A lot happens in Volume 3 of Saito Chiho-sensei’s Torikaebaya (とりかえ・ばや ).
Sarasojuu’s friend and peer, Tsuwabuki, has fallen for Sarasojuu’s wife, Shinohime. Alone and unable to understand why her husband does not make love to her, Shinohime falls willingly into his arms.
Both Tsuwabuki and Shinohime are overcome with shame and can’t face Sarasojuu, who is, obviously concerned and confused.
And then, Shinohime is found to be pregnant. Sarasojuu is shocked. Clearly, Shinohime is sleeping with another man, and who can blame her. Sarasojuu visits her father, proposing that Shinohime be told the truth, but he puts the cabosh on that, pointing out sensibly that, if the truth were spoken out loud, even in secret, it would spread fast.
In the meantime Toguu-sama is heading to the mountains taking Suiren with her. Suiren probably doesn’t realize it yet, but we can see Suiren is falling for Toguu-sama, and it’s kind of cute, but of course there’s the whole gender thing complicating matters.
Toguu-sama allows Suiren to invite Sarasojuu to the mountains to accompany their party. In the mountains, the two siblings meet the master of the mountain, Yoshinomiya who instantly sees who they truly are. Returning home, Sarasojuu “forgives” Shinohime and eventually comes to believe that the father is Tsuwabuki.
In the capital, the Mikado learns of a city warehouse that is not releasing rice to the people and decides that what they need is the return of Yamato Takeru, a hero from the ancient epic Kojiki, to enact the Mikado’s will. (As an aside, Yamato Takeru is known to have hidden by disguising himself as a woman. This indicates to me that Saito-sensei is having some fun with this story, about a boy who is a girl physically, who is playing a boy dressed as a girl.)
Sarasojuu and Tsuwabuki perform their roles and the warehouse is opened (shades of Mito Koumon there, honestly, with the officials overturning their sake bowls in shock at their appearance.) Afterwards, they are greeted by Shikibukyo-no-miya who blatantly claims Sarasojuu for his evening’s entertainment. To save his friend from this odious man, Tsuwabuki volunteers himself to be the priest’s sex toy. They return to the capital and finally, Sarasojuu is able to confront Tsuwabuki about being the child’s father. Now that the child is born, Sarasojuu offers to divorce Shinohime so Tsuwabuki can raise his daughter. They argue and, as the book comes to an end, Tsuwabuki may have discovered the truth about Sarasojuu’s body.
Art – 9
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Service – 3
LGBTQ – 5 This volume was very Victor/Victoria.
Overall – 9
A lot happened in this volume….and how it will turn out I have no idea. I’m on pins and needles here. I probably won’t get to Volume 4 for months. Arrghh!