Manga Review: The King’s Beast Volume Three

The King’s Beast Volume Three examines Rangetsu’s feelings for Prince Tenyou.

The King’s Beast Volume Three
Written by: Rei Toma
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 3, 2021

Volume Three opens with Prince Oushin inviting Prince Tenyou and Rangetsu to dinner. However, things get uncomfortable for Rangetsu when she sees that the dinner is taking place at a brothel. In this world, female Ajin work in the brothels, so this puts Rangetsu in an awkward position. It gets worse when she sees Prince Tenyou leave with one of the women who works there.

It’s at this point that we see Rangetsu’s confusion over her feelings toward Prince Tenyou. She doesn’t understand why she feels jealous over Prince Tenyou being with another woman, especially since Rangetsu has spent all this time trying to act like a man. Rangetsu’s confusion is a theme that runs throughout this volume.

During the time at the brothel, Rangetsu gets drunk and gets in a fight with Teiga. With some of the things that Rangetsu says during the fight, she comes close to exposing the truth about herself. But Rangetsu finds that she’s taken down easily by Teiga’s special ability, and this becomes a sore spot for her as well. She doesn’t have a special ability, which frustrates her, and being taken down easily by another Ajin’s special ability just pours more salt into the emotional wounds she’s already going through over her confusion about Prince Tenyou.

A plot thread that starts to run through The King’s Beast Volume Three is that His Imperial Majesty has yet to declare a crown prince among his 15 sons, and the princes are now entering a critical period where they will be assessed on how they complete specific assignments… and their Ajin are an important component for the assignments. The first one is a tea ceremony, where the Ajin have to make tea and their ability will reflect back on their respective prince. Rangetsu works hard to learn the skill, and then at the actual ceremony, she discovers someone has substituted poison in her ingredients. Through some quick thinking, Rangetsu finds a way to avoid poisoning the emperor… but the lack of tea being served by her is a mark against Prince Tenyou.

However, we learn than Prince Tenyou has no desire to become the emperor. Like Rangetsu, this surprised me, since Prince Tenyou has been adamant about wanting to change how things work in their world. But it makes sense when he says he doesn’t have to be emperor in order to change the world, and in fact, it would probably be harder for him to make the necessary changes if he was the emperor.

One of my favorite scenes in Volume Three is when Prince Tenyou takes Rangetsu to her brother’s grave. It’s a sweet gesture, but it also instigates a conversation that allows Rangetsu to talk to Prince Tenyou and unload some of the confusion that’s been bottled up inside. I thought that Toma executed this scene beautifully, both through the art and through the dialogue and actions that take place.

Right at the end of the volume, the stage is being set for the next task, which is a sports competition. Rangetsu and Prince Tenyou’s practice time is getting underway when the third prince’s Ajin appears and tries to bean Prince Tenyou with a ball. And that’s basically where this volume ends. My guess is that Volume Four will have a focus on this sports tournament and whatever acts of sabotage may or may not occur.

It’s becoming clearer that Rangetsu has some kind of romantic feelings for Prince Tenyou, even if she herself doesn’t pick up on it yet. While the romance angle is getting stronger hints, this manga is still focusing overall on Rangetsu and how she’s trying to protect Prince Tenyou and work with him on finding her brother’s killer. And with the introduction of the tasks, the stage seems to be set for more direct competition between Prince Tenyou and his brothers, as well as the potential for intrigue. I think the attempted poisoning is just the beginning, and that more attempts to sabotage Prince Tenyou will come about in future volumes. I’m also curious to see what other kinds of tasks the princes and their Ajin will be asked to do.

Readers who have enjoyed the previous two volumes of The King’s Beast will appreciate this volume as well. I know that I’m looking forward to Volume Four in order to find out how this story will continue.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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