Aside from being the first manga I ever opened, it's also the absolute standout.
Firstly, the art is positively gorgeous. Wann obviously places a lot of heart into the detail and complexity of the characters and surroundings. This ensures that regions are distinct and the setting is strongly woven to hold the impending action. It all beautifully underlines the delicately torturous emotions that feature as the driving undercurrent to the story. If anyone has even felt a fraction of the trials of complex relationships and the journeys they can take, - granted, we're not all whisked away by royalty into a dangerous world of sumptuous living and people with ulterior motives - but in any case I think that this has a lot to offer anyone with an inkling to explore an intense emotional path with a generally excellently-executed plot and dialogue.
It's something of a non-stop ride. There is just enough breathing space between events to keep the reader turning the pages raptly without the consistent dramatic elements 'breaking the camel's back' so to speak. I devoured this series very quickly, and I felt so wonderfully 'full' at the end - it was like a perfectly balanced dish of the sweetest and most delicately poised torment pages can hold.
I think it'll take something special to knock this off top-spot in my favourites.
I'm curious to see what others have thought of this 11-volume rollercoaster, but it's something that I think I will look forward to re-reading sometime in future.
9.5/10 - a strong one at that
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