Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights - Mania.com

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1569701287
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights

Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights

Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights Manga Review

By Patricia Beard     May 10, 2010
Release Date: January 06, 2010

Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights
© Digital Manga Publishing

This gift for Raoul fans will not disappoint.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Naduki Koujima
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
During a trip following a devastating heartbreak, Raoul meets the handsome Arabian prince, Asif! The prince is more radiant than the sun and Raoul finds himself captivated by Asif's beauty. Despite Raoul's vow never to let himself suffer heartbreak again, he wonders if this love is worth breaking his vow over?

The Review!

The volume displays the new DMP/June look, quite attractive in magenta and gold.  I've been impressed by a good many of these recent covers.  What was lost with the slip cover (and the ugly pink band) has been replaced by eye-catching design, much more complimentary to each individual book.  No color inserts here, though, another loss, but print and paper quality are better than most and support the artwork without muddiness or distortion.
Koujima's art with its distinctive style is clear and energetic here. It seems as if the chance for depiction of exotic locations and people released some constraint her style.  There is a liveliness here, both in character and page design, that's new. 
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Readers of Our Kingdom are well-acquainted with Raoul de Baviere Basil, the snarky and conniving nephew of Basil golden boy and Taketou presumptive heir, Kyle Rei Basil.  Their confrontations, which can't be called a rivalry since Rei has no real competitors, are always provoked by Raoul, and the latest confrontation culminated in Raoul's kidnap, with very wicked intentions, of Rei's most beloved cousin, Akira.  However, things do work out for Rei and Akira, and Naduki Kojima, perhaps in her fondness for Raoul as well as being just a little guilty about the role he plays as the heavy, has given him his own story and a chance at romance in Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights.
To get over his loss of Akira Nonaka to Rei, Raoul takes a break from it all with a vacation to the Middle East and right from the first page is a captive of young Prince Ashif of the Gyalib royal family who has taken Raoul as a gift for his sister in order to provide her with a romantic excursion before her betrothal in an arranged marriage. After the exchange of credentials, those of blood royalty for Ashif and those of business royalty for Raoul, the two become companions rather than captor and captive. Raoul finds himself very attracted to Ashif, who looks much like a dusky version of Akira.  Koujima begins the sexy play between these two very early in this story. And it's the usual - demurring and dumbfounded responses to Raoul's randiness that culminates in, well, you know.  Nothing we haven't seen before, but cute and frisky, nonetheless. 
The story incorporates many of those hallmarks we've come to be familiar in Koujima's Our Kingdom - hunky bodyguards, Raoul's two overbearing and ever-present little sisters and, in recognition that Raoul is essentially defined by Rei, enough references to Rei to keep up the rivalry and Raoul's reaction to it, alive and in the present.  What is a little different here is that we get to see more female presence in the form of Ashif's sister (and one can tell Koujima loved drawing her and her flowing garments).  She gets quite a bit of page space for a female in Koujima's universe and the readers will be as charmed and impressed as much as Raoul's little sisters were.  Also noteworthy is the Ashif's older brother, first prince Muzaffar.  In a series where the male body count is pretty high and the character designs so distinctive yet so similar, Koujima manages to give this character an original voice much as she has all the others.  Not quite a combination of the stern and slightly sadistic Taketou master of household Shizuka Okumiya and the delightfully pervy Uncle Yuji Taketou, Prince Muzaffar hints to Raoul of his concern for Prince Ashif in a manner that just may be redefining brotherly love a little.  But it's just a hint.  
Raoul and Ashif do find a way to be together out of the watchful eye of Muzafar for a brief time, and Koujima has left enough play in the their story to possibly include them in further Our Kingdom stories. What a challenge to the crazy Taketou household that would be!
In Summary:
This is certainly the volume for which Raoul fans have been waiting and readers familiar with the series will find that Koujima has kept the formula that is so winning in the rest of the series.  New readers will not need to have read any of Our Kingdom to enjoy Our Kingdom: Arabian Nights, but familiarity with the series will make more sense of Raoul's motivations and predicament.  And the series is just plain fun. 


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