In the world of Moriking, our titular hero is hoping to one day be crowned the King of the Forest. He represents the beetle tribe and, like other insect contestants for the crown, has a human form. This also means that other contenders to the crown will be challenging him in their quest to the top.
In Chapter 4, the first new contender, Oka Makiri, comes forth. Oka is a praying mantis living as a teenage girl. When she approaches Moriking, Oka challenges him in combat and calls him out for being so blatant about himself in public. Moriking responds by complimenting her strength while simultaneously acknowledging her weaknesses. He notes that while she is an amazing and hard worker, she is unwilling to be her true self to the world. As Morking says, a king does not hide.
And so, without lifting a finger, Oka admits her defeat and the battle is won by Moriking.
Chapter 8 introduces Ko Kurotsuchi, who is a cockroach. Kurotsuchi is not a candidate for king, but a former servant of a cruel candidate. His former king rejected him outright, calling him weak. So, to try to earn the praise of his former king, Kurotsuchi seeks out candidates for King of the Forrest to defeat them on his king’s behalf.
When he comes face to face with Moriking, instead of rejecting and sending him away, Moriking shows grace to this former enemy.
Moriking says, “Your origins don’t matter. And there’s a need for every insect’s talents. There isn’t a single unnecessary life on this whole planet.”
The grace of Moriking shakes Kurotsuchi to his core, and he immediately pledges loyalty to his new king.
The Just (Mori)King
Moriking is well on his way to becoming the King of the Forest by displaying the attitude of a just king. What makes a king good and just? Is it overpowering force? Well, no. Just look at King Saul in the Bible or Shin from Fist of the North Star. Both put themselves first in their quest for power and their reigns were marked with bitterness and jealousy.
David is a better, Biblical example of kingship as he, like Moriking, displayed grace and compassion. In a piece entitled, “What Made David Great?” Kevin DeYoung wrote:
David was a gracious man, bearing with the failings of others, eager to give his enemies a second chance. Twice, while his friends advised him to strike down their enemy, David spared Saul’s life (1 Sam. 24; 26). Though Saul opposed him at every turn, David did not rejoice at his death, but he wept for the king and his son Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:17–27). David welcomed Abner when he defected from the phony king Ish-bosheth and mourned for him when distrusting Joab stuck him down (chap. 3). David was unnecessarily kind to Mephibosheth (chap. 9) and uncommonly patient with Shimei’s spiteful cursing (16:5–14). Later, David would pardon those who rebelled against him during Absalom’s insurrection (19:16–23). Time after time, David showed himself to be unlike the sons of Zeruiah who lived to hold grudges and settle scores. David knew how to forgive. More than anyone prior to Jesus, David loved his enemies. Like no other Old Testament king, David was willing to welcome rebels back to the fold and overlook the sins of those who had opposed him.
We can see such graciousness in Moriking’s handling of Oka and Kurotsuchi.
With Oka, Moriking was well within his right to jump into battle and take her down. In fact, Oka’s plan was to do just that to Moriking. The manga shows that Moriking is incredibly strong and could have easily overpowered Oka. Yet, he did not, choosing a peaceful approach. He chooses to use words explaining why he was best suited to be king. He convince Oka to stand down without lifting a hand against her.
Kurotsuchi comes to Moriking as an enemy warrior. with a goal of destroying Oka, Moriking, or both. Yet, after he fails to with Moriking, Kurotsuchi is shown instant kindness. There is no malice in Moriking’s actions as he forgives Kurotsuchi for his past transgressions. Morking demonstrates to Kurotsuchi that he matters, not merely with words, but with actions, and in a way his former master never did.
Our Perfect King
David, as we know, was not only a just king; he was foreshadowing of an even greater one. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the perfect King of Kings, above all else.
He displayed wisdom through His teachings.
He tells us to love when the world says hate.
He tells us to forgive when the world says to hold a grudge.
He calls us out for our own weakness, yet shows us His love despite it all.
He shows us grace in His perfect sacrifice.
Christ shows us His grace in that while we were yet sinners, He took the punishment in our place.
Christ died for us, His enemies.
An earthly leader should follow these examples of wisdom and grace. Moriking strives to do that, and it makes a profound impact on those around him—even his enemies. Although he’s not perfect, in demonstrating grace, compassion, and wisdom, Morking is a perfect choice for King of the Forest, and like David, an imitation of the King of a greater realm—the perfect King of Kings.
You can read Moriking at Shonen Jump. The most current chapters are always free.