REVIEW: ‘The King’s Beast,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Kings Beast Volume 2

Historical fantasy and romance go hand-in-hand, add the shojo trope of genderbending, and this is what makes The King’s Beast a series worth picking up. Created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Rei Toma, this series is set within the world of Dawn of the Arcana, their New York Times Bestselling series. In it, Rangetsu is an Ajin who becomes the beast-servant to Prince Tenyou, one of the princes of the royal family. A role reserved for Ajin boys with special abilities, Rangetsu is pretending to be a boy to get vengeance for the murder of her twin brother. Now, in The King’s Beast Volume 2, Rengetsu realizes that her feelings towards Tenyou aren’t just hatred while also seeing more of the world’s injustice.

The King’s Beast Volume 2 is written and illustrated by Toma, and localized in English by VIZ Media, published through its Shojo Beat imprint, is translated and adapted by JN Productions, and features touch-up art and lettering by Monaliza De Asis. In this volume, Rangetsu knows she must keep a low profile in the palace if she’s to have any hope of tracking down her brother’s killer, but that proves to be a struggle when Ajin is wrongly accused of murder. Instead of standing by and watching injustice unfold, she uses her position within the castle to push towards justice and, in the process, discovers that Tenyou isn’t like his family. Unlike them, he cares.

Last volume, there was a lot of intrigue, some action, and little in the way of romance; it’s something I critiqued given that the selling point of the series is a plan of revenge foiled by love. The King’s Beast Volume 2, on the other hand, introduces the romantic tension between Tenyou and Rengetsu, though her gender hasn’t been revealed. For now, the care from Tenyou seems based on guilt. More specifically, his guilt for not being able to protect her twin brother. But from Rengetsu, there is a strong yearning that begins to build up in every interaction that she has with her Prince. She begins to see the light he brings to every situation, but her want to reach out to him is curtailed by his status and the reminder that as an Ajin, she will never be able to be more than a beast-servant.

When someone comes upon her out of uniform, the reality of the danger she’s in begins to take hold for the reader. The King’s Beast Volume 2 is a volume that pushes development. Through yearning, the beginning of a romance, even if it’s one-sided romantically, Toma does an excellent job showing that Tenyou’s deep care and growing emotions. Additionally, Toma’s art is gorgeous in every way. The only issue I have is that even in moments of sparring where Rengetsu should look intimidating, she doesn’t. Her softness is never truly hidden, and there is a ferocity that’s missing from how she’s written to how she’s drawn.

Overall, The King’s Beast Volume 2 is much improved from the first in leading us down the ultimate story that was promised. In fact, it makes sense that volumes 1 and 2 were released simultaneously in Japan, and to be honest, I wish they had been released that way in the US too. While I was frustrated a bit with the first volume, this one makes me excited for the rest of the series.

The King’s Beast Volume 2 is available wherever books are sold on May 4, 2021.

The King's Beast Volume 2
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TL;DR

Overall, The King’s Beast Volume 2 is much improved from the first in leading us down the ultimate story that was promised. In fact, it makes sense that volumes 1 and 2 were released simultaneously in Japan, and to be honest, I wish they had been released that way in the US too. While I was frustrated a bit with the first volume, this one makes me excited for the rest of the series.