Monday, June 16, 2008

Black Knight by Kai Tsurugi

Prince Christian travels to a neighboring kingdom to enter the mercenary academy there. Although Chris doesn't want to be there, he is bound to by his father's will.

On his first day in the Academy, he meets his new mentor, Zeke O'Brien, an older boy who is the foremost student at the academy. Zeke will be watching over Chris and helping him learn all he needs to learn, including such things as how to hunt, which not only has Chris never done before, but he never knew where his food came from before.

Living at the Academy might have been hard for Chris, but Zeke was always there to make it easier, and he helped the shy Chris make friends with the other students. But it took an assasination attempt on Chris for them to start a physical relationship. And when Chris is finally called home by his father, Zeke comes with him to become Chris's chief bodyguard and champion. On the way home, another attempted assassination separate them from their companions and guards. Can the two survive to return Chris home, and even if they do, will the politics of court separate them an run roughshod over their love?

A Shonen-ai story, I found this manga to be just... blah. It was nothing we haven't seen in Shonen-ai stories before, and Chris is just a little too helpless for someone who is supposed to be a prince. Okay, I know he's the Seme, but it comes off rather ludicrous to have a prince who has never wielded a sword, doesn't know how to hunt or where his food actually comes from, and so on. That doesn't seem to be a viable strategy for raising the heir to the throne of a kingdom.

The art is very nice, and the two characters aren't too feminized, but I had severe problems with the story and the character of Chris, who was apparently raised to be completely naive and untutored. How did his father expect him to survive once his father was dead? Wouldn't he be viewed as a completely ignorant weakling ripe for being overthrown? I just can't reconcile that with a competent ruler raising his son that way.

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