Basara 21 by Yumi Tamura: A

From the back cover:
Allies from all over are gathering at Tatara’s base camp in preparation for a massive assault. meanwhile, Shuri has a plan to establish his authority in Kyoto and deplete his rivals’ funds. On a reconnaissance mission, Taro finds information crucial to the war effort. All the while, a battle between Tatara and Shuri is imminent!

Political maneuvering abounds! It’s all done well, though, and I like that, in addition to their conflict against each other, Shuri and Tatara are both being targeted by a scheming nobleman. The battle starts here, but doesn’t truly get underway just yet. The real story is the nobleman’s trap going into action. I really like how Taro’s mistress and his treatment of her fit into the story, too.

Shuri’s intentions are still a mystery, and he also assigns a task to one of his underlings to do if he should die in battle, though its nature isn’t revealed. Sarasa has truly taken on the Tatara persona and seems much more at ease in command than at any time I can recall. She has grown confident in the leadership role and put her personal turmoil aside for the cause. What an awesome shoujo heroine.

One thing I didn’t mention last time is that Viz is now including a character list at the beginning of each volume that’s very helpful. Also good are the little maps included along the way showing you where the main characters are in relation to each other (even though there was a mistake on one of these).

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