Our Kingdom Vol. #05 (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Release Date: Thursday, January 18, 2007

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Naduki Koujima
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
Even as the story's adult characters begin to iron out their own couplings, Rei and Akira's own relationship might prove to be a short-lived love affair. And how does all this affect the candidacy for the next heir to the Takatou business empire?

The Review
Lots of romantic resolution here! However, we still don't have a Takatou heir, but you weren't reading for that, were you?

In this volume, the returned Raoul begins to attend school with Rei and Akira much to the dislike of Rei, but to the delight of Tamaki, who has another chance to torture another Basil and to advance his "sometimes" plans to separate Rei and Akira. Akira, who now realizes his feelings for Rei and has come to an understanding about Raoul, anticipates conflict between Rei and Raoul, and proposes that they challenge each other in a school sports meet. To sweeten the pot for the victor, Tamaki proposes that Akira be the prize. But even before the sports challenge, things go horribly wrong. There are the usual miscommunications and misunderstandings, but Rei and Akira prevail, enough so to require the 18+ rating.

This volume also contains stories involving the two adult couples - Okumiya san and Shigure kun, Yuji Takatou and Sagiri kun. These substantial side stories emphasize the particular personality traits of the characters in pursuing, confessing and consummating their love. A very affective and enjoyable read.

Two stories, already printed in j-boy, "Culinary Tease" and Culinary Tease - Extra Episode" round out the volume. They're light and fun.

I had never cared for Koujima's previously published work in English, Selfish Love, which had been published by the Be Beautiful imprint of CPM Press, so I had never bothered with Our Kingdom. Oh, what I missed! Koujima is obviously having a lot of fun presenting this ensemble of ever so odd and pervy characters (plus the oh-so-innocent Akira) and the fun is infectious for the reader. Koujima's very distinctive art style creates character differences surprising well and shows versatility in expression, especially in leering and cunning looks. And her chibi's are so cute!

While previous volumes had been rated 16+, the level of sexual explicitness has increased requiring the age restriction and a content warning on the cover. For those readers over 18 who are concerned about this, let me say that the situations are explicit in content and concept, but not necessarily explicit graphically. Much is obscured and some things are not seen at all.

In the author afterword, Koujima thanks the readers and asks them to follow a bit longer for she has some more story to tell. I can't wait to read it.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1569708398
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left