- Mangaka : Alphatart, HereLee (Story), SUMPUL (Art)
- Publisher : Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Josei, Romance
- Genre : Ize Press
- Published : November 2022
In the last year, we here at Honey’s Anime have seen a huge rise in the number of Korean manhwa making their way to the West, largely helped by publishers such as Yen Press.
The Remarried Empress, illustrated by SUMPUL, is a manhwa adaptation of Alphatart’s web novel of the same name. It’s been brought to a paneled bind-up format by Ize Press, the new manhwa-focused sub-print of Yen Press.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review The Remarried Empress, Volume 1!
The Remarried Empress is a slow-burn romantic drama that largely focuses on the decaying relationship between the arranged marriage of two childhood friends.
Empress Navier was wed to Emperor Sovieshu at a young age, and together they rule over the Eastern Empire. But when Sovieshu happens upon the lovely young Rashta, he takes her as his concubine, then as a proper mistress, before eventually divorcing Navier in favor of Rashta entirely.
Navier doesn’t intend on losing the privileges of her station, however—she’s been ready to remarry this entire time. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and knows how to wield her position and power—she won’t be outdone by a strange young girl stealing away her husband!
The Remarried Empress’s main plot rewinds time and follows the events leading up to the divorce. There’s a delicate balance between the Empress and her husband’s mistress, a relationship that’s highly toxic due to (ironically) the restrictions of the Empress’s station. True to real-life (and earning the historical tag), many wives of powerful leaders were forced to endure their husband’s open infidelity depending on their country’s political and religious framework.
Navier is engaging as a protagonist, while her deteriorating relationship with Sovieshu is as thrilling as any soap opera. The conflict between herself and Rashta initially seems one-sided, but it becomes increasingly apparent that Rashta is not the poor maiden of some fairy tale, but a cunning woman equal to Navier herself. Although we wouldn’t call Navier or Rashta a villainess, The Remarried Empress shares some similarities with the popular villainess subgenre of manga and manhwa.
The artwork in The Remarried Empress is neatly stylized, and although it’s not the most visually stunning manhwa we’ve reviewed this year, it’s eye-catching enough. As always, Ize Press has done a marvelous job of adapting the vertical webcomic into a paneled style, although the lack of background effects and artwork can be disappointing at times.
1. High-Stakes Courtly Drama
If you love the bantering insults and barbed threats of historical drama, then you’ll definitely love The Remarried Empress. Whether it’s the dying embers of former love between Navier and Sovieshu, or the bubbling romance between Navier and her new partner (no spoilers!), The Remarried Empress is a binge-worthy drama.
As Sovieshu falls increasingly under Rashta’s spell, all while making Navier’s life more difficult, it’s hard not to champion Navier and her newfound love—even if her actions are hypocritical. You’ll definitely want to pay attention to even the most minor of characters—nobody is unimportant, and that’s an important staple of many period dramas.
1. Uneven Pacing
The Remarried Empress struggles a little with its pacing, sometimes feeling like the plot is lurching along with new character introductions, or otherwise assuming that the reader is also making the same deductions as the other characters.
It’s not a complete deal-breaker, but there were multiple times throughout the volume when we felt disorientated, and needed to re-read the previous page to make sure we hadn’t accidentally missed something.
Although The Remarried Empress doesn’t have the strongest start, before we knew it, we were sucked into the courtly drama of the Eastern Empire and our protagonist, Empress Navier.
If you’re a fan of romantic dramas with a historical flair, The Remarried Empress is an entertaining read and a great introduction to manhwa. The volume stumbles with pacing and isn’t the prettiest manhwa we’ve read, but once again the Korean market is proving it has the skill—and the stories—to rival some of the best manga.
Are you going to check out The Remarried Empress, Vol 1? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!