My Thoughts on “Sabaku no Harem” Chapter 6
Chapter 6 ends the two chapter arc that started in chapter 5. Child slavery is a heavy subject and I think this series managed to handle it well within the scope of Lala DX style shoujo. The problem is what happens after the end of this chapter. I have chapter 7, so I know the aftermath of freeing the children is not dealt with. Of course, I want to know where the children go after they are free. Do they go to another orphanage only to risk being sold into slavery again? Are they adopted out to adults they don’t trust, therefore causing the adoptive parents trouble? Are they released onto the street where they will be rounded up by slavers again? Do they enter Prince Kallum’s palace and become concubines and servants — de facto slaves? What of all the child slaves in the country? Is Kallum going to liberate them too?
Then there are the questions about King Aleph. Why is gathering more child slaves? Was he gathering only girls? Why did he cut Mishe loose? For what purpose was training Mishe? Did he personally “discipline” and train her? Aleph also implied that Kallum didn’t always have this view of slavery, so what was going on before Mishe entered his harem? What was Kallum and Aleph’s previous relationship? There are so many unanswered questions raised in this chapter. I feel this series has a promising future if goes down the serious path.
And now for some of my favorite scenes from the chapter. I must admit I like how the filtering script I developed handled the shadowing. The “depth” pleases me. By the way, you can comment on the individual images. I wrote my thoughts. Feel free to comment away on the images.
Thirteen questions…all very relevant. I feel this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Aleph. And as I mentioned in my email, I wonder what he and Kallum were like in the past.
My thoughts align with yours, no surprise here since we discussed this very thing on twitter at an earlier date.
This manga really needs to go into world building mode or else it’ll turn into “lala land where nothing is dealt with besides the surface”.
I was hoping that the mangaka would take a break to consider the story for a couple of months, but it seems they are putting this series in Lala and Lala DX at the same time. I don’t even want to imagine the mangaka’s work load since the majority of the chapters and extras have been 40 – 50-pages of sparkling shoujo with LOTS of text.
Chapter 7 is a fun filler chapter. I imagine the extra in Lala will be a filler chapter too that won’t been needed to follow the story.
If we are to take a serious note about slavery in the manga, then I would like to point out the world they lived in is very different from ours. Not all slavery is necessarily the type of slavery modern societies understand. If we look at the Bible, much of the laws state that you must treat your slave well. In the Roman periods, many laws were passed to improve the livelihood of slaves. In fact, a slave of the emperor had massive amounts of influence politically compared to some freedmen. Selling yourself was something quite a few people would do and it is a viable option if people wanted to climb the ladder. Obviously I’m not quite sure when the time period the manga is really set in, but I would just like to point out that we shouldn’t jump immediately in criticising the manga with our 21st century understanding of slavery and automatically think that slavery is an abomination. Obviously, I’m not saying that everyone wanted to be a slave or even suggesting that all slaves have a great life. Freedom was valued very highly in the Roman period. But I would just like to state that slavery is not simply a black and white matter before we all jump to cry for liberation. They clearly lived in a world where slavery is an embedded institution and quite possibly the core of the politics and economics. It’s not simply something that any Prince or King could just say “Hey, this system is not a fair system, we need to abolish it completely.” After all it took our world centuries before we even reach the point to question whether slavery is a moral problem.
I agree with that perspective. My problem still is why liberate some slaves and not others? I could understand if Kallum had said some abuse was happening and he wanted the children to be placed in a better situation. But he came to stop them from being sold. In this sense, I’m not sure the mangaka is writing from a historical perspective.