Originally posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 on Blogger

So I picked up volume 25 sometime in February, but I’ve only gotten around to finishing it now. The main story ends in this volume, with the other two volumes consisting of side stories about all the characters after the conclusion. This volume has two side stories after the finale, but instead of finding out what happens after the conclusion, we get a look into the past of two characters.

Summary


As Sarasa pleads with Shuri to get up, he sees his mother standing on the ledge across from the window. Shuri yells that she need not die, but his mother only turns to look and jumps off the ledge. Shuri is grief stricken, but Sarasa tells him that she must have loved him, his existence is proof of that.

Meanwhile, Ageha is still in the basement with the Yarogumi, and just as an arrow is about to pierce him, Kagero, his owl, flies in front and takes the arrow in his place. The two share one last moment and Ageha continues his fight with the leader of the Yarogumi. Ageha manages to win, but the leader tells him he is not the most skilled of the Yarogumi, just as Hisoka jumps in and cuts Ageha. Against Hisoka, Ageha seems to be losing, but just as Hisoka is about to cut him one more time, Ageha stops his blade with his hand and pierces him with his own. Then he crawls over to the mechanism and attempts to slow it down, so that Tatara will have enough time to escape.

Everyone is still escaping, but Asagi is standing in the palace as it is falling apart. However, flying on a kite, Hijiri and Nachi come to rescue him and give him a new reason to live. He and Muratake decide to go with them. Meanwhile Sarasa is having a hard time trying to find the exit. Just then she sees Ageha and he leads her out, when she turns around though, he is gone. The scene then shifts to Ageha, he now closes his eyes slowly and lets go of the mechanism, thus bringing the whole palace down along with Ginko and Hiragi. Sarasa asks where Ageha is, but when everyone tells her he never came, she realizes that he must be buried under the rubble and begins digging through it; hoping against all odds that he really isn’t dead. Meanwhile Princess Senju sees Ageha with her baby and he tells her to go to Kyoto.

Kakuji informs Sarasa that the people of Byakko village are awaiting Tatara to take revenge and kill the Red King Shuri. Sarasa is grief stricken but she takes up the sword as the crowd cheers, yet she has a vacant look in her eyes and is unable to move. As they stand there transfixed, Senju shows up with her baby and asks Sarasa not to kill Shuri since she (Sarasa) was the one who taught her that hate brings nothing. Then Sarasa, with tears in her eyes rushes at Shuri, drops her blade and they embrace. She cries out that she is not Tatara, that she lied and she is really Sarasa, and begs that they let her be Sarasa once more. Everyone is stunned (expect for her close friends who already knew she was a girl), and Kakuji cries asking her whether she intends to die with the Red King. She just looks at Shuri and the two embrace once more as dozens of arrows fire at them.

The scene shifts to a group of children, they ask Nagi whether Tatara and the Red King really died. Nagi says yes and the children get angry at Kakuji and run off. Kakuji, a little irritated, asks whether Nagi intends to make of him the monster in the historical accounts of Tatara’s journey. Nagi looks out and says the plants Sarasa planted have grown, and Kakuji asks how far did he see this result. Nagi just response with another question, asking Kakuji when did he devise his own plan.

The scene shifts back to Shuri and Sarasa. Arrows litter the ground around them, but no one is able to shoot directly at them. The others (those not from Byakko) begin to move toward the two, acknowledging that the journey they took was not with Tatara, but with Sarasa. The Byakko villagers give up and acknowledge that they cannot kill the one who means so much to them. Mako’s mom (the boy who was first killed in Tatara’s place) tells Sarasa that they always knew it was her, but refused to admit it. Nagi, for the first time since Sarasa cut her braids off, calls her Sarasa and tells Shuri he expects great things from him. He tells the two that they are free to go see the world as Shuri and Sarasa. He then turns to Kakuji would agrees and says the Red King and Tatara are dead.

The scene shifts back to Kakuji and Nagi in the present day and he tells Kakuji that it worked out nicely. Then we see Muratake and Asagi wondering in the wilderness. Asagi wonders whether the White Lady was really his mother and asks Muratake if he wants to go to Kumano. When Muratake shows a lot of enthusiasm, Asagi tells him he has changed his mind (oh Asagi you meanie!). We are then showed snippets of the lives of the others, before returning once more to Nagi as he remembers little Sarasa asking if they can make the land greener. As he looks out on a lush new land, he wishes Sarasa happiness. The next page reads “Fin.”

We are then treated to two side stories, the first, White Story: Fig, tells us the whole life story of Ginko with a much needed resolution to her story. While the second story takes place in Ageha’s past. Both story’s are rather sombre (a drastic contrast to the very beautiful and happy ending of the main story) and both deal with sexual abuse and rape (rather depressing themes). In Ginko’s story, we learn that when she was brought back from Awaji Island she was raped by her drunken father and become pregnant. Hating the child, she asked Hiragi to get rid of it when a boy was born, but later she began asking for her baby boy, so Hiragi brought her another child he had found (this he later regretted doing). She named the child Asagi and told him that he was her brother the true Blue King. After the palace falls on Ginko, we are shown the bloody resolution to her tale. Her father, who escaped with Tachibana, is found by local farmers and both of them are murdered.

In Ageha’s story we learn how he coped with being sexually abused and raped as a child slave, where he first heard the prophecy that he would die for the woman he loved, and how he rediscovered his roots as a blue noble of the desert. Overall, a very interesting story and it gives Ageha’s character yet another level of complexity. It’s basically covers what took place with Ageha right before he saved Sarasa and got his eye cut as payment.

My Thoughts


I loved the finale, it was very heart warming without being overly cheesy. I was worried how Tamura-san would end such a beautiful series off, but I worried in vain because Tamura-san did an exceptional job and one that was much better then I was hoping for. I wasn’t expecting Ageha to die until the these last few volumes (where he made his intentions clear). So I raise my glass to Tamura-san once more because usually manga does not catch me off guard as much as Basara has. The fact that he was prophesied to die for the women he loves and stated as much back in volume 1 really shows how amazing Tamura-san is as a story teller. It was even better that his feelings for Sarasa were not romantic but platonic, adding a really interesting twist to the prophecy that Ageha himself did not seem to expect back in volume 1. The story was really well written and much thought was given to it. But even though the main story is finished, I still excited about the last two volumes! I cannot wait to see what happens to the rest of the cast after this volume’s conclusion :D

The two side stories were really good and added a lot to the rest of the manga. For one, Ginko’s actions don’t seem so drastic after we learn her whole story. I have to commend Tamura-san once more because the rape scene was well depicted; it wasn’t too graphic and was more of a psychological depiction of Ginko’s mind at the moment (she was a doll and her father a beast). The subsequent psychological state of Ginko was also well done, it was very believable. Ageha’s story was also a believable depiction of his emotional and mental state. I found his reactions both to making love to Aello and meeting Shido very believable.

Overall, Basara continues to remain my all time favourite manga since I picked it up a few years ago. I cannot wait to read the last to volumes of this beautiful epic.

–SW

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