LGBTQ Manga: Torikaebaya (とりかえ・ばや ), Volume 6

March 17th, 2015

Torikaebaya6When we last left Chiho Saito-sensei’s beautiful and tragic retelling of the Heian classic tale, Torikaebaya (とりかえ・ばや ), I was having a crisis. It’s so damn beautiful, I want to keep reading, but it’s so damn heart-wrenching, it’s hard to keep reading.

Volume 5 ended with Sarasojuu running from the capital, pregnant with Tsuwabuki’s child, devastated that she can no longer live her chosen life. Suiren, overcome by love for Toguu-sama, gives in to desire and kisses her.

As Volume 6 opens, I keep wondering if there are any more boots to drop…and, of course, there are.

Suiren has been called up to the Emperor’s residence to be one of his women. This precipitates a decision that Suiren can never go back and change. Refusing the Emperor’s call, Suiren confesses that he is a man to Toguu-sama. He leaves her service, and returns home, to become the man his sister was. Passing is merely a matter of not interacting because, although Suiren and Sarasojuu are identical in looks, Suiren has none of Sarasojuu’s skills at horseback riding or other pursuits.

Suiren, disguised as Sarasojuu, overhears a rumor of Tsuwabuki’s second woman being pregnant, guesses what has happened and heads off to find Sarasojuu.

Sarasojuu, having been taken in by Tsuwabuki, is now called Sara-hime, and is pining away, as the baby’s birth grows near. Conversely, Tsuwabuki is beside himself with joy, having both the women he loves and their children in his home. Sara is not on board with this, and poor, poor Shi-no-hime, who had no idea who this other woman was, until her son calls Sara “father”. Shi-no-hime, who has been unconscious for much of the volume swoons once again. Of everyone, I feel the most pity for her, a woman drawn into someone else’s story with no good way out.

Sara’s baby is stillborn and, naturally, she blames herself.

Suiren finds Sara, at last, as she is just about to drown herself. Suiren tries to convince Sara to return to the capital and resume their lives as before, even though he himself is not sure he can ever return to the life he’s left.

I am less distraught this volume, as I carefully fed myself a few pages at a time, knowing that this story was going to offer no respite. Parsing out mere pages of exquisitely gorgeous, emotionally agonizing story, meant that I was able to get through it without trouble. I’m desperately flailing in mind, as I read every fresh hell, to come up with ideas for a non-horrible ending. So far I am failing. And the one ending I foresee that will give the characters the happy end they deserve will have to be a very annoying tengu ex machina. ^_^;

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Service – 1
LGBTQ – 6

Overall – 9

Saito-sensei’s art has always been exquisite and here, she reaches her pinnacle. It’s so perfect a tale for her style.

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8 Responses

  1. Sainesakura says:

    I hope for a love story between the Emperor and Sara :(

  2. dm00 says:

    Argh. I waited too long — it seems to be out of print. Your link takes one to Amazon.co.jp, where they refuse to ship used copies to foreigners. Hopefully it will get reprinted.

    • It’s not that they won’t ship to foreigners, I get mine from Amazon JP, but they are out of stock and the only people with it are 3rd party sellers. And it is they who don’t ship overseas. (For good reason, overseas shipping is more than twice the cost of the single volume.)

      • dm00 says:

        That’s true — it’s why I referred o not shipping “used” copies — sadly, even the “Fulfillment by Amazon” marketplace listings won’t ship overseas.

        • Yeah, because they have to pay the cost of the overseas shipping no matter what. I’ve had sales where I lost money on the book because of shipping costs.

          • dm says:

            Strange that the “fulfilled by Amazon” folks have to pay shipping when I am too.

            Any way,i I panicked too soon. The Book is available again.

          • You pay the shipping to you from Amazon, they pay the shipping to Amazon – if they are

            Let’s say you order a book from Amazon.com from me. I get an order for 1 book. I have to send it to Amazon, and then they send it to you. If you buy it from me as a 3rd party, I ship it to you. Amazon sets the shipping rates you pay.

            So if a book retails at $11.99, but you buy it for $8 and you pay $1 shipping, but I pay $2.35 shipping and thee cost of shipping materials, the book cost you $9, but it’s a $15.34 value. I get $8 for that book. I can’t ever charge less than $5, or I can easily end up losing money selling a book.

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