Title: The King's Beast Vol. 3
Author: Rei Toma
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Publisher: VIZ Media
In the previous volume, Ko Rangetsu’s revenge story took on a lighter tone. The King’s Beast Vol. 3 shows that, as much as there’s some hope for the future, lingering shadows remain. Rangetsu’s trust in the fourth prince Tenyou has built over their time together. However, this loyalty is more fragile than it might have seemed. As Tenyou is a kind person, Rangetsu starts doubting his ability to change the harsh reality she knows.
The volume starts with them going to a brothel. With only Ajin (half-beasts) working there, this is the beginning of a dark spiral. It’s a big reminder of her past and society’s issues. Rangetsu also seems to get jealous of her master and his time in the brothel.
Rangetsu has always tried to act like a man, but the volume shows her other sides. Not only is she a woman, but the harsh reality she has lived made her unable to have a healthy childhood. There’s a deep vulnerability, a longing for connections, for someone to trust that hurts her inside constantly.
She has lived a long time trying to become a great soldier, treating everything else as unnecessary. This extreme focus on combat starts to hold her back on this volume. The princes’ beast-servants also have other duties beyond guarding them against the treacherous court antics.
The King’s Beast Vol. 3 starts talks about the actual royal succession. There are 15 princes, and the king hasn’t selected who is going to inherit the throne. As such, they have to participate in multiple events and compete among themselves.
But those aren’t only about brute strength or tactics. Traditional rituals such as the tea ceremony are significant to the kingdom. The issue is Rangetsu is awful at it, and this may cause some damage to Tenyou’s reputation. No matter how new she is as a beast-servant, unlike the other ones, she has to deal with this quickly.
The next volume will continue these royal succession events with a traditional sport called Jiju. Unfortunately, all these small competitions are prone to shady situations as the royals try to undermine their opponents. There’s no doubt someone is trying to devaluate Tenyou’s group, and they currently suspect the one behind it is the third prince.
The traditional aspects of Chinese culture heavily influence the visuals on The King’s Beast Vol. 3. The architecture of the houses is particularly mesmerizing, but the romantic scenes are also some of the most gorgeous frames in the series so far. In one scene, Rangetsu and Tenyou go to a lake at night. There they have an honest heart-to-heart as multiple small lights shine behind them. Though the whole chapter is beautiful, this scene is simply striking.
The King’s Beast Vol. 3 builds upon the hope from the last volume to show the complex emotions of the protagonist. Amid a court filled with ambitious people who may act against them, Rangetsu and Tenyou have the chance to deepen their bond. I’m curious to see if they’ll finally find their enemy in the next volume, but the pacing so far has been a little stagnated.
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