Manga Review: BARBARITIES Vol. 2 by Tsuta Suzuki (2023)

Genre: Historical Yaoi Seinen
Year Release in English: 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Political corruption, murder, sexual harassment, explicit sexual content
Read my review of Volume 1

The intrigue continues as Joel tries to unravel the truth behind a set of fairly threatening letters addressed to Lord Montague and the king. Meanwhile, Luis and Gil are up to some schemes with Simon, the former king’s brother, during their visit to Lorraine. The danger heightens in the depiction of the side couple where all the political intrigue happens. I continue to be delighted and Luis and Gil’s complicated relationship of mutual loathing continues to make me unwell (this is a compliment).

It’s the triple threat of great art, dangerous intrigue, and characters who have so much going on than what’s initially on the surface. We have Gil and Luis starting problems, Joel trying to solve them, and Adam attempting to win Joel’s affections. We also get to learn a bit more about the political differences between Lorraine and Tanse, especially in a scene that spirals into character development when the child Luka, Luis’s cousin and adoptive brother, spends time with his peer, King Christopher. The depiction of gender and uncorrupted childhood innocence around things like love and marriage are precious, especially in the greater context of the tensions between their two respective countries.

If you’re someone who wants to learn characterization, the sex scene between Luis and Gil is something that needs to be studied. The way Suzuki weaves in interiority, backstory, and character development in what’s otherwise very titillating art is masterful. The amount that we learn about Luis and Gil is more than that what could’ve been covered if they were the focus of the series, and I think I’ve reread this portion about three times.

Blood is shed at the end of this volume, setting up some incredible tension for Volume 3, which thankfully drops in July 2023.

One thought on “Manga Review: BARBARITIES Vol. 2 by Tsuta Suzuki (2023)

  1. Pingback: April 2023 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

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