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So who’s the real winner here, one has to wonder?

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  • IDPounder

    Ah, how poignant. The only words she’s spoken to him reflected back again. She likely can’t comply any more than you could, Kenta.

    • Arkone Axon

      Depends… yeah, that looks like she probably got a few organs perforated – but humans can survive SHOCKING amounts of damage if we don’t bleed out first (we might end up with nasty scars, but we can survive wounds that would kill almost anything else).

      Of course, that guy should have been barely able to walk, let alone display that kind of footwork, after her arrow went into his thigh. So it’s a matter of author artistic license here.

      • Countzero

        There’s also the possibility of a deus ex machina moment to save her. We haven’t seen Matrix (Sunglasses girl) for a while…

        • animalia555

          I both expect that will happen AND that it will open the door to repurcussion. Mainly Neo getting actively involved as well.

      • clogboy

        I’ve never been on a battlefield. But I think at some point, you could actually be like ‘ain’t nobody got time for pain’. Although if a muscle is incapacitated… I believe you kinda need those to move.
        Let’s look at said thigh, the right one actually. Except for where he retreated, I don’t think he was addressing it to the point where it can’t be overcome by adrenaline, survival instinct and sheer force of will and anger (which in his case are demonic levels). The same strengths that Daisuke Ex Machina’d Yumiko. And yes I am taking artistic freedom into account :)

        In real life, though? I can give dozens of examples on why the mind is a powerful thing. If you really want to, you can lift in excess of twice as much compared to when you’re unmotivated or sleepy. I know what it feels like to focus all your attention and energy on the desire to be strong, even for just the 20 most intense minutes of my workout routine. The hulk mode is a real thing and it’s where you put mind over matter. Some people revel in chaos, some people just want to watch the world burn. And like Cersei said: power is power. And power in a strong person can be a scary thing.

        • Xinef

          In real life there are examples of people who got shot multiple times and still managed to kill a few opponents before bleeding out. If you read accounts of FBI gunfights, there’s a number of examples of gangsters being shot multiple times, even taking a direct hit from a shotgun or such, and still proceeding to kill one or two FBI agents. I’ve also read accounts of soldiers being killed by melee combatants despite said foes being shot many times on their way to the gunners.

          Sure, those are the exceptions rather than the rule, but I’d say nn4b focuses on exceptional people, so it’s to be expected.

          … then there are weird accounts of people who for example got stabbed or shot and didn’t notice until a while later someone told them that they are bleeding.

          Humans are weird.

          Anyway, at least that proves you can bring a sword to a gunfight and actually kill people with it. Just expect to do it while bleeding profusely.

          • clogboy

            Remember your training, remember the sacrifice. Remember your purpose. Or as inspired by the Light Brigade and written down by Tennyson:

            “Theirs not to make reply,
            Theirs not to reason why,
            Theirs but to do & die”

            (Although in that case they should have made reply)

          • purplelibraryguy

            Yeah, the charge of the Light Brigade was definitely one of those cases where it should have been, “Theirs to say ‘bugger this for a lark, those are bloody cannon!’ and exit stage left.”

          • clogboy

            They should’ve verified whether their commander was facing the same direction as them, and they might actually have retrieved the stolen guns the commander was looking at, instead of charging straight into the kill zone. There again, the commander could also have tried being competent, and say ‘to your [winddirection]’ instead, or whatever is the true and tested way of giving competent directions.

        • Arkone Axon

          Oh, I agree that the “fight or flight” response can do some amazing things… but even so, where he got hit? That was a traditional target because of its nature. You damage the quadriceps, it doesn’t matter how badass you are, you’re going to have your movements limited – less swift, less precise. Fully cut them, the leg won’t work. And if you cut through one of those big vessels that supply blood to the limb, they can bleed out pretty quickly. One of the most realistic fictional fight scenes I’ve ever seen was in Daredevil, season 1 episode 2. The hallway fight scene.

          That being said, the same “you’d be surprised” factor applies to her own injury. The most immediate concern is bleeding out. They had some effective but NASTY methods for dealing with that. Namely: cauterization. A red hot brand applied to the injury to close the wound (at the cost of further tissue damage). Then comes a lot of nursing care – feeding her, keeping her warm, and otherwise caring for her until she either recovers or dies. So… here’s hoping.

          • clogboy

            Ken would have the tenacity to do all these things for her.
            The second episode in Daredevil is what won me over to the franchise. Don’t know about realism, but the Punisher fight scene in prison was also pretty badass.
            Compared to your example, how does the hallway fight scene in Old Boy stack up (original version)? I think it’s pretty visceral, and it being single take (like in Ong Bak) definitely increases the cool factor.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’ve never watched Old Boy, but I’ve heard good things about it (including how it influenced Daredevil). Yes, doing it in a single take (as opposed to the horrible choreography and camerawork for Iron Fist – c’mon, it’s about a martial arts master with a punch that can break anything, how can you mess it up THAT badly when you have that much to work with? O.o) really does a great job of showcasing the effects that exhaustion has, the way things change when you’re gasping for breath (because you’ve been fighting for several minutes, or running and then fighting, or whatever), when you’re injured, when you’re not at your best.

            The Punisher fighting in the prison… relatively realistic, I’d say. I honestly have no idea how effective those prison shivs are, but Castle demonstrates the value of ruthless aggression. Simply put, what made the Punisher so effective in that scene was that he literally had zero hesitation about killing, while his attackers (victims?) had at least some hesitation about attacking. My father (a USMC veteran trained in the 1960s – and no, he never went to ‘Nam, he drove trucks) once showed me a few things about bayonet fighting that made me realize just how valuable that lack of hesitation is. (along with a reminder that there will always be people out there who look perfectly ordinary but can rip me apart)

            It’s why I believe in the importance of extensive training in nonlethal techniques and tactics. Better to have a response you can make without hesitation (and by extension, without feeling guilty about what you did after the fact). My father’s training included such lovely techniques as gouging out an eye and then using the optic nerve like a leash. That’s… not something I ever want to do.

          • clogboy

            I find it better to avoid fighting altogether. Not sure whether my appearance is threatening or not. But I do go to the gym. I don’t care much about ‘high energy lifestyle’ (though I probably would if I ran my own business), but I don’t want to get back into a low energy lifestyle either (AKA being a lazy SOAB).
            At some point, when you’re at a certain strength-, nutrition- and activity level, you just channel energy into your goals AKA ‘putting the work in’. And if that means channeling energy into flooring a guy and stomp his chest because he’s threatening a relative… well that would land me in jail where I live (but that’s a different can of worms, police has the monopoly on violence here), but I like to think I could hold myself in a fair fight (and the ugly thing is that most fights aren’t fair, not when the other party is more prepared to end you, so that brings me right back to conflict avoidance).

            Point being, it’s true that the most dangerous people don’t look like it. Mindset is all that matters. As long as the ‘bad guys’ know that you can’t underestimate too many people then the world would be a better place. Eventhough most Asian so-called self defence (karate, judo etc) is fairly ineffective irl against a determined attacker, it will bring you in a confident mindset, and that’s a fairly good defense on its own.

          • Arkone Axon

            No, asian martial arts can be VERY effective. The only reason people think otherwise is all the “McDojos” that sprang up in the 70s and 80s, the ones taught by “grandmasters” such as Frank Dux (the supposed grandmaster of Dux Ryu Ninjutsu… just run a search engine on the name and you’ll see what I mean). Or to put it another way, there’s a difference between Karate as taught by George Dillman (who claimed to be able to knock someone out without even touching them) and Karate as taught by someone like Mas Oyama (Who killed bulls with his bare hands. In front of large crowds, to show off his Kyokushin Karate style). Or Aikido taught by someone like Steven Seagal, versus Aikido taught by someone like Morihei Ueshiba.

            That being said, I agree with you entirely about it being better to avoid the fighting entirely if possible. And I DEFINITELY agree with you about the importance of physical fitness. My mother died earlier this year as a result of complications from a lifetime of… actively avoiding physical exercise and not eating healthy. Having a good strength-to-bodyweight ratio and a healthy cardiovascular system is a lot more important than knowing how to punch.

          • clogboy

            I’m sorry for your loss, dude.
            Can I make one diet observation? I now believe that fat isn’t as bad as sugar. You need your amino acids that can only be found in some fats. That being said, energy in is energy out, and I successfully burned fat with lifting weights twice a week, on four to five meals a day, not avoiding snacks. And all I set out to do was gain muscle mass. Now mind you before I started I was pretty scrawny, living on three meals a day (but not thriving). I’m actually looking for ways now to keep my fat percentage up.

    • cu

      Poignant is an entirely appropriate word for stab situations. It does drive the point home.

      • clogboy

        If you mean with ‘home’ right through her damn side, then yeah that’s very poignant indeed.

        • Xinef

          I’ve heard the phrase “Home is where the heart is” before…

          So I think the sword missed her home by a few inches, but at least he’s a good neighbor.

          • clogboy

            Nataku was always one for missing the mark but hitting the target.

          • PSadlon

            One can potentially survive a gut wound if treated soon and well enough, even back in those times. That said it supposedly hurts so bad you’d rather die until you heal.

          • leavescat

            You can also simply die from blood loss if the wound is deep enough. It’s not like there are blood transfusions.

          • PSadlon

            I did note her chances aren’t good.

          • Xinef

            I also just realized something… she PULLED THE SWORD OUT of the wound.

            By doing so, she greatly reduced her chances of surviving the wound. She could have kept the sword in the wound to block blood-loss and internal bleeding (at least until she gets some professional medical help), and used some other weapon to kill Nataku. But:
            – She either decided the sword would be the best way to kill Nataku, even if it costs her her life.
            – Rule of cool!
            – Or you know, maybe she was too busy taking revenge while being mortally wounded herself, that she didn’t fully think it through.

            Either way, it’s a major factor in making her action a heroic sacrifice, as opposed to “taking a hit to take Four-Finger down”.

          • clogboy

            Definitely cool rule.
            Also I didn’t know Ninja could be a fulltime occupation, I always thought of it more as an armed militia against the feudal system. Enter unnoticed, strike, retreat regardless of outcome, disappear into the night, work the fields by day. Regardless, she should’ve withdrawn once she lost the element of surprise, instead she sacrificed herself on a personal mission. Not sure if she ever expected to make it out unharmed, or whether she wanted to save Ken more than she wanted to kill Nataku, or that she saw this as a team effort to begin with.

          • Xinef

            Well… ninja are pretty much spies and special agents, although I’ve heard they evolved from scouts.
            Some ninja were simply samurai tasked with missions of espionage, subterfuge or assassination. Other ninja were peasants or even geisha educated from childhood in the arts of ninjitsu, since espionage requires so much education, it’s hard to imagine an effective ninja without years of full-time training. You need to look and act both as a person you are impersonating (say, a servant, builder, entertainer etc.), as a spy (knowing how to gather information, perform sabotage, bribe or blackmail people if needed, use poisons, forge documents etc.) and a martial artist. Especially in order to get into royal palaces or castles, and get access to the most guarded secrets or locations, a ninja would often need to impersonate a well educated and cultured person.
            Now, since most ninja villages/schools were funded by local lords, I don’t really see why they’d be “working the fields by day”. This sounds more like a peasant thing where there are many known cases of peasants learning martial arts and using unconventional weapons (tonfa, nunchaku, kama) in order to defend against bandits (if samurai were lenient in protecting said peasants) or against said samurai, if they were abusing the peasants. Also this sometimes led to peasant rebellions, especially if the local lord was raising taxes too much.
            Anyway, this has nothing to do with ninja, other than maybe some lords hiring such peasants skilled in martial arts to become ninja for said lord.

          • clogboy

            Then maybe some documentary I saw 15 years ago (yes, my info is that outdated) was a bit romanticized. Given their nature, I always assumed it is hard to find actual documentation on who they were and what they did, so I didn’t really bother to look into it.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            Yumiko was far more motivated by keeping Ken alive than by getting revenge!

          • Nos Rin aka CTCO

            I saw something once that stated that ninjas were first and foremost spies. so you could be a ninja and a samuarti, or a ninja and an assassin. at some point, probably american media, ninjas I guess became primarily assassins, but from what I know, that is inaccurate.

          • leavescat

            I don’t think the sword was stuck in the wound to begin with. It sliced through her side rather than impaling her.

          • clogboy

            No… it was really javelin’d in. She would’ve survived longer if she kept the sword in. Her pulling out the sword was the saving grace for Ken, but it was her death sentence. It’s all rather poetic. Well done to Alex and Joe :)

          • Wile E Coyote

            And then there’s the question of infection….

          • endplanets

            She comes back with an eye patch but like, on her kidney. A kidney patch.

          • Stephen Martin

            Like a good neighbor, a sharp sword is there.

  • Warcodered

    Fans of stabbings are the winner?

  • Hfar

    As they say: some people don’t know what they had until they’ve lost it. Or almost lost it. Fingers crossed for the latter.

  • Crestlinger

    Worst case: artery, kidney, spleen. Best case: Just missing them.

    • James Blair

      Or most likely, the intestines. Since they pretty much occupy that entire area of her body and are thus hard to miss. Basically, unless some anachronistic medicine is available, she’s dead soon.

      • Wanderer

        Yeah, you REALLY don’t ever want to get the shit and bacteria from your intestines going elsewhere in your body, especially not your blood stream. It’s not a fun way to go.

        • purplelibraryguy

          Well, before hospitals and stuff you tended to go before that became the big problem, especially if an intestine was actually severed. More a matter of an hour or three than the days it takes to die of being septic.

  • Tim “Azur3flame” Eldred

    Oh man, this hits right in the feels.

  • Sunwu

    STABBED THOUGH THE WAIST AND YOU”RE TO BLAME!!
    Darlin’, you give love a bad name

  • Michael Suttkus

    Well, I have today finished reading the archives, so I can read the remaining story in real time. AND THIS IS WHAT I GET? Must click NEXT now, but it doesn’t work!

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Congrats! Now you’ve gotta wait like everyone else, I’m sorry!

      • http://www.comicsagonistes.hackenbush.org/ Ginger Mayerson

        Not as sorry as I am. At least you know what’s going to happen. :)

      • clogboy

        Awesome time to be up to date. My binge ended somewhere around the
        battle in Kyoto and I was like OMG INA GOT KIDNAPZZ! And then we got a
        few months worth of Masuhiro and Genchu shennanigans… How dare you spend time on backstories and plot progression while a princess is awaiting rescue! 😉

  • Robbie Disbrow

    On the one hand, I really want her to live because she’s had a damn tough life and deserves to find peace
    On the other, I love watching what happens when characters are utterly broken, and I think Ken’s right about there…

    • clogboy

      …nah, he’s healing. Caring for the loss of a person vs caring for revenge is a step up, right??

    • Xinef

      Well… she sort of finds peace in death.
      If she dies here, at least she dies sort of happy.

      • Turul

        She got to kill Nataku! Living is secondary. :)

  • EBeth

    OK – got caught up on last couple of weeks.
    First: squeeeeeee!
    Second: Shrieeek! NO! Mah gurl! Ken, your dern lil’ Daisuke butt better save her somehow!
    And R.I.P Nataku. Had it comin’ – SO glad it was Yumiko who got that last blow in.
    (Although, strangely, a little sad to see him go. He was such a $&#%, but sooo much fun to write in fic!) 😀

    • Xinef

      Now I wonder… with the pretty much main antagonist dead… is nn4b coming to an end? Just need to wrap up a few things and make amends?
      Or are we going to see a new villain raise and take Nataku’s place?

      I mean, as far as Wataro go, the only significant ones left are Hirotomo and Eijiro… or am I forgetting someone? (well, there’s also Yori and Genchu, but I meant the ‘loyalists’)

      • http://www.comicsagonistes.hackenbush.org/ Ginger Mayerson

        Well, wait, I hope there’s lots more. Ina and Yori have to get married for one thing.

      • EBeth

        That has occurred to me, but I did not wish to “speak” it aloud and and have to face it. (Noooo, Xinef, don’t make me look!!)

  • Avarice

    ‘Tis but a scratch.

  • foducool

    “so you had your revenge?”
    “yeah…”
    “what did it cost?”
    “everything…”

    • Xinef

      The Daisuke already lost most everything a while ago, so I bet Ken, Yumiko, and possibly Genchu too to some degree, may feel like there’s little left to sacrifice. A few lives, maybe, and that’s it.

      But hey, life is priceless, right? … right? >_>

    • KungFuKlobber

      “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
      – Unknown; commonly attributed to Confucius

      • foducool

        I thought it was when you cast a death curse on someone?

        • animalia555

          Speaking of don’t the Japanese have a saying that “Curses come home to roost.”

    • Turul

      Hope it was worth it all!

      • foducool

        it never is

  • clogboy

    Ken is the winner.
    Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, but he lives. He gets to realize the dead have been avenged. He gets to realize that it doesn’t fulfill him in the way that he thought. He gets to realize that he was angry, he was loved, as he loved without knowing. He gets to mourn the dead, and eventually move on, knowing that the anger that fed him and kept him going will no longer be sufficient to bring him peace in the life that’s left in him. He gets to wake up from his rage-filled nightmare, and, so willingly, find new meaning, and a future built on his past where his demons lie dead and burried.

    Only one left to go, the Wataro Daimyo, who he’ll have to forgive knowing that he was misguided. It will be the hardest thing he ever had to do, but only by forgiving him can he rest his mind.

    And if Yumiko survives, that much better. Together they’ll find a way to move on.

    • purplelibraryguy

      What if it does fulfull him? Well, sure, a lot less if she died in the process, but the idea that revenge ends up like ashes in the mouth is a very modern one and I don’t entirely buy it. If you look at the Icelandic sagas, the more memorable ones definitely tend to point out problems with revenge . . . but mostly those problems are that everyone has an extended family and once everyone starts taking revenge back it can just spiral out of control. The problem is not that revenge sucks in itself; the general impression I get is that if it weren’t for the vendettas, like, tearing apart the fabric of society and stuff, the saga writers would be all for it.

      • animalia555

        Different paths to the same destination.

  • http://www.comicsagonistes.hackenbush.org/ Ginger Mayerson

    I never thought I’d read Ken saying please about anything. If that doesn’t save her nothing will. And if not, then she’s had a most noble death.

  • purplelibraryguy

    Who’s the real winner? Why, Valhalla, clearly! Odin cleans up once again with some great talent for stopping those frost giants, including a valkyrie!
    . . . wrong mythology, you say? Aw, come on, surely the Japanese deities wouldn’t begrudge just one or two . . .

    • Xinef

      I’ve heard it’s not uncommon for Japanese people to follow two or more religions at the same time. You could have a person who is both a Buddhist and a Shintoist, or people who even add Christianity into the mix. So I can definitely imagine some Norse added to Shinto… especially since both are SO EPIC, I doubt anyone would object.

      • purplelibraryguy

        An admirable synthesis!

      • clogboy

        If you’re following several, can you follow any of them truly? Some people who follow a religion say that you either believe it all (including the turning water into wine thing and Leviticus etc), or none of it.
        That’s not to say that all these religions don’t have interesting parables and core values. Would I compare this to weapon training, it is near impossible to beat an archer, who’s done nothing but practice this weapon all his life, at his own game. But someone who has a basic understanding of all weapon types could catch him in a situation where he can exploit his weaknesses. I draw inspiration where I can but am not an expert in any culture, not even my own.

        • animalia555

          Syncretism is quite common in East Asia. China has the religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucionism among others often practiced together.

        • animalia555

          Also you may be interested in the works of Brandon Sanderson often discussed here.

      • animalia555

        @Xinaf. To them Christmas is a romantic holiday as they learned of it through films. I am assuming that’s what you are referring to?

        • WaytoomanyUIDs

          Nah, Christianity was surprisingly popular for a while. Arrived toward the end of the Sengoku period IIRC, introduced by St Francis Xavier (do we have a name for the monk yet?). Which is why Toyotomi Hideyoshi & Tokugawa Ieyasu banned it and cracked down hard on it. They had had enough problems with militant Buddist and Shinto monks.

  • PSadlon

    Nataku definitely lost, Ken & Yumiko only “win” if she manages to survive, though honestly speaking it’s long odds.

  • David Brigance

    Not going to be too happy if she is gone. But the comment at the end on who is the winner gives me doubts. Did not need the GoT flashbacks either. For her few appearances I actually liked her better than the main heroine.

  • leavescat

    I mean, there’s no way Nataku is the winner here. The winner is either Ken+Yumiko or nobody.

  • animalia555

    Who was it who suggested that the coated lady will exploit a loophole to save Yumiko, and this will work only to open the door to the other guy’s interference?

    At the VERY LEAST she is going to ask what Yumiko counts as.

  • endplanets

    Yumiko, stay.
    Now roll over.
    Now play dead.
    Good Girl!

    • Turul

      She’s playing dead really well! A natural talent.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I’ma be mad if she dies.

  • http://rjthorwip.blogspot.com/ Redundant Jovian Thor

    SHUTUP IMNOTCRYING YOURECRYING!

  • https://fallingstars5683.tumblr.com/ Harper

    WHY

  • Jordan Hiller

    No. No. No no no no no no no no no

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