Queen’s Quality is in Volume 13 and it remains my number one shojo recommendation for people not familiar with the demographic to read. There is action, yearning, and coming-of-age story elements all wrapped into one amazingly illustrated story. And Queen’s Quality Volume 13 delivers all of this in spades. The series is written and illustrated by Kyousuke Motomi, localized and published in English by VIZ Media‘s Shojo Beat imprint, and features an adaptation by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane, translation by JN Productions, with touch-up art and lettering by Rina Mapa.
The current arc of this series has put Fumi and Kyutaro at the center of yet another battle, this time with Snakes. Harvesting the power of the Queen and their connection, the couple constructed a mind vault strong enough to hold the vicious Seiryu snake last volume. Now in this volume, Kyutaro has to confront the wily snake and save Aoi Shinonome, the man slated to be the next leader of the Seiryu Clan on his own. It’s in Kyutaro’s resolution that Motomi stretches her writing skills and shirks a lot of what we come to expect from action, fighting, and how characters get different stories based on their gender.
In her fights with the Queen and even with the Suzaku Gate later in the chapter, Fumi is stern and aggressive. She hits hard, she holds strong and rarely does she allow herself to rest in those moments. Traditionally, women in media, both manga and elsewhere, solve their central conflict through empathy. They hug their opponents, talk it out, and that’s all they’re allowed to do while the male characters get to fight to the point of breaking. In Queen’s Quality Volume 13, those roles are reversed with Kyutaro completing his battle not in a raucous fight, but in a silent library. Being able to just talk and reach the Seiryu snake is a moment that hits hard and ultimately tells the reader a lot about who Kyutaro is as a character. Sure he’s a fighter, but he’s about protecting and defending.
On the other side, we get to see Fumi completely embrace her power and use it to threaten. She pushes herself to the front of the line, stares down a new snake, and fights fiercely, only stopping when her opponents retreat. In the beginning of the series, we got to see Fumi be vulnerable and lean on others but now, in this arc, we get to see her be a pillar of strength that others use for support. It’s a character development that speaks volumes and adjusts the power dynamic between Kyutaro and her. But she is still a girl, she just knows how to hold tough.
There is a moment that Motomi illustrates, where Fumi goes from intimidating force to a girl just trying to catch her breath. This stark shift in demeanor is commented on and she responds that she could finally breathe.
Queen’s Quality consistently puts itself in the ranks of top action shonen with large battles, stunning illustrative combat, and a story that builds out a fantastical world where a young character is burdened with a purpose and power larger than they can dream of. But that’s not it, there is also a love and softness shared between Kyutaro and Fumi that works so well to round out the fighting they do. While 13 volumes is a lot, this is a series I implore both shojo and shonen fans to jump into as soon as they can.
Queen’s Quality Volume 13 is available now wherever books are sold.
Queen's Quality Volume 13
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.