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“Wait, can we pause for a second? I’ve got a long list of questions here and you keep giving me more…”

I know some of you are Brandon Sanderson fans! I’m currently working my way through his latest book, Skyward, which has this comfortable 80’s scifi vibe. It’s borrows a bit from The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, and Iron Eagle. I’m loving it to death, but maybe that’s in large part because it’s about teenage starfighter pilots, which sounds like a comic I’ve toyed with making myself. It is definitely not trying to be hard scifi, but that’s totally fine, because it’s a ton of fun. Sanderson picks some of the best scifi plot and character tropes to weave into the book, and although I could see the story going down a very overdone plot twist, based on Sanderson’s track record with clever writing, I’m still expecting the wildly unexpected. We’ll see!

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  • KungFuKlobber

    Calling it now: Atsumori was Eijiro’s real father.

    • Sunwu

      Kenta is Ejiro’s brother

      • Ginger Mayerson

        How terrifying. But it would explain a lot of Eijiro’s poorly thought out behavior.

  • clogboy

    Wow… Ina?

    • Tim “Azur3flame” Eldred

      That would validate another theory: Genchu himself.
      Not the first time the bodyguard got too close to the one he’s assigned to protect.
      And it would (partially) explain Nataku’s distrust/disdain for him during Hirotomo’s flashbacks.
      Also some of the hate-on that Hirotomo had for Genchu back in the day.

      • Turul

        Genchu would be my guess, too.

        • Ginger Mayerson

          I vote for Genchu, too. Although that poor guy can’t catch a break no way no how.

        • Turul

          Then again, I went back to reread Hirotomo’s blue flashback on pages 650-657, and realised he says in there that he appointed Nataku as Harumi’s guard (at some unknown point of time earlier). Seems like Nataku would’ve had the chance? He did have her killed later, but, well, Nataku IS pretty awful, and things can turn really ugly when lovers break up…

          Anyway, that would add some backstory to his trying to mentor Eijiro.

          Watch the dad to be revealed on the next page, making all our theorising for nothing. Wait, no, actually that’s an argument for getting all the theories out of our systems asap!

          • Xinef

            It was the hotdog merchant all along!

          • Turul

            Sounds legit.

      • clogboy

        G-man wouldn’t be the type, too loyal to his former comrade-in-ams.

        • Tim “Azur3flame” Eldred

          Disagree. Both Clans have been shown to have plenty of chips on their shoulders, skeletons in their closets. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons vs doing the wrong thing for the right reasons has been a recurring theme throughout this comic. Given sufficient motive or clouded judgement, anyone will fit that mold for the sake of the narrative.

          • clogboy

            I would be surprised. Genchu does show interest and responsibility where due, take Ken for example. But during the battle he gave zero f’s about Eji-san.

      • Pade

        It has to be someone. Who do we know that was a person and was around at that time? Genchu and the demons of sorrow are all that come to mind, unless Eijiro’s father is someone from outside the clan somehow.

    • endplanets

      That would be awesome. Ina is Hirotomo’s child, and Yori is actually a Sehshin. Therefore the initial marriage between the two clans is still valid, but in a weird way. Its the sweet kabuki theater play all over again.

      Also: today’s bombshell nullifies Ina’s future marriage since Eijiro isn’t Hirotomo’s son (assuming Hirotomo tells everyone).

      • clogboy

        He’ll denounce Eji as heir ‘because REASONS’. :)

  • Arkone Axon

    Ouch… ouch… now I’m feeling bad for the old man. Hell, on top of everything else, imagine this: having to spend every day looking at your wife’s murderer, and pretending that everything’s just fine. While also thinking how you’ve failed and you have to quite literally groom your son to be everything… you couldn’t be.

    • Turul

      Yup, he’s a compelling character.

  • cu

    The door opens. Inside the room, Cho is tied to a chair, gagged and, to Yori’s surprise and outrage, blindfolded.

    Hirotomo: “Yori, meet Chorotomo, your older brother and rightful clan heir. Don’t make that face, he is not blind. If you think a blind person can fight like that, you have watched one too many samurai flicks.”

    Yori: “And Eijiro?”

    Hirotomo: “You have seen him fight.”

    Yori: “Yeah, he s…” Facepalms. “Daisuke!”

    Hirotomo shrugs and nods sagely. Ungags Cho.

    Cho: “The unwilling artichoke doesn´t fall far from the tree.”

    Yori: “But, artichokes don’t grow on trees!”

    Cho: “The did in the past, but centuries of punching and slicing has whittled artichoke trees to measly plants.”

    Yori: “I can’t even…”

  • Xenocide

    Good job Ina hasn’t already decided to marry Eijiro and is totally up to date on all these revelations, huh?
    (This is where she appears on the next page and somehow knows everything already, because she’s just that smart)

  • Turul

    Aha, I knew it! I predicted earlier that Eijiro’s real father are the birdfish.

    • Kid Chaos

      Yes, this is the only logical conclusion. 😜

  • Archangel

    You don’t have to admit the fault to have the monster killed. Make up any excuse you want; you’re the daimyo. BAKA!

    This bit about Eijiro is quite interesting, though. Do go on.

  • Ginger Mayerson

    Man alive, daddyo-sama has many issues. My money is on Genchu for Eijiro’s bio donor. Eijiro might end up soulless, but at least he’ll be handsome.

    • KungFuKlobber

      I don’t like Genchu for this. First, because his betrayal was very public, not private as Hirotomo describes. Second, because he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would do that to his daimyo/friend.

  • Xinef

    Or, you know, you could have just acted like a honorable man, announced you’ve made a mistake, pay some reparations to the remaining Daisuke, have them decide your and Nataku’s fate in a fair trial, and then probably have Yori and Ina to lead the clan afterwards.

    But nah, better wait until the lie is found out by more people. Because why try to restore your clan’s honor yourself when you can shift the task to your heir.

    … but, I suppose Hirotomo would have to reveal then that Eijiro is not legitimate… so the whole “maintaining the lie” was done to save Harumi’s reputation, at least until no-one doubts that Yori should inherit the clan (or Eijiro dies) solving the problem. Yeah, I’ll go with that as an explanation 😛

    • Andy Nguyen

      I think by that point Hirotomo believed there WERE no remaining Daisuke; to the best of his knowledge, Genchu was the last. Even now, he clearly doesn’t know about Genchu, whom he thinks is dead; he almost certainly doesn’t know about Yumiko, who faded into the shadows; and there’s a decent chance he doesn’t know who Ken really is, who, to be fair, has been rampaging a fair deal against the Wataro, but he hasn’t exactly been one to explain his rampage to anyone who might report back to Hirotomo.

      • Xinef

        Well… technically, pages 78-85 or so suggest Nataku and some Wataro soldiers witnessed Genchu saving Ken. Dunno if they reported it to Hirotomo though.

        But yeah, considering it did take Hirotomo years to find out about Nataku’s schemes, it was probably after Genchu’s ‘death’. And they wouldn’t know where Ken was (nor his name) even if they knew he was alive. And yeah, Yumiko was probably unknown.

        Still, I love to imagine lil’ Ken and Yumiko debating with Genchu what to do with Hirotomo and Nataku. Well, Yumiko probably not saying much, just maybe sharpening a toy arrow or something.

        • Turul

          > considering it did take Hirotomo years to find out about Nataku’s schemes, it was probably after Genchu’s ‘death’

          It indeed was; he says so in the first panel.

          • Xinef

            Oh riiiiight… when I first read the panel, for some reason I thought he was talking about Genchu figuratively as in “to me you are as good as dead”. All this jumping in time and knowing things they don’t messes up my cognition.

            Anyway, rereading this panel now… if we assume Genchu is indeed Eijiro’s father, that statement now takes a whole new meaning.

          • Turul

            Probably because *we* know he isn’t dead for reals.

            Come to think of it, yeah, it does!

          • clogboy

            Theory of self at work. We know Genchu is alive, ergo, we assume everybody knows. Empathic beings (like humans and… actually nothing else, for what we know) should take into account what knowledge someone else has / might not have. That’s why other intelligent animals who can communicate with us freely (sign language) never ask questions.

          • suburban_samurai

            Genchu was later hunted by the Demons of Sorrow after he’d rescued Ken. Tadashii opted not to kill Genchu, but implied that he would tell Hirotomo that Genchu had been killed.


        • clogboy

          Genchu confronted Hirotomo with the fact that his wife was killed by ronin, he didn’t care. But I agree that it’s unlikely he knew Nataku hired them.

    • Nos Rin aka CTCO

      I mean, it was a different time. They took their “honor” a little too seriously in that era and place. “oh no, I lost a single fight, welp, I better kill myself.” ya know?

      • Xinef

        Well… AFAIK it was more along the lines of “if I don’t kill myself, the enemy is going to either kill me for a reward for bringing my head to their commander, or they might torture me before killing or whatnot. Better do it myself.”
        Similarly noble women were known to commit suicide because rape and enslavement didn’t sound all that nice.
        Though seppuku was often committed because someone ordered you to do so, so it’s also a case of “kill yourself, or we’ll do it for you”.

        • Nos Rin aka CTCO

          well that makes a lot more logical sense then what I thought I knew.

    • clogboy

      A lie is easier to maintain when you’re the most powerful clan. The trick is getting there.
      Or not. I think Yori running away (and then forge him in the fire of battle) would teach him how to become his successor, and then retcon the misdeeds of his father.

    • Jeremy Cliff Armstrong

      “Or, you know, you could have just acted like a honorable man, announced you’ve made a mistake, pay some reparations to the remaining Daisuke, have them decide your and Nataku’s fate in a fair trial, and then probably have Yori and Ina to lead the clan afterwards.”

      That wouldn’t restore honor under Bushido. Bushido requires seppuku for ANY meaningful loss of honor. And it becoming known that the Wataro waged war and exterminated an entire clan over a falsehood definitely qualifies as “a meaningful loss of honor”. But if Hirotomo committed seppuku then… the clan would have been left leaderless Nataku’s allies likely taking charge. I mean, obviously Nataku had allies whose agendas were aligned with his… you realize this right? And both Yori and Eijiro were children at the time.

      Hence the plan to hold the clan together and hide the truth till an heir could be ready to replace him. And Yori was not ready when we met him at the beginning of the comic. Not even a little. And, as we have learned here, Eijiro is not, legitimately, an heir.

      • Xinef

        AFAIK, bushido (around that time period) only required suicide in a few cases:
        1. Your superiors demand it.
        2. Your superiors are dead (and have no heirs to replace them).
        3. Not committing suicide could lead to being captured by enemies.
        4. Your death might give an example or otherwise benefit the clan. Say, you committed treachery, then out of remorse you commit seppuku to send a message “don’t betray your lord”, hopefully preventing other samurai from following your path.

        Why? Because during war or when at risk of war, you (from a daimyo’s perspective) wouldn’t want to constantly lose skilled samurai due to them constantly taking their lives over mistakes they’ve made. You might be willing to lose a few to motivate the others, but there’s a reasonable limit to how much is effective. Maybe the mentality was different during times of peace.

        Also, when it comes to daimyo committing seppuku, I think that was very rare. I think there were some cases where the Emperor was offended by a daimyo, and there might have been some cases of a daimyo losing a war, but that’s it I think? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Arkone Axon

      A little clarification:
      Today’s definition of “honor” is not what it was in feudal Japan. Modern “honor” can be summed up by a quote from Lois Bujold. “Reputation is how others see you. Honor is how you stand with yourself.”

      Problem is, a lot of people get the two confused – especially samurai and similar warrior cultures (if you look at Japanese history, you’ll find it includes a long and cherished tradition of invading Korea and China, being vicious and cruel about it, then getting their butts kicked and then sailing home and pretending that didn’t just happen). Vestiges of this exist today – entire businesses in Japan have gone bankrupt because someone was trying to “save face.” As a result Hirotomo has had to live in what Bujold’s character Aral Vorkosigan warned was the most agonizing of situations: “To have your honor laying in pieces at your feet while reputation sweeps you up in accolades. THAT’S soul destroying. The other way around is merely very, very annoying.”

      • Xinef

        From what I’ve heard, one issue is that honor, or specifically terms like chivalry and bushido, or their equivalents (as nomenclature changed over time), are commonly romanticized.

        What we know about the use of such terms from historical sources is what the writers of those periods wanted those terms to mean. So a lord and his loyal scribes would write about honor being first and foremost loyalty to one’s sovereign. Clergy would describe honor as being virtuous, defending faith etc. Those threatened by adultery would promote honor as being faithful to one’s betrothed/wife, etc. etc.
        Militarists would describe honor as being effective on battlefields, while pacifists would describe honor as being merciful and forgiving…
        And of course once nationalism kicked in, honor became associated with being loyal to one’s nation.

        However, unless we’re talking about cultures with strong aristocratic privileges where kings had limited power, the general consensus is that whoever is at the top of the pyramid, wasn’t generally bound by any definitions of honor. They could do whatever they want and still call it honorable. Which I guess is the case with daimyo in Sengoku period.

        (btw. that’s ONE of the reasons why my initial post shouldn’t be taken too seriously)

        • clogboy

          You might be one to listen to Shadiversity and Skalagrim on YouTube… in fact, you could be on par with them.

          • Xinef

            You forgot to mention (the?) Metatron, Knyght Errant, Schola Gladiatoria, Lindybeige…
            YouTube has been quite persistent in promoting these names whenever I had an escapism-fueled binge of teh interwebz.

            Though I would assume I’m doing much less research and studying of historical sources than some of these guys, so it’s hard to tell who is more biased 😛

        • Arkone Axon

          What Clogboy and Xinef said. When I’m talking about “honor versus reputation,” I mean that a number of cultures (or to be more precise, the ones at the top of said cultures) were not unlike a street gang in terms of their behavior and interactions. Obsessed with their “rep,” dismissive of the rights of those outside their group, rationalizing their crimes while exaggerating the misdeeds of outsiders, etc.

          Today we tend to view those groups through a nostalgia filter. Samurai aren’t the only ones to receive this treatment. The Spartans in “300” bore almost no resemblance whatsoever to the slave owning, child abandoning, massively misogynistic and heterophobic (literally – new Spartan brides had to shave their heads and sleep on the ground on their wedding night. It made it easier for their new husbands to have sex with them if they could pretend she was a he) bastards who claimed to be unbeatable, then came up with convenient excuses for when they did lose… until they lost so big that their Helot slaves rose up in rebellion and put them in a slow, long running decline until they just kind of… faded away.

          Same thing with the Old West. Most cowboys were poor, dark skinned migrant workers who didn’t even own their own horses. The so called “Range Wars” were a series of conflicts in which wealthy men employed violent hirelings because… of money, basically. Valuable cattle, grazing and water rights, etc.

          Hell, we’ve even seen it happen in the last few decades. During the 1970s Vietnam veterans were demonized as “baby killers.” Then in the last twenty years we’ve seen them reformed into heroic champions of democracy and the American dream. (And of course both versions fail to capture the reality: that most Vietnam vets were forcibly conscripted and sent over against their will; that they were stuck in between flag officers who cared less about them than the British generals cared about their own troops in WWI and guerilla forces who were themselves commanded by leaders unafraid to engage in all manner of atrocities; and that “fragging” became a word in the English language)

  • Eric

    Hirotomo, “Yori, I see your truth bomb and raise you a truth combined arms campaign complete with amphibious landings on the beaches of Normandy.”

  • Hfar

    “So Eijiro is not my brother?”
    “I didn’t say that. Just that he is not my son.”
    “But how could he be my brother if he isn’t your…oooh…ah.”

    Sorry. These are usually more pithy but the idea crossed my head and now I can’t get it out.

    • Turul

      Yori isn’t always the brightest bulb in… in the pre-lightbulb era.

    • Xinef

      Whatif… Hirotomo is infertile and both Yori and Eijiro have the same father?

      … except maaaaybe Hirotomo doesn’t know in Yori’s case?

      That would explain why Yori and Genchu grew up to be so close…

      Whatif actually Yori is the one who is illegitimate, except Hirotomo got tricked into thinking it’s the other way around?

      … whatif… I stopped making up silly theories?

      • Kid Chaos

        Stop making up silly theories? Why would you want to do that? 😜

    • Jeremy Cliff Armstrong

      There is such a thing as half-brothers. Which is usually shortened to just “brothers”.

      • Kid Chaos

        Yeah! Like Clifford and Kevin in “Wilde Life“. 😎

        • TekServer

          Nope. Cliff and Kevin are adoptive brothers, not half brothers. No blood relation. 😎🐺

          • Kid Chaos

            Close enough. 😁

  • endplanets

    “Son, can you imagine what it is like to have a loved one do schemes behind your back.”

    Damn, so many bombshells today.

    And if you ever wondered why most cultures view sex as EEEEEVIl, this is why. God forbid you pass down your wealth to a child who isn’t yours biologically.

    Ironically enough the opposite is now true in modern day Japan with adoptions occurring at age 40 or something. The CEO wants his son to inherent the company so he just adopts the most competent manager or something.

    • Xinef

      Well, there’s plenty of other reasons too. STDs, unexpected pregnancies, sexual violence and manipulation, addiction, brothels etc. Basically, a plethora of ways sex can go wrong if it goes out of control.

    • Arkone Axon

      No, most cultures don’t view sex as EEEEVILL. Some do… and that’s because by controlling sexuality, they control the people. When everything you do is something to feel ashamed of and guilty about, then you’re far more easily kept in line. (Also a large part of it is misogyny and insecurities. The “madonna/whore complex” goes away once you learn to see a woman as a Slut AND a saint, and admire her for BOTH aspects)

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I’ll take things I did not see coming for 500 Alex.

    • Agent 52

      In the webcomic no need for bushido this character who is well established as the father of eijiro is _____?

      • Agent 52

        Oh sorry but you’re out of time the correct answer was benzo the rock ninja.

  • Crestlinger

    For anyone who wants an alternate ending to this mess a fan art idea: full marriage ceremony setup behind the door for Yori and Ina. As things stand now as the final ‘test’ Yori Vs. Hiritomo, Hopefully with people hearing the fight and interceding.

  • Jeremy Cliff Armstrong

    I get it now. Hirotomo wanted an heir that would hate war. Yori is a pacifist. But he also needed him to be willing to wage war when necessary… and Yori is a pacifist. When Yori ran away his father sent the demons of sorrow as a last ditch effort to force Yori to understand the need for violence in rare cases. Hence the lesson he sought to teach Yori. Now he believe Yori has learned that lesson… which means it’s finally time for Hirotomo to be replaced as head of the Wataro… by Yori… his antithesis.

    Yori is finally the soft, but capable leader the Wataro need to heal and repair their honor when the truth becomes known.

  • Debbie Wright

    “You see, my son, your mother was a sexual being-”
    “Please, never say that again.”
    “-and honestly I’ve just never had much interest in that. Once we had you, I just didn’t see a reason to ever go through it again. So, I told her that, so long as she was discreet and always came home to me, she could satisfy herself as she saw fit.”
    “Seriously, please stop talking about that.”
    “Well, she didn’t mean to get pregnant, and I loved her too much to ruin her, so here we are.”

  • purplelibraryguy

    So wait. Eijiro can’t be the heir. You tried hard to have me killed. That leaves nobody. So . . . your long term game plan all along was to save face by screwing up, losing bad and having the whole clan disintegrate so nobody would ever know what went wrong?!

  • dr pepper

    I was hopimng it would turn out that his mother was still alive, and is now a minimally clad ninja.

  • Frank Royce Harr

    How many people suffered for this!? Dude, ‘fess up already!

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