The King’s Beast Volume 5 is written and illustrated by Toma, localized in English by VIZ Media, published through its Shojo Beat imprint, translated and adapted by JN Productions, and features touch-up art and lettering by Monaliza De Asis. Last volume, someone in the imperial palace tried to kill Prince Tenyou, and Rangetsu had reason to believe it might be his brother third Prince, Kougai. When things turn violent on the jiju field, Rangetsu decides to confront Prince Kougai directly—and ended up as the prize in a wager between royal brothers.
Now, in The King’s Beast Volume 5, the drama of finding the person trying to kill Tenyou takes the back-burner as the series fully dives into the romance brewing between the two. This happens with both Tenyou and Rangetsu noticing how they feel at different moments and reacting to them. For Tenyou, he gets jealous, but not wanting to push Rangetsu away, he tries to hide it until the last chapter in the volume. For Rangetsu, however, her emotions are dangerous and could get her killed. While the readers know that Taihaku discovered Rangetu’s gender identity, she doesn’t know. Since female Ajin are prohibited from serving in the palace and forced into prostitution or worse to survive, Rangetsu has had to hide who she is and stands to lose her life if found out. And with Kougai’s interest peaked, Rangetsu stands to lose everything.
The fear of being discovered pushes Rangetsu through this volume and forces her to pull away from Tenyou. But that isn’t all that is driving her actions. Yes, she’s scared that Tenyou will discover her gender and stop her quest for revenge. That said, there is also a fear of rejection and a fear of what it means to feel love for someone. As much as she’s scared of forcefully being removed from the palace and her objective, there is also a bit of her scared of losing Tenyou.
This dynamic in The King’s Beast Volume 5 hits the traditional romance tropes of hiding emotions and ultimately star-crossed love. That said, there seems to be a dissonance between the romantic elements of The King’s Beast and the more violent parts. While we learn about the brutality that Rangetsu’s brother faced both before and after death, this volume it’s glossed over in favor of yearning and jealousy. While you can explore darker elements like revenge and violence in romance, you have to keep that thread throughout the narrative, and for the most part, small hints of it in this volume don’t carry that through.
Overall though, I’ve been waiting for The King’s Beast to hit the romance thread promised at the beginning of the series, and I’m happy that’s where we are in Volume 5. That said, I can’t help but wonder if the scattered emotions will be wrapped into the larger narrative of revenge and what will happen when Tenyou finds out the lie that Rangetsu has been living. The King’s Beast Volume 5 is a good start to developing the love story at the heart of the revenge one. However, I’m wondering if reading the series all at once would help compensate for the less-than-stellar pacing that puts a damper on how the elements develop.
The King’s Beast Volume 5 is available now wherever books are sold.
The King's Beast Volume 5
Overall though, I’ve been waiting for The King’s Beast to hit the romance thread promised in the beginning of the series and I’m happy that’s where we are in Volume 5. That said, I can’t help but wonder if the scattered emotions will be wrapped into the larger narrative of revenge, and what will happen when Tenyou finds out the lie that Rangetsu has been living.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.