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July 18, 2012

Bento Bako Lite: Dawn of the Arcana volume 4

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Dawn of the Arcana
Author: Rei Toma
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 4 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2010 by Shogakukan, June 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, romance

[Volume 3 review.]

Having discovered a secret cache of powerful, nigh indestructible weapons under Belquat Castle, Caesar and Nakaba know it’s up to them to put a stop to the King of Belquat’s schemes for domination. After some encouragement from Akhil, Nakaba uses the Power of the Arcana to try and work out their next step. Instead, she sees a vision of a young human girl in an Ajin village get stabbed by a soldier and die. She soon meets the girl from her vision – Lemiria, Bellinus’s little sister. Loki, meanwhile, has discovered a plan to test to power of the letina swords. The King has plans to attack a small Ajin village in the northern mountains. Nakaba immediately realizes that this must be the place where Lemiria will be killed. Fortunately, Caesar manages to convince his father that he and Nakaba should have a honeymoon, and he arranges for them to stay in a villa to the north. Matters are complicated when Lemiria is found stowed away in the back of a carriage. Unable to tell the truth about her vision, Nakaba resolves to protect Lemiria herself. Caesar’s plans for a lovey dovey trip are interrupted when Lemiria decides she and Nakaba are going on a shopping spree. They quickly form a friendship, but on their way back to the inn they are attacked by thugs who steal their purchases. Lemiria will have none of that, and tracks the bandits to their hideout, where Nakaba uses a whistle to call Loki to her side. Caesar finally gets his date, an innocent night of joy and love before the approaching storm. They arrive at the villa near the Ajin village, where Bellinus shows his true allegiances by drugging Caesar and the others so they cannot interfere with the King’s plans. However, when Lemiria goes missing, Nakaba risks her very life to find the girl out in the forest in the middle of a snow storm. This gains her favor with Bellinus, who reveals that his treachery was for the sake and safety of his sister. Witnessing Nakaba’s resolve, and her understanding of Bellinus’s actions, convinces Bellinus to pin his hopes on her, just as Caesar has done.

Slowly but surely, the story is moving and the characters are changing. Allegiances are being tested, and will continue to be tested. As Nakaba falls more and more in love with Caesar, her loyalty toward Loki and her own past becomes more difficult to maintain. At least the sort of loyalty that Loki desires. He doesn’t want her to fall in love with Caesar, mostly because the prince is their enemy, but also because Loki loves her himself. Hopefully he’ll change his mind after some time, once he realizes that Caesar is willing to do anything for Nakaba, even go against his own father. Although…that’s also part of the problem. It’s difficult to ascertain whether Caesar is only doing these things for Nakaba’s sake as he claims, or if he can genuinely change (or if he even wants to) into a better person, or change his actions because it’s the right thing to do. Bellinus’s backing carries a bit more substance, since he is driven by loyalty, and seems to think that Nakaba is worthy of his loyalty (even, perhaps, above Caesar). It’s really nice to see Nakaba make a new friend this volume, and a female one at that, which is a first for the lonely young princess who spent most of her life locked and hidden away in her grandfather’s castle. She’s getting to experience so many new things – love, friendship, travel, the world itself. Such experiences will serve to strengthen this already strong young lady. I’m very excited to see more from Nakaba; perhaps she can really change the world like those around her hope.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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