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Friday, May 18, 2018

Selah's Magna Mania: The Royal Tutor, Vol. 1 (Ōshitsu Kyōshi Haine) by Higasa Akai

The Royal Tutor, Vol. 1
(Ōshitsu Kyōshi Haine)
by Higasa Akai
August 18, 2015
192 pages

Volumes: 8

Demographic: Shōnen
Genres: Comedy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Yen Press World
Accepting the post of Royal Tutor at the court of the king of Grannzreich, Heine Wittgenstein is a little professor with a big job ahead! Each of the kingdom's four princes has a rather distinct personality. Does their diminutive new instructor have what it takes to lay down some learning? It's a comedy of educational proportions!

Sometimes all you want is something fun to laugh with, but you also want it to have a decent enough story to hold your interest. My latest find, The Royal Tutor, is a great combination of those. This is a great introductory title because while there is an arc, it’s not very cliff-hangery, and while there are some tropes, it doesn’t have a high stakes romance if that isn’t something you feel like investing in. I’ve found five volumes so far and have made it through four, and while it isn’t in my top five titles, it’s fun and a great title to relax with.
Heine Wittgenstein is summoned to the palace of Glanzreich to tutor the four younger princes and mold them into potential candidates for the crown. So far in my reading, the eldest and presumed heir apparent hasn’t made it into the actual story, but there are hints that he may not automatically get the crown, though he seems to be the favored option. Heine also looks like a kid, so you’ve got a lot of classic comedy set-ups right there. Each of the four princes is a type (because of course) and each has their own difficulties to overcome. Kai at 17 looks scary and his soft-spoken and awkward ways are misinterpreted as aloofness. Bruno at 16 is an aspiring scholar and thinks no one can possibly be smarter than him (and then develops an unhealthy attachment to Heine when he’s proven wrong). Leonhard at 15 hates to study thanks to early bad experiences with teachers and is extremely arrogant. Licht at 14 is the playboy.
There are also hints that Heine is secretly an old friend of the king and is doing him a favor, but nothing’s been fully revealed there yet.
So yeah, it’s a basic set up. Each prince is given a lot of comedy time but also shown to have more depth and growth potential than you’d presume in a series like this. There are still a lot of gags and a lot of silliness, but the character work balances it out. I also kinda like that it’s a little slow-paced so that you get more episodic scenes of their tutoring than a race to be king.

Think of this as a shonen option to Ouran – you have your types that are in competition with each other (though it’s also being set up for the other brothers to either balance out the future king as advisors or all share the crown), but they’re not fighting over or competing for the heroine, which is a nice change of pace.

The good: lots of comedy, decent use of tropes, some great character work, somewhat episodic so if you skip a volume early on I don’t think it’ll work against you too much. There’s a lot of detail in the art, especially in the scenery and historical aspects (think of Granzreich as Not! Germany), and the characters are really nice and expressive. If you’ve read manga long enough you’ll know they’re personalities on sight, which is also kinda fun.

The bad: nothing, really. I think this is one that will either be what people are after or not the genre they prefer.

The ick: nothing, really. There are some boob jokes and bantering about being successful with the ladies, but that’s pretty much all of manga, so nothing out of the ordinary here.

This isn’t as gripping as a lot of things I’ve read, but it’s still a lot of fun and is a great low-key introduction to the genre.

3.75 sheep

About the Author:
Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.

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