BOOK REVIEW: Alone In My King’s Harem, by Lily Hoshino [Japanese manga, shounen-ai, m/m]

Alone In My King’s Harem
Author: Lily Hoshino
Released by: Digital Manga

Summary borrowed from Wikipedia: Alone in My King’s Harem (ハレムでひとり Haremu de Hitori) is a 2004 manga by Hoshino Lily. One of the first titles released by Digital Manga Publishing. Alone in My King’s Harem is composed of six stories, with only the last two stories containing the same characters. The stories are largely romantic in nature with some erotic tones. The stories focus predominantly around the “ultra-femme” uke character, with the seme character taking more of a supporting role.

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This book here has had a profound effect on my life. The artwork is oddly endearing and almost hauntingly cute, if such a thing can happen. It’s as though someone took the art styles of 80’s anime — the Q-tip hair, general androgynousness, and the open expressions — but ran them through a filter of sexiness, cuteness, and just basic moe! kawaii!

Lots of male/male romance, not too much graphic depictions, more sweet than anything. Everything is kind of dreamy and her stories are set in fantasy worlds that are very familiar, yet are also very different. It honestly feels as though you’re stepping into a brand new culture, and that very much appeals to me.

The titular story, “Alone In My King’s Harem,” is about an adorable male concubine that catches his king’s eye. So to please his little love, the king decides to take over his corner of the world so that he can lavish all of his love and everything else on the concubine. Unfortunately, at some point his dreams surpass reality and he forgets about the concubine, ends up with dozens of others, and just basically becomes a titanic jerk. Reality reasserts itself, he loses a big battle, and all of his concubines flee before everything is lost. All except for the adorable concubine that has been waiting patiently and sadly for the king to come back to him for all that time. Everyone leaves the king, except for his little concubine, and he remembers his love for the concubine and things go back to the way they were supposed to be. The kingdom stays small, the concubine stays loyal, and the king is actually happier than he was when he had everything.

The entire book is filled with beautiful artwork, quietly glorious stories, and the most wonderful feeling of beauty I have ever come across. And if Lily Hoshino ever sees this, I remember your YuYu Hakusho stuff and I was a fan of yours since way back then. Your art is amazing and I’m not ashamed to say that I love everything you’ve published. So thank you very much for being so entirely wonderful.

rating: 5

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