Light Novel: Mirage of Blaze
Mirage of Blaze
is a light novel series written by Mizuna Kuwabara. It was adapted into a thirteen episode anime season in 2002. A three part OVA titled Rebels of the River Edge was released in 2004. The translation of the light novels can be found here
Ougi Takaya is a seventeen year old high school student
whose life changes drastically when he is attacked by a man with supernatural powers, a confrontation which awakens the same abilities in him. The man identifies himself as Naoe Nobutsuna and claims Takaya is Lord Kagetora, adopted son of Uesugi Kenshin whom he has sworn to serve
. He reveals that the source of their powers stems from the fact that they are Possessors, souls who have been possessing human bodies for over four hundred years.
With Kagetora as their leader, the Possessors have been fighting the Feudal Underworld, an army of vengeful spirits of samurai who fell during the Warring States era. Some of these spirits are also able to possess bodies and do so in order to restart the wars, this time to end them in their favor. Takaya has no memory of this
however and and refuses to believe he is Kagetora. As he begins to remember however, he becomes increasingly distraught
and begins to draw on Naoe for support, but Naoe is neither the mentor
nor the convenient protector
Takaya thinks he is.
One of the main themes that make Mirage of Blaze stand out is the complicated relationship
of Kagetora and Naoe.
Mirage of Blaze provides examples of:
- All Take and No Give: Kagetora and Naoe are this trope.
- Ambiguously Gay: Kagetora, though by the end of the OVA, it's not ambiguous anymore as he has finally accepted Naoe as a potentional lover.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Naoe to Kagetora.
- Asia Rune Chant: whenever the Possesors exorcize spirits or summon creatures or guardians.
- Awful Truth: Naoe is basically sitting on a ticking time bomb, he knows when Kagetora remembers that they'll fall back in their old pattern of hate and love.
- Badass Biker / Biker Babe: Haruie
- Battle Butler: Naoe
- Bishōnen: Kagetora, Naoe
- Black and Grey Morality: The spirits the protagonists are fighting against have entirely selfish aims at conquering the modern world, but as the series goes on, we find our main characters have some major skeletons in their closet as well.
- Bodyguard Crush: Naoe has been madly in love with Kagetora for over four hundred years.
- Boys Love
- Break the Cutie: Kagetora's adoptive father sent him off as a hostage of the Hojo, he was raped and then forced to commit seppuku to escape dishonor when the castle fell.
- Cherry Blossoms: Incarnation of Takaya's corpse.
- Cliff Hanger: Naoe shot died and Takaya go to mad. Takaya kidnapping and kidnapping again. Nagahide's body death. Takaya removed from Uesugi clan. Naoe goes over to Oda. Takaya's soul reached near to limit. A lot of fans were DYING SO MANY TIMES.
- Driven to Suicide: Kagetora when forced to commit seppuku.
- Only some inversions Kagetora/Takaya attempts suicide in volume 20 when the mental and emotional tolls of everything he'd dealt with reaches a breaking point, but Naoe saves him. Also, Naoe had attempted suicide in the past but he'd kept this hidden from Kagetora.
- Downer Ending: In order to stop Yami Sengoku, Kagetora is forced to use the last of his soul life. Not only does this kill Kagetora/Takaya, but this prevents him from ever reincarnating again. He lives long enough to finally confess his love to Naoe before he dies in the latter's arms. Naoe put in his own breast the Takaya's broken nearly soul. Takaya's soul seemed pounded but freezes in him. He decided to stay alive repeat the possession until the limit of his own soul in order to prove the eternal love to Takaya.
- Gender Bender
- Haruie is a male Possessor who's using a woman's body.
- Also Kagetora who was forced to possess the body of his lover, effectively turning into a woman.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Haruie
- Hufflepuff House: The Oda clan. They play a fairly significant role in the backstory of the series are implied to an extremely powerful faction, with Kagetora having died in a previous battle against them, and in the Rebels of the Rivers Edge OVA, it's stated that numerous other clans formed a coalition against them, but we never actually anybody from the Oda clan in the series. Likewise, the coalition against Oda doesn't get much focus.
- Historical-Domain Character: Uesugi Kagetora, Naoe Nobutsuna, Haruie Kakizaki, Yasuda Nagahide, Uesugi Kenshin, Houjou Ujiyasu, Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, Takeda Shingen, Date Masamune, Date Kojirou
- I Am Who?: Kagetora is the leader and the strongest of the Possesors.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Naoe is willing to do anything for Kagetora, and has proved it repeatedly.
- If I Can't Have You: Naoe was prepared to kill Kagetora and himself so that Kagetora will "never belong to anyone else".
- Immortality: The Possessors
- Intimate Healing: Naoe right before ending the spell that was keeping Kagetora's soulless body alive, used what looked like a farewell kiss to pass Kagetora another Protective Charm, effectively saving him.
- Intimate Psychotherapy: When Naoe and Kagetora finally consummate their relationship in volume 20, it's in the aftermath of Kagetora being horribly betrayed, receiving a death curse on his eye, and a suicide attempt. The sex allows Kagetora to see the toll Naoe's love has had on his own body—from a hideous scar on his chest from having protected Kagetora, to seeing scars of Naoe's own suicide attempts over his love for Kagetora.
- Jidai Geki: The many flashbacks of the Possessors' past lives.
- Keigo: Kagetora-sama indeed.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Kagetora, unable to handle the pain of his lover's death and Naoe's part in it, choses to forget everything.
- Love Makes You Crazy / Love Makes You Evil: Naoe
- Manly Tears: Naoe and Kagetora during Naoe's breakdown.
- May-December Romance: Kagetora and Naoe, subverted as Naoe's body is eleven years older than Takaya's, but their souls are both hundreds of years old.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: When Naoe forces Kagetora to possess the body of his lover.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Naoe after nearly raping Kagetora, but then again, who wouldn't crack after four hundred years of mental torture.
- Near-Rape Experience: Naoe and Kagetora.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Aside from vengeful spirits, there also exist guardian spirits who are bound to a single place.
- Our Souls Are Different: The Possessors who are able to break the reincarnation cycle by possessing human bodies. Of course this is a really bad thing to do, but they do what they have to.
- Parental Abandonment: Kagetora who got sent off as a hostage by his father during the Warring States era, and in the present his father abandons him again, preparing to sacrifice his soul for the "greater good".
- Power Glows
- Protective Charm
- Rape as Backstory: Kagetora
- Redemption Equals Death: Houjou Ujiteru turning on Ujimasa and allowing himself to be exorcized by Kagetora to save him.
- Reincarnation Romance: Naoe and Kagetora, and also Haruie who is looking for his long-lost lover, thought it's not technically reincarnation as they escape the cycle of rebirth by by possessing bodies.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Naoe who mocks Kagetora's weakness, Haruie, and Nagahide who's borderline insubordinate.
- Say My Name
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Chiaki
- Sexy Mentor: Naoe, in the beginning, subverted when he angrily tells Kagetora he is not a mentor nor a convenient protector.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Naoe has only ever loved Kagetora.
- Smoking Is Cool / Smoking Is Glamorous: Naoe, especially in the OVA.
- Snow Means Love: The end of the OVA.
- Sparkling Stream of Tears
- Straight Gay: Naoe and Takaya.
- The Chessmaster: Naoe, who manipulated both Kagetora's family and the Feudal Underworld to save Kagetora.
- The Four Gods
- Tomato in the Mirror: Kagetora who is not the ordinary high school student he thought he was but in reality an ancient warlord of the Warring States era who's posssed the body of a boy, ousting his soul in the process.
- Troubled, but Cute: Takaya.
- True Companions
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: More so for Kagetora than Naoe.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Four hundred years of it too, no wonder Naoe has reached his breaking point. Still he initially manages to mask his feelings for Kagetora perfectly, but when Kagetora dreams of his lover's death, Naoe realizes he will soon remember everything and drops the act. Naoe eventually snaps and forces himself on Kagetora, the event triggering Kagetora's memory of how he was raped while a hostage. It serves as a wake-up call for Naoe, who goes into shock mode when he realizes what he almost did.
- Villainous Crossdresser
- What Beautiful Eyes: Naoe comments on the brilliance of Kagetora's eyes