Reimei no Arcana, Vol 2

Dawn of the Arcana, Vol. 02 - Rei Tōma

Well, this volume sure was fun . . . uh, well no, actually, it kind of wasn't. All the characters I started to get to know in the first volume suddenly switched completely around - the meaner character was a complete angel, and the two nicer characters became biased, judgemental, unforgiving, hate-filled jerks.


The plot is going absolutely nowhere, and there were so many plot-holes I lost count.


The artwork is pretty, but there's just so much white space in this manga. Backgrounds are rarely drawn at all, and even faces are sometimes not fully drawn - there were literally over a dozen panels of just eyes in this volume, frequently just one eye or both eyes and a couple strands of hair - no cheeks, no ears, nothing, even when the panel was big enough for them to fit in there.


Also, I think Toma has trouble with facial expressions. Sometimes people's facial expressions really don't match their mood or dialogue, and it makes things odd.


So with all my complaints, why is this still two and a half stars? - Because of Caesar. I've said it before and I'll say it fifty more times in the rest of this "review", but he's an angel. I hate that he suddenly became so sweet and gentle when the first volume clearly depicted him as the crueler prince, but I love him as he is anyway. And of course, there's also the fact that I want to rescue him from all the ridiculous abuse he suffers in this volume. Everyone wants/tries to hurt him, and it drives me insane - he's a perfect saint, he doesn't do a thing wrong in this entire volume, but everyone slaps him, insults him, pushes him, plots against him, etc.


Oh, and I officially hate Loki, for reasons that will be obvious below. And the heroine, who I thought had potential in the first volume, is a TSTL doormat now. Such a disappointment.


The rest of this review is just a compilation of my sarcastic and opinionated status updates - be warned, they're occasionally pretty spoilery.


Hold on a sec - so Caesar is actually trying to be nice for once and brings Nakaba some lovely new clothes so she won't be laughed at as much by the people who scorn her as a foreigner . . . and Nakaba yells at him and tells him she doesn't want the stuff, and wants him to go away?


Also, Loki literally started stitching up a torn dress on the spot, and then waving it around like it was good as new. As if a princess would walk around with a once-torn-and-then-patched-back-together gown. 'Cause she wouldn't be laughed at in the slightest for that.


And then Caesar puts on a cloak and starts leaving the castle. When Nakaba asks him where he's going, he says, "Shopping".  As in, he was obviously going to go on his own. But Nakaba runs after him and tags along on the whole trip . . . and then proceeds to yell about all the shopkeepers offering her pretty stuff. She snaps at Caesar like it's his fault, when actually he's been on very good behavior the entire time. And then they start to go home (Caesar apparently having bought nothing on his shopping trip, because Miss Picky monopolized all the shopping and turned down every offer), and they find a wounded bird in the middle of the road. Nakaba says it must've been hurt by a wild animal, but I have a problem with that theory.


.....See, if it had been hurt by a wild animal, that animal would have finished it off. It's obviously too hurt to move, drag itself to a safe place or defend itself, so whatever animal might've wounded it would not have bothered injuring it in the first place, and thus created a free meal, unless it intended to finish the job, right?


I mean, the bird could have fallen out of a tree or been run over by a cart or something and I would have bought that, but a wild animal? Really?




So, Loki nibbled the edge off a poisoned meatball-looking thing and immediatelycoughed up blood onto the floor.


....What the heck type of poison was that? I don't even know if he had time to swallow before he was choking on it.


Also, Caesar is being really nice in this volume. Why is it that as soon as the evil guy turns nice, all the nice people (Nakaba, Loki, this is aimed at you) start being jerks? I mean seriously guys, give Caesar a break, the poor guy is trying really hard now.




Plus, the meatball-looking thing was poisoned and delivered to the prince and no one noticed? Caesar almost ate some of it and almost fed more of it to Nakaba, and they're both members of the royal family.


You'd think that a country supposedly emerging from a long and bitter war would be more wary, since, you know, there were probably lots of spies and assassination attempts involved in their long history of war. Little things like taste-testers might be handy to have around.


(Not that I approve of the use of taste-testers, but seriously, kings and princes used them all the time just so scenes like this wouldn't happen.)


Just saying.




How can someone who claims to be as jaded as Nakaba was in the first volume, actually wonder a stupid thing like "Who would have poisoned it . . .?"


Seriously, girl, you're royalty. And worse than that, you're royalty married into an enemy kingdom. And worse than that, people have a bias against you in both kindgoms because of your hair color. Ugh. Did you expect people to not try to assassinate you? Because in the first volume, you said multiple times that you expected to die.


How did you expect to die, if not through assassination? What were you even talking about?




So Loki tucks her into bed, saying his usual nonsense about staying at her side and keeping her safe.


Nakaba wakes up, screaming, from a nightmare.


Loki is nowhere to be seen.


Caesar has the time to hear her screaming through several layers of stone walls, get himself out of bed, and come sprinting down to her room to see what's wrong . . . and all this time there's no sign of Loki.


Wow, Loki's going a spectacular job as a bodyguard, huh? I mean, if Caesar can just run down to her room, couldn't anyone run down to her room? Like an assassin, say?


Maybe I've read too much fantasy, or maybe I'm being too harsh, but it doesn't seem like this manga was thought out very well before it was put down on paper...




Why is it that when Nakaba says she doesn't want Caesar to be killed, Loki automatically asks if it's because she's attracted to Caesar?


.....Like she can't want Caesar to live just because he's alive and she doesn't want another human being to be murdered? Or maybe because she's starting to see him as a friend? Or because it would obviously mean her own death too if Caesar was killed? Et cetera?


And Nakaba, the little brainiac, just says, "No, I don't want him to die because if he dies, he won't be able to do anything anymore."


*facepalm* No, really? Dead people can't do stuff like living people? No kidding, girl. That's such a convincing and intelligent argument for saving your husband's life.


Didn't this girl have a bit of attitude in the first book? Something like "There are things you'll never have. Allow me to be the first."

I actually liked her then. But apparently she lost her spark, Caesar the Nasty turned into a saint, and Loki the Sweet turned into Loki the Jerk.

Character consistency, please, manga. If you want the characters to grow and evolve, that's one thing - but don't completely reverse their personalities in the space of twenty pages, that's ridiculous.




Wow, suddenly I really hate Loki. I mean, he's very fond of Nakaba and totally loyal to her and whatever, and she was married into this royal family to create a peace between the two kingdoms. And yet Loki apparently doesn't care about any of that, about her trouble or her sacrifice or the peace that the kings established to save hundreds or thousands of lives.


Grow up, dude. Try to make the peace work better instead of insisting that your allies, and your princess' new family, are still the enemy. Just look at Caesar, he's obviously being nicer now than you are. "Enemy" indeed. Pfft.


Loki's way would cost thousands of people their lives even if he succeeded, whereas just trying to help Nakaba keep the peace would save everybody if it worked. It's kind of a no-brainer, right?




And he says that Caesar doesn't deserve to be "forgiven" just because of his bloodline, the hypocrite. Immediately after preaching that his own race and Nakaba's bloodline shouldn't have been shunned and shamed.


Did I mention that Caesar hasn't done anything wrong? He's practically been an angel this volume. He doesn't need to be forgiven for anything in the first place, and if he did, you seriously think he shouldn't be forgiven just because of his bloodline? Gah!!


And I'm supposed to sympathize with Loki? Really?




"But Loki, Caesar became kind!"

Yeah he sure did; in four pages flat he went from being semi-creepy and semi-mean to being an absolute angel. Fastest character evolution ever.




Hold on a second, Loki. You want to kill Caesar now because he . . . called Nakaba by her name?



You'd prefer he call her by some derogatory nickname? Or maybe just call her "Hey, you"? And even if you would prefer that, how the heck does he deserve death for calling his wife by her given name?


Also, Loki, how is it any of your business?


And oh, since you claim to be so fond of your princess, how about taking her feelings and opinions into account before you get violent? Because she's obviously fond of Angel Caesar at this point in the story, and you'll be hurting her by killing him, so yeah . . .




So Caesar asks to see her, and Nakaba goes to his room looking all depressed and upset, and the poor angel dares to ask if she's okay - and she slaps him.

Wahaha. You're so funny, manga, wanting me to sympathize with these people. Just give Caesar a break, will you? What has he done to deserve all this abuse from everyone?


I seriously didn't expect to be 100% on Caesar's side when I started reading this manga, but really there's nowhere else for me to be. He's an angel and everyone else is a jerk for no reason. Meh.






I want to rescue Caesar from this manga.




Just shut up, Loki. First of all, you shouldn't be allowed to stand with Nakaba when she's being questioned, and second, you shouldn't be able to mutter advice to her where everyone can see you, and third, if Nakaba really was taught extensively about poison and snakes, the exact two things that were used to try to assassinate Caesar, then they have every right to be suspicious and question her.


Let me reiterate that Nakaba is a newcomer to this kingdom and this family. No one here knows her well enough to trust her. She actively resists their customs and scorns her husband at every turn - even slaps him on more than one occasion. I'd say that if she wasn't the main character, she'd be a pretty darned good guess for the assassin.




How did they even find out that Nakaba knew about poison or snakes, anyway? Did someone go up to her and ask her and she just smiled and said yes?





And when Caesar wants to convince them that she wasn't the assassin, he doesn't say, "Actually, Nakaba showed up and tried to save me." He says something like, "She's the kind of woman who would kill me with a sword, not poison."


Uhhhh, okay darling, if you say so. 'Cause everyone's going to believe in her innocence and possibly put your life at further risk because of your random intuition.





Nakaba, will you please lay off? You're hurting the angel again. He just showed up to save your skin for the fifth time and you immediately tell him you hate him?

No. Just no.




And look at that adorably sunshiny smile he gives her when she says she doesn't hate him. I tell you, the guy is an angel. Complete with little glowy halo.


Oh, and by the way, Nakaba's being a real brainiac right now, bouncing between hate and don't-hate over and over and over again. Ugh. Did you have a plan, or didn't you, girl? Either buckle down and get to it or toss it away, don't stand there waffling and confusing all of us forever.




Loki dares to call Caesar's family heartless, when he openly wants to kill everyone who doesn't have animal ears or red hair?


I mentioned that Caesar's family was perfectly justified in asking Nakaba a few questions, right? And it's not like they chained her to a chair and started torturing answers out of her or anything - they were actually rather civil, considering their prince was nearly assassinated twice in a matter of hours.






You don't marry into another royal family in the name of peace and then immediately start plotting to tear everything apart - especially when your homeland's king knows nothing about it and your kingdom has been losing the war for a long time. You'll essentially be condemning all of your people to death.

I just keep reading this and thinking of Hawksong, and how beautifully laid out it was. And somehow that thought makes this manga even more backward and senseless.




Wait, the assassin pushed him into the well, he fell twenty feet onto a solid stone floor without hurting himself, and then the assassin just . . . left him there? What, they didn't bring a bow and arrow or a poisoned dart or something to finish him off with?


And then Little Miss Brainiac conveniently slips and falls into the well too, drops twenty feet onto a solid stone floor without hurting herself, and . . . there's still no sign of the assassin?


What about Loki and his supposed obsession with protecting Nakaba? Where's he? Absent again, I see.




Caesar, darling, maybe she won't kill you like this because everyone would really reallyknow it was her, no matter what she said? I mean, if you just died from poison or a snakebite, she might possibly have survived - it's unlikely, but not impossible. If they find you beheaded at the bottom of a well with her holding your sword, what are they doing to do but execute her?


Of course, you already know all this. And you know she's the main character, so you know she didn't actually do it. Because for some reason, you who were not too bright in Volume 1 are suddenly the only one with a brain in Volume 2.




Okay, enough kissing panels already! Good grief, they've been at it for like three whole pages. I got the idea after the first one, you know, now please move on with the story.




And, that's it! I don't hate this manga or anything, it just seems kind of mindless. And I don't support angel abuse.