By Nakaba Suzuki
The more comedic tone of the previous chapter carries over here, though King and Diane’s opponents are a lot tougher than Meliodas and Ban’s. Admittedly, most of the comedy in the early pages are based around the joke of King being stuffed into Diane’s boobs, which is a little old. But it and Diane’s memory loss leads to a lot of self-depreciating humor with King, who simultaneously gets to show off and be made a fool of every other page. It’s still believable that King is powerful and strong, but because he’s so uptight and often full of himself it’s funny to see Diane swat him away like a bug when he changes into his old man form and casually blow off his love confession, among other bits.
Another thing the comedy lends itself to is further characterization of Drole and Gloxina. So far the duo act confident and cool, but here we see Dole drone on about fate, showing that he is a bit of a romantic. Gloxina’s personality shines through her in her frustration that their proxies have to fight Diane and King instead of Meliodas, and the stuttered “f…fate” she gives in response to Drole’s speech, with crossed arms, with an awkward expression, and a sweat drop going down her face convey a sense of humor that gives her behavior a bit more nuance. Her body language and frustration show that she was, above all else, hoping to see interesting fights and worthy challengers, and King’s dazed nose bleeding mug isn’t really cutting it for her. An attitude that happily and excitedly changes with a big grin when she finds out he’s the current Fairy King, and realizes he’s the one who defeated the Albions. While small moments, they add a bit more personality to these characters, providing clues to their motivations and personal philosophies, which should prove interesting to explore down the line.
This is a fighting chapter, and the Suzuki once again does a great job infusing the character’s personalities into their fighting styles. Diane, as a giant, is big and clumsy, and her fighting is show with her awkwardly flailing her hammer about, while constantly slipping, crashing, and falling down. King, by contrast, is cool and confident in battle, his fighting moments always show him making quick movements and posing in dramatic stances. The danger of Drole’s golem is conveyed with a great sense of mass and weight when it’s punches land and crash into things, as well as through it’s detailed and muscular body. Alongside a constant momentum, where characters are constantly reacting and retaliating with a new attack each page, the chapter gets a lot of interesting and varied fighting out of it’s page count, and that’s on top of the humor, character development, and revelations it also delivers.
While Diane gets some good shots in this chapter, ultimately, the weight of the battle falls on King. He’s the one that Gloxina is interested in, and the power-up to his spirit spear at the end is given a full page spread, which emphasizes it’s important and is a likely sign it’s going to be what wins this battle. While King is one of the series’ most interesting and strongest characters, it’s a bit disappointing that Diane’s role in the fight is being diminished so early, especially since her memory loss and relationship with King takes such a prominent role in the chapter and has been a driving force for her character arc for a while now. That said, Suzuki has been known to surprise, so Diane just might get a big triumphant moment in this tournament arc yet. While this chapter isn’t quite as strong as the past couple have been, it’s a fine installment in what’s been a consistently solid arc, and promises much to look forward to in future chapters.