English: Dawn of the Arcana
Published: Jan 24, 2009 to Jun 24, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
Authors: Toma, Rei (Story & Art)
At first glance, Reimei no Arcana may seem like your oh-so-clichè romance and shoujo manga set in fairytale land. Well guess what? That's totally wrong. Reimei no Arcana has a more deep, almost depressing story behind everything. There's blood. There's violence. There are characters that actually develop instead of just act the same throughout the story. This really isn't the typical romance manga directed at girls.
While it's not the most original plot in the world, Rei Toma executes it beautifully. The princess who has been shunned all her life is in an arranged marriage with a prince that she finds disgusting. After spending some genuine time together and going through certain events, however, they come to understand each other more and more as time goes on. Of course, they then develop actual feelings for each other. But don't be fooled - the story is not all based around a sweet romance. As you read on, you'll discover many things that make you think, "What the heck, is this really a SHOUJO manga?" I'm obviously not going to spoil anybody, but I'm just saying that this manga has more to it than meets the eye.
At first, character is nothing very special. Loki is the sweet, caring friend to Nakaba, whereas Nakaba is a princess who's slightly depressed due to her situation, but still attempts to have a somewhat good outlook on life. Until she meets the tsundere prince Caesar, that is. He really is an ass at first, and I admit I disliked him. Thankfully, however, Reimei no Arcana has gorgeous character development. After some certain events happen, you can see how much each character in this manga has grown up.
A perfect 10. The art is simply gorgeous. The girls are beautiful, the boys are handsome. The clothes are wonderfully detailed, and the settings fit in perfectly with the theme. I have absolutely no complaints about art, it's outstanding.
I simply love romance/shoujo manga that are unique. I enjoy my romance/comedy/school/shoujo manga from time to time, but they get boring very quickly due to a lot of them having nearly identical plots. Reimei no Arcana is a wonderful "hidden gem" of romance manga out there. Full of slowly (but surely) paced romance, wonderful characters, and amazing art, how could you not enjoy this?
If you're looking for a typical cheesy romance where no character development takes place, I advise you to pick up another manga instead of Reimei no Arcana. However, if you're looking for a romance manga that actually has an interesting plot and well-developed characters, by all means, read this.