Prince Freya is a European fantasy from mangaka Keiko Ishihara. The series focuses on a young girl, Freya, who is thrust into the aftermath of a treacherous plot against her king. Prince Freya Volume 2 is published in English by VIZMedia and translated to English by Emi Louie-Nishikawa, with touch-up and letter design by Sabrina Heep. This is a great second volume after its debut earlier this year.
In the last volume, we met the titular character Freya, a simple village girl who has been protected most of her life by her childhood friends, Aleki and Aaron. As a part of the kingdom of Tyr, the village she lives in and its inhabitants are caught between the kingdom’s battle with Sigurd, which has slowly been conquering all the lands that share its borders. Now, having turned its eyes Tyr. While we got the chance to see a small romance between Freya and Aaron including a kiss early on, Ishihara rips that romantic rug out from under us by killing Aaron and leaving Freya and his brother Aleki to grieve his death and look to the future.
Now, in Prince Freya Volume 2 having become Prince Edvard, Freya puts her new identity to the test. After jumping onto a runaway wagon at the end of the last volume, Freya comes face to face with the people looking to hurt Tyr and King Edvard. Through this process, we get the chance to see Freya’s physical strength and capability as she and one of her knights fight. When Aleksi joins the fight, they’re able to find a lord’s castle and it’s all downhill and battles from there. Through it all, Freya finds her charade as Prince Edvard difficult to maintain as she battles her own crushing grief and treacherous Tyrish nobles. With the help of her dear friend Aleksi and her new guardian Sir Julius, however, she’s determined not to give up and instead leans into impulsivity to keep fighting.
Ishihara’s story is developing at a rapid pace and that’s a good thing. There is political intrigue, murder, and epic moments in the story that continues to prove to be as action-packed as romance tinged. Her artwork is a wonderful balance of softness and strength that navigates the balance between then Freya’s story and Edvards. While the same character, Ishihara’s ability to tell the perspective of which part of her identity is in play at the moment through art is complex and stunning. This complexity leads to the undercurrent of romance in the story.
On this note, Ishihara leans into the gender-bending romance that is prevalent in shojo but it is clear that the romance is between Freya and Aleksi, while it’s less so if Julius is more attracted to Freya or her, acting as Edvard. Not to give to much away but the seeming love triangle is well executed and the shocking events of the last chapter in this volume throw another twist in the story’s trajectory and showcase how Ishihara is building a story that will subvert as many shojo tropes as possible and keep readers on their toes. Freya’s growth in this one volume alone is extraordinary and I can’t wait to see where her journey leads.
Overall, Prince Freya Volume 2 is a standout on the VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint. It’s filled with action, questions of morality and duty, and carries enough romance to balance it all out. With yet another unthinkable ending, volume 3 can’t come soon enough.
Prince Freya Volume 2 is available from booksellers on July 7, 2020.
Prince Freya Volume 2
Prince Freya Volume 2 is a standout on the VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint. It’s filled with action, questions of morality and duty, and carries enough romance to balance it all out. With yet an other unthinkable ending, volume 3 can’t come soon enough.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.