Basara 24 by Yumi Tamura: A+

From the back cover:
As the war for Japan rages on, the battle reaches the Royal Castle itself. Sarasa penetrates the castle’s defenses to confront the traitorous Asagi. Shuri, wounded and crippled, pursues Sarasa even though the chase may kill him. Ageha descends into a labyrinth beneath the castle to stop a deadly mechanism designed to destroy them all. And King Ukon, now a pathetic, desperate shell of a ruler, grimly awaits Tatara’s arrival!

This was another action-packed volume, as the four most important characters found themselves in jeopardy of some kind or another. There were a few things I didn’t quite get in this volume, like what exactly Sarasa meant when she said she’d choose Asagi over Shuri, and the White King’s motives were a little unclear, but there was enough really good stuff to make up for those small problems.

I liked that I genuinely felt anxiety over the safety of Asagi and Ageha, because either of their deaths would be a poignant one, though it doesn’t seem likely that either of the two romantic leads will die. There was also a surprise revelation about Asagi’s past that was pretty cool. I look forward to seeing if it changes his outlook on life at all.

Some fun bonus material rounded out the volume, including some four-panel strips and a chapter that reimagined this series as something akin to Hana-Kimi, with Sarasa sneaking into a boys’ dorm disguised as her brother to find out who was responsible for defenestrating him. I also loved the sidebar section (in the middle of a serious chapter) where an off-camera rock comes and beans the villain who’s currently being profiled.

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