REVIEW: ‘Last Round Arthurs,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last Round Arthurs Volume 1

Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 is published by Yen Press, written by Taro Hitsuji, art by Yuzuriha, character design by Kiyotaka Haimura, storyboards by Taisuki Umeki, translation by Jan Mitsuko Cash and letters by Phil Christie. The Arthur Succession Battle has begun! Now, 11 blood descendants of the legendary king, each aided by one of the Knights of the Round Table, must battle to the death for the right to claim the throne. But when a mysterious stranger appears that is neither descendant or knight, the course of the battle could be altered permanently.

Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 features the kind of tonal shifts I’ve only ever experienced in the manga/anime mediums. The story bounces between serious and farce repeatedly. Often times in rapid succession. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it requires characters that feel right in both situations for the shifts to really land. Sadly, Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 doesn’t have those kinds of characters. The story centers on Luna Artur, and Rintarou Magami. Luna has been designated as the weakest candidate in the Arthur Succession Battle by the Dame Du Lac who governs the competition. You instantly get a grasp for why that is.

One of the first facts we learn about Luna, as she battles one of the other candidates, is that she’s pawned her Excalibur for cash. This isn’t presented as desperation to make ends meet sort of situation. She just wanted some money and that was a quick fix. This initial impression sets an accurate tone for what the reader should expect of Luna. She does what she wants in the moment, and in whatever way provides the path of least resistance. She takes nothing seriously.  Until it feels like it suits the plot for her to.

At key moments in Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 Luna seems to instantly change her demeanor. She makes choices that feel completely at odds with everything you know about her. She endangers herself for others, even though everything you know of her indicates that she generally views others simply as tools to be manipulated. Writer Hitsuji could intend for this general attitude to be a shell. A cover to mask how she truly is. If so, I’m certainly fooled. As it is, Luna simply comes across as inconsistent.

The other character Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 focuses on is Rintarou Magami. Magami is a mysterious person who just moved into town. His origins are a mystery, but his primary goal is to join Luna in winning the Arthur Succession Battle. Magami is a fairly dour, and serious person. And his willingness to put up with Luna’s antics are my biggest struggle with him.

Luna seems more focused on keeping her title as Student Council President than she does winning the coming battles. Magami spends most of the story entirely frustrated with her lack of focus. She manipulates him into helping her with school stuff, and whenever he voices his concerns she simply shrugs it off and goes about doing what she wants.

While Magami does explain why he wishes to join Luna’s cause, everything about his character says he would never be able to stand her, and would just walk away. I enjoy the odd couple dynamic as much as the next person, but to deliver that sort of dynamic requires an extremely light touch. The duo needs to be different, but not so lacking in common ground that they feel like they are together simply because the story says they have to be. Sadly, this is the case with Last Round Arthurs Volume 1.

The art presentation in Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 delivers a quality performance. While the characters, settings, and action moments never wowed me, they never failed in telling the story in a clear, and fun way. The art leans into the story’s tones well. Delivering the over the top emotional expressions and com dice designs one expects from the manga.

When all is said and done Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 delivers an unsteady start to its narrative. It’s characters’ inconsistencies left me struggling to connect with them. Without that link to the characters, the story fails to deliver a strong reason for my continued interest.

Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 is available now.


Last Round
3

TL;DR

When all is said and done Last Round Arthurs Volume 1 delivers an unsteady start to its narrative. It’s characters’ inconsistencies left me struggling to connect with them. Without that link to the characters, the story fails to deliver a strong reason for my continued interest.