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A TRIAL BY FIRE! Clearly Hirotomo’s favorite sort of trial. He’s a harsh mistress. Err, mister. Well, a harsh dad. At least he can count on Tadashii to put Yori through the wringer, OR CAN HE? He probably can.

We just spent the weekend at Matsuricon 2017, chillin’ out, hosting panels, and having a good time. Joe, who’s well into the three digits (and working towards four) of numbers of hours played of Breath of the Wild, hosted a BotW panelย where he relentlessly bombarded the packed room with the most obscure Zelda trivia questions you can imagine. I think the most shocking part was that so many of them got answered correctly. I also had a Star Wars panel where I relentlessly whined about the franchise as if I was Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. Maybe some day I’ll remember to actually mention the con we’re going to be at before we actually go there.

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  • Wanderer

    *Sigh* It’s all just so stupid and wasteful. Hirotomo, Nataku, and all the similarly minded people in the Wataro clan will spend so much time fighting outside enemies and each other in order to prove their strength and worthiness that they will tear themselves and their clan apart in the process. All this internal division where you have one brother vs another, one general vs another, a father siccing his best warriors on his son until either the son or the warriors die, and starting conflicts with surrounding clans at the same time… if the Wataro clan follows Hirotomo’s twisted ideology it will literally collapse out of existence due to fighting on all these fronts. “A house divided against itself cannot stand” and all that.

    If by some miracle (like the timely arrival of firearms, perhaps) the Wataro clan managed to survive its own internal dissension and constant wars with its neighbors, whoever “won” the internal fighting would basically be the last person left alive standing on top of a pile or corpses.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      It’s certainly not a great management system! But it’s also not how the clan was always run.

      http://nn4b.com/comic/650

      • Wanderer

        Yeah, I recall that military might has always been the main focus of the Wataro, including the family fighting on the front lines with their troops, but I was under the impression that Hirotomo (and Nataku’s war hawk machinations) had brought the paranoia and belligerence against both internal and external “threats” to a whole new level. Was that a mistaken impression?

        Because I can’t help but feel like there’s a major difference between “My heir should get experience in military service if he is going to command armies and vie with ambitious lords when he’s the clan lord” and “I’m going to sic my best assassins on the kid, and lolz at that loser if he can’t beat them.” And that’s just one example of what I mean.

        • clogboy

          Don’t forget Yori ran away. He’s a disloyal heir, sort of living in exile, and his father would either scrap this shame from the face of the world, or hope that he sees reason once he’s forced to dedicate to his swordplay and think like a leader. It’s a very Spartan approach.
          The Wataro clan is so successful because they are uncompromising, especially when it comes to military solutions. They’re the Lannisters of their era, forgive me the comparison.

          • Xinef

            Also, in the world of NN4B a single swordsman can be a one-man-army, defeating thousands on his own. So… losing a few skilled assassins and a few armies just to get an even better swordsman back to your side… can be a good trade in the end. Assuming he’s worth it though. That’s why Yori needs to be tested, and in fact improved in the process.

          • clogboy

            I get a strong Zuko vibe (Avatar) from Yori’s plot. He’s like Aang and Zuko all rolled into one.

          • TheGorram Batguy

            Here at Bushido Express, we now offer the exclusive Aang and Zuko Roll:
            Tempura-fried ghost peppers with puff pastry and steamed bison meat. It’s an inside-out roll drizzled with Tabasco sauce and freshly ground wasabi (in an arrow formation).
            Consumption may cause you to hallucinate past lives.
            If you’re being pursued by the Demons of Sorrow, you get a 10% discount on this dish as long as you order it to go.

    • leavescat

      Maybe Hirotomo thinks the Demons of Sorrow are all assholes and wants them dead, but they’re too strong to just order someone to kill them. Might as well send them on dangerous tasks until they get themselves killed. Tadashii is there to keep them on target.

    • purplelibraryguy

      Yes, well, that’s why Hirotomo isn’t the main character.

    • AGV

      Isn’t that the history of some places?

    • Thomas

      James T. Kirk: “The illogic of waste, Mr. Spock. The waste of lives, potential, resources, time… I submit to you that your Empire is illogical, because it cannot endure. I submit that you are illogical to being a willing part of it.”

      from episode “Mirror, Mirror” in Star Trek: The Original Series.

    • Kid Chaos

      Don’t stop not dying, Yorikiro! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • cu

    Show him your honor, Yori! (But do it off-panel, please. Those who catch the reference, please do as the drunken blacksmith on a new moon’s night and refrain from linking ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    • Turul

      For my part, it’s his _other_ honor that I don’t really care to see…

  • LordBolanderFace

    You know he’s fast because he ran to Yori’s left, and reappeared coming from his right side. Care Tadashi, that’s how timelines get screwed up!

    • LordBolanderFace

      Also, did Cho not come with him? Does he plan on intervening? Or does his “I must face my foes alone” extend to when his friends are fighting too?

      • jwkovell

        Your question may be asked by a certain “voice of reason” in a future page…

        • LordBolanderFace

          Ken? It’s Ken, isn’t it? It’s totally Ken.

          • clogboy

            ‘You can only win, Yori, because you have something that he’ll never have. And that’s friends, Yori. And as long as you have friends, you-

            ‘GAH!’

            (dying whispers) ‘I forgot about… swords… He has better swords…’

          • KungFuKlobber

            Ken, voice of reason?

            Nah, I can’t see it.

          • clogboy

            Genchu on the other hand…

          • TheGorram Batguy

            Ken is totally the voice of reason. It’s just that he only constitutes this in situations where the reasonable thing to do happens to be yelling, drinking saki, and/or hitting things. But on those rare occasions, nobody is more reasonable.

        • Kid Chaos

          It’s probably Ina; Cho would make up some stupid–I mean, profound–Ice-Cream Koan, and Ken would just hit something (preferably Yori). ๐Ÿ˜œ

  • Turul

    Tadashii should be proud of Yori. Reading comics has taught me that such skill in spinning, flurrying and rolling is the sign of a most expertly trained fighter.

    (Really Tadashii just can’t lose here! Either his pupil turned out really nicely… or he wins the fight.)

  • Dshim

    dang that got deep real fast

  • SlugFiller

    There’s more to being a leader than being good with a sword. Ina demonstrates that perfectly. Sure, she started out needing a guy with a sword to save her. But quickly progressed to annihilating a small battalion. And save for rare occasions where Ken takes over, she’s been the leader of the group. And with gradually improving success rate, at that.

    Sure, she may think too highly of herself sometimes. But, just like when Ken does it, it is only occasionally unjustified.

    • Turul

      Ina would still need guys with swords to stay safe. But if she really is the leader, then that’s ok. Being the leader means you’ll have the guys with the swords at your disposal, and can delegate the sword-waving action to them. (Like Hirotomo demonstrated.) It can be useful to be able to fight yourself as a backup or when you really want to hit someone, but ideally, this should be optional. (And when it isn’t… chances that you alone would make a difference are pretty small. Unless you’re a Genchu level badass. Which in itself is entirely possible since this is NN4B we’re talking about.)

    • Xinef

      And then those moments when Fujio and Fumio are leading the group…

  • AGV

    Tadashi used Shell Smash!

    Watch out Yori, his defense is lowered but his attack and speed is greatly increased

  • Auroki

    Love this change in the story. And I almost made it to matsuricon this year. It would have been awesome to meet ya!

  • Crestlinger

    Worth proving in progress. Please stand by for evolution into Lord.

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