Blade of The Moon Princess Volume 3: Secret 3rd Option



cover image for the third volume of Blade of The Moon Princess

At this point in the history of Tatsuya Endo’s career as a mangaka, as well as where we stand in Blade of The Moon Princess, there’s not exactly a world of surprises with reading this manga. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s just a touch predictable for what Endo is certainly known for with Spy x Family.

All the same, I find Blade of the Moon Princess a very interesting and engaging read- purely because of how it illustrates the gradient of Tatsuya Endo’s career as a mangaka. Take, for example, the points that continue to be driven home in this third volume. The ideas are supposed to be centered around protection, trust, friendship- that sort of “feel good” shounen idealism. In that sense, it leans much closer to Spy x Family, but on the flip side we still see plenty of violence and darker aspects that are more in line with Endo’s Tista. It’s a real whirlwind of shifting ideas that Endo plays with in the volume (and series at large), and you can tell that they’re really close to being able to find that balance between dark and light.

However, much like Tista, Endo’s heart remains a touch too close to Blade of The Moon Princess. It’s really great to be able to feel the passion and interest of a mangaka in their work, but sometimes that doesn’t always line up with what’s best for the overall experience. That sentiment really rings true in this third volume, as you feel the threads of a good story beginning to grow, but it ultimately gets weighed down by Endo’s more gruesome sensibilities. For example, the introduction of a third branch of the royal family really doesn’t serve to do anything but complicate the story and satisfy Endo’s penchant for violence.

Still, it’s a much more comprehensible and creative story than Tista, and truly proves that with the lighter moments. It’s more willing to crack jokes and follow a more trodden path with some of its developments. And it works for the series, really. Not everything is required to be a creative masterpiece that challenges the reader, and it’s fine that Endo’s works do better when existing outside of that more critical school of thought.

Ultimately, I don’t think I would say that Blade of The Moon Princess is a good series- on its own. However, if you were to frame it as a part of Endo’s history, it’s hard to not recommend it to fans. Seeing the steps Endo’s taken to create the endlessly successful Spy x Family is incredibly interesting. Yes, the pacing in Blade of The Moon Princess can be problematic. Yes, Endo may be a little too eager to conveniently drop characters into the world to progress his story. Yes, Endo can’t quite find the right vibe to stick with for Blade of the Moon Princess. All the same though, those challenges and issues that face the series are part of its charm. Readers won’t read this story because of its quality, they’ll read it because of Endo’s name. I just hope that they do so out of curiosity for this mangaka’s history.

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