Art and Story: Ritsu Aozaki, Asagi Orikawa, Akito Ito
Publisher: Seven Seas
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life, Romance
Tropes/Tags: Dragons, Fake Dating, Dragon Riders, innocent heroine, age gap
It was moving day for pretty much everyone in Boston last weekend, and though I’m not moving, I’m using this time to go through my manga and pull out ones I picked up with the intention of reviewing but never got around to. The Dragon Knight’s Beloved is one of these volumes. I currently have three volumes of the series sitting on my shelf and I’m trying to consider whether or not to keep them with my ever growing collection. I’m sure many of you have had a similar problem over the years. Too many manga, too little space. While I’m leaning towards not keeping a physical version of this series on my shelves, I think it might be worth keeping up with on the digital side.
The story follows a young maid working in the capital about to turn 16, considered an adult in this world, who has an affinity for dragons. She’s loved by the great white Queen dragon of the Dragon Knights, and has been good friends with its rider since she was young. Dragons flock to her and take snacks from her hands. But with her 16th birthday approaching, she has to consider moving out and gathering experience as a maid in another family and the possibility of marriage. It just so happens that the Queen Dragon Rider, Commander of the Dragon Knights, has to leave his position and return back to his estate to take over as head of the family. He invites her to join him as maid in his household, with the caveat that she pretends to be his lover.
While fake dating was never a favorite trope of mine, I find the story so far as fairly cute and light-hearted. I would definitely say this manga is going to become a fluffy romance with maybe a little bit of drama, and jam packed with dragons and innocent love. It’s clear that the Lord Hubert is already infatuated with the young maid Melissa, and is just using his current circumstances to keep her close to him. The fact that she is 16 and of a different social stature is a little troubling if you consider modern views of these kinds of relationships. However, I think what I’ve seen so far is innocent enough that I’m not totally troubled by this kind of age and power gap.
Melissa is our typical innocent heroine with a heart of gold, always thinking the best of people, beloved by all types of dragons. She’s almost a little too perfect, but I think her naivety and innocence will probably be the biggest challenges for her. In the first volume we are introduced to the reason for the fake-dating ruse: the former fiancee of his late brother, looking to retain the status of her union by trying to become Lord Hubert’s intended. All the foreshadowing points to trouble brewing from that direction, possibly also having to do with the dragon poachers threatening the nests around his estate. Melissa will probably be thrown into protecting the dragons and thwarting any devious attempts by this vengeful woman. I can see the main plot of the manga developing from there.
As another point in its favor, you definitely don’t need to worry about the art in this manga. Ritsu Aozaki has done a fantastic job crafting a very appealing shoujo-esque fantasy through the characters, backgrounds, and expressions. The industry is definitely moving away from the huge-eyes of shoujo-past, but we still see a focus on expressions, fashion, and flowery effects used throughout shoujo manga. It’s become a staple and adds to the fantasy and light-heartedness of this particular series. If a mangaka/artist can get their expressions right and their panel design streamlined, they will absolutely go a long way when it comes to the shoujo genre, or manga in general. I think Aozaki is a pretty good example of this.
The first volume is fairly short, but I think it gives you a good foundation and an idea of what the story and characters may develop into as the series progresses. There are six volumes currently published, with more to come, so I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of drama and romantic plots Melissa will be dragged into. As always, I’d love to hear all of your opinions on the series down in the comments!
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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