Prince Freya, Volume 2 by Keiko Ishihara
I enjoyed the premise and setting of the first volume of Prince Freya, even though I thought there were a couple pacing issues. I was curious to see if the next volume would feel a little more settled, and I’m happy to report that this volume felt much more cohesive as Freya settles into her new life as Prince Edvard, fending off evil plots and throwing herself into the action as much as possible. The volume picks up as Freya as Edvard attempts to save the royal guard Mikal from being kidnapped, only to put herself in danger in the process.
I’ll be honest, one plot point that I do enjoy about reverse harem scenarios where girls have to disguise themselves as boys is how often the boys surrounding the heroine start feeling oddly protective of their new companion and aren’t sure why their feelings have shifted. This happened multiple times in Prince Freya, so I found myself greatly enjoying the sillier aspects of the character dynamics. Mikal finds himself newly intrigued by Prince Edvard now that Edvard seems to have received an abrupt personality transplant. Freya is fiercely loyal to her friends, including people that she’s just met in her new role.
Aleksi and Julius head off to the rescue, and while they fend of danger with some help from Freya, Julius delivers a stern lecture about the responsibilities for self-protection that have to be present in royalty or someone disguising herself as royalty. Freya vows to protect everyone, including Julius, which causes him to be quite emotionally shaken.
As the story unfolds, Freya’s open personality cause her to strike up an unlikely friendship with one of Prince Edvard’s subjects, but her good intentions end up creating even more difficulties that are only solved by some bold action. The art in Prince Freya continues to be clear and dynamic, which is essential due to how many scenes involve combat by swords. One aspect of this manga that I found both intriguing and a bit startling is the body count that is starting to build up as Freya navigates her new world. It is true that there’s an inherit danger to being faux royalty, but I’m starting to find myself a little anxious about the survival prospects for anyone close to Freya. The cliffhanger at the end ensures that I’m already impatient for the next volume.