- Mangaka : Toma, Rei
- Publisher : VIZ Media
- Genre : Drama, Fantasy, Shoujo
- Published : February 2021 - Ongoing
Ajin is the people who possessed the power and characteristics of beasts. In this kingdom, male Ajin is forced to serve humans in the military while the female Ajin serves in the brothels. If an Ajin boy shows signs of special abilities, they are allocated to serve in the imperial palace as beast servants to protect their royal masters, to be kept or discarded depending on their masters. Rangetsu’s twin brother has shown signs of extraordinary ability and forced to separate from his sister, where he was soon fell into a brutal death in a royal household. Understanding the state of the world, Rangetsu is filled with despair and chose to disguise herself as a man to find her way into the palace to seek vengeance for her brother’s death.
However, Rangetsu’s royal master, Prince Tenyou, isn’t what she had expected him to be, and she soon learns the dark side of politics. Does she have the chance of finding out her brother’s killer, or will she join her brother in the afterlife before reaching her objective?
Reading Ou no Kemono: Enpei no Arcana (The King’s Beast), without the sypnosis, we initially thought the story would be similar to Mulan, but wow, we are way off the mark on that one. Think of it this way, changing your looks to hide your gender to infiltrate your enemies, bare your fangs, and seek revenge! It isn’t about revenge that the manga has to offer as the kingdom has built a hierarchal system and having Ajin as slaves. As for the artwork, the manga focuses on traditional Chinese in terms of outfits, culture, and the environment. Most of the male characters in the manga, in terms of looks, have a bit of a feminine side to them and the Ajin look so adorable but deadly!
1. Whom Do You Trust?
We know some of you probably think that, in this situation, we shouldn’t trust anyone in this kind of world and you’re right. But sometimes, as you fight your way to reach the starting point where Rangetsu becomes a beast servant, you eventually feel tired and start to doubt yourself after finding out your master mourns for his previous Beast servant. But! What if that is an act to throw Rangetsu off so that he can take over the throne?
The exciting part is how professional Rangetsu is when it comes to interacting with her master during and outside her line of work. There are some painful and cute moments. The approach implemented in this manga is putting readers into Rangetsu’s position to learn how to gather information through conversations with other characters and the tasks given to her, including body language. In other words, profiling potential targets and know whether they hold evil intentions or not. Wow, this is like being a spy or something.
The art style and culture in this manga focuses on the Chinese theme clothes, environment, and politics. The patterns on their clothing and the floral designs, giving out the fox spirit vibe, drawn on Rangetsu’s mask are beautiful. During their visit to Prince Tenyou’s elder brother Reiun, the addition of bloomed branches to the battle scene suits Youbi’s looks and ability well.
The environment can bring out the emotions coming from the characters; the feeling of regret, hatred, relief, and confusion. Some of the characters’ expressions are adorable during their interactions, and it is difficult to believe as to how they can react this way in the bitter world they are living in.
3. Thought Process
It is nice to read moments where the main character’s mind go into full gear when it comes to surviving in combats. Readers will get to experience on how calmly Rangetsu process the situations and strategies to make rational decisions to win. You may have noticed there are some sub-pages that represent the Rangetsu’s point of view, think of it as a camera, which puts us into an immersion of being the main character.
1. Slow Pace
The story progression is relatively slow, but we’re looking at drama over here. It is supposed to be a slow pace so that readers can get all the context and the character development in every step of the way. Think of this as Danganronpa mixed with Akame Ga Kill. So this manga may not be suitable for you if you are in a rush and get to the point kind of story.
2. Lack of Battle
There aren’t many battle scenes in this volume, and they are pretty short as the story focuses on the development between characters and locating their actual targets as if it is a mystery manga. Also, the deaths are less bloody and make us wonder where the blood went.
Ou no Kemono: Enpei no Arcana (The King’s Beast) is a slow pace manga that is filled with drama and experiencing the political side of this fictional world. It has some mystery aspect and the feeling of trust issues toward every character Rangetsu meet along the way. The artwork is impressive in terms of cultural aesthetics. The thought process and the point of perspective during the battle is a nice touch to improve immersion. However, the manga is not suitable for readers who are looking forward to constant battle scenes and fast pace story progression. Other than those downsides, if you love to experience being a bodyguard of an imperial family member while hunting down the people who are responsible for your twin brother’s death in a Chinese theme kingdom, you might like this one.