My Thoughts on “Sabaku no Harem” Chapter 8
I thought I was going to write this post yesterday, but a thought crossed my mind that made me rethink my initial impression of the chapter. That thought was Mishe is only 15 years old and up until a few months ago she lived her life underground in cave where she was abused while being trained for some purpose. She knows of nothing but studying to please her master and naturally she would lack social skills and any trust of men or adults for that matter because of the abuse. It’s a wonder that she doesn’t still harbor suspicions about Prince Kallum — or more like it makes no sense for her to throw away all of her suspicions about Prince Kallum whether she’s crushing on him or not. Her notions of trust and mutual alliance make no sense for her character.
The next thing that came to mind after that is how old is Prince Kallum? I’m somewhat irritated by his possessive behavior toward Mishe, but he’s isolated behind fortress walls and we don’t know how old he is. All we know is that Kallum has ruled the Southern Province for 5 years. The only other clue we have is that Kallum was around the same age as his younger brother Johanne is now when he was given authority over the Southern Province. This indicates that Kallum is in his late teens. There’s also the matter Mishe’s former owner, King Aleph, who is no stranger to Kallum. There is some indication in Chapter 6 that Prince Kallum wasn’t always so concerned about the welfare of slaves. Did Kallum used to be an immature insensitive brat like Johanne? Regardless, considering that Kallum could be about 20 at most, his behavior toward Mishe now makes much more sense to me. He’s possessive and acts like brat because he’s still a kid too.
With Mishe, it boils down to the question of whether she’s still in a slave. When Aleph was brought into the picture, I began to wonder what she meant by she was “betrayed”. From Kallum and Aleph’s conversation, it seemed that Aleph had some personal hand in Mishe’s training and her abuse. Was Mishe emotionally attached to Aleph? Is Mishe forming that same attachment to Kallum, but only now instead of being abused and kept in a dark hole, she’s being treated like cute pet in beautiful cage? Whether abused or romantically pursued, Mishe was and continues to train to serve her ruler. I suspect Aleph had the same training goal (kinda) for Mishe as Kallum, it’s just that Kallum is using carrots instead of sticks. Personally, I think Aleph was training female spies or assassins to infiltrate harems. I’m probably overthinking that because I like female assassin characters. Kallum, on the other hand, is training wives. Either way, the necessary skill set is the same for both men.
As for this chapter, Kallum continues to be a narcissist. I wanted to throw up when he said he was happy that Mishe was training for his sake. I was going to rant about Mishe being weak because she’s training to please Kallum until I thought about her past. This is her will as molded by Aleph. It’s all Mishe knows. It’s how Mishe survives. As for running away from Kallum and being confused, all of that is typical of a 15-year of girl. Mishe is just acting her age. Given Kallum and Mishe’s ages, there’s plenty of room for them to mature by the end of the series.
And now onto my favorite scenes from the chapter. I think Mishe’s smile on page 27 is one of the the best, if not the best manga smile I’ve seen in all my years reading manga. It’s so radiant and warm. Good job Yumeki-sensei!
I have mixed feelings about this series. I don’t really like Kallum, especially in the way he treats Mishe, but I do think Mishe is adorable. I really want Kallum to recognize Mishe as his equal and I want Mishe to just admit that she likes Kallum and get over their non-progressing relationship as soon as possible.
I have mixed feelings too, but I think that fuels my curiosity. Is Mishe just clumsily written, or is there something more here?
I had read a few chapters of this manga but decided to drop this because of the plotline, specifically after reading Kallum has so many wives and concubines. Sometimes , authors don’t really have to straightforward write that the male protagonist is sleeping with so many women, but the fact he has ” wives” and ” concubines ” implies exactly that, and what having a wife connotes, unless of course stated otherwise. Llike, oh, he’s not sleeping with them, really, , the women are there so that he can protect them. I always find harems a little iffy. I blame it on my imagination. Just think, if he makes Mishe one of his wives, no matter if she’s #1, or made the legal wife, I can’t help but think there will be nights when he has to go to the next room to sleep with another wife,once in a while, and there’s Mishe in another room agonizing at the thought.
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That’s a very good observation. Since it’s shoujo, I never really thought about that. But if that were the case in this story… I think there would be some babies and toddlers crawling about if that were so. However, if we follow that line of thinking, then it doesn’t matter who his legal wife is in terms of love because “legal wife” is more of a position of power. Mishe doesn’t seem like the type who’s even thinking of power, so there would be no draw for her to be his legal wife in that case. Yet another inconsistency with Mishe’s character. But I can’t overlook Kallum’s behavior which suggests that he’s no virgin and the wives we’ve met don’t seem like virgins either. It all leaves me with my initial though about this series: Mishe is just Kallum’s latest pursuit rather than a real love interest. It begs the question of what becomes of Mishe if she allows Kallum to catch her?
I guess there are no babies because he knows what to do when protection pills are non – existent at this time. * sweatdrops*
The question what becomes of Mishe if she allows kallum to catch her ? Victory, and the satisfaction of catching her, after which she becomes one of the wives, and perhaps, she’s the only one who will bear his children.
I don’t know if you have noticed this, but vrgin shoujo heroes are now the exemption,rather than the rule. We can actually assume that male protagonists who have had ex-girlfriends, or have the reputation of being players , have already done it. However, with shojous, they are just implied and it’s not very often authors show male protagonists having sex with girls , other than with the female protagonist. Even 100 % shoujoish ” Ookami…. ( I ‘m bad at memorizing non-English titles ) has a main who has already slept around.. The author didn’t show it, but girls came to his apartment, , and guess what, we don’t think they didn’t go there to have an intellectual conversation or play video games. Sex is implied.
I guess I steer clear of a lot of that kind of shoujo. Haha!
That means , you may have to steer clear of almost 9o% of shoujous out there.
Yeah… I generally don’t touch stuff from Sho-Comi and monthly Petite magazine. I think in most of the magazines the pendulum has swung back to pure boys now too. The “sadist” boyfriend trend has wound down some and right now blushing boys are in. I think what’s getting licensed in the US now are series from the height of the sadistic boyfriend trend from 2 or 3 years ago
I also gave up on this one awhile ago. The characters seemed flat. The main character is a manic pixie dream girl. She’ll use the power of love and good intention to show the male protag the errors of his ways.
She’ll continue to not classify any feelings for him as love because of the naive shoujo device where we drag out the courting phase.
I’ll give you a weird setting for a love story. But the complexity of the unusual setting and even the backstory is being eclipsed by the usual pit falls of the genre.