Sunday, April 17, 2022

REVIEW: Our Kingdom (manga, vol. 1) by Naduki Koujima, translated by Sachiko Sato

Our Kingdom is a contemporary-set BL manga. I bought this particular volume new in order to fill in some blanks I had from getting a couple of the volumes used. I now regret this.


After his parents died in a car accident 5 years ago, Akira Nonaka was raised by his grandmother. However, she, too, has now died, and it's at her funeral that he learns that his father's family name used to be Takatou and that he isn't the only member of his family left. He agrees to go see them and learns that the Takatou family is rich and influential. 

His grandmother on his father's side declares that he and Rei, the cousin he never knew he had, are now the Takatou family heirs. Akira wants no part of this and attempts to go home but is stopped by Rei, who for some reason badly wants him to stay. Akira reluctantly agrees and finds himself swamped in tutoring sessions designed to help him not be an embarrassment to the Takatou family. As if that weren't enough, Rei's behavior is bewildering - he's weirdly physically affectionate, and Akira wonders if this is just how foreigners act (Rei is half Japanese). He couldn't possibly be serious, after all.

This was...not good. It had a stupid main character, sexual assault, and incestuous relationships, and the art isn't anywhere near good enough to make up for all of that.

The excuses "he's half foreign" and "he must be joking" did a lot of heavy lifting here. Cousins, particularly ones who just met each other, don't generally snuggle and kiss, and once Rei went from kissing Akira on the cheek to kissing him full on the mouth, those excuses came across more like stupidity than anything.

Am I supposed to be rooting for Akira and Rei? I really don't see how Rei's behavior was any different than Raoul's. Both forced themselves on Akira, albeit in different ways - Rei kissed Akira on the mouth and Raoul gave Akira a hickey and grabbed his crotch. I'm not convinced that Rei wouldn't have gone further if Akira hadn't kicked him in the gut.

Anyway, this was a train wreck. I have no idea why Akira ended up falling for Rei. Also, the two of them are cousins. And I'm pretty sure Rei's interest in Akira is rooted in an unrequited crush on Akira's dad, so it gets even weirder and ickier.

I have three more volumes of this in my collection. Oh boy.


"Akira's Observation Diary," a small collection of four-panel comics about supporting characters in the series. Also, there's a short message from the author that basically boils down to "thank you for reading this and I will continue to try my best."

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