Sunday, April 17, 2022

REVIEW: Our Kingdom (manga, vol. 2) by Naduki Koujima, translated by Sachiko Sato

Our Kingdom is a contemporary-set BL manga. I bought this particular volume used.


Akira and Rei are now a couple, although Akira still seems to think Rei's frequent kisses are more due to his being half-foreign than anything. There's still no indication that the adults around them realize what's going on between them, or maybe they just don't care.

Yuji, Akira's father's younger brother, arrives at the beginning of this volume and immediately takes to Akira, much to Rei's annoyance. Akira understandably wants to spend time with his uncle, and Rei is massively jealous. When Yuji has a chance to spend some time alone with Akira, he offers to take Akira home with him, thereby leaving Rei the sole Takatou family heir. Akira refuses - although he firmly believes that Rei will (and should) be chosen to take over the family name, all he wants is to be together with Rei.

Later in the volume, there's more drama as Raoul makes another appearance and Akira starts to doubt Rei's feelings, wondering if he's only around because Akira reminds him of Akira's father.

This series has now become entertaining in its badness. There is (maybe) more incest, and it's starting to look like everyone is gay. Well, Yuji might more accurately be called bisexual (or pansexual? not enough info), since he openly admits that the gender of the person he likes doesn't matter to him.

I prefer to think that Yuji was genuinely just an over-the-top fawning uncle where Akira was concerned, but there were strong indications that he might have had incestuous feelings for Akira's father, since he saw similarities between his feelings for his brother and Rei's feelings for Akira. And Raoul is back and seems to now be in love with Akira, although I'd have to do some diagramming to figure out if that pairing would be incestuous - if it weren't for the sexual assault in Volume 1, that'd almost make it worth rooting for Raoul over Rei. There are no good options for Akira in this series.

While reading Volume 1, I speculated that Rei's immediate interest in Akira was likely due to a childhood crush on Akira's father. In this volume, Akira finally starts to have the same suspicions. If you accept Rei's response at face value, this issue gets resolved in this volume. Personally, it didn't ring true to me in the slightest considering how quickly Rei threw himself at Akira, but I can't tell whether that's due to bad writing or whether Rei really was lying and the author plans to have this issue crop up again later. 

It's in this volume that we get the series' first sex scene, which reads like another sexual assault - Rei initiates things by forcing himself on Akira to "prove" that it's Akira he wants and not the ghost of Akira's father, while Akira tries to push him away and is understandably upset. He opts to believe Rei a few pages in, but I still wasn't wild about this part. For those wondering, the sex isn't explicit - both characters are mostly clothed, and more was suggested than shown. That didn't really make things much better. Again, they're cousins, and Rei almost certainly had a crush on Akira's father, his uncle. Akira, go find yourself someone who isn't related to you and who hasn't previously sexually assaulted you. You may be stupid, but you can still do better.

The volume ends with "Okumiya-san and Shigure-kun," a 17-page bonus comic in which Shigure tries to prove himself to Okumiya as a capable bodyguard to Rei. Any readers who were wondering why none of the adults around Rei and Akira seemed to notice what was going on between them, well, maybe here's the answer: they're too busy having their own sexually-charged moments.


In addition to the bonus comic, there are several four-panel (and one three-panel) comics at the end, as well as a note from the author.

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