Looking for love in all the wrong places.
Story/Art: Keiko Ishihara
Translation/Adaptation: Emi Louie-Nishikawa
Lettering: Sabrina Heep
Editor: Pancha Diaz
What They Say
The unexpected arrival of horned warriors at Fort Leren is all that saves the Tyrish troops from the Sigurdian siege. But the Kelds have no interest in joining forces with Tyr—they only intervened to cause pain to their old foe. While it is a disappointing decision, it opens Freya’s eyes to other paths of resistance. Tyr might have no allies, but Sigurd has many enemies!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Help arrives at the last moments to save Freya and the fort from annihilation. The outsider forces of the Kelds rain down arrows while the cavalry finally arrives to sweep the grounds. Loses were steep but Freya is victorious, or should I say Prince Edvard.
Both Aleksi and Julius are more than a little attracted to Freya. While Julius has managed to hold back, either because of Freya’s resemblance to the dead prince or out of respect, Aleksi makes a move. One that he immediately backpedals on, giving Freya a strong mixed message. Awkwardness ensues, which is to be expected. Surrounded by men and the only ones who know she’s a woman can’t seem to keep their hands off of her. Freya hasn’t shown anything more than embarrassment at these romantic gestures. She hasn’t spared a single thought about attraction, love, or anything of the sort. I can’t determine if it’s just the clueless shojo lead trope or the fact that Freya is too busy trying not to die to care. I’m hoping it’s the latter.
Aleksi’s miraculous return is treated as if it is no big deal, but it was divine intervention. There’s something ominous about the fact he was saved by a forest god. What did he have to trade for it to save his life? (That girl with the crushed legs is very much dead though, as are the other soldiers who previously perished.) It’s the first hint of some low magic in this setting. I also like the fact the Kelds don’t decide to assist the Tyrians any further after the attack on the fort. The enemy of my enemy is only an ally as long as it suits their goal.
Freya comes to the conclusion that if she can’t find support from external allies then she would have to find them from within. Sigurd had conquered many other territories before setting its sights on Tyr. After learning of a pact of mutual aid made long ago she decides to seek out like-minded deserters to fight back against the monolithic Sigurd.
The gut-punch for this volume comes from the reveal at the King is a simpleton, afflicted by brain damage of some sort from an attack. The “king not in his right mind” is sadly a historical commonality, bringing to mind many notorious rulers. Nobody has mentioned to the king that the real prince was assassinated. They attempted to have Freya deceive the King in order to receive a jewel that is the symbol of an ancient pact. The deception doesn’t work quite as intended, but it does open the door to larger questions. Mostly about Freya’s mother. She was definitely a member of the court, but just who was she in her previous life?
Victory comes with a steep cost for Freya and her country. While Sigurd has been pushed back for the time being not everyone is happy with the Prince’s decision to oppose the Empire. While the men around her who know her true identity vie for her heart, Freya is more concerned with making sure her people are free and safe from the threat of invasion. While the one-sided wooing is expected in a shojo story, it’s a stale development. Luckily the politics more than makeup for it. Now Freya has a mission to carry out, and an Empire to topple. I’m excited about what’s coming next.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: N/A (digital copy)
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 5, 2020
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CN / £6.99 UK