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Review: My Only King

Manga-ka: Lily Hoshino
Publisher: DMP/June
Rating: OlderTeen (16+)
Released: March 2006

Synopsis: “In the land of magic, a new king is being crowned. However, a mishap during the ceremonial rite causes the royal crest to be accidentally attached to a normal human, Kazuomi. To protect the crest from any villains who may be after it, Mewt, the cute and brave sorcerer, is dispatched to the human world. There, Mewt must live disguised as a girl, and as “she” and Kazuomi live under one roof together, the two begin to find themselves attracted to each other…”

Citizens of a far away land gather to crown their new king, branding him with the country’s crest in recognition. However a magical mishap sends the crest off to an unknown source and it’s up to the young sorcerer Mewt to find it. Moments later, Kazuomi, a notorious lady’s man, is suddenly struck with a pain in his stomach, and is soon landed upon by the young girlish Mewt who fell from the sky. Kazuomi is the new bearer of the crest and it’s now Mewt’s job to watch over him and learn the ways of this new world.

Readers are thrown into the story immediately as they open the book to the scene of the crest’s disappearance and Kazuomi’s meeting with Mewt. Facts are few but enough to have readers understand what brings the young sorcerer to this world without being bogged down in anything past that, allowing the story to immediately follow it’s two main characters. The story progresses quickly, aided by Kazuomi and his sister’s quick belief in Mewt’s tale. Now living with them, under guise of a female due to his feminine appearance, Mewt goes about his duty to protect Kazuomi, including enrolling in his crest-bearer’s school.

While the story is cute and simple to follow, it lacks any real substance. While easily likable, the characters are given little time to develop and even less time to achieve anything. Making up only half of the entire book’s length, the main story ends abruptly, surprising readers who turn the page expecting another chapter. Kazuomi and Mewt’s attraction occurs very quickly if only to allow for the awkward fluff that makes up the entire tale. The failing of the story seems to lie in the plot itself, which has so much room for growth that this book’s failure to provide will leave most disappointed. Not only is the issue of the crest never resolved but Mewt and Kazuomi’s relationship fails to reach any definitive point. Even Mewt himself could provide a lot more bulk to the story if more attention is given to the fact that he’s the proverbial ‘fish out of water’, a boy from another world. However, despite the whimsical land of magic he seems to come from, very little of Japan surprises him, supposedly because he has studied it. This on top of Kazuomi’s almost immediate belief of Mewt’s story removes any feel of believability to the situation. While the premise is interesting and what is given is pretty solid as far as cuteness and entertainment value goes, the story just doesn’t deliver half of what it could, making for a rather empty and short reading experience.

The rest of the book is a compilation of short stories, four in total. The first is a tale of love between two high school students brought together through their horoscopes; the second, a story about a young ghost who haunts a man’s bathtub. The third insert is an extra connected to previous short stories published in compilations by Lily Hoshino, neither currently released in English. It’s the shortest in the book yet manages to be one of the most interesting, probably due to it’s pre-established characters who will leave readers curious for what led up to this point. Ending the graphic novel is a slightly longer story about a man who makes a profit by selling people and the one boy he just can’t seem to sell, though perhaps not for the reasons the boy may think.

The short stories are best described by the artist’s own words, “Short and simple and seem like there’s nothing to them – and yet there is.” They’re all enjoyable reads and do well to round out this release.

The art in this book varies in ways that suggests a good deal of time between them being drawn, in particular the last story which lacks the detail and rounded lines of the others. At times there are certain flaws such as odd proportions that seem to stand out, in particular with characters that are more masculine in build. Screen toning is well used when present, giving the images a very soft, feathery appearance. The first few pages are also presented in attractive full colour spreads.

My Only King is best recommended to fans of the artist’s work, offering the same whimsical feel of her other stories along with the girlish appearances many of the boys have that Lily Hoshino has become synonymous with. The stories are nice but unfortunately the whole thing is diminished greatly by the lacking attributes of the first story. That said however, fans of this sort of boys’ love fluff will not be completely let down and will probably find something here they’ll enjoy, if not simply the cute art style and adorable antics.

Written August 5, 2007 by Lissa Pattillo
Review also posted at Boys On Boys On Films
Book purchased online from Amazon

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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