Title: The King's Beast Vol. 2
Author: Rei Toma
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: VIZ Media
The King’s Beast Vol. 2 continues Ko Rangetsu’s tale of vengeance with a big spin on its tone. If we compare the first book’s focus on harsh reality to pure darkness, this one establishes some light that may become even brighter in the future.
She and the fourth prince now have a connection of trust, as they ally themselves to find out who killed her brother and who’s trying to kill her master now. In a world with deep social discrimination, those two beings of different worlds are finally close enough to move things forward in the right direction.
And this is no exaggeration, as the volume shows how much of an impact this bond makes on Rangetsu’s actions. Instead of cold and calculating apathy, she’s a lot more expressive in this volume, showing feelings she’d have hidden before.
Sometimes people believe they’re too powerless to make any meaningful change. It’s hard to imagine our influence could be enough to interfere in systems deeply ingrained in society. But that’s because they’re thinking through the wrong framework.
By opening herself to the prince, Rangetsu is now more receptive and can see the issues from other angles. Instead of simply denying everything in front of her, the ajin girl carves a new path. She finds the possibility to change things up where previously there was nothing of the sort.
For that reason, this volume puts the revenge tale on the backburner. Instead, it makes a compelling case as to how hope and trust can go the extra mile on changing this reality. It doesn’t change the ugly side of the world at all, though. It’s a constant in the volume, unlikely to change. Society is a rotten and gigantic structure, with ajin always oppressed and unable to fight back.
Not even a member of the royalty or a noble would be able to do it alone. Isolated, each person feels it’s a useless struggle. No matter their personal feelings, they end up going with the flow as “it can’t be helped.”
Nonetheless, the volume still feels lighter and easier to enjoy. The quips between the characters are enjoyable and contribute to making them more endearing. Rangetsu is way too blunt, which leads to some genuine laughs at the expense of other characters.
Despite the odd turn, I’m curious about how the relationships between the princes will develop from now on. It’d be interesting to see the fourth prince and Rangetsu establishing an alliance of royals that could change the system from within, but it might not end so well. It’s hard to imagine these visits to the princes won’t eventually lead to conflict. It’s almost inevitable in the path of finding out the one who plotted Sogetsu’s death.
Artwise, the story continues using well its Chinese influence, flower motifs, and emotion-focused scenes. The detailed expression changes of Rangetsu’s are impressive, with her colder and mellow sides showing clearly the duality of her being.
No matter how much light the volume brings with it, Rangetsu can never be free of the pain of her race. The King’s Beast Vol. 2 is a compelling statement of how bonds of trust can go a long way into changing our perspectives. But it’s easy to expect the story will eventually carve much deeper into the harsher sides of society.
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