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Manchu

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  1. It all depends on whether Yoshi’s agent learned the news from spying on Satoshi’s people or spying on Kachiko’s people. Either way, Yoshi learns about this quickly.
  2. You are correct, in the long term. But Kachiko did not want news of the Emperor’s death getting out in the short term. Yoshi found out nonetheless.
  3. This is a little more tricky than shooting fish in a barrel. Kuwanan was already deeply critical of Hotaru’s frankly scandalous lack of filial piety. But I don’t think he came to Kakita Yoshi for permission to do something he already intended. I think he was looking instead for some reason not to proceed against his sister. Kuwanan went looking for a conspiracy against his father that his sister simply did not care to ferret out because of her dislike for Satsume. What he discovered was infinitely more shocking. His own sister seemingly played right into the hands of those Kuwanan most strongly (and wrongly) suspects betrayed and murdered Satsume. To Kakita Yoshi, unlike Kuwanan, whether Bayushi Kachiko engineered Satsume’s assassination is not the crucial issue. Satsume led the Crane in the past. The real problem for Yoshi is the Crane’s present leader. Yoshi probably could have outright lied and said the letter definitely was a forgery, throwing some cold water on Kiwanan’s bitter resolve. But what would that accomplish? Yoshi could not conclude the letter was a forgery for any “technical” reasons. And much more importantly, the contents of the letter seemed believable to him. Which is to say, Yoshi had a very accurate understanding of Hotaru — insight enough to understand that the sentiments memorialized in the letter, whether or not the letter itself was a forgery, are actually true. And we, the readers, know for a fact that they are true. Which means, we the readers also know for a fact that Yoshi is correct. In fact, Hotaru has created the nightmare scenario for Crane Clan security. She has effectively betrayed the entire Clan, whether intentionally or recklessly — from Yoshi’s (correct) perspective, there is simply no way she can continue as Clan Champion.
  4. Whether the letter is a forgery is irrelevant as to Kakita Yoshi’s correct conclusion that Doji Hotaru has compromised the Crane Clan. As ever, I’m genuinely perplexed by the “Yoshi Is A Fool” meme. Even ITT, the actual problem is diagnosed: (a) Yoshi is portrayed as haughty and ruthless and (b) the writers have yet to grant him a win. But he’s never actually portrayed as stupid or even, given what he actually knows, reaching illogical or inaccurate conclusions. Maybe my objection is moral. I would be okay with a “Kachiko Is A Fool” meme. After all, she is no less haughty and an order of magnitude more ruthless than Kakita Yoshi. But the writers give her wins in the stories, unlike Yoshi — so I guess that makes her smart or wise or something? I think we’ve seen recently that this isn’t the case. Kachiko may get wins in the stories but I suspect her victories are all building to her downfall. Yoshi hasn’t been able to outmaneuver her because they aren’t playing the same game. Yoshi’s game has some hard limits, some rules that cannot be broken, even if there are other rules that can be broken. For Kachiko, nothing is sacred.
  5. She would offer it to the spirit of her father and to her clan.
  6. Yoshi surmises Kachiko might be capable of the unthinkable. He is correct, although Sotorii beat her to the punchline. He also surmises that Kachiko will scramble to consolidate power around the heir. Also correct. As to whether Doji Hotaru killed her father? He does not need it to be true; he does not need to believe it; he only needs Kuwanan to do something about her. This is also correct. The entire Crane Clan is hopelessly compromised under Hotaru’s leadership. It’s bad enough that Hotaru allowed herself to be seduced by Kachiko. To slander her own father in writing and send the evidence to the Crane’s most dangerous rival in court? One can only hope that at some point Hotaru will finally live up to her father’s trust in her. Seppuku may the only honorable path for her.
  7. Some of the fiction was packaged in the Dynasty Packs. Kolat Informant kindly uploaded scans but that site is now down.
  8. I’m more concerned about how badly Hotaru comes off.
  9. Probably because the main Lion character, Toturi, has been portrayed as somewhat isolated from his Clan since his first appearance.
  10. shineyorkboy - fair point about the dojo scholarship Shiba Gunichi - I think you must have missed forgotten? my first post ITT where I literally say making a Lion character seem dumb is annoying but par for the course but the real issue issue is Crane don’t look good enough in a Crane fiction Per my argument above, courtiers should not fall for “courtier 101” tricks
  11. I said I don’t like the story; I did not say that you shouldn’t. I also said I don’t like it because I think it shows poor examples of Cranes doing Crane stuff. As usual, Shiba Guncihi wants to argue with me but, also as usual, not against any point I actually made; rather he wants to make up something, attribute that something to me, then argue about it. This time around, the thing he made up and attributed to me is that I don’t like the story because in this story Crane wins and Lion loses. Yes, Lion loses in this story. Just like Lion loses in my two favorite stories so far, Between The Lines and A Swift End. No argument from me that Asami’s part of the story demonstrates set up and pay off. Asami bonds with other courtiers over a Matsu lord’s underappreciation for the finer things and so, when the time comes, nobody objects to her leaving. I get it. I still think it’s boring and poorly done. The situation is reduced to a popularity contest: the various envoys apparently like Asami more than they like Seishin. But envoys are present in a foreign court to represent the interests of their lords, regardless of their personal feelings about particular individuals. Asami doesn’t actually convince anyone present of her political position. We know this because she never talks to anyone about them while serving her expensive tea. She just shares some passive aggressive insults about their host. And if the Lord Seishin is so coarse and blunt, which I grant is stereotypical of Matsu samurai, then why not exercise those qualities in shutting down Asami’s gambit? Because he, along with everyone else, is reduced to the level of a pawn so that Asami, who hasn’t actually done anything politically clever, can nonetheless be characterized as clever. The countervailing argument is that Lord Seishin intelligently calculated that losing the hostage was not as bad as admitting to holding her hostage, which might provide talking points to rivals in the Imperial Court. In effect, Seishin simply acknowledged that with the question of Toshi Ranbo settled, Asami’s value as a hostage was worth less than a pointed remark in Otosan Uchi. If this is the case, however, then Asami achieved very little — so why are we told this exploit raised her reputation? Did Asami escape or did her captor let her go? The story doesn’t set up any stakes that make Asami’s actions feel like an accomplishment on her part. It would be better to have structured the story so that, in Ikoma Eiji’s absence, Asami had laid out her case to Lord Seishin and actually convinced him, despite the conflict between their Clans and despite their personal differences. That would make her a notable diplomat.
  12. Read my first post in this thread. I have just restated it above. Whoever you are arguing with, it’s not me.
  13. No, it actually does not seem so, at least not to anyone who took the time to read my posts. I did not complain that the Crane characters “won” — my issue (explicitly described above) is that their actions are in the case of Asami, boring, and, in the case of Kuzunobu, boorish. Asami basically just walked out of her imprisonment and a Lion character was portrayed as so dull witted as to simply allow it. This didn’t make Asami look smart or capable; it just made Seishin look stupid. Likewise, Kuzunobu doesn’t dazzle with sparkling social grace or clever wordplay. He just brutishly insists that Kage is insulting the Emperor and Kage politely defers. His so-called “perfect strike” was more like a battering with a tetsubo than a precise, artful katana cut. As I mentioned, perhaps this is meant to characterize Kuzunobu as a bumpkin masquerading as a sophisticate — in which case, it is very well written. The part with Asami is less defensible. Even apart from it being anti-dramatic, this conflict was already framed up as a matter between Kachiko and Yoshi. No doubt, having Asami solve her own predicament presented the opportunity to develop her as a character; but that opportunity was missed here. She is as bland as her practiced expressions at court. The issue of Asami’s imprisonment should have entailed some link back to the conflict between the Crane and the Scorpion in the Imperial Court. That need not have excluded characterizing Asami as actually being clever herself, as opposed to simply using the old trick of making someone look clever by contrasting them with someone being dumb who has no real reason to be dumb. As I mentioned to begin with, the reason I don’t like this story, and it is the first story published so far that I don’t like, is not really because of the usual jokes at the expense of Lion characters (which is bad enough) but rather because it’s supposed to be a Crane spotlight story and in my estimation it doesn’t make the Crane seem cool or special at all, apart from the Kenshinzen — and even he is shown doing something gauche. The very best “war of words” scene we have had so far is the parlay between Mitsu and Tsanuri in Between the Lines, where both characters involved are portrayed as intelligent as well as wise. This would be a good model going forward for authors who want to write diplomatic scenes.
  14. Shiba Gunichi, I could not roll my eyes more at your typically Phoenix high-strung response. You know very well that I like the Crane and you even inserted your usual jibe at me regarding this point. I don’t begrudge the Crane their victories.
  15. Asami’s efforts are not even slightly noteworthy. That part of the story is a bare insult to Lion fans. As Magnus Grendel pointed out, the notion that Matsu Seishin had never thought about this issue before, or even more absurd, that Ikoma Eiji had not and advised Seishin accordingly, is dumb and strikes me as lazy. Seishin is not even portrayed consistently in this story: if he is so blunt, in terms of manners and I guess intellect, he should have just said “For the sake of courtesy, please remain our guest at least until Ikoma Eiji returns in a few days.” But nope, Seishin is just a prop in this scene. The part of the story featuring Kuzunobu is not an insult to Lion fans but it is hardly a sop to Crane fans, either. Kuzunobu acts more like a Crab or Scorpion than a Crane. At least Crane fans can disown him because of his Fox origins. If the author was characterizing Kuzunobu as a rustic descended from Unicorns struggling to pretend to be a Crane, then I would have to reverse my position and say that is well done. But if I am supposed to take this as Crane doing Crane things well then I’ll maintain it was disappointing.
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