The Royal Tutor Volume 5 is a bundle of cuteness, brotherly bonds, and full of Heine goodness.

The Royal Tutor Volume 5Title: The Royal Tutor (Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine)
Genre: Comedy, historical
Publisher: Square-Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Creator: Higasa Akai
Serialized in: GFantasy
Translation: Amanda Haley
Original Release Date: January 30, 2018
Review copy provided by Yen Press

At the core, what I want out of a manga is pretty basic:

  1. I want a good story
  2. and I want it to look pretty.

Of course, I could go deeper into how good characters drive the plot, females shouldn’t just be used for fanservice, artists should have a wide range of designs, etc. And then I could talk even more about things I really like: little kids and dogs, characters being charming idiots, strong bonds between characters, and a mysterious male lead who doesn’t jump right to violence.

Oh, and hot guys.

Basically, The Royal Tutor Volume 5 was going straight for my heart and made a direct hit.

Like most of the previous volumes, this latest entry of the series starts with a couple of humorous single-chapter storylines. First, Licht takes it as a personal challenge to convince Leonhard that coffee tastes good. Considering I am also a coffee hater, I could relate to the attempts to get me to the bitter beverage. Later, the brothers escort their little sister to the zoo after she gets mad at the family dog.

Both don’t add much to the overall struggle for succession or reveal any new information about Heine and/or Granzreich, but what’s important is that they’re both entertaining. Everyone has gotten mad at their pet before, but the final little twist just proves that dogs are the best. Meanwhile, the opening chapter is a rare instance of seeing the two youngest brothers interact without Kai and Bruno, and it doubles as a reminder at how important Licht’s job is to him.

In between though, as you probably have guessed from the cover, The Royal Tutor starts to switch its focus to the prince of the hour volume. Since this is already the fifth volume, Akai has already spent a decent amount of time on Kai’s struggle to be more sociable, even introducing his fiancée. But rather than exploring Kai’s love for all things fluffy, the manga explores why studious Bruno and the animal-loving Kai are close. It’s always seemed like an odd combination, even if Bruno thought Kai could be king. Volume 5 provides a deeper understanding of their relationship, and a particular incident becomes the source of the conflict in the closing chapters. I thought Kai’s attempts to right a wrong (well, two wrongs since two wrongs don’t make a right) were admirable but misguided considering his status.

We are introduced (well, technically reintroduced) to a couple of guards to support Kai and Heine the mediator, but they do nothing. I hope they actually serve a purpose in the future, as their time here feels like a big waste. At least we get plenty of Heine height jokes to make up for it. But it’s a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent volume, topping off with Heine displaying some of his secret skills. But even as Kai senses Heine is hiding his own burdens, the main story ends with a potential meeting between the first prince’s attendant and Heine. Perhaps we’ll finally learn more about our dear tutor’s past and meet the illustrious eldest son?

If not, I hope we see some more of Heine’s sweet action moves. While I felt like sometimes Akai has overused Heine’s super-deformed mode, it works so brilliantly as his capturers are bewildered by his young appearance. I was glad that the author didn’t just have Heine “transform” to escape his handcuffs. His chibi form is a major part of the art, but it’s better off not being a driving force of the plot. To make up for it, Akai plants further signs of his dark past.

The Royal Tutor Volume 5 is a bundle of cuteness, brotherly bonds, and full of Heine goodness. The balance of story-driven and character-driven chapters is a sheer delight, and I’m looking forward to more of this series.