King of the Lamp Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Release Date: Sunday, December 30, 2007
Translated by:Christine Schilling
What They Say
Be careful what you wish for! Long ago, the king of a far-away land made too many enemies by expanding his massive harem. Punished and sealed away in the form of a genie, the lecherous former-king can only end his curse by helping 1000 girls find love!
The cover design features a colored version of the splash drawing for the "Ryoko's Situation" chapter. Against a bright background of pink checks, daisies, and purple detailing, we have Kei and Ryoko in their high school uniforms embracing one another. Ryoko holds King's green lamp out of which emerges yellow smoke and King's hand doing the peace sign. The title logo, which is in auburn lettering outlined with white, is placed near the bottom. Just below the title is the author's name in plain white text.
The back cover features what looks like a snapshot of Ryoko and King placed against a goldtone background. The snapshot is a good reflection of what you're in store for with this manga. An embarrassed, topless Ryoko faces forward (although her arms and a bouquet of calla lilies strategically cover the vital parts) while King stands behind her facing away. Beside the photo is a content description in black font. The title logo is placed at the top, and at the bottom are age and publisher icons and the ISBN code.
In addition to the main three-part feature story, this book also includes two additional short works by the mangaka: I'll Kill You with a Kiss and Chicken That Flies in the Sky. This title also includes two 4-panel comics and an afterword from the author. The materials are fine, but the binding is a little too close on some pages. The quality of the printing is dark and muddy throughout.
Shigematsu has a clean drawing style. We get some sparkly tones and flowers in the background, but they are on the light side compared to your average shojo romance. The girls have large eyes and aren't overly busty. Boys/men have narrow eyes, angular faces, and well-built torsos though their pecs are somewhat squarish. Many scenes are meant to be humorous, and Shigematsu exaggerates expressions and uses chibi drawings for those. Regarding love scenes, Shigematsu puts in enough detail so that there's no doubt as to what they're doing but doesn't necessarily supply every single graphic body detail (e.g., she outlines body positions but leaves the rest to the imagination).
Go! Comi keeps some of the original Japanese sound effects with translations placed beside them, and in other places, the Japanese is replaced with English overlays. They've done a thorough job translating the sound effects; the lettering styles are easy to read and match that of the originals. The text in general does not get overly small or cramped. Books and papers are translated with overlays.
The translation maintains Japanese honorifics. I caught a couple typos, but otherwise the dialogue translation is satisfactory.
Long ago, a lecherous king took one thousand of his country's most beautiful girls for his harem. As a result, his enemies imprisoned him in a lamp, and he can only end his curse by granting the wishes of one thousand girls. Among the girls he encounters are:
Ryoko, who's in a panic because she convinced her boyfriend to date her by telling him she has "plenty of experience" but she's actually a virgin;
Mayu, who is snubbed by the kindergarten teacher she is in love with;
and Hinata, who is in love with her sister's boyfriend.
Can King keep his hands off these girls long enough to help them find love?
This manga isn't exactly what I thought it would be. From the title and summary blurb, I anticipated a romantic comedy parody of Aladdin. However, King of the Lamp turns out to be three separate one-shot stories about girls and the guys they're in love with. The stories are connected in that all of them involve King, but his only role is to grant wishes and do some leering before dropping into the background. In that sense, he's more of a prop than a full-fledged character.
Regarding the actual stories, they read like poorly written sex tales. Not being a reader of hentai, I don't know if it officially qualifies as hentai, but if it doesn't, it's only half a step away from it. King's goal is to grant the wishes of one thousand girls, but this story interprets "granting their wishes" as having sex with the guys that they're interested in.
Even the shallowness of that goal aside, the plots still aren't very good. It's hard to feel sympathetic towards Ryoko when she deliberately bases her relationship with her boyfriend on a lie and sex. Mayu's story has a disturbing air of pedophilia to it the way she transforms into a kindergartner to get close to her crush. Hinata's situation is the least shallow of the three, but even it has serious plot issues. With King's help, she impersonates her sister's voice to fool the temporarily blinded Togo. But Togo's mom meets both sisters at the hospital, so wouldn't she become wise to Hinata's ruse? I find it troubling that all the guys of interest at some point attempt to force themselves on the main female characters, but everything is resolved with happy sex at the end. The extra "I'll Kill You with a Kiss" isn't related to the King of the Lamp stories, but that story runs along similar lines.
If you're looking for character development and meaningful relationships, look elsewhere. King of the Lamp is merely about cheap thrills.
Rated older teen for swearing, nudity, and (blatant) sexual situations.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Go! Comi
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: King of the Lamp