Staff Picks (December): Tales Of Wedding Rings Volume 1 GN

Tales of Wedding Rings is an interesting twist on the classic fantasy harem manga, one that at times feels like it’s working backwards from traditional story beats. The Plot revolves around a teenager named Satou following his childhood best friend, Hime, through a portal to another world where he accidentally interrupts her arranged marriage to a fantasy Prince. You see, Hime is a princess who is destined to marry a man who can defeat a great evil in their world, using the wedding ring as a conduit for the power of their mutual bond. Unsurprisingly, she picks Satou to fill that role over the Prince. They end up married, which would be where a traditional manga ends. Except this series is Tales of Wedding Rings, and if Satou is going to defeat the Big Bad, he’ll need more than just Hime’s.

It’s nice to see what you can accomplish in a harem manga when you initially do away with the “will they, won’t they” premise and establish out of the gate that the protagonists are aware of their mutual love. Not that it’s completely free of traditional harem tropes, but acknowledging that their relationship is the end game keeps the pace snappy and allows it to focus more on giving their interactions weight within the context of the story.  There is also something compelling about the backward nature of plot, that sees the main character having made his “choice” in a classic harem sense, but then forced to court more characters for the sake of the story, all while attempting to reassure Hime that she is the most important.

Plot aside, the characters are well designed and distinct on average and the art trends toward heavy contrast between pure black and white rather than softer grey tones. I would whole heartedly recommend Tale of Wedding Rings to anyone who considers themselves a fan of fantasy romance and harem manga, or is just looking for an easy series to pick up and read in their downtime.

Sarah Martinez

Publisher: Yen Press
Item Code: DEC171984
Release Date: 2/7/18
SRP: $15.00

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Staff Picks (October): The Night (La Nuit) HC

Recommended by Leigh Tyberg
La Nuit is a beautifully rendered reminder that everything ends, and time comes for us all. If you’ve ever grieved a loved one’s passing, this book will resonate with you.