One summer, Shota Aikawa receives what every bug enthusiast dreams of: a pet bug. But his beloved, new rhinoceros beetle doesn’t just wander institutionally around his enclosement, for his newfound pet is actually a royal candidate in the fight to become the lone insect who rules over all other insects. Embodying the spirit and the will of a benevolent king, Shota’s pet beetle, Moriking, fights all sorts of insectile species for the crown and title of King of the Forest. Also, Moriking resembles a human dude.
The Insect Facts:
Like any decently researched manga, real science factors in to how battles turn out, and the real science here is with insect traits. Relative to their size, insects are some of the baddest asses nature has to offer, and scaling them up to the size of a human reminds me of my nights of watching Animal Planet’s Most Extreme. But while this manga does acknowledge and sometimes utilize unique insect traits, that utilization is limited, so you don’t get to see Moriking pull off something crazy like lift up a orphanage after an earthquake to rescue orphans trapped inside.
The One Expression:
Shota has an older sister, Shoka, who hates bugs and everything related to giant bug-people popping up around town, so she tends to react to their shenanigans with exasperated jaw drops. They’re amusing at first, but she uses this same astonished expression so much that it loses what punch it originally had, and its few variances are just cheap coats of paint.
The bugs sometimes have retainers who assist them as needed, but most of the time, they just sit in the background, doing nothing but maybe vacuum the carpet. Their moments in the spotlight are fleeting, and they’re interesting enough to warrant their own full chapters, but the manga just treats them as lowly as bugs.
What started out as a fairly promising comedy never got better after its first chapter and quickly staled. The occasional gag was funny, but the bug-brained writing suffered from a lack of progress and cleverness, and it got too hung up on Moriking speeches about how a king is this or that or the other thing. With such middling quality, it’s probably best this manga’s lifespan is as long as a bug’s.