The Field of Red Flowers
TAKEDA RYUJIS QUESTION TIMEU Arc III SECOND SEASONU
TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U!
It’s here, it’s here, IT’S HERE!
TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U HAS ARRIVED!
Finally after a far too long absence, we have returned for more blood pumping adventures! And fear not loyal viewers, along with the show’s reairing so too does everyone favorite segment; ‘TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U!’ where you, the fans, send in your questions to none other me, TAKEDA RYUJI!
Now, before we start this week’s segments off, I fear we must first address the elephant in the room. Many of our loyal viewers have been sending in questions asking what happened to not only the show, but this segment. Despite the epic battle and bittersweet ending of the last season, this segment was strangely absent. I’m sad to say that this was the result of an ongoing investigation revolving one of our fans as well as the unfortunate fates of several missing children across the country. Fear not however, thanks to the full cooperation with the authorities from none other than me, TAKEDA RYUJI and the rest of the team, the show is once again sponsor friendly.
Now, enough talk about horrific murders and unspeakable acts of cruelty and let’s get on with the show!
And what better way to start us off than long time trusted viewer and good friend Coolvan-kun!
Hello Takeda Ryuji! Big fan of show back with other question! Is question: How can forgive SAKURA for killing TAKEDA RINA? Was only living relative! Must you not avenge dead relative for HONOR?
Hello Coolvan-kun, I can always rely on you to find the hard hitting questions. And yes it has been a difficult time, a small part of me was tempted to the what you suggested, but no. She is a child, not only that, the child of a good friend, not to mention her ties to Ren. But more than anything, Rina died because of my own failing. If Ren was responsible for Sakura as her teacher and mentor, then I was responsible for Ren as her lord and friend. I thought I was honoring my friend by staying out of her teaching methods like she had asked, but I should have insisted, I should have been more observant and helped to correct things before things had a chance to get this far. I have not forgiven Sakura and I likely never will, just as I am unlikely to forgive myself.
A considerate question comes from another familiar face; xxCutiePiexx, who asks:
Poor Ren, having to drink so much sake! Do you think she’ll ever get used to it?
Hah, I hope not. It would make drinking with her far less entertaining!
While it is great to see our old friends again, there are of course room for new faces and question askers as well. One such is Sakura-xoxo-kun, who asks:
What will happen to Sakura-sama… Will she continue her training with Ren-sama?
I…don’t know. Not for some time I would imagine. I have no wish to speaking ill of my trusted friend, but Ren made errors in the way she brought Sakura in to her training. She taught her how to kill, not how to fight, and as a result Sakura became a competent killer, but not a warrior. They both realized this after the battle with Hoshi and his bandits and asked me to help steer her back on to the correct path and mind set, to teach her Bushido, to teach her how to not only fight but to think like a samurai. It…will be difficult for me to train her after what she did, but I have given my word and I will do it. But both of us have required time, the girl that came back from that battle had lost her will to fight, but if she finds it within The Passionless Valley than I will be ready for her. If I’m successful and Ren is able to fully realize what she wants to pass along and what kind of teacher she wants to be, and if Sakura still wishes to learn, then perhaps.
Here is another longtime fan from NotMrExpo, who asks:
Dear Takeda Ryuji,
As you know, many things occurred since the last episode and until now. Surely events transpired and a number of individuals were involved. My question for you is: Do you disapprove of some of your soldiers harboring feelings for Akiyama Ren? Aren’t you afraid it might be bad for morale?
Hello again! Hah, I briefly had to explain to our lawyers that you are indeed not MrExpo.
Ah love, the strength and weakness of any man, (or woman, it’s the sengoku era after all, get with the times). Nothing is as futile to fight as love, except of course me, TAKEDA RYUJI. It would be somewhat hypocritical of me to oppose my subordinates if they wish to lay with one another, seeing as how I have done so myself. Our lives are always uncertain during times like these and it falls to each and every one of us to find fulfillment where we can, as long as order and discipline remains. If Ren would like to claim a man or two as hers to spend her nights with, she is free to do so, as long as they can keep things professional.
That said, I leave it to my captains how they wish to uphold discipline amongst their subordinates, so Abe for example or indeed Ren would have to go through Megumi if they wish to pursue anything with the other.
Here is a question from someone who discovered the show just recently and I’m sure will be a big fan in no time!
Mrs. Exposition writes:
Ni hao! Did I do that right?
How do you do fellow viewers and Mr. Takeda. I’m somewhat unused to all of this but my son, bless him, had a little scuffle with some other kids here and had to be sent away for a little while. But when he heard that his favorite show was back on air he desperately wanted to send in a short question and asked me to do it in his stead. Now I realize your time is valuable so I will be quick and to the point.
As my son explained it, much happened after appeasing the bathhouse (this sounds like a strange show) . You continued your travels until you reached the border of the Bandit lord Hoshi’s territory. There you and your forces quickly took over a small outpost. You slew one of the women who had been selling the other women at camp to the bandits. And after your…mount(?) told you of the evil of one of the men, you let her kill him.
Now, perhaps more importantly after this your mount, Satsuko told you what had happened outside the bathhouse. She had run into her ex, another wolf named Kemono, who she had previously run away from, who proceeded to rape her. (Really what kind of show is this?) This angered you to the point that you left Ren and the others to guard the camp and went alone to face the beast.
You walked deep into the forest and called out to him, and he emerged in the form of a human, wearing expensive gems and jewelry all over him. He had made a bargain with Hoshi and the bandit provided him with people to worship him and fine offerings in return for his protection. You chose to face him without your sword and as a result a long vicious battle fought with fist and claw ensued. Eventually you bested him but chose not to kill him, instead you killed his manhood and let him live on as a warning to those who would go after that which is yours, be it your lands or your people.
Bloodied, you turned to leave only to immediately run into Satsuko who had been silently witnessing your duel. You gave her one of Kemono’s fangs that he had lost during your fight as a trophy. She however refused the gift, explaining that such trophies were not their ways but asked you to wear it instead.
She treated your wounds in her human form and afterwards the two of you hurried back to camp. There you heard that Ren had fallen during Kemono’s feral dog attack but had been saved thanks to Sakura’s berserk rage and ferocity. You all spent a few days recovering, not least of all Sakura who had gone into shock after her battle. She did however insist on coming with you as you and your most trusted men went to make a surprise attack on Hoshi. Yamamoto expressed his concern with brining her along but relented after Ren had vouched for her.
During your time in the camp, you learned that the Bandits supposedly had a Takeda held hostage in their camp. You didn’t know the truth one way or another but quickly decided that you would try and rescue them.
Then followed the trek to the camp where Ren went in first to infiltrate and rescue the prisoner, a woman by the name of Takeda Rina. Ren smuggled her out and gave Ryuji the signal to launch the attack. Ren left Rina in the care of Abe and Sakura and then went to join the fray. A long and supposedly epic fight ensued where your roused the people of Takeda to turn on their false leader. Soon you had slain Hoshi and Ren had made Hoshi’s Champion, a low born samurai by the name of Inukake Bo surrender. While Bo was disgusted by Ren’s underhanded fighting style, he had seen the truth of your cause and swore his allegiance to you. All seemed well as the battle was won until you noticed something wrong back where Ren had left Rina.
You hurried there to find Sakura furious and pinned down by Abe’s arrows to a tree and Rina lying close by on the ground, quickly bleeding out. Rina, not yet sure if she had been saved or merely going from one set of bandits and kidnappers to another had chosen freedom and made to escape. Sakura had grown angry and had slashed at her to stop her escape. Her cuts were too deep and it soon became clear that there was nothing Yamamoto or even Satsuko could do to save her.
When Sakura realized what she had done, the rage quickly left her and numbness and sadness filled her in its stead. Not much else can be said about the tragedy without seeming crass; you and Yamamoto officially adopted Rina, a bastard child, into the Takeda clan proper and arranged for her burial. Meanwhile you agreed to Ren and Sakura’s request to train Sakura to be a samurai and not merely a killer.
Now the thing my little boy was primarily curious about in all this was, why did you adopt Rina, you had never even spoken to her?
Now my pumpkin asked me to relay this question before having seen this latest episode where you travelled to frozen lands of The Passionless Valley. I’m sure he will have many more questions concerning it next week. Meanwhile I believe I will try and go back and glance over the old episodes so I understand what he’s talking about. But it does all sound so odd and horribly violent…
It is a shame to hear about your son and I have been asked to take this opportunity to point out that The Fields of Red Flowers does not support, and are indeed not responsible for criminal actions committed by our fans, despite apparent encouragement that may or may not have occurred during previous shows. With that out of the way, the question; I did not need to speak with Rina to understand her worth. Though I wish she would have stayed put, she chose to risk her life in order to be free rather than risk becoming another kidnappers bargaining tool. She had courage and honour and deserved recognition. And as for you Mrs.Exposition and indeed any other newcomer to the show, I understand that this might all seem confusing if all you’ve seen is this episode, but fear not. As part of our return on TV there is another campaign sale on the first season underway right now! Type in the usual code: BURNING SPIRIT in all caps and get a 20% discount. Watch in amazement the beginning of our exciting adventure to prepare for what is to come!
Here is another newcomer who has a question that is short and to the point
Alex9757 asks: Ren seems to just have up and left. Why do you think that is?
It is a complicated question and while I won’t pretend to speak for Ren, I imagine it was at least in part due to her shame. She knew that Sakura and as such she, as her master, hurt me far worse than any wounds inflicted on the battlefield. And she knew that it will require time for those wounds to begin healing. It was unfortunate that she left the way she did, I would have much preferred to have had her by my side during this time but I decided that I would respect her decision and not go searching for her. I knew that she would return to me, and she did.
Many of our newcomers seem concerned about Ren and it warms my heart to see so many of you caring about her during this difficult time.
<3 Ren-fangirlN1 ;) maker her first appearance and is also worrying about Ren and asks:
Why Bo?! He seems so boring aand.. Just so.. Why Bo, Ryujii~~-sama?!
Hello N1 flirt smiley-kun, I would ask you to show Inukake Bo the respect he deserves. He is an honorable man and one of my fine warriors and deserves better. Also, boring? Really? Did you see Ren’s face when he got young Ogasawara to refill Ren’s cup? Classic!
That said, I can see why you might be confused by my choice of pairing the two together. There were many reasons. It was an emotional time for Ren, she told me how she felt she had failed me and her relationship with Sakura, a girl she cared much for had taken a heavy toll. I did not want to let those thoughts eat away at her and so, until such a time where she might be able to once again train Sakura, she would have to learn to lead. I could have stationed Abe or Ryoichi with her and both would likely have done so gladly, but they are all hardened veterans, used to experienced commanders. Bo was therefore an ideal choice as her first subordinate; he had never known what is to serve someone for reasons other than mere obligations. No one could better teach him about true loyalty than Ren. He in turn would drive Ren forward, expecting and demanding excellence from her, not letting her sink into self-loathing and forcing her to lead. Well that was the plan before she disappeared at least.
Ypsik-Ustaka seems clearly concerned and asks:
The Akatsuki, again! How? What? Ryuji, what ever will you do?!
Hello Ustaka-kun, I fear you, much like our old friend Kankuro-kun from last season needs to learn to relax. Yes, the Akatsuki is out there and I imagine that the last few months might have given them enough time to finish licking their wounds from our last encounters. This Haruka dog proved that they are not enemies to be taken for granted, primarily due to their ability to throw hundreds of people to their deaths only to further their goals. They fight without honour and are worthy of contempt….but they are effective. That said, there is little point in worrying about them. We shall keep our eyes peeled and If we encounter the Akatsuki and their operations on our travels, then we shall fight them, but I will not waste time worrying about them. They would be better off worrying about me.
An interesting question comes from our old friend Kaze-Fumetsu:
Friend Takeda Ryuji! I understand you must have been very busy during the time after defeating those bandits – plenty of work! But surely you also had time for leisure; how did you spend your free time while out on the road? Drinking? Dancing? Eating live snakes? Do tell!
Hello friend, these have indeed been a turbulent few months. Much of it was spend expanding and securing the retaken Takeda lands alongside Megumi, as well as organizing support and aid to help my people prepare for winter. With the bandits roaming their lands and no lord to guide them, winter would be a difficult time for my people. Once again Old Man Yamamoto’s wisdom proved invaluable and thanks to provisions from the Otoris and our friends at Peach Blossom Mountain I believe we have done what we can. But yes, all work and no play, dulls the soul of even the fiercest warrior, so of course there was time for leisure as well. For a time I even returned to the onsenji, soon when the lands are stable for travelers again I have little doubt that it will become a major tourist attraction. But most of my time was spent visiting Lady Ootori, which is always a pleasure, though it was also partly due to the insistence of the old man. Still, as Satsuko avoids settlements there were days I would go out and ride her in the forests and mountains and receive guidance from her in ways only she could give.
A cleaning question comes to us from our new friend xXDrag0nkillahXx who asks:
Was there a lot of clean up after yout grand victory? I would guess that bandits and similar type of ruffians and the like, would infect the land?
Hello Killah-kun. I don’t know if grand is the word I would have chosen personally. Even though I know that it was an important victory it felt hollow with the loss of my last blood relative. But yes, after Ren had left and the funeral for Rina and the other of our forces who had fallen, myself and Megumi left to round up stragglers and minor roaming bands across the province.
StuartGregory asks an insightful question:
Ryuji-sama, where do you get your confidence from? Both with Ren, but also just in general, besides your Game records with Yamamoto, nothing seems to bring you down?
Hello Gregory-kun, thank you for an excellent question.
From everywhere. Myself, my parents, my brother, my trusted allies, and perhaps most importantly those who have died, enemies and allies alike, as a result of my ambition. I have a duty to those who have died to be certain that those people did not die in vain. Doubt would do nothing but shame their memory. It would also cloud my judgement; doubt is the first step towards failure, followed closely by overconfidence. Thankfully both I and my warriors have the skill and will to back up my confidence. Tragically, so does Old Yamamoto…He is indeed a worthy adversary. But I will beat him yet!
Hah!, here’s a question from an insolent tiger pup:
Takeda Ryuji! How do you feel about the sorry state of your lands? Bandits have wrecked them in the years that have passed, due to your absence – do you think you’re up to the challenge of rebuilding? It seems quite the challenge!
I understand that it might seem like an unsurmountable challenge for someone who were unable to finish off the bandits and were merely able to push them aside in the hope that someone else would come to clean up their mess. Don’t worry old friend, I took care of your bandits and your defectors, no need to thank me. The people of Takeda are proud and hardy and progress is going smoothly, thank you for your concern.
Finally we have not so much a question so much as a… warning?
My, what a fittingly foreboding and foreshadowing cliffhanger to end on. What does it mean? Fear not dear audience, friend or not, none will stand in the way of our adventures!
Wow that was a lot of questions and is all we have time for this week. Once again, we would like to thank our fans for sticking with us and of course our sponsor, Big Eyes, Small Mouth for their continued support.
Tune in next week for the continuation of an all new exciting season of Fields of Red Flowers, as well as the next thrilling episode of TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U! .
Until next time,
TAKEDA RYUJI, OUT!
Hello again everyone. We continue our glorious reclamation, both of Takeda lands and of our prime time airing slot. Your continued support since our relaunch bolsters our spirits beyond words. But now, to what you all came here for: another thrilling episode of TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U! The show where you, the fans, send in your questions to none other me, TAKEDA RYUJI!
Starting us off this week is an old fan from last season, our good friend The Chessmaster, who writes:
Greetings, Takeda Ryuji. Now you know that the valley is under attack. Yet you have arrived with only a small force of your officers. My question for you is: If you had known about the situation, would you have brought any other officers with you? Which one – Abe, Sho, Ryoichi, Kurosawa? Why?
Hello again Chessmaster-kun, you ask an interesting question. It is always difficult to truly know the answers to these types of “what if” questions and usually I tend to avoid them since looking back prevents you from looking forward. That said, in this case I believe I would have made the same decision even if I had known that the Motanari were invading. Bringing more troops with us would have slowed us down significantly, perhaps resulting in us arriving too late. And even if Ogasawara had planned to swear loyalty to me, bringing such a large force to his land would have sent the wrong signal. Most importantly however, those troops are likely to serve me better with Lady Ootori. While invaluable, neither Kurosawa’s cavalry unit nor Abe’s archers would be effective in this snowy climate and Sho leads the brunt of the infantry charged with defending Mikawa. And I fear Ryoichi’s temper and indeed stature would not agree with the climate. No, these men will serve me better where they are, as a deterrent in case the Ootori clan decides to try anything during winter. I’m sure I need not tell a strategist like yourself the danger of leaving your territories unguarded. No, if I were to have changed anything in who to bring, I wouldn’t have brought more people with me, I would have brought less. Sakura is not ready to see combat again. She is unstable and bringing her to a battlefield might have been a mistake, not to mention the issue with the kitsunes. But what’s done is done, and I will prepare her as best I can and personally see if she can become anything more than a mere killer.
On the topic of Sakura, some viewers have expressed concern for her. The always compassionate xxCutiePiexx asks:
Dear Takeda Ryuji,
Aren’t you worried about Sakura? She seems to be feeling really sad after everything that happened. I think you should try harder to cheer her up!
Hello Pie-chan, your caring for the girl does you credit. Yes, I am worried about Sakura but not in the way you might mean. She has shown several times to be unstable during conflicts. She has been rash and impetuous, qualities I would normally not fault her for, but when it is expressed by slaying my kin, it changes my view on things. Her feeling sad about it does little to change that. It is said that great men forgive easily, but I fear that this time that is difficult even for me. Only time can tell how our bond will develop during training, but I’m afraid that I am currently not the right candidate to cheer her up.
Sakura-xoxo returns to us this weeks as well and also shows concern for Sakura:
Poooor Sakura! I cannot quite tell, is Ren being mean to her, or is she doting on her? She should have not let Sakura get her servants? It is rude to use servants of your own, as guest, is it not?
And Ren is being very overt with her worries! What effect do you think it might have on the feelings?
Well, I fear I have not seen much of the interaction between her and Ren, although it sounds as though much has transpired between them inside their rooms. Bringing one’s servants along is not in and of itself rude, it is a common practice and it merely makes things easier on the host. I believe it was rather the way they were summoned and without an invitation that caused offense. Please do not do judge Ren too harshly if she seems mean to her. She cares a lot of about the child but seems unsure how to best approach her after what happened.
You make it sound as though Ren has been vocal about her worries about the dangers Sakura and the others are in. I do hope this is a misunderstanding since adding further worries to an unstable and scared child seems unwise and I doubt my noble friend would make such a mistake.
Leaving the demure topic of Sakura to more pleasant conversations about spies and thieves! A question from our good friend Shounen Hero Z who writes:
I like this Hayate fellow, he’s got a lot of spirit! What do you think of him, is he good enough to be part of your team?
Hello Hero-kun, it is good to hear from you again! And yes I agree, I like the man as well. Few people of his cast manage to speak that openly when face to face with a daimyo, especially one such as I. It is too early to say if he will be a permanent team member or if he will primarily be swapped in at specific circumstances where he can be Super Effective.
Another familiar face returns in the form of the ever self-proclaimed Loremaster-Kankuro-sama who writes:
Pardon my absence Takeda Ryuji, the curse of Real-Life got to me. All good now, though. I have caught up on the episodes. And while I have ponders on what has been, let us focus on what just happened…
This whole Kitsune business seems rather unfortunate. One could say that it is convenient for the enemy that this particular issue seems to have escalated rather timely, considering the enemy forces’ movements. My questions are thusly… Firstly, do you, Takeda Ryuji, believe this to be mere coincidence? And secondly, how will you prioritise between the defences and the curse of the Kitsuno, Ryuji-sensei?
Hello again Kankuro-kun. Fear not, life can sometimes get the better of the best of us. We are simply glad to have you back. Now, the kitsunes… They are a mystery aren’t they? I fear it is too early to say anything for sure, I have neither spoken to them or the witches they have bargained with. If the kitsunes are indeed the ones who have targeted Kenichi’s wives or if the witches are in league with Motanari then they must be dealt with one way or another. It is unfortunate but as I said to Kenichi, the brunt of my time and effort will have to be spent on preparing the soldiers and gathering allies. Still, if I can ease his wife’s pain or get the kitsune’s to back off or indeed aid us then that would certainly be a worthy cause.
It is always heartwarming to see the care and dedication of old fans, but it is equally pleasing to see the joy of new fans discovering the show for the first time. One such example is Mrs. Exposition who writes:
KÅNICHIWA MINNA SANNA!
Banzai Takeda-sama, first off, I would like to apologize for last time. I was dubious about the show at first and didn’t understand the undercurrents and drama welling up between the characters without having seen the first season. But now I have and it has truly changed my life. This is Christian Grey all over again, only more intense! I followed your advice and bought the season one collection (using the code BURNING SPIRIT, of course!) and watched it from start to finish in one sitting. Since then I’ve watched it many times over and have let it run in the background ever since. My husband seems perturbed by it, but he doesn’t understand, he’s such a gaijin, lol.
At any rate, I fear I’ve been too busy to get in contact with my son, but I do have a question of my own.
Now, several months passed from where the first season left off. From what I could tell, it seems as though Ren left you right before the funeral of Takeda Rina and since then you and your captains worked to secure the province as well as securing aid to the villagers who suffered under Hoshi.
Fast forward to early winter and you got a message from Ogasawara Kenichi to come and visit him at his palace within The Passionless Valley. You arranged for an honour guard, consisting of Yamamoto, Megumi, Bo, Satsuko and at the behest of Lady Ootori; Sakura, as well as a small contingent of soldiers and servants. You also counted Ren amongst the honour guard, bringing her sword with you, trusting that she would come for you.
You travelled for many days until you finally reached the Little River village, near the southern border of the valley. As soon as you reached the border you noticed a shift in climate and the winter being harsher within these lands compared to your own. Satsuku also warned of restless spirits including some great spirits who were even more powerful than she.
As you reached the walls, making your presence known to the guards, Ren shed her guard disguise and bowed before you, returning to her duty. The guard soon let you and your entourage in, all except Satusuko who preferred to stay outside of human settlements. You went to spend the night with Ogasawara Kenichi’s son, Tarou, inside his mansion. There you were first welcomed by a man called Sugimoto, an old friend of Yamamoto and one who had given you treats as a child. He led you to Tarou and his guest and then excused himself to challenge Yamamoto for a round of Shogi. You and your captains joined Tarou and a merchant called Kenpon Yuudai, a family who had recently grown very influential in these lands. He was remarkably well prepared to greet you and had somehow heard of your arrival and arranged to give you and your warriors fine silk clothes, custom fit for each and every one of you. Clan markings and all.
You all celebrated your meeting and wine flowed freely, much to Ren’s dismay. Ren seemed suspicious of the merchant after hearing how his family worked akin to a mafia organization and in her inebriated state, made herself out to look suspicious to the merchant. He asked you to follow him to examine his clothes to make sure that they fit, but you could tell it was merely a pretext. As soon as you were alone, he warned you about the akatsuki operating in the area, suspecting that Ren might be one of them. You eased his worries and thanked him for the warning.
The two of you returned and soon you made for bed. You had a peaceful sleep but it seemed as though you were the only one. Yamamoto had gone to speak with Sakura about proper behavior only to be approached by Ren, who he had yet to forgive, to come examine a thief. Ren had been away during the night to fetch Sakura’s handmaidens, while there she had met Hayate the Handsome, a thief who claimed to have been scouted by the Akatsuki. Mentioning the ninja organization triggered Ren and brought him back with her, insinuating that she would hire him. After she and Yamamoto had gotten the answers they wanted, Yamamoto returned to his room and Ren stayed to watch over Hayate.
You woke early as always and performed your morning training ritual, and then you ate with Yamamoto who filled you in on the night’s events. You went over and spoke with the thief and asked him why he had chosen to risk his life by declining their offer and why he once again chose to endanger himself by bringing it up to Ren. He explained that even a thief like he could tell that what the Akatsuki are doing is wrong and that a war torn Yashima is all he has ever known but believed that you might show him something different. You decided to trust his words and left him in the care of Megumi as one of Abe’s scouts. As you made to leave, Ren approached you and reaffirmed her conviction to your cause. You welcomed her back warmly, explaining that you had already accepted her and her past all those days ago when you first met her, but as you turned to leave, coldly told her of the burial of Rina that she had abandoned.
Ren stopped you, once again telling you of her faith in you (and pointedly choosing not to comment on the burial) and how her old oath to kill you should you stray from the path was now null and pointless since she knew that would never happen. You angrily admonished her for her blind faith, not letting her run away from her promises a second time. You explained that you counted on her to be there should your judgement falter. She told you that should that day come you would no longer be Takeda Ryuji.
After you had had your second breakfast, Sakura approached you, once more asking you to train her. You accepted and said that you would arrange for her training as soon as there was time. You and your men as well as Tarou, rode onwards towards the palace. On the way there you saw several abandoned graves whose spirits seemed restless. You took a short break at a temple where monks attended to you. You learned that there was a rōnin inside the temple praying. You had taken an interest in her and asked the monks to tell her that you wished to speak with her and to come seek you out after her meditation had ended.
Soon after you and your entourage reached the palace where you were greeted by Kenichi and his captain; Hayashi Ryota. After a brief introduction you went inside to escape the cold. Even Satsuko, who noted that there were a lot of foxes around the palace agreed to enter the human settlement. You sat down at a kotatsu and Kenshin finally explained the real reason why he had invited you. He was under attack!
The Motanari had asked for their fealty, but when words had reached him of the return of the Takeda, he had refused. And so the Motanri, using the Divine Blade of Winter had caused this harsh winter. You swore that you would reward his loyalty and defend the valley, but you would have to act quickly so as to rally and train his men. He told you of the allies he had who you could call upon and preparations were set in motion.
When pressed about the foxes and the signs of kitsunes, he told you of a curse of sorts on his family. The Kitsune’s in the area were drawn to the males of his clan and acted viciously against any woman who approached them. Indeed he suspected them of killing his last wife and his current one was said to have been possessed by one of the spirits in order to drive the two apart. You promised to do what you could for them with the limited time you had.
Then you went to bed, you, Satsuko and a snoring Yamamoto. A very touching (and funny!) scene I thought!
Now, the key thing regarding all of this that I wanted to ask you about was, what advice do you have for a youthful 50-something housewife who truly feels as though she was supposed to be a samurai. Are there classes I could go to? Does eating sushi help? It all seems to exciting and I desperately want to be a part of it.
Thank you for your time,
Wow, that was definitely an interesting and fleshed out question. Yes, well, you are in luck, as I believe that as early as next episode you will see the beginning of TAKEDA RYUJI’S 7 STEP PROGRAM TO BECOMING THE ULTIMATE SAMURAI. That said, until then all I can say is: JUST. DO. IT! Don’t let your dreams be memes. Remember that within you, like in all of our loyal fans, lives a burning spirit just waiting to be unleashed. Face your challenges proudly!
With that hopefully uplifting sentiment it is unfortunately time to end, but fear not as a new episode will air shortly. Get yourselves ready as everyone gets ready to defend The Passionless Valley!
But until then,
TAKEDA RYUJI, OUT!
We are faced with questions, wrapped in mysteries inside at the very least one enigma within the Ogasawara palace, but fear not loyal viewers! That does not mean we don’t have time for your questions as well, here on TAKEDA RYUJI’S QUESTION TIME~U! The show where you, the fans, send in your questions to none other me, TAKEDA RYUJI!
Ypsik-Ustaka starts us off this week writing:
Beautiful garden of flowers, would you not agree Takeda Ryuji-sama? Except, the flowers can of course be dangerous when used by the wrong hands…
Takeda Ryuji-sama knows of the flowers effect, yes? Are they something that worry you? You did learn that the Akatsuki may have taken hold of a flower, or so, did you not?
Hello again Ustaka-kun, yes it is indeed a beautiful garden, the potential danger of it only adding to it. And no, like I’ve expressed with our good friend Kankuro-kun, life is wasted by worrying about things out of your control. Yes, it is disconcerting that the Akatsuki got hold of one of the flowers, but that has already happened and worrying about it now serves no practical purpose. Fear is a far more insidious poison than the flower could ever be, thankfully we can choose not to let it hold sway over us.
Another question this time coming from… Yksu-Pikasat. A strange coincidence I’m sure, and we welcome his question just the same:
It seems the game is afoot in the palace, with many mysteries going on! Who do you suspect is involved? What coursed through your mind as you heard the mysterious crash and scream while drinking tea?
Hello Pikasat-kun, I fear you might know more about this than I. So far I know very little about the ongoing investigations. I merely know that the red beans were stolen, which in and of itself is concerning but I don’t yet even know who the suspects might be at this point, but I’m sure Ren and Satusko are closing in on them and will brief me when there is time. As for the crash, there is little to say about it. I made sure that all my samurai were accounted for, and seeing as how they were, I did not worry much. I doubt it was anything as dire as an akatsuki attack, seeing as how I would expect more from them than to make their presence known like that, but it didn’t seem like it was normal accident either. Which is why I wanted Ren to have an opportunity to investigate it. Perhaps it is related to the theft somehow?
A new face in the form of Old-man-Ralph joins us today and asks a similar question:
Ehum! Takeda Ryuji-sama. The tea ceremony seemed very important to you, and with master Yamamoto as your teacher, one should not be surprised.
Ren left shortly after the initial ceremony was finished, to check out the loud noise. These old bones tell me you were eager to leave, also, where you not?!
Hello Ralph-kun. It was important to me, yes, as I’m sure it is to most samurai. But as you seemed to have noticed, it has a special importance to me. For Yamamoto, the tea ceremony seems like the ultimate test of a person, where one can take stock of a samurai’s character. I… did not want to disappoint him.
And because of that, no, I did not care to leave, which is also why I didn’t. Had the scream come from Satsuko, Ren, Megumi or even Sakura, then I believe I would have abandoned the ceremony and braved Yamamto’s ire when I returned. The lives of my warriors are more important to me than any ceremony, even one such as this. But while it might seem cruel, since all my samurai were accounted for, the ceremony took precedence and I felt comfortable leaving the commotion to Ren. If one is to lead, you need to be able to understand when your duty is to stay put and be able to trust others to go in your stead.
A new loremaster has taken the fields in the form of Loremaster Knak-Guru-Sammy who writes:
Takeda Ryuji… in this installment we beheld a plethora of subtle nuances regarding politics, mythology, religion and philosophy of Yashima. You took quite an assessment of the goings on at the castle as well as in the valley. What is your (frank) assessment of the assets available for defense of the valley, and what do you feel about the three leaders of the Ogasawara clan (Kenichi, Shouhei, and Tarou)?
Hello Guru-kun. Like you asked, I am going to be frank, we are not prepared. Hayashi brought a couple of hundred soldiers with him, and assuming they have at least a cursory level training, they should be sufficient to hold the palace indefinitely. But that is still far from enough, what use is the palace if the lands and people outside its walls are left to the enemy’s mercy? No, we are not yet prepared to protect the entire valley, but I trust my men. I will entrust Megumi to utilize our own troops to their fullest potential and together with Captain Hayashi they should get the new recruits in proper condition as well.
Meanwhile Ren and I will be able to learn more about the enemy movement as well as gather more soldiers to defend. Hayashi mentioned 900 more soldiers ready to serve, that should definitely be a good start, although I am personally more optimistic of the Uesugi troops. If they were part of Koujirou’s army then I can trust them to be far more capable than any mob of peasants we could gather together. The question is mainly why they are there. Are they truly just more cowards running from their duty, like the ones who joined Hoshi, or is there a different explanation?
As for the Ogasawara clan, they make the Takeda clan proud. Kenichi is an honourable man. It is true that it is possible that he knew more than he was letting on in his invitation, but he had a difficult choice to make, but in the end chose to honour his family’s vow to the Takeda despite the threats of the enemy. I will remember that and support him in turn. As for his son, Tarou, there is little to say so far. It seems as though he, like so many children these years, have had to grow up quickly. I do not yet know the full context regarding him and the merchant houses, but it does seem as though his age is showing in some places. Still, he seems like a good man.
As for Shouhei, his gift brought joy to my oldest friend and presented me with men to serve, for that I am grateful.
Mrs. Exposition returns to us this week with another insightful question
KÅNICHIWA MINNA SANNA!
Wow, just wow. So much to say but I will try and keep it short as usual. First off, I found an amazing forum with likeminded fans that taught me a lot about Japanese/Yashima culture, I had no idea that octopuses and eels were such an important aspect to your culture.
Now, as for the question itself, you woke up early as usual and after a quick first breakfast went out for your morning exercise and prepared for Sakura’s training. Then followed your second breakfast with the others. Captain Hayashi was upset because of Ren and Satusko stripping down his soldiers, but wanting to diffuse the situation, you pointed out the humour of it, eventually making Hayashi laugh along with it. You also learned that Kenichi’s brother, Shouhei where on his way to visit and had brought a large entourage of soldiers with him. The palace became busy with preparations but you did not meddle with those, instead you approached Sakura and told her it was time. You met up on the courtyard and talked to her about the importance of knowing the weight of one’s sword and knowing when to draw it and when to leave it in its sheath. Even though Sakura readily accepted what you told her, it was not enough. It was not enough for merely her mind to know it; it had to be hammered into her body, into her very soul. And so the real training began.
She was presented with three large mirrors of ice, each one reflected her as what she might become if she did not change herself; a murderer and a coward. It was up to her to either break them and become a Samurai or have herself break upon them. It did not start promising, with her slamming her fist hard almost breaking her hand with the first punch. But, she did not give up and instead moved on to using her other hand. You silently watched her as a concerned Yamamoto ran out to see what all the commotion was about.
You left Sakura to train on her own as Yamamoto took you aside and told you what he had found out. He told you about his doubts regarding Shouhei’s character as well as his desire to visit Kenichi’s wife to see if he could aid her. Before anything else could be done however, one of the servants approached Yamamoto and told him that someone had stolen the red beans meant to be used to identify kitsunes.
You immediately sought out Ren and together with Satusko asked her to seek out the culprit. You were unable to learn what they found out however, as soon Shouhei arrived and you all met in the grand hall of the palace. He and his captain, a smug looking man you never got the name of bowed deeply before you. Shouhei groveled in front of you, heaping praise upon praise on you in a blatant attempt to ingratiate himself to you. He presented you with almost 200 men and said he had 900 more to give to the cause which he couldn’t bring with him.
Most importantly however, he arranged a tea ceremony in your honour, something that truly got Yamamoto’s blood pumping! I don’t think the viewers have ever seen him quite as energetic. The Ceremony proceeded and just as you were about to recite a poem about two dragons, a loud scream echoed through the palace. You quickly reinvented the poem to only focus on the core of the story, showing that you were a man of action and not idle chatter. Ren continued the ceremony, talking briefly of memories of a home long forgotten, followed by a touching story by Yamamoto about loved ones lost and of a life sworn to a young dragon that moved the entire room. As it became time for the second part of the ceremony, you had Megumi switch with Ren, to share the honour of being part of the ceremony while also allowing Ren the opportunity to investigate the scream!
Wow, such drama, much mystery. There are so many questions, but since I know that your time is precious I’ll keep it short and simply ask, how much ice is necessary for the training to be effective, do they need to be full sized like Sakura’s and do you have any suggestions for other samurai’s to-bes?
Glad to see your continued interest and support of the series and that you and other parts of the community can forge bonds online. Now as for the training itself, the full sized ice blocks are definitely to be preferred over the smaller variety, it means you won’t have to bend at awkward angles and can keep your back straight throughout, avoiding unnecessary risk of injury. Medicinal herbs as well as the healing touch of magical wolf spirits are also highly recommended.
Speaking of training, this week we received two questions concerning Sakura’s training, one from the familiar face Sakura-xoxo and one from Sakura-oxox-chan who is making her first appearance on the show!
Ryuuji-sama~~! Poor Sakura, it looked like the punch hurt so much! What is even the point? What can punching ice teach someone? Aside from how long it takes to break every bone in your hand.
Sakura-oxox continues with similar concerns:
Dear Takeda Ryuji, how could you treat Sakura so horribly? She could have broken her hand! Did she at least manage to impress you? She’s so cool!
Hello xoxo-kun and oxox-kun, I’m sorry that you both seem to think I treated Sakura wrongly. I fear that in this case I must make the cardinal sin of disagreeing with our viewers.
The training serves many purposes; I know this since I underwent similar training myself.
It trains your discipline and will, it hone your body to endure and overcome pain. It teaches you compassion by experiencing the pain you inflict on others and yes, it serves as punishment.
But perhaps most importantly, it serves as a chance for Sakura to face her inner demons head-on instead of getting swallowed by them, a way for her to possibly begin forgiving herself or at least accepting herself. Nothing dulls a blade as much as self-doubt and self-loathing. Despite our differences, I can see the potential for her to become a fine samurai, but if she is unable to break free from that mindset, and soon, that potential will soon be crushed. A bruised hand and ego would be a minor price to pay for that.
But it still remains to be seen if Sakura will be strong enough to endure.
That is all we have time for this week I’m afraid. Thank you once again to all you viewers and a special thank you for all our questions askers old and new alike. There were a lot of unusually similar names amongst some of you this time, and while I’m sure this were mere coincidence or perhaps friends and family members, our producers would like to remind you to please not spam questions using different accounts. Imagine how lame it would be if all questions came from only two people.
But, enough immersion breaking, instead look forward to the next episode where the action starts to ramp up as we continue defending the Passionless Valley.
But until then,
TAKEDA RYUJI, OUT!