Between Lui’s amnesia and Aila’s quest to be his wife, is Sanagi and Lui’s marriage over? And if it is, does that mean Adil has a chance with Sanagi?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, read more shoujo manga. And if you are just interested in a good ol’ time without pesky things like logic or probability in the way, With the Sheikh in His Harem continues to be charming.
The art continues to be a solid reason for this, even though story events don’t allow Sanagi to dress up much in fancy clothing in these two volumes. That may not be surprising considering Sanagi is not currently living happily as Lui’s wife in his palace, but even after that arc is resolved, the pace continues to be brisk by this series’ standards. In an end-of-volume bonus, it’s noted romantic moments were added to the graphic novel compared to the original magazine. I already thought the amount of fluff was rather low, so I imagine Miasa got a little caught up in the her world and forgot to foster the real appeal of With the Sheikh in His Harem. I will add though Miasa does a nice job of showing Sanagi becoming more comfortable with Lui’s displays of affection rather than being pressured.
Miasa also mentions at one point she’d “like Adil to keep going down the ‘cool crown prince’ road”. The manga continues to spend a lot of time developing Adil to, presumably, be a well-rounded and just king. He’s also become more upfront with his feelings about Sanagi. Between that and the tension over succession, Adil is at the center of attention for a good portion of volume 6 and definitely is the star of volume 7. At this point, it almost feels like the story is going to end on Adil’s terms rather than anyone else’s — including the author.
Of course, others continue to press for Lui to be the successor. He’s still resistant to the idea, but we start learning more about why people want him to be king. The manga starts diving more into Lui’s heritage and seemingly mystical ability. I’ve been wondering for a long time whether the series actually has fantastical elements or if some Professor Layton/Phoenix Wright-level twists are behind things, and I wish With the Sheikh in His Harem had played up these mysteries more.
I’m sure Miasa will explain everything in the final volume, but his background is shelved when the drama surrounding his background should be rising. Saving the truth for the end is one thing, but Adil somehow always finds his way directly or indirectly into what’s going on.
I’m hoping that, despite the ending, Adil’s part will wrap up quickly so that Lui and Sanagi can wrap up the story in the spotlight. We are given some good moments of them both separately and as a couple, but these two volumes are a little too tilted in Adil’s favor.