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Kingdom / Chapter 509 & 510
« on: March 19, 2017, 05:35:44 pm »
Ou Ki’s glaive clearly poses a problem for Shin, but he would never run into this dilemma had he practiced with it beforehand, putting it to the test in real battle isn’t wise. Lucky for him, it didn’t turn out too bad. I said it all along, Shin should’ve properly prepared his body with the glaive or at least practiced with it at every opportunity. Hopefully, this will help him realize that he should also begin practice with Duke Hyou’s shield as well. Maybe, he will surprise us and adapt to it quickly, maybe.

Well, they’ve taken over Retsubi just as Yo Tan Wa declared but what concerns me is that they have nowhere to run if things inexplicably decide to change in favor of Zhao. Yes, they’ve taken over Retsubi yet strategically this leaves them right smack in the middle of enemy territory, mountains on one side and a raging river on the other with nowhere to go except forward or reverse. And, in front of them lie a number of Zhao forces who feel they have the advantage on account of Ri Boku's plan. Anyway, in order for Qin to attack Gyou, they will have to split their forces. Who will remain in Retsubi while the rest head for Zhao’s capital? Is this what Ri Boku plans on? So that, Zhao won’t have to attack Qin’s entire armies all at once. The smaller the number of grouped soldiers they struggle with the easier it is to defend against. If this is true, this makes Ri Boku one of the most proficient strategist in all of China and Ou Sen has just realized the same. 8^)

Ka Ryo Ten discovered something about Retsubi, but what? And, how did the city’s residents move out so quickly? We know, that they, to some extent, figured out pieces about Qin’s invasion plan, but I can’t see how they would have enough time to make preparations. Have the citizens gone underground? If so, where exactly? Is this plan by Ri Boku (if I can call it that), devised purely out of desperation to prevent Qin from further assaults? Still, I can’t believe that Ou Sen vanished without a trace, it doesn’t make any sense. What’s going on?

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Kingdom / Chapter 508
« on: March 07, 2017, 08:35:41 pm »
I just realized that the mountain tribe really is something else. Though at first their maneuvers seemed somewhat archaic with the initial approach, they’re actually making good progress. They also seem to be in sync to some degree. I’ve noticed this before, but it’s clear with this chapter. Yo Tan Wa appears to know exactly when Ba Jio will strike. This is remarkable. It demonstrates that there’s more about her than meets the eye. Remember chapter 33, the time she thought she sensed Ba Jio’s presence in the corridor, instead it was Shin's presence she was really picking up on. At the time, I thought it was nothing more than an indirect characterization of the protagonist, but I’m not so sure anymore. I think she has a unique ability and she’s making the most of it to gain an edge. And, unless I’m mistaken, it’s something I’ve not seen with anyone else. Whether or not she’s linked to her soldiers through some metaphysical force, or through repetitive clashes against countless enemies, it all boils down to the same thing, she’s in control. In fact, it makes them formidable. All in all, she’s earned the respect of her men and women, and it shows. Anyway, props to Suu Gen for the cool save but I enjoyed Shin’s last minute intervention just a lil’ more. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 507
« on: February 21, 2017, 05:53:32 pm »
Well, the oldest brother, Jin, doesn’t disappoint. He knows what’s at stake and what he must do but it’s taking the younger of the two a little longer to realize the same. Anyway, I think the Zhao are sitting ducks because they don’t have any long range archers with deadly precision whereas Qin does. While we do see the Zhao attack the enemy huddled in the distance, it seems that they are concentrating more on the men climbing the ladders. You’d figure that they would use other means to slow the procession of the men on the ladders with maybe fire or hot oil and use the arrows wisely, but we don’t see that happening. If, Tan could get over his fear and concentrate on the task at hand, he could topple the Zhao over like dominoes. I may be exaggerating a bit but that’s how I feel. He’s the biggest of the two brothers and looks stronger so it’s only logical to surmise that he has the ability to shoot arrows at a greater distance, with greater force, that’s if he puts his mind to it, of course. Hopefully, he’ll soon get over the ethical standard he lives by and prove worthy. Right now, he and his brother are absolutely vital in all of this. At least, Ba Jio is on the wall. We know what comes next, right? 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 506
« on: February 12, 2017, 01:33:49 pm »
I think we can all agree that the initial assault was reckless, but it does prove that her army is fearless and that’s got to totter the Zhao in their boots somewhat. I’m surprised that Yo Tan Wa’s army, while diverse, lacks important elements necessary to meet certain criteria, in this case, archers. Fortunately, the HSU have just what the doctor ordered. It seems unusual that for such a large army, specially one so distinct, that they don’t have one skilled archer with exceptional range to boot. I guess it’s a trait hard to come by, and yet, I’m not so sure that this is the case. Anyway, it looks like Yo Tan Wa was probing for a weakness and quickly spots one. If Ba Jio and the Chouka tribe can turn it into an advantage, then Shin and his men are as good as in. 8^)

Ou Hon says that he wants to witness his dad’s plan of action, yeah right. What I think he really wants, is to see how well Shin is doing. I hate to say this but going by past events, the way he treats Shin with such utter disrespect (bias), I think his motivation for shifting gears so quickly is nothing less than plain envy.

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Kingdom / Chapter 505
« on: February 05, 2017, 06:58:40 pm »
You have to admit the queen of the mountain folk is an incredible leader. To bring together more than a hundred tribes under her sole control is not an easy task. In this regard, I guess you could say she is special then again I never regarded her as anything less. It’s amusing how she breaks down the procedure to overtake of the city in a few simple steps but I agree with Ten, it’s easier said than done. No doubt, the overall opinion is mutual among Qin. Some think Yo Tan Wa’s army and its ability to overtake the city is a gamble but at this point, it matters very little. As stated by Ba Jio, they have always managed to overpower enemies head on. If so, is this the key to success with past events? And, you can’t overlook the fact that they wear very little armor for good reason. Armor weighs you down and impedes your movements. I’m not suggesting that this advantage will nullify Zhao’s well-equipped archers, it does however increase their chance of success and possibly decrease the number of casualties. Considering this fact, Yo Tan Wa’s army is currently the best option to conquer the city. I just hope they breach it before reinforcements reach them. On a more personal note, when her troops shouted aloud I couldn’t help but recall biblical canon, how the “Walls of Jericho” came down in a similar instance. It’s an impressive chapter demonstrating the power of simplicity, no elaborate planning, no complicated approach, just plain old tactics. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 504
« on: January 29, 2017, 05:22:28 pm »
So much is taking place right now, but the moment we’ve all been waiting for seems to be just around the corner. All hell is about to break loose as they penetrate deeper into Zhao territory. The hype is off the hook. I literally have goosebumps. Undoubtedly, the HSU’s new recruits have them too. They realize their turn to do battle is inevitable, but who can blame them. If anything, it will make them stronger, that’s if, they manage to survive. 8^)

Allow me, for a moment, to focus on Shou Hei Kun’s ambiguous remark. He said that the HSU’s unique strengths would soon be essential. Besides the obvious, is there something we missed? Is he suggesting that between the three independent armies (GHU, HSU, and GKU), the HSU have an extraordinary ability to cope with the irregular? I’m not sure what he meant by this, I do know that the HSU has always been unique in more ways than one. By the way, did anyone notice Na Ki’s nostalgic moment as he watched Kan Ki’s army engage the Zhao? I thought this was a bit odd given he abandoned them, but it does demonstrate that he’s not insensitive which is comforting to see as he is now a member of the HSU.

Hurray, we finally reach Retsubi ahead of time. And, just when I thought that Ou Sen’s army would engage, he doesn’t, instead he hands over the opportunity to none other than Yo Tan Wa and the HSU. Was this his plan all along? Maybe it was, but his tact makes me uncomfortable. Is it just me, or does Ou Sen seem suspicious in that last panel. Maybe it's just a healthy sense of paranoia, after all, he isn't easy to gauge. Anyway, the HSU’s moment to shine has arrived. Upping the ante, Ten mentions that this place is similar to Kankuko Pass. My guess is, she meant it’s just as fortified so no surprise there, yet something tells me they’re going to have a tough time getting through. But, they have something they didn’t have before, and that’s the diversity of people they’ve gathered along the way, forming what I believe is a unique set of individuals equipped to deal with many unique scenarios. Did I just answer my own question, lol?

What do you think? Will Kan Ki trickle down to nearby cities to indulge his senses (to pillage and commit unreasonable mass murder after he’s done with the resistance), or will he quickly catch up with the rest of the gang asap?

7
Kingdom / Chapter 503
« on: January 23, 2017, 05:01:17 pm »
How bizarre can you get? Despite that, it’s pretty obvious Zhao’s King is self-absorbed, he would rather sacrifice all of Zhao if it means he has to part with his utopia. A poor, delusional king is my estimation. I’m astounded as to why an attempt on his life has never been made. Kings die all the time, with and without reason. In this case, there’s plenty of reason to warrant a change. It's times like this I’m glad Ren Pa isn’t defending Zhao. Anyway, making matters worse for Ri Boku is the high-ranking official, Kakukai, who instigates his right to leadership provoking a poor image of conduct with this mission's undertaking. What is he up to? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t look good for the ruthless strategist, Ri Boku.

Is it wise for Qin to evade smaller cities along its path? There is no doubt that in doing so they increase their chance of attack on a target currently unaided, and avoid delays from neighboring Zhao reinforcements. But, are they risking too much? Will it backfire? IMHO, the fact that they are avoiding smaller cities along the way has no real military basis and may later turn out to be a big mistake. By all measures, Zhao obviously has the home field advantage. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 501 & 502
« on: January 15, 2017, 10:56:31 am »
This is arguably Zhao’s most critical period yet in the arc, but I still can’t see how Qin will attack deep into the Royal Capital when the terrain that leads them there makes it near impossible to reach, especially when they plan to force their way in all at once. How will all three armies maneuver as a whole through such a narrow expanse with great speed, no less. On one side lies a large body of water, while mountainous terrain which lies just adjacent serves as a natural bottleneck. It may prove to be a difficult hurdle. To make matters worse, Shunsuiju realized the true nature of the plan set by Qin’s leading general. Will Ri Boku respond in time?

Mutual probing at first gave me the impression it had more to do with Qin’s overall joint venture, it’s not until you get to the end of the chapter that you realize the significance of the title is so much more. I never imagined it at least not this way. I don’t know what to think of the Great General Ordo’s immediate stance. In some respects, he reminds me of Great General Ren Pa, and yet in another way as the despicable opportunist with very little class. To tell you the truth, even though I am aware this is the Warring States period where practically anything goes, that Ordo would take advantage of Zhao’s unfavorable situation, especially now is surprising. Didn’t he sustain a humiliating defeat against Ou Sen in the coalition arc? If this proves anything is that he would instead side with Zhao. So what gives? Either way, the chapter sets the stage for an unprecedented clash between more than one state and from the look of things Zhao’s in a terrible situation. It doesn’t look good for them at all. Will Yan’s involvement increase Zhao’s tenacity or will it break them? Can Shibashou handle Ordo’s massive offensive strike?

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Kingdom / Chapter 500
« on: December 26, 2016, 02:44:54 pm »
I forget, deception is the name of the game. Just goes to show, how much Ou Sen has evolved as a tactician. To deceive the Zhao into thinking that the stockpile of resources is actually as presumed, suggests that the spies are either inept at gathering intelligence or that Ou Sen and his men are good at what they do. We can also say, if he falls for this deception, that Ri Boku has lost his sense to discern between an illusion and the underlying action behind Ou Sen’s every move. However, it’s still too early to pass judgement, I think he will perceive Ou Sen’s true intentions soon enough. 8^)

Shin and the others seem to be basking in the limelight while Yo Tan Wa shares some good advice with Ten. This is good they should spend more time together as this can only be fruitful. Rewind a bit, and Riboku appears to request someone we’ve yet to see, General Kochoui, “Guarding Deity of the Royal Capital.” Has Zhao been hiding an ace all this time, and does this general trump over Hou Ken’s might? A familiar face, General Ki Sui from Rigan, is called for as well. Do I sense foreshadowing? Are they to become the HSU’s first adversary or will they simply aim for Kanki’s head? Overall, will this tip the scale in Zhao’s favor? So far, Qin seems to have the advantage and not just with numbers, yet it’s still too early to pinpoint as to how all this will playout so your guess is as good as mine.

Here’s what I see, Ou Sen prepared an underground facility three months before moving forward with this mission, suggesting that his role as Supreme Commander was set beforehand, it’s amazing that it was kept secret considering the infiltration of spies. Digging a little deeper, it’s obvious Ou Sen set his own plan in motion while Shou Hei Kun and the rest were still in the planning phase. Does this suggest that he had no intention to adhere to their plan or that he simply had very little faith in their plan to begin with? Who knows? It does however suggest that he finds no one in Qin as his equal. If so, is he underestimating Ri Boku, as well?

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Kingdom / Chapter 499
« on: December 13, 2016, 08:38:10 pm »
Nice to see the HSU enjoy a moment of fame even if it’s short-lived on the other hand I am surprised to see Heki among them. Nothing against the old chap, and not that I think he’s incompetent it’s just that I find Heki to be a mediocre officer, especially when you compare him against the generals appointed for this mission. I may have underestimated Heki’s abilities but we really haven’t seen anything that could prove otherwise. To be honest, I don’t believe he has what it takes to survive this mission. Will he make it back alive? I hope so. Wonder if Ou Sen has anything to do with him being there, probably not. Anyway, when I read that Ko Shou, a member of Qin’s legendary Six Great Generals was actually the boss behind their success, I won’t lie, I was somewhat surprised, but, that he recognized Ou Sen to be just as talented, this blew me away. Who would have guessed? Ou Sen, getting recognition early in his career, this is impressive. No wonder Mou Gou kept him close. I now understand why Shou Hei Kun, whom I argued would lead this mission, will not. Simply put, he doesn’t need to and being privy to why, answers many questions. Now, more than ever, I’m looking forward to the “strategic acuity” Ou Sen is well known for amongst his peers. We’ve seen that he’s not a typical intellectual and certainly not your instinctual type general similar to Kei Sha, who sets a trap and taunts his prey, but, if he is an instinctual type that would imply that his strategic mechanisms are on a whole other level. Therefore, I expect nothing less than to be astounded by his ingenuity. To be frank, Ri Boku is also revered as an astute individual with secrets of his own. And, according to Mou Ten, he has already made preparations and possibly set a number of insidious ploys under an unrecognizable guise for Qin’s invasion force. Oooh, this is going to be good and let’s not forget that Shin has finally decided to wield Ou Ki’s’ gift, need I say more. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 498
« on: November 22, 2016, 04:27:48 pm »
It’s a shame, I can’t say I hit the nail on the head when I made the call for supreme commander, at least I got the list of possible candidates right. I had a general idea who lacked the wherewithal for supreme commander, and whom I felt was the perfect fit. Therefore, I didn’t expect anyone other than Shou Hei Kun to fill that role. Instead, to my surprise, Ou Sen will lead the mission. One more general than originally anticipated, but it’s not hard to see the logic behind this strategy. Yet, something doesn’t feel right. Is there a hidden agenda? Why else gather a force to this extent. Are they, expected to push-on after Gyou city is defeated? Was this Qin’s plan all along? Allow me to rephrase that; was this Shou Hei Kun’s true intention from the very beginning? To take the capital, Katan, in one fell swoop as well. I think so. Although, it’s heavily guarded and surrounded by military cities, Zhao’s capital is too close to disregard. The question now, is how these armies will operate as one. Will they attack in synchrony? Who will lead? Which general will aid the three independent armies and take Gyou city? As I recall, neither Ou Sen nor Kan Ki has ever worked alongside Yo Tan Wa. The same goes for Mou Ten and Ou Hon. So, I’m looking forward to this. By the way, it looks like Yo Tan Wa’s army sports new recruits and among them a tribe of women. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 497
« on: November 13, 2016, 08:06:03 pm »
It’s only fair to get right to the point, but, boy oh boy, what a doozy of a cliffhanger if ever I’ve seen one! Who is the supreme commander for this mission? What further role will Kan Ki play? Whom by the way has been pivotal in all of this? Immediately, certain individuals come to mind when you consider the nature of the mission. Let’s carefully weigh the pros and cons, which of course is no easy task. Is it Ou Sen? He’s pretty good at being clandestine and even better with misleading an opponent. He applied such tactics in the past, subtle, yet effective. Yet, I’m reminded that this mission is littered with uncertain variables. Will Ousen reject it? It may go against the grain, so to speak. We know he prides himself with certain principles, the more obvious the prime directive; take on missions only with absolute victory. When things don’t go his way, he retreats. In this regard, you could say he’s the polar opposite of Mou Bu. Yo Tan Wa? Her army, although unique it shares many similar attributes to that of other armies. However, does this army have what it takes given the current condition and limitations? Asking them to follow a rigid strategy could backfire. My personal preference, the one and only person I keep going back to time and time again is Shou Hei Kun. I think he understands what it takes to see this mission through, and given his strategic background, he could swiftly react to Ri Boku’s countermeasures. From my perspective, no one else is more appropriately matched against him. I don’t believe anyone, other than the head of military affairs is capable of beating Ri Boku. I just don’t see any weak points with him at the helm. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 496
« on: November 06, 2016, 03:23:22 pm »
I can’t believe time has passed by so quickly, it’s King Ei Sei’s eleventh year of reign and Shin is still not a general, and yet, he can’t blame anyone except himself. Nonetheless, we’re finally getting word about Ryo Fui’s situation, even if it’s just a small fragment. Honestly, I had already given up. What’s it been, 40, maybe 50 chapters after the attempt to overthrow the king? Also, the Queen mother, well, she’s back at her estate, but I’m sure she hasn’t changed her wicked ways probably, resents the king now more than ever. I hope she’s had enough time to reflect on her mistakes and ill will towards her son, the king. So funny to see the nobles rally for what turned out to be nothing more than a senseless rant and even funnier when Ri Shi quickly put a lid on things. I have to say, I was a bit surprised to see Mou Ki planning a strategy with the grand pooh-bahs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just surprised. By this point, I expected Mou Ki to have attached himself to a unit out in the frontlines instead of sticking around the board. Anyway, I can’t see how they will overtake Gyou city and it’s driving me nuts. The only thing I can think of, is, that whosoever is tasked to overthrow Gyou city needs to carry enough supplies/rations to last them through the takeover since a supply line is out of the question if the plan has any chance of success. Meanwhile, Zhao is hard at work fortifying its defenses, as Mou Ten discovers. What do you think Shou Hei Kun will devise now that he has assembled Shin, Ten, Mou Ten, and Ou hon together?

I noticed that Shin put on a show for the new lackeys. It looks like one of his signature blows, hope he didn’t go overboard. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 495
« on: November 01, 2016, 08:50:49 pm »
Funny how, even as events continue to unfold, King Ei Sei’s unification goal manages to come together in an unprecedented fashion. Is it, perhaps, the will of his predecessors? Maybe why, he is so determined to challenge what most, if not all, see as impossible. Now that the King has unofficially exonerated Ri Shi, his prime objective should take root within Qin well before any state is overthrown. Don’t you agree? I mean, what else is there? From my perspective, in order for this new system of law to work it needs a foundation, and what better place than Qin itself, despite the fact it’s the aggressor. It won’t be easy. People, in general, are not fond of change. Officials in and out of Sei’s faction may rebel in secret against bureaucratic reform. I’m interested to see how they overcome this.

Halfway through the chapter and the atmosphere takes a turn for the worse. Ri Boku manages to put a wrinkle in Qin’s invasion plan (as if no one saw that coming). Judging by the number of raised eyebrows (and there were many), I expect things to get ugly, very ugly. Besides, what do they expect from Zhao’s leading commander? Ri Boku is not going to idly stand by while Qin gets stronger. And, just when I thought everything could no longer get melodramatic, Shou Hei Kun pulls Ou Ki’s classic move, everyone out! I wasn’t sure how to take that lol. Anyway, what bizarre play is he referring to, exactly? Is he indirectly suggesting that Shin, Mou Ten, and Ou Hon play key roles to bring Ri Boku down once and for all. Why do I think it’s still too early for the HSU to set out on such a critical assignment? One thing is certain, Ri Boku will not go easy on Shin and his unit. At any rate, it looks like things will finally shift to battlefield once again.

One last thing, I think it’s worth mentioning that Ri Shi is the only one that realized something was bugging the chief of military affairs. Quite perceptive, if you ask me. 8^)

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Kingdom / Chapter 494
« on: October 24, 2016, 07:17:29 pm »
What a revelation! Ri Shi may turn out to be an important source to Sei’s aim. Who would have guessed? The question is, will he play a critical role in Sei’s plans? At this point, you can’t ignore the bits and pieces purposely laid out from the very beginning. So, is there more we have yet to realize? For instance, back, way back in chapter 179, Shou Bun Kun managed to solve Qin’s flood control. At the time, this had very little meaning. Yet, I can't help but wonder if this is somehow relevant with future events. Here’s what I’m getting at, Sei’s radical transition to law means that for it to work certain criteria must be met and in place, right? We know that in order to fuse nations together there needs to be very little friction. Asking people to disregard religion and culture and to conform to new ideals is not the path to unity. Neither is forcing people to accept a new way of life, and finding the right medium isn’t easy either. I have noticed that the majority of peoples no matter what nation they hail from are divided into two categories, the military group, and the agricultural folk. Both, among other things, rely on economics. Therefore, developing roads and waterways is important. Each is a component of commerce that in turn, facilitates easier exchange of goods, money, and services. This, in my opinion, will slowly but surely help people come together. It may not cure their differences but at least they’ll have something in common. Bear in mind, this is not the answer to unification, and more of a mechanism to ease tension. 8^)

P.S: Looking back at past events, Sei has always been cerebral when it comes to preparation. Remember when he fixed Shou Bun Kun’s position as chancellor of the left, this allowed his party, however small, the right to decide on policy rather than just voice an opinion. In fact, this was such a clever move that Ryo Fui was taken by surprise. I’m not suggesting that I'm certain his position will be of major consequence with future events, but we can’t neglect the fact that’s he’s been instrumental to Sei’s goals from the beginning.

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