Arrrgh…. I hate it…
I hate it, I hate it, I hate it…..
I hate that I’ve finished reading this manga, and now I have to wait on the second volume ?
Oh cruel world, why do you torture me so? Giving me such an engrossing story, with elegantly illustrations, and a most refined beautifully crafted story. What is a bloke to do as he waits for the next volume?
I guess I should explain that little introduction to this review, shouldn’t I?
Ok, lets see… How should I begin… Hmm… Ahhh. The Royal Tutor or Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine is a manga published in Japanese by Square Enix, and published Yen Press in English. It’s a tale about a teacher who is employed by a king to tutor his four teenage sons. The teacher, Heine Wittgenstein is a diminutive man, bordering on cute little boy stature, who must tutor the four princes; Kai, Leonhard, Bruno, and Licht von Grannzreich to make them worthy of being king if required. You see the king has two other children. A younger daughter, and elder son who happens to be the heir to his throne. And though the king has an heir, he must plan for the unlikely. Each of the 4 young princes have their own shortcomings that makes them unworthy to be a proper heir. Kai, the oldest is the silent strong type (think Mori-senpai Ouran Highschool Host Club), Litcht is playful and likes the attention of girls (like Hitachiin brothers), Bruno is like a Kyouya, and Leonhard reminds me a little of Tamaki if he were not intelligent. It’s mainly his looks.
So here’s the deal. Everything you read in the first chapter of this manga is all a setup. It’s all there to ‘show’ you the characters, not really introduce you to them. The rest of the chapters are the ones that truly introduce you to each character, and I love the way it is done. Each prince gets his own chapter that covers his flaws in detail, and sets up a precedent for how Heine will deal with them. Which turns out to be quite the interesting tale, because he happens to be the best at what he does, and that’s all I’m willing to say about his character in this review.
Something I must state is that the pacing in this manga is ‘PERFECT’, there is not one out of place element on each page, each panel, each character, each chat-box. They all serve their purpose exceptionally well. So much so that I have to tip my hat to Higasa Akai Sensei, and the team at Yen Press that handled the translation of this manga. As mentioned before, it is perfect. I can’t find fault with it in any way. The story is so enthralling that you’ll struggle to put the book down, and then you’ll hate yourself after for completing it so soon, and not savoring it, especially when you learn that volume 2 is scheduled for release in July. :’(
By the end of the first volume I was punching my pillow (I like reading in bed), because the ending is sooooooo….. good. It sets the intrigue level to max, while leaving you with nothing to do but wait another month for volume 2 to be released.
As for the art in the manga, well let’s just say it’s a mix of adorable and elegant. It’s the perfect art style, very reminiscent of the style used in Ouran Highschool Host Club (OHHC). Oh and please note that me comparing this manga to OHHC is a huge compliment. If you look at my Myanimelist profile you’ll see that OHHC is listed as one of my all time favorite anime series, and if The Royal Tutor continues on this same path, it too shall be joining my list of all time favorites. One of the things I like the most about the manga is the way in which Heine is illustrated. Remember how I mentioned that he is vertically challenged? Well the mangaka makes a lot of effort to emphasize this by making him chibi at any possible opportunity while illustrating all the other characters normally, then having them treat him like a child, toy, or pet. The first time this is used, being arguably the most effective at serving it’s purpose while offering a lot of comic relief. Like the writing the artwork is remarkable. Characters are so lively and well illustrated that they almost pop off the pages. They’re so alive, so animated that I can only imagine how good the anime must be.
This is a manga that you simply can’t pass up on reading. It may just been the best manga currently being published, and yes that includes the legendary ‘One Piece’, the beautifully crafted ‘Your name.’, and tantalizing ‘Everyone’s Getting Married’. Those are some of the best manga being published right now, and I’m telling you that this is better. The Royal Tutor has all the elements to be one of the most memorable manga ever created, and if the subsequent volumes are just as good as the first then it will easily achieve that.
The copy of The Royal Tutor Volume 1 used for this review was supplied to us by it’s publisher Yen Press, and it is currently available for purchase via most online manga distributors.