- Mangaka : Toma, Rei
- Publisher : VIZ
- Genre : Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Published : September 2014
Reimei no Arcana (Dawn of the Arcana) Vol. 13 Introduction
When it seems at last that all obstacles have been overcome, Loki reveals his true intentions of leaving Nakaba’s side and taking Senan for himself and all other ajin. Nakaba’s sorrow brings her to the point of death as Caesar, Lemiria, and Bellinus all desperately wish for her recovery. Without the one person Nakaba thought would always be there for her, can she carry on with her lofty ideals? After knowing such betrayal, can her heart still beat for Caesar?
The unthinkable has happened; despite everything Loki has done and suffered for Nakaba, despite every touching smile towards her, despite every oath of loyalty given, Loki wrests Senan from Nakaba and destroys her dream of uniting the countries. This scene is absolutely gut-wrenching as our once steadfast princess becomes a shaking mess. The times she was most vulnerable, she was able to turn to Loki for comfort but this time, it was he plunging the knife into her heart. Her mind reels with confusion and pain and Caesar, driven mad by Nakaba’s suffering, lunges at the far stronger ajin. Neither Caesar nor Nakaba have the strength or resolve to fight Loki. Nakaba tries but images of their time together and Loki’s loving smile stop her. Loki chides her for foolishly believing that hundreds of years of resentment could be overcome in one night and says he has no desire to live with humans who enslaved ajin. Caesar begs Loki to stay knowing he can’t fix the wounds Loki gave Nakaba. Loki moves to leave but there is one moment just before where he shows a pained smile before disappearing out of the window.
Nakaba’s days are a painful blur. She continues with the plan to move the humans from Senan to Belquat and the Ajin from Belquat to Senan as peacefully as possible. Caesar tries to cheer her up and be there for her but he knows it’s a long road ahead of them. Time goes by and both countries become accustomed to their new populations. Nakaba and Caesar become formally married again and they seem to be doing alright despite Nakaba being too afraid to use the Arcana, lest she see Loki.
One day, a much older Rito comes to Belquat happy to see Nakaba but with sad news… Loki has died. He explains Loki used the Arcana too much and Nakaba flies into a rage at Rito much as he did all those years ago to Nakaba about his mother. For the first time in years, Nakaba uses her Arcana and appears in the hall of many doors. Due to Loki’s death, the previously locked doors to his past have become opened and Nakaba learns the truth.
Loki and Nakaba are brother and sister. As children of a human and ajin, Loki was told to take on the role of a servant ajin for his human master Nakaba to avoid being killed. When their village was attacked, he took baby Nakaba to their grandfather, the King of Senan, and did as his parents had told him. He lived the life of a mere servant and felt extremely lonely. He loved the only person in the world who loved him back but there were times he also hated her. With the unfairness of their situation made clear, Nakaba is again overcome with grief and guilt.
Caesar tries desperately to wake Nakaba, fearing for her life, but nothing seems to work. When Lemiria approaches Nakaba, she’s almost brought to her knees by the horrible pain she feels from Nakaba. In her mind, Nakaba pleads with a vision of Loki to kill her. Just then, Caesar’s voice finally reaches her and she decides to live on for love instead of dying for guilt. Another door opens and she sees Rito and Loki talking about the new divided countries. Loki explains the people need time to heal, and this is the best and quickest way to end the fighting. Loki must have seen it with the Arcana and pushed Nakaba away so she wouldn’t fight him on it. Loki too longed to be with her but it would have meant more ajin and humans dying. Then she sees Loki’s final moments in the spot where their village once was. As if knowing she would visit this moment, Loki says out loud “…what matters is… I always loved you. Now go back to him.”. Caesar’s voice again reaches Nakaba and she finally leaves the world of time. A brief few pages show a hopeful world where Ajin and humans start living together, friends are reunited, and Nakaba is pregnant. Till the very end, Loki’s sacrifice is remembered in the hearts of Caesar and Nakaba and a brilliant future can begin.
It’s the Bitter End, Where All is Revealed
No one sees Loki’s ‘betrayal’ coming and there’s so much going on with the past, present, and future that it’s hard to wrap your head around. Thankfully, with a combination of descriptive pictures and very clear dialogues and monologues, the plan Loki’s had for some 20 years comes to light. In retrospect, so many things make sense and while it’s crushing, it’s also reassuring to know Loki only did what he did to help others and protect Nakaba the best way he knew how.
It’s Almost Entirely Bad Feelings
Naturally, the mangaka would spend time talking about the effect it has on Caesar and Nakaba. But the way she draws and talks about sadness is so realistic and painful that it’s hard to read. Toma-Sensei describes the waves of grief very well and in ways the reader probably feels in the moment too. It’s hard to properly appreciate Nakaba and Caesar finally being together again even though they so deserve it with such loss hanging in the air.
We’ve finally reached the end of a pretty amazing series. Complicated political involvement, powerful characters, comedy, drama, and a world both fantastical and relatable, Reimei no Arcana does so many elements so well. Probably because the mangaka planned the end from the start, there are so many little details that make it such a concrete story. If you’re someone who likes to explore the inner workings of people’s minds and live in the moments of their greatest emotions, we highly recommend Reimei no Arcana.