Welcome back to another manga review post, this time round a different kind of manga from the usual I usually read. What different kind of manga? Well, this one I’m about to review is of the fantasy genre, which I don’t really pick up because it just isn’t my kind of thing. I was ready to abandon and ditch this one if I ever lost interest in it halfway but once again, the manga that I’d picked up with not much expectations exceeded my expectations.
I would never have picked up Reimei no Arcana if it wasn’t for a certain scene posted on mangafox that caught my eye. That scene intrigued me enough to bookmark the manga and give it a shot. And I don’t regret it.
Reimei no Arcana is written and illustrated by Toma Rei and its genres are drama, fantasy, harem, historical, romance and shoujo.
The story starts out with a marriage between the royals of two countries, Senan and Belquat. Senan’s princess Nakaba is given to Belquat’s second prince Caesar as a peace treaty in a marriage contract to end the countries’ 200 year war, which has taken a toll on both the countries. Nakaba isn’t looked upon favourably as the new wife of Belquat’s second prince because of her red hair, which considers her lesser than humans with black hair. She sees herself as a sacrificial goat and tells Caesar that everything’s the same, except that the place where she will die has changed.
As a prince of Belquat, Caesar is arrogant, treats his new wife as his hostage and discriminates her due to her hair colour. He also discriminates sub-people as they are considered lower than the people who have blonde and red hair and as a result, discriminates against Nakaba’s personal servant, Loki who is an Ajin and calls him a “dog”.
However, as time goes by, he starts to see Nakaba’s cute side, her direct and honest sincerity, as well as her genuine kindness, he begins to fall for her and she too, with him as she begins to see that he isn’t truly a bad person.
Nakaba begins to have fragmented visions of old memories of her as a young girl and her mother, as well as visions of Caesar getting hurt. Panicking, she goes to Loki, who tells her that she possess a power known as “Time’s Arcana”.
Their journey starts from chapter 12 as they leave the castle to go on their “honeymoon”, together with Verinas, Caesar’s servant, Loki, Rito, another of Nakaba’s attendants from Senan and a surprise stowaway, Lamelia, Verinas’ younger sister. Nakaba starts to have visions of Lamelia getting stabbed by one of Belquat’s new swords and becomes constantly worried and cautious about Lamelia’s safety. She manages to prevent her death but at the cost of another’s life.
Thoroughly shaken, Nakaba realises that every decision she makes comes with a consequence – saving one would be at the cost of another’s. With the power to decide and change one’s fate, Time’s Arcana is a gift, as well as a curse.
Nakaba and Caesar go through many hurdles that come one after another – at one point, they even seem to become the equivalent of fugitives, running away from Belquat, whose soldiers were hunting them down. They also travel to Lithuanel, a kingdom allied with Belquat(?) (I’m sorry I really can’t remember if they were allied with Senan or Belquat but I think it should be with Belquat) with a mission to accomplish – for Nakaba, specifically. She witnesses the two possible futures that would happen in a vision and is torn between choosing who to save. She eventually makes a difficult decision and later witnesses the brutal betrayal and murder of a loyal servant. I’ll admit, I was in shock too when I saw it and figured out the history behind that loyal servant and her master.
Throughout the rest of the story, Caesar and Nakaba’s relationship grows stronger and other issues arise: they have to stop Senan from going into war with Belquat; a rallying of support by Loki from the Ajins in the towns they travel to; Caesar rising to take the position of the throne; Loki’s growing feelings for Nakaba. Lastly, who Loki is and who Nakaba’s father is will finally be revealed in the last few chapters. You will be surprised no matter what, because I sure was at the revelation in the end and I totally wasn’t expecting that. That twist revelation at the end was a great end to the manga for me and it made me really curious to go back and read it from the beginning again.
I really think that Reimei no Arcana is a fantastic fantasy genre manga. It has a brilliant balance of romance, politics and tension in the story and every chapter always kept me on my toes. I felt that the struggle for equality between the Ajins and the humans was a great representation of society, though not to that extend of enslaving and discriminating one party. Okay maybe, but you get my point. The mystery of the unknown was always there – there were always so many unanswered questions and unexplained things. Those things keep you reading, hoping that you get one step closer to your answers.
Nakaba is a great female protagonist to follow because she isn’t rash in making her decisions and behind her cold exterior is a fragile young girl who has her own insecurities, worried about other people accepting her. Overall, she is a strong young woman who never gives up or loses sight of what is truly important. Caesar was surprising too because his change in character was caused by Nakaba. He saw the sweetness in her and received encouragement that he needed, from her. In receiving that encouragement, he wanted to make her happy and when he did, he saw her smile and fell in love with it. That was just really sweet. And from then on, his heart was set on her.
Here’s a really adorable scene between the two of them:
Loki was always a mysterious character to me. He seemed as though he had something more to just being Nakaba’s servant but I couldn’t figure out what, other than him falling in love with her too. There just seemed to be something more. Him being so loyal to her and how he came to be her servant nagged at me somewhere in the back of my mind but it didn’t occur to me that much throughout the story, until the very end. The memory backflashes throughout the story of Loki with young Nakaba are sweet and touching, showing to us that they really did have a close relationship.
Without giving away too much of the rest of the story, I highly recommend this manga because it is really, one of the best fantasy manga I’ve read. And as you might remember, I mentioned that the fantasy genre isn’t my usual kind of genre so I don’t really read it. But this was good, I testify to it hahaha.
So for my assessment:
Story line: 9/10
Chapter length: 10/10 (Within a range of 37-52)
That’s it for my manga review today! Thank you guys for sticking with me and reading my reviews always. Tell me if you’ve read Reimei no Arcana before or not in the comments and what you guys thought of it? And I’ll see you guys again soon 🙂