Posted by K-Off on 6 September 2016 with categories: Manga Shelf, Shiro no Koukoku Monogatari
Shiro no Koukoku Monogatari Chapter 40 Review

A fantasy seinen that isn’t so bad.

I started reading this manga by sheer chance while looking for its light novel, but to my surprise, it’s turned out to be one of the better “harem”-reincarnation manga I’ve read. While it’s a combination of genres that’d usually make me want to waive it off all too easily, I’ve gotten into a streak of reading reincarnation fantasies, for which I blame Re:Zero…and as a result, I’ve been reading at least 20 times the amount of manga that I usually follow. With that also came the urge to talk about and share my opinions on them, so welcome to the Manga Shelf, where we’ll regularly review a number of ongoing manga depending on their frequency of scanlations.

(As a disclaimer, the plot points I criticize could be perfect in the light novel for all I know, but I don’t know since I’ve dropped it.)

Legend of the White Kingdom’s greatest strength so far has been its characterization. More specifically, how it’s incorporated into the story to give weight to the conflicts that unfold. Nothing irks me more than an over the top action set piece fought over by characters whom we don’t even care about, a la Rain with a lot of its side characters, but the stakes here are relatively palpable regardless of which set of characters the writer decides to shift focus towards in the story. The harem elements are also there of course, but they’re not very prevalent or even relevant throughout the story aside from Meriela – they seem to be byproducts of the main focus of the story, which is Lectival’s duties as a king and soldier. Otherwise, the story has struggled with pacing right from the beginning – take the first chapter, for example. Out of a total eighteen pages in Chapter One, world building and Lectival’s reincarnation are explained in the first four pages, three pages later Lectival is explained fantasy world politics the moment he wakes up from his amnesia (effectively our blank slate), a deep romantic connection between Lectival and Meriela is implied a page after that, and finally Lectival asks to learn about the world from Vilia so he can become king to protect Meriela and a country, both of which he literally just woke up to a few minutes prior. That’s really as worse as it got, as the pacing did seem to slow down by the second volume, just enough for me to be able to easily follow the characters. The conflict with the rebels was interesting, Gloria’s arc was well delivered, and Lectival does mature as a character, albeit extremely slowly and inconsistently. He can’t seem to make up his mind whether to always play the part of the charismatic ruler or remain honest.

With Chapter 40, we see a glimpse of just how vulnerable Lect really is as a king. With Riede symbolically leaving the Parateon Fortress and moving on from her past with Lect’s help, I expected some boost in confidence on his part about what he accomplished as a leader. But by the end, he remains more or less inwardly meek, and this shows through when he’s confronted by Galaha, who really breathes the kind of leader-like personality that Lect only puts on when it’s required of him as a ruler. Then this chapter highlighted this weakness further, now that the Fortress arc is presumably over with Lect’s return to Wilmag – where we finally revisit Meriela after she had her arm cut off by Gloria a long time ago.

First, Lect’s parting with Galaha this latest chapter was nice to see in how it finally created a hierarchy of strong personalities while injecting some much needed levity into Galaha’s character. Lectival is obviously still really wet behind the ears, having just lead only his second major battle, whereas we get to see for ourselves what Galaha went through in the past defending the fort. Via, his relationship with Riede’s father and his subsequent role of becoming a father-figure for Riede behind the scenes and his response to Lect and Riede’s implied relationship. Which I might add is why I’m most glad that this arc ended off in this way. Galaha’s character lacked humor from his introduction, which was unlike most of the others in the series so far with no exception. But in the end, aside from his snarky quip hinting of fatherly affection, he’s still the dullest secondary character we’ve seen yet. But it seems like he’s done his job as a supporting character for Riede, and now that she’s moved on from the fort, I don’t expect any more development for him anytime soon.

Finally, it’s about time that we return to Meriela after she had her freaking arm cut off by Gloria, I was taken back by how quickly she was brushed aside and ignored for several chapters. Yes, it was in the middle of Riede’s arc, but it wouldn’t be impossible to incorporate her into the arc instead of making us forget about her for a while. Anyways, as strange as I found that, I do think there’s a reasonable explanation as to why she was brushed aside, and I see a glimpse of it at first (before the generic harem infighting starts) when Lect knows and sees that she’s been traumatized.

With this upcoming arc I can expect us to stay with Meriela, their relationship is obviously strained and with Gloria taken care of, the pacing looks to be gearing down again. I’d like to see more focus on the “other” leaders under Lectival’s allegiance (the ones that made a pact early on in the series) and I get the feeling we will.

So if you have a manga you’d like for us to cover, please feel free to leave a suggestion below.

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3 Responses

  1. SuperMario SuperMario says:

    Nice review. But one thing though: I like more pics of the manga. For a person like me who isn’t familiar with the manga, I’m still not quite sure about the manga’s art styles and character’s designs. More pics on those would be great imo.

  2. Avatar Panda says:

    Sweet! I’m a big fan of Shirasawa and it’s cool to finally see some attention brought to his work. Good job.

  3. Avatar jambear says:

    I’m also a big fan of this manga. I like meriela very much and I’m hurt because it’s already chapter 44 and lect is calling another woman to be his future wife. there’s too much cringing right now, I want my meriela back T__T

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