ushio's surpise Nagahide is behind them. o__o "Nagahide!" Naoe gasps. Nagahide felt earlier that something abnormal is going on so he decided to follow Naoe. Nagahide's heart breaks hearing Kagetora is about to die at the any moment. Naoe begs Ushio to help him to stop Takaya doing this big mistake. Ushio agrees and when about to continue their way back to Ashizura Nagahide warns Naoe that Ayukawa has sneked into the Red Whales too. Ayukawa was actually arrested by the Red Whales since some people recognized he is from Uesugi. But Takaya and Naoe didn't know about this. Naoe thanks for the information Nagahide told and then they leave with Ushio leaving Nagahide there. Naoe drives like a racer on the empty night road. They don't have much time left. They have to reach Ashizura before is too late! Naoe is so scared of the world without Takaya. He can't imagine what happens after Takaya's death.. Naoe doesn't have any reason to live anymore if Takaya/Kagetora isn't there.. All these hundreds of years they have carried mission to exorcise onryou's but for Naoe the main reason to keep going has been Kagetora. The situation at Mt. Aso 30 years ago was very serious but at that time they knew they would meet again someday in the future thanks to performing kanshou. But this will be absolutely the final life if they don't cure Kagetora's soul. And retsumyousei is maybe the only way to save him. He also says that he will exorcise the Red Whales if he needs to do so. He will definitely do anything to save Takaya! Looking at Naoe's miserable and heartbreaking face Ushio thinks "Ougi... So this man is your Naoe..?"

Meanwhile at Ashizura Takaya and some priests are summoning retsumyousei on the hall where the star is stored. Because Takaya's body contains Bishamonten's powers retsumyousei is reacting powerfully. Takaya is feeling so sorry for Naoe. He has to do it. There is no other way to save everyone. I think Takaya blaming himself for being a kanshousha. Taking living humans' bodies to be born again... And now he is stained by Kihachi's poison that kills living beings. He can't get out from Shikoku and be with normal humans anymore. The Red Whales accepted him as he is so I guess Takaya wants to do something for them. Making a place where onryous can live without any fear of being exorcised. He tries to concentrate on summoning but only thing on his mind is Naoe. 

*plot things happen here*

Finally Naoe and Ushio reach Ashizura. After many problems they meet Reijirou and Naoe tells everything about Takaya's condition. He doesn't think that Reijirou will stop the mission, so Naoe is ready to exorcise everyone and stop Takaya alone. For his great surprise Reijirou wants to save Takaya too and aborts the mission.

Ayukawa who has been caught by the Red Whales for months manages finally to escape thanks to the chaos. He so down to this cat and mouse play between Uesugi and Takaya/Naoe, and wants them to return to Uesugi right away.  Seeing Takaya summoning retsumyousei Ayukawa is like "K-Kagetora-sama~!!!! What are you doing??!!!(@A@;;)" Ayukawa can't understand why Takaya is supporting onryous, not exorcising them! After all Ayukawa doesn't see any other option than exorcising Kagetora/Takaya by using Uesugi's special weapon: exorcism bullet. He points the gun towards to Takaya's back but then he gets into flames. Takaya used Kihachi's powers to stop Ayukawa and injures him quite seriously.

Then Nagahide appears and he is also planning to exorcise Kagetora. The thing Kagetora is doing now is extremely wicked and as a former member of Yashashuu Nagahide can't accept Kagetora being almost as evil as Nobunaga. Naoe runs to the site. Nagahide blames Naoe for having allowed Takaya to befriend with the Red Whales. Nagahide says he is going to save Kagetora by exorcising him. In Nagahide's opinion, it's the best solution and if Naoe can't do that, he does. Naoe of course disagrees and they have big fight with Nagahide. Fight ends when Hayato suddenly comes and shoots Nagahide till death by his rifle. He isn't going to let anyone to disturb Takaya creating Shadow Shikoku. Hayato is also about to kill Naoe when enormous explosion happens. It's like a volcanic eruption. Huge pressure wave destroys everything from spiritual barriers to living beings. Naoe is the only one who finally stands up (maybe because he is Uesugi's kanshousha). All his body hurts so much but only thing he can think is Takaya. "Ta...kaya..san"

For Naoe's big relief he finds Takaya alive. In the darkness his evil eye is shining in the color of ruby. This scene gives me goosebumps! I found the atmosphere is so wicked here but also so sad... (´A`) Naoe asks with very low voice if the conversion failed. Takaya answers that the first stage has succeeded and now it's turn to the last stage. Naoe also asks if it's really so necessary to do conversion and create Shadow Shikoku. Like, isn't there any other way to make Shikoku to be good place for onryous? He explains how living humans will start to suffer from being attacked by onryous who want to have bodies to control. Isn't that against their moral? After this starts their heartbreaking conversation... Naoe wants to save Takaya, and Takaya wants to save the world in order to be with Naoe. Takaya is sure that he won't die even if they don't use retsumyousei's powers for curing him. It's so painful that they have to be against each other.. They both want to avoid having this battle but no can do.. They both cry a lot while trying to stop each other. Have to say that I also started cry while reading this... This breaks heart seriously... (;__;) Actually this part exactly same as drama cd 2008, track 6 'onshuu no mon'. Eventually Takaya is more powerful than Naoe and he returns to the hall where retsumyousei is to complete the conversion. Naoe tries to get into that hall too but can't because there is an invisible wall that Takaya has created between them. While hearing Naoe shouting him to stop this Takaya whispers with a quiet voice "Naoe... I'll not leave you behind...(;__;)"  After that Takaya continues mantra and after final words a huge explosion happens. Terrible pressure wave destroys everything from its way. Shikoku is burnt by black flames...

This was the of vol. 28.

Oh dear... Takaya did it... I feel so sorry for Naoe... (<.<)

Kuwabara-sensei is amazing how she invented this wild boar/demon dog shaped Shikoku. She usually uses based on facts elements on her novels so I tried to find information from the Japanese Shingon sect websites if they really believe in this spiritual energy flow from Shikoku to Mt. Kouya but it seems this is just sensei's own creation. Sensei's imagination is very impressive! :)

I really like the character of Kiyomasa! He appeared already on vol. 15-19 when he was working for Nobunaga but changed his side since his beloved Kumamoto city was destroyed. After all he became quite trustful ally for the Red Whales.

So, any opinions? How do you feel about Takaya's resolution for creating Shadow Shikoku? Let's discuss! :)

labingi
labingi's picture
Wow! Thank you!

Oh my goodness! I want to discuss, but I'll have to reread your summary in more detail and also go back and review some of the earlier Red Whales stuff to understand what's going on. It sounds complex and emotionally high stakes and very Mirage. Thank you for the complete and detailed summary. Your English is very good. (I will get this linked to Mirage_Trans soon.)

Rina
Rina's picture
The plot in this volume was

The plot in this volume was indeed really complicated one!  Since there aren't many English translated chapters for this The Gate of Revenge (vol. 23-28) story where the Red Whales play very important role, and usually the onryous/vengeful spirits that appear in MoB are historical persons but it seems that the Red Whales are Kuwabara-sensei's own creations so, at first it's a bit difficult to understand who is who. ^^; But the Red Whales will appear in the following volumes too so I'm sure everyone will soon get know their different personalities and backgrounds! :)

labingi
labingi's picture
I have moved the thread

By the way, I have moved this thread to a newly created forum, "Translations and Summary" since the majority of it is summary and not meta. However, I love the invitation to engage in meta. If you want, I could recopy the post to the meta forum too, or you (or I) could add a more specifically meta post/discussion starter for vol. 28 in the meta forum?

Rina
Rina's picture
No problem! I guess we can

No problem! I guess we can discuss here too so no need to start new one. :)

labingi
labingi's picture
Translation Links Updated

I have added your summary (at this new translation forum link) to Mirage_Trans at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth:

http://mirage-trans.livejournal.com/profile

http://mirage-trans.dreamwidth.org/profile

(It's a little bit buried in "Summary" toward the bottom of the page. I also posted the link to the communities.)

labingi
labingi's picture
Actual Discussion :-)

Okay, finally some actual thoughts on this volume, though scattered.

1) SQUEE! for more Mirage information after five years or something since vol. 24 was last translated. Just having this to read is beyond exciting. Thank you so much!

2) As to your question on Takaya creating the Shadow Shikoku, I think I like it. It's very in character that he'd choose to save others over himself. I like the very plausible and dramatic way this creates a rift with Naoe, and I like that Takaya, nonetheless, manages to pull it off, not least because, when push comes to shove, Naoe seems to often overpower him, regardless of how powerful we're told Kagetora is. However, I don't really understand the Red Whales. I need to go back and review what's been translated thus far, so I can't speak much to Takaya's loyalty to them. (I remember Ushio being very friendly around vol. 21.)

3) I laughed a lot reading your summary. It touched well on some of the Mirage hilarity--and this probably comes across more in summary than line-by-line translation: nobody buying that Naoe would actually kill Takaya. :-) Nagahide being utterly baffled about what the heck is going on. :-) (Myself, I am utterly baffled by Nagahide. I have no clue what game he's playing.)

4) By this point in the series, I do wish Naoe would stop raping Takaya. I get it earlier on (pre-vol. 20). It's not excusable, mind you, but I get that they have this weird thing where they kind of need to get together and Takaya wants it but can't bring himself to consent, and so on. And while it's not excusable, it arguably is the only (or quickest?) way forward for their relationship. But at a certain point, when they have developed a consensual sexual relationship and they're no longer in the dynamic of Kagetora needing/wanting Naoe but never being able to admit it, it just begins to read as assault in a way that is thwarting (as opposed to arguably liberating) Takaya's power over his own life and desires.

Anyway, coming into vol. 28, it's fascinating to me how much the old team and old mission has fragmented. It makes sense given the frission that's going on even in volumes 15-16, and I wonder what it means and where it's going.

Thanks again for summarizing!

Rina
Rina's picture
Thank you

Thanks for linking this to the MoB community! I hope we can get this fandom active again! :)

1) Hehe~ I'm very happy if you liked it! :D And more is coming soon!

2) I was wondering should I make a summary about the Red Whales before summarizing the next volume (vol. 29)? :) Like introducing their characters and so on since there aren't much information about them in English? 

3) Nagahide is amazing and funny how he suddenly appears! :D Even if he's working for Nobunaga now he still feels sympathy for the Yashashuu like trying to save Kagetora and so on. I feel that Nagahide has always been the one who is the most against to have Kagetora as their leader so it was very touching that he was seriously sad about what's going to happen to Kagetora. ;_;

4) I definitely agree with you about raping thing.  I was like "Naoe, what are you doing?! >_<"  when that scene came..  I understand him to be super scared of losing Takaya and as he said he's ready to do anything for stopping him, but hurting Takaya in such a brutal way isn't solution. Their relationship has always been and it's still very complicated even if they're "officially together" now...  Hmm... Naoe should have told to Reijirou about Takaya's upcoming soul demise but I guess Takaya had begged Naoe to keep this thing as a secret since no one of the member of the Red Whales didn't know before Naoe told to Ushio. 

labingi
labingi's picture
Good points & Red Whales!

If you're interested in doing a write-up on the Red Whales, that would definitely be helpful--but it sounds like work, so only if you want to! There used to be one on Mirage_Trans, but the link is not accessible anymore, so the background would be welcome.

I have a question about Nagahide (I really don't know what he's up to). There's a bit in your summary where he thinks Kagetora is being almost as bad as Nobunaga and, therefore, must be stopped, etc. But I'm also told he's working for Nobunaga at this point... so he's not worried about stopping the one who is actually worse? I keep thinking Nagahide has to be faking everybody out, but I confess I'm not confident of that. He's a slippery guy to try to understand.

You make a good point about the complicatedness of the Naoe/Takaya relationship, and it does, in fact, make psychological sense that a relationship with a strong foundation in sexual abuse would not simply stop being sexually abusive even as the relationship evolves and, on the whole, improves. I guess, in terms of writing quality, what I feel is this: Naoe is pretty much behaving like Naoe, but I would like to see Takaya be more serious in standing up for the principle that he shouldn't be sexually abused. I liked the one bit where he seriously fought Naoe off, even biting him... but then he turns around and kisses him. Now, I guess as a character/a literary creation, Takaya is entitled to his mixed signalling if Naoe is entitled to his penchant for molestation. I don't want to say, "The victim's behavior should be perfect," but I guess I wish that somewhere in the text, there was a significant presence, besides the occasional bemused bystander, to drive home that this is not okay.

Rina
Rina's picture
About Nagahide

Sorry for the late answer!

I think Nagahide is planning to assassinate Nobunaga. Recently Nobunaga is getting stronger and due to the situation in Uesugi clan (Kagetora's mental break & unable to control his own powers, and Kagetora & Naoe have left Yashashuu) has maken Yashashuu quite weak. That's why I guess he tries to get close to Nobunaga in order to exorcise him. However, it seems that Oda clan is a bit wary of Nagahide's exorcism powers since he was a member of Yashashuu after all. For example he doesn't know where Nobunaga exactly is and what he is planning due to his low retainer position in Oda clan. He just have to earn Oda clan's trust for getting closer to Nobunaga.   

In vol. 28 Nagahide was wondering if this Shadow Shikoku thing is just Kagetora's revenge to everyone. As we know Kenshin dismissed Kagetora to be the general of underworld army of Uesugi anymore. Kagetora's mental state was already unstable in vol. 13-19 (because of this Kotarou-Naoe-Kaizaki thing) and after being abandoned by Kenshin he was totally broken. For example, in vol 20 Kagetora opens up his heart to Naoe asking was all these 400 years for nothing. Even if he exorcised his own biological family (Houjou) he wasn't enough for Kenshin. And plus all those terrible things that happened Kagetora/Takaya... Shadow Shikoku is completely against to Yashashuu's mission so it feels like it's just Kagetora's personal revenge to Kenshin and Uesugi clan. In the text Nagahide's intentions are described that he wants to save Kagetora's soul (from the soul demise and stopping him to do this kind of revenge things), not exorcise him because Nobunaga wants so. I think this is the pivotal hint that shows he's still loyal to Uesugi but pretends to be a retainer of Oda clan. 

So in shortly to say, I think Nagahide wants to exorcise Nobunaga but can't do that yet. 

Good points! :) Talking about this sexual abusing between them, Takaya is also a bit cruel to control Naoe by kissing (like in the end of 20, that drugging by wine scene) but have to admit that I secretly love it. Naoe is physically stronger but gets so weak when Takaya starts the kiss.

I'm analyzing the next volume now, but I guess I'll make a short synopsis about the Red Whales too after rereading vol. 21-24.  

labingi
labingi's picture
Sounds right

Your analysis sounds very cogent to me. Whatever the specifics, I'm pretty sure the "truth" is some mix of genuinely different agendas and pretended betrayal for a common cause. I'm currently back in the Karin arc, and there's a lot of that already. SPOILERS FOLLOW. Ex. Nagahide wanting to be loyal to Kagetora but being told by Irobe (whom he also trusts) that Kenshin (whom he also trusts) is telling him to act, in part, behind Kagetora's back, so he reluctantly does, and Naoe, of course, not betraying Kagetora as Kagetora thinks yet actually, really being commanded by Kenshin to take over as the Uesugi general, which he does as part of a bid to really put Kagetora out of action, but out of personal concern for his safety, and so on.

I love the ability of Mirage to navigate this kind of thing. It's very reflective of the complex, messy, and sometimes icky nature of human relationships, motives, and allegiances. Real betrayal can coexist with real love and even loyalty. I don't know if I can think of another story off the top of my head that captures this quite as well.

lufro
lufro's picture
I don´t even know how to

I don´t even know how to start...well a HUGE thank you is first think on my mind....really. If you gonna do a chapter 29 as well, I think  I am about to explode of excitment. I´ve got a lot of plot holes from vol 24 - 40. I know red whales only for Takaya´s arrival to them. I don´t understand Nagahide at all, WHY is on Nobunaga ´s site? His constrained feelings for Kagetora is other thing but he betrayed Uesugi? Why? Next thing..Naoe is Naoe and I am not surprised his action at all..sexual abuse, madness, absolute devotion - that´s our Naoe :-)and Takaya making Shadow Shikoku, well I don´t know much about this or I don´t get it, but he always prefers good of others than himself. 

Rina
Rina's picture
Hi lufro! :)

You're welcome! I'm happy you enjoyed this summary. I'm planning to write similar summaries for the rest volumes too!

I think Nagahide is just pretending to be Nobunaga's retainer. You can check my longer answer about Nagahide for labingi. :)

I agree! Even if Naoe's a bit too brutal sometimes his devotion for Kagetora melts my heart every time.

Vol. 29 explains quite well what kind of place Shadow Shikoku is and how this effects to the story from now on.  The next summary will be ready in few weeks!

lufro
lufro's picture
I hope Nagahide only pretends

I hope Nagahide only pretends to be bad guy as you wrote it, he always was my favorite sarcastic character :-) If you will write others summaries for the rest of volumes then you are my HERO!!! I was waiting almost 9 years for someone to complete the whole story for non-japanese speakers...I am so happy :-)

EternalHiganbana
Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh wow! I can't believe it! After all these years, someone finally comes along! I thought that Mirage was pretty much never going to be translated in any form....not in this lifetime atleast... But here you are! You are a total life saver, Rina, thanks a bunch and can't wait for further updates : )

P.S. If possible, will you be able to summarize the gap volumes that were left behind without any translations? They tie everything together like end of volume 17 after chapter 24, volume 18, 19, 22, 23, end of volume 24 after Naoe reunites with Kagetora/gets captured by the Red Whales, 25, 26, 27... Etc...? This would be so amazing for the entire fandom! Thank you so much!!!!!!

Rina
Rina's picture
Nice to meet you!

Hi, EternalHiganbana! :)

You're welcome! I also felt so! Being a fan for years but still the end of MoB was a mystery and it seemed that any publishers won't ever do the official translation in English... It's so pity because MoB is a true masterpiece!! I can't do any proper fan translations but at least I'll make summaries for vol. 28-40, mostly within this year! :) 

By the way, I just finished vol. 29 and it's out now! ;)

Sankia
Sankia's picture
Thank you

I am really pleased that the mirage of blaze project is not totally abandoned. Thank you for this summary! I would like to know if you are thinking of summarizing the others volumes? ;)

Rina
Rina's picture
Hi Sankia!

You're welcome! I'll write similar summaries for vol. 29-40 too. Actually I posted the summary of vol. 29 yesterday so you can find it from this forum already! :)

imperfekti
imperfekti's picture
Ah, thank you so much for

Ah, thank you so much for this summary! This is such a big favor to the fandom, so we really can't thank you enough.

"Naoe remembers that Kagetora has always cherished nature and living beings." This is really nice and interesting! If it's not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could translate the exact sentence(s), or tell me which page I could find that on so I could look at the original text myself. Mirage is so tied up with the value of life, and I'd love it if it said more about non-human life as well, so I'm always really happy to see things like these mentioned.

"Instead of just extending my lifetime, I'm going to LIVE. I won't die. But I'm not going to live just for not dying either." I feel like this is something that really suits Kagetora. He's been so serious about justifying his life by concentrating on the mission and not running away, and he's still holding on to that attitude: he needs to use his life to do what he thinks is right. This is very inspirational.

That said, I've just recently really learned to love Nagahide, especially after seeing him in Shouwa era, trying to enjoy life like a normal person, traveling and whatnot - basically being very relatable. So seeing him here, being so involved and going so far as to prepare to exorcise Kagetora, and ending up being shot... I really feel for him. One thing I don't really remember though - was he in his Chiaki body at this point, or did he change to something else earlier?

Plotwise, all this Shikoku stuff seems really cool! Kudos to Kuwabara-sensei for designing such imaginative things.

Rina
Rina's picture
Hi!

My pleasure! I hope we can get this fandom active again. 

Here is that part in Japanese and my translation of it. :) 

p. 99

"-「命」を守る。

そうだろう。そういう気持ちはあるのだろう。ただ純粋に。生き物が「生きてゆく」ためのちから。誰のためということではなく、大地や森を守るように、そこに溢れる瑞々しくも美しいものを殺したくないと思うことになんら不思議はない。生命というものの温もりや脈動を、高耶はいつも憧憬していた。毒の体になってからは、なおのこと。"

"- I'm protecting 'life'.

It must be so. He truly must feel so. He is doing this for what makes living beings to live. He isn't doing this for someone's sake, but for protecting the earth and forests, and it's obvious that he doesn't want to kill the overflowing vitality and beauty existing in it. Takaya has always longed for the warmth and pulse in that thing what we call life. Even after his body became poisonous, he still feels so."

Sensei writes so beautifully...  I hope I'm not ruining her work with my English skills.^^;

Nagahide has a new body between volumes 21-28. He has dark hair (looks a bit like Kousaka), a mole under the left eye and no spectacles. Chiaki Shuuhei's body was killed by Nobunaga's hakonha in vol. 19. Fortunately Nagahide's soul survived and it seems that after that he started to work for Nobunaga. 

imperfekti
imperfekti's picture
Thanks!

Thank you so much for taking the time to elaborate on that part! What a nice detail.

Michiru
Nagahide raises a lot of

Nagahide raises a lot of questions here, doesn't he? Is he REALLY following Nobunaga, or faking? If he is, I'm not surprised, he hated his life as a Yasha-shuu....but what pushed him over the edge? Hmm. And was Naoe unwilling to kill him because he knows something, or just because he's being sentamental? (Which would be interesting, since Nagahide and Naoe pretty much never interact or show any liking for each other).

Kuwabara-sensei is really something. She loves history and travel, and I really want to read her book of travel essays as she was going around Japan and searching for Mirage plot threads. I can see them as being almost as interesting as the novels (without the gay sex they can't be AS interesting, but everything else that makes Mirage cool will be in them, ha ha!)

* * *

Can't I even dream? Would you shut my heart in my chest? -Kagetora, Yonakidori Blues

Rina
Rina's picture
Hi Michiru

Kuwabara-sensei is absolutely my favorite author. :) I especially love her way to mix historical events and her own imagination. And her writing style truly attratcs me! I really hope she will continue writing more MoB prequels after Shouwa era story ends... 

Nagahide is such a mysterious person. I guess he prefers working alone rather than doing teamwork with the Yashashuu.  Let's see what will happen to him in the next volumes. :) 

Michiru
Thanks so much!

Thank you for the translation! How interesting in so many ways. Loads of questions of course, like why Nagahide had switched sides and where Haruie and Katsunaga are. I really want to read the novels to find out.

On sexual assault: from my experience in Japan, Kuwabara-sensei would have been less interested in talking about sexual assault realistically and more interested in writing something Japanese readers find sexy. Japanese writing/movies/etc tend to glorify assault--in fact, consentual sex as its defined in the USA (where I'm from, I can't speak for anyone else) almost never happens. There's almost always some sort of coersion or force. I've never heard Kuwabara-sensei talk about why she writes the sex that way, nor, in any interview I've read (not that I've read them all) has a Japanese fan asked her why she writes it that way. It seems to be a given. So, it'll keep being written that way as long as that's what readers enjoy.

Can't wait for more summaries, thanks again. What an adventure.

* * *

Can't I even dream? Would you shut my heart in my chest? -Kagetora, Yonakidori Blues

Katinka
A few thoughts on NaoTaka sex being abusive

I agree with Michiru - it's in Japanese culture to glorify assault, it's part of so many anime/manga stories, and Japanese female audience does seem to enjoy it. But here in Mirage it's also an essential part of Kagetora's personality. He is portrayed as masochistic (as Naoe mentions a couple of times in earlier volumes of the main storyline, and in this case – it’s not a product of his imagination). We get some glimpses of it from Shikoku ark (when Takaya tried to, hmmm… cut off his penis – I don’t remember if that has been translated), and also in Kaiko (he displayed similar sort of behavior, hurting himself physically when he was hurting emotionally). And somehow it’s just who he is, he needs pain, at times to punish himself but also because it makes him feel alive (different reasoning was given in different scenes). So, far from conveying any messages to Naoe about how wrong this all is, Takaya enjoys it. He actually provokes Naoe to be aggressive and hurt him.

That's how I see it from what I've read.

labingi
labingi's picture
Yet more on sexual assault... (yay)

Michiru and Katinka, I take your points about sexual assault being glorified in Japanese pop culture. You've made me pause and reflect on the manga and anime I'm familiar with, and, yes,  it's startling how little is straightforwardly consensual.

I also agree that Naoe and Kagetora's relationship is sadomasochistic, and that this makes sense for all kinds of psychological reasons. My comment was kind of off the cuff. To speak in a more measured way, I look forward to analyzing the writing of the relationship when/if I can access it through volume 40 and see what the whole developmental trajectory is. It's really not fair to make pronouncements before that.

That said, I think there are three different systems of textual evaluation at work in this discussion, all of which have a place.

1) Cultural/genre analysis: Japan glorifies sexual assault.

2) Character building analysis: Naoe and Kagetora are well written as two people with an S&M relationship.

3) Evaluation of the characters' conduct: It is really not okay for Naoe to rape Kagetora.

I was going for no. 3, and while I didn't give enough context on 1 and 2, I do think 3 is valid. There is a real life, sociopolitical tightrope involved in finding the balance between respect for cultural difference and some universal expectations of modern civilization. Mirage is a trivial example, but I think that it is defensible to assert that, literary tropes notwithstanding, rape is not okay (and, of course, Japanese culture in RL would agree). Please note, I'm talking about judging a character as a person, not judging an author, reader, or genre of writing. And even if Kagetora pretty much always means "yes" when he says "no," the problem here, obviously, is that if he ever really meant "no" and there is no safe space for that be heard (and I think this does happen in some of the earlier volumes), he is in a position to be badly scarred, especially given his background as a victim of assault. So while I agree that Kagetora is complicit in the bizarre doings of the relationship, and I agree that it's generically typical and often enjoyable to read, I do, in fact, think Naoe as a person needs to stop raping him at some point if their relationship is going to be healthy. I don't know if they'll reach that point, and it may very well be that they're just not plausibly going to be at that point in vol. 29, but I would like to see them tend toward it.

BTW, no, I don't think the bit about Kagetora wanting to cut off his penis has been translated! (I think I would have remembered!) It doesn't surprise me though. :-)

Katinka
Sorry for the belated reply :)

A few thoughts on #3 (I was away from home all this time – or I would’ve replied earlier).

Sure, their relationship is unhealthy, and for it to start even slightly shifting towards healthy both of them (not just Naoe) need to stop doing a lot of things :) I’m not entirely happy myself with how things progressed between them after vol. 20. Because I, as a reader, want the characters to heal, but Kuwabara, as an author, does not want them to. So the relationship is doomed to stay unhealthy for as long as it lasts, this is a kind of story she writes, this is what Mirage it, and after I realized it (a long time ago), I had plenty of time to deal with it, and now I’m kind of okay :) But still, I would have written it differently :) 

Nevertheless, unhealthy as it may be, I wouldn’t use the word “rape” to describe what Naoe’s doing. Because, yes, Kagetora mostly means “yes” when he says “no”. And when his “no” is actually a “no” – he has all the power to stop Naoe, because in terms of psychic force he is much, much more powerful. Somehow people tend to forget this little, but crucial detail of Kuwabara’s imaginary world – maybe because in sex scenes she makes Kagetora look weak and physically dominated, for the enjoyment of her audience, but the fact is that Kagetora is never helpless. He can always stop it. And he does stop it, two times, in vol. 9 and vol. 11. Those were the only times he actually meant “no” (at least in the 35 volumes I've read). This is why I always say there's 2 rape attempt scenes in Mirage, but no actual NaoKage rape scene.

 And even in real life, where there’s no fantasy element making the “victim” all powerful… I don’t think anything after (and including) vol. 20 could be classified as rape, because what Naoe and Kagetora have going on between them is a bizarre, but quite real-life like sexual dynamic (confirmed by real people with same personality types – we've had this discussion going on for years in RU fandom). This dynamic even has a name in one personality type/interpersonal relationships theory, popular in post-Soviet countries. The idea here is that one person acts on an instinct to provoke the other person to be aggressive (for them it’s self-validation, proof that they are attractive, loved, powerful, etc.). The other person instinctively reacts and acts aggressively (because this is how they’re built – frankly, I don’t relate with this type as much as the other, so it’s harder for me to explain :) Anyways, the main point is that the “aggressor” always intuitively knows what’s too much for the “victim”. He always knows where to stop, so the “victim” is hurt only as much as she/he wants, and not more. And it’s different from S/M, with all their rules and safe-words. Here the rules are not spoken, and it may seem as a rather violent non-consensual interaction to a random bystander, but both parties are actually having fun (again, confirmed by real people with same personality types). Of course, what I described is a healthy pattern, what normal people would have in real life (and they would have it on a daily basis, this provocation-aggression game that is not quite a game). NaoKage is unhealthy, because life has twisted them both, so they have actual physical violence (as in health hazard) built into the pattern that does not have to be violent to this extent.

labingi
labingi's picture
Sorry for a belated reply

Sorry for a belated reply here too. RL has been on me something fierce. Thank you for this explanation. What is the name for that type of sexual dynamic in post-Soviet countries? I'm also curious how fandom discussion has typed their personalities. I used to think I had a fix on it, but my fix has gotten fuzzier and fuzzier over the years. Thanks!

Katinka
Socionics

So, the theory is called Socionics, there are 16 sociotypes (personality types) – it’s quite complicated and I have a very superficial grasp of it, because I’m not a hardcore fan, although I like the main ideas. There’s some information in English online. Kagetora has been typed as Ethical Intuitive Extravert (EIE) dubbed “Hamlet”, and Naoe - Logical Sensory Introvert (LSI) dubbed “Maxim Gorky”, although in recent years there is some serious doubt among the community about Naoe’s type. With Kagetora’s type we are 100% sure :)

The interpersonal relationship between those two types is called “dual relationship” in Socionics lingo, basically just meaning that they should be a perfect fit, complementing each other in all aspects. And romantic/sexual dynamic is called “victim-aggressor relationship” :) You can read about “victims” and “aggressors” main characteristics here. Again, some serious doubts about Naoe, but Kagetora is 100% true “victim”.

labingi
labingi's picture
This is very interesting.

This is very interesting. Thank you for posting. (Sorry for a late reply!) I did look over the link you included, and I agree Kagetora is very much Victim. Naoe also does seem to fit Aggressor very well. What's the other type(s) people are considering for him? (Myself, I feel somewhere between Victim and Caregiver; maybe I'm a tired Victim who just doesn't have the energy anymore.)

I'm thinking that "introvert" and "extravert" must have different meanings than I'm used to in this system. I find Kagetora hard to type in Myers-Briggs, which is what I know best, but if I'm sure about anything it's that he's an introvert in that system (and so is Hamlet), i.e. tending toward wanting to be alone/not in highly social situations to recharge/recover.

Have you ever done the Enneagram with these characters? I've kinda-sorta thought Kagetora seems like a 1 and Naoe a 4, but the Enneagram doesn't gel with me very naturally, so that's just a superficial guess.

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