How do you make the concept of an OP isekai protagonist fresh again? How about by removing the modern element entirely, building up an impressive fantasy setting, and appealing to a wide audience by expertly incorporating elements from the shonen and shoujo genres?
Her Royal Highness Seems to Be Angry is focused on just those items in its initial volume, where the manga spends over a third of its length before the jump into its isekai setting—which by the way, is the same world as before the transportation, just in a separate place and age. As the novel begins, the powerful sorceress Leticiel is trying to protect her minute kingdom from the surrounding warring nations. Aided by her gentle and himself isekai’d companion, Nao, she’s almost able to accomplish her mission until the forces grow too overwhelming, violently destroying her kingdom.
The heart-wrenching backstory helps develop Leticiel as a character before she awakens as Drossell, the neglected and disliked daughter of a noble, and the main story begins. Thus, there’s already much the reader knows and likes about her before discovering that in the future, where she awakens, the most effective approach to magic has been forgotten, and it’s been reduced to a weapon of little use, while Drossell continues to possess enormous power.
It’s a kind of magic itself that the the series doesn’t rely on Drossell being OP—instead, the volume is able to move toward a stronger and more interesting focus, on mystery. Questions permeate every bit of the isekai world. Why did Drossell awaken there? Why is she engaged to a fiancé who openly disdains her? And have Nao and others been reborn there as well? The last question comes into sharp focus with the introduction of a Nao lookalike as a potential love interest, a development that also sharpens the sense of romance in this series, also and especially saturating the pre-skip portion. In fact, the series feels at once shoujo and shonen, featuring heavy doses of romance which combine with aggressive scenes of action and panel sdepicting minor bits of fanservice. The romance, epic battles, and element of mystery all culminate into a work that is as diverse as it is engaging.
There’s one more question as well, one which perilously hangs in the air as volume one closes: Who else knows Drossell’s true identity? A tone of discomfort and fear underlies the volume, punctuated in the tragic way Leticiel’s kingdom fell and then again during the concluding panels, adding further flavor to an already-impressively packed volume, and setting the stage for what could be a most epic and thrilling adventure.
Her Royal Highness Seems to be Angry is published by TOKYOPOP.