Tamaki/Hiyori fans, this is your volume!
Writer/Artist: Naduko Koujima
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato
What They Say
The Okoku All-Stars are the life of the sports festival! Akira's doing his best for Rei, while the little devil Jotoin is getting close to him! But this is one love Akira won't give up on! Plus, we meet Tamaki and Hiyori, the two childhood friends, then go straight to a wedding!?
Volume #6 opens with the annual Yokuyou Academy athletic festival which brings together the members and staff of the Takatou family, and readers will find themselves at a reunion that has been too long in coming.
The events of the athletic festival allow the characters to interact in the ways we have become accustomed: there's perverted Uncle Yuji smothering the orphaned and newly recognized member of the Takatou family, Akira-kun, with affection, getting beat down by Rei, and being held in check by his assistant/lover, the efficient, no nonsense, Sagiri-san; then there's Okumiya-san, Akira's taskmaster, who rules the Takatou household with iron determination to maintain tradition and schedule, and who seems to take great joy in making Rei's bodyguard (and his own lover), Shigure, cry; finally, there's Rei Basil and Akira, who don't let the intended rivalry for the position of head of the Takatou clan get in the way of their friendship and affection for one another, the extent of which was revealed in a previous volume.
But there's more than the familiar to contend with here. A rival for Rei's affections, at least in Akira's eyes, Kaoru Jyotouin, makes attempts to wrest Rei from Akira's side, but Rei is nothing but constant in his devotion to Akira. The entire episode makes Akira realize what Rei means to him and what he is willing to do to remain with Rei. Akira's resolve to persevere is galvanized by an accidental meeting with a member of the Basil family, one who could have undue influence on the outcome of the Takatou inheritance through cunning born out of evil intent. Expect to see more of this Basil, I think.
Past volumes established and consummated the relationships of most of the pairings in Our Kingdom with one exception - that of cruel, conniving Tamaki Kaminozuki and the frightened and embarrassed Hiyori Hozumi. The stories that complete this volume, "Our Relationship" and "Happy Bridal", address this omission.
Tamaki and Hiyori have a relationship that is troubling and intimidating for Hiyori and a source of great amusement and sadistic delight for Tamaki. In this volume, their back story is recounted in detail. The source of Hiyori's discomfort, as revealed in a previous volume, is the fact that Hiyori truly believed Tamaki, the child he played with and had to part with when he went to Germany with his parents, was a girl, his beloved Tamaki-chan. The circumstances and extent of this deception are recounted along with an introduction to Tamaki's family, which goes a long way in providing an explanation as to how things turned out the way they did. In a touching admission, Hiyori tells why Tamaki's deception hurt so much and why he remains somewhat attached to Tamaki (other than forced by Tamaki's blackmail). For a relationship that has been played largely for laughs, Hiyori's confession is a surprise for its tenderness and realism. Another shocker is the depiction of a Tamaki that can be hurt. But after a new low in their relationship, there is a resolution for Tamaki and Hiyori as with the other Our Kingdom pairings, one that justifies the 18+ rating of the volume.
This series is a skillful combination of the serious and the comic, populated by a cast of characters that are earnest, good-natured, crafty, evil, sexy and very funny. New readers, don't let the art put you off. Naduki Kojima's character designs may be distinctive, but they're full of life and fun, especially the chibis. If you haven't read any of this series, one of the few series in a sea of one-shots that June publishes, you're missing out. For those regular readers, this is a volume that they have been waiting for and it will not disappoint.