Review: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Further in the Oooku story, the 8th shogun investigates why even though the power has shifted to women, do women still have to take on masculine names for their positions. Why does the entire framework of their government show the signs of still being male-dominated. As being born in a world where females were the main powers in a family, she does not know of a time when the society was patriarchal. So, from this volume, we see the story of the time when the plague struck, when the 3rd shogun had to be a female. It tells the story of a handsome monk who was forced to serve in the Inner Chambers, for a ruthless spoiled teenager who was a stand-in for the deceased shogun.

The turmoil and changes wrought by the plague, and its subsequent effect on both the royalty as well as the common folk are the main focus of the story. The change in power, the shift in preferences and the delicate secrets hidden behind sequestering the country itself are so subtly depicted. You see a spoiled princess at first but later on find why it was so. Moreover the total reversal of roles still doesn’t change the fact that men are deemed more important. She struggles with that and more.

Besides the brilliant storyline and the amazing characters, the thing to watch out for is how the mangaka emphasized the change in society. The story doesn’t hold back – it is ruthless and not romanticized. It deals with mature subject matter, so of course, caution while reading.

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