Silver Diamond Volume 5 by Shiho Sugiura
Some books inexplicably become comfort reading for me. For many years whenever I had the flu I’d automatically reach for Little Women or Hero on the Crown. I had a stressful day and decided to reach for Silver Diamond since the series functions well as comfort reading. It isn’t terribly demanding, there are the occasional funny moments, and it is filled with handsome young men who are preoccupied with domestic life.
Rakan is a long-lost prince with the power to make plants grow. He was tossed to Earth from another world, only to find out about his true origins when a harem of men gradually began to assemble in his back yard. The men are from an arid world ruled by a demonic prince who looks like Rakan’s twin. Rakan’s closest companion is the assassin Chigusa but he’s also accompanied by Narushige, a noble cursed with bad luck and a talking snake sidekick and Tohji, a former tool of of the evil Prince. Rakan and his posse have arrived at an encampment of “numbered children,” boys who were thrown away by their families.
Silver Diamond is appealing, but one of the oddest things about reading it is nothing much happens from volume to volume. The characters sit around talking to each other, and while it does seem like a confrontation between Rakan and his princely doppelganger is fated to happen in the distant future, there’s no sense of urgency or action. This isn’t a bad thing, as it adds to Silver Diamond’s relaxing qualities. While in the previous volumes Rakan was introducing his visitors to the wonders of modern day Japan, now he’s learning about a new world where all the conveniences he’s used to are absent. People tell time with clock seeds. Light is provided by carved bone oil lanterns. Chigusa’s glasses aren’t made from glass but from the scales that cover a snake’s eye. Sugiura’s inventiveness is one of the things that makes Silver Diamond fun to read.
Rakan continues to be obliviously charming, winning over the band of lost boys by cooking and making plants grow. The friendly bickering between the men remains the same and Rakan continues to be resolutely unaware of Chigusa’s romantic intentions. There are hints of a new female character being introduced soon, as Narushige’s sister is kicked out of her house. While the lack of action and general plotlessness might annoy some readers, I think that these qualities are part of Silver Diamond’s charm. You know exactly what you’re going to get when you pick up a volume, and Sugiura’s imaginative world building and sense of humor keeps the manga from being boring.