Ooku: The Inner Chambers Graphic Novel Volume 15 cover image
Rated “M” for “Mature”
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga, presents an alternative version of Japan’s history. In the 1600s, a strange disease, called the Redface Pox, begins to kill young men and boys and causes the male population to fall to about one-fourth of the female population. Men eventually become protected as precious “seed bearers,” and women take on the roles traditionally held by men, including the role of Shogun. This story is largely set inside the Inner Chambers of Edo Castle, a sort of harem filled with men who serve the female Shogun.
As Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 15 (Chapters 60 to 63) opens, Lord Iesada (the XIII shogun) chooses her successor. It is Lady Tomiko, and that angers Tokugawa Nariaki, who preferred the male Yoshikinobu. Meanwhile, the “Great Elder,” Il Naosuke, negotiates with the Americans to open Japan to the outside world, and he does not want any interference, even from Lord Iesada. So when Iesada suddenly dies, her cocubine, Taneatsu suspects foul play – on the part of Naosuke.
[This volume includes “End Notes.”]
THE LOWDOWN: There was a one-year wait between the release of the 13th volume of the Ōoku: The Inner Chambers manga and the 14th. There has only been a six-month wait between the fourteenth volume and the release of Vol. 15. That's a good thing.
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Graphic Novel Volume 15 goes deep into the end of the reign of Lord Iesada, which is packed with political intrigue and statecraft. Then, Fumi Yoshinaga moves us into the reign of Lord Iemochi (formerly Lady Tomiko), and the turmoil goes. Then, Vol. 15 offers such a shocker that we, dear readers, have to come back for the next volume. Of course, you and I, dear readers, would never leave the Inner Chambers... not for long.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Readers looking for excellent character and historical drama will find it in the VIZ Signature title, Ōoku: The Inner Chambers.