Manhwa Review | Royal Servant by MasterGin



There will be spoilers for the series Royal Servant.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to power imbalance, violence, blood, abuse, assault, servitude, death, , poisoning, prejudice, classism, rape, , , and manipulation, PTSD, mental illness, , mention of self-immolation, self-harm, orphans, terrorism, corruption, human trafficking, enslavement, child abandonment, child abuse, implied alcoholism, manipulation, human experimentation, child labor, suicide attempt, home invasion, drugging, and arranged marriage, as it appears in the manhwa.


Kyon is looking for a job. One of the most lucrative positions out there is the position of a “servant,” which means working under someone with royal blood. While the royals look like regular humans, they are much more than that. Royals are almost invincible. They have superhuman strength and speed, are nearly immortal, and can even manifest powers. They are Gods among men, and with vast estates from their prestigious and long-lived lineages, they need as many servants as possible.

One such royal is Selvior Lucaon. Lucaon is looking to hire a servant, and Kyon happens to be that lucky one. Lucaon puts his mark around Kyon's neck, allowing Lucaon to control and monitor Kyon at his leisure. Lucaon is a cold and particular master, meticulous in how he expects his household to be managed, and he seems to despise the servants working for him. Despite this, Kyon is desperate to tear down the walls Lucaon has built around himself, even when it leads to punishment.

While Lucaon and Kyon struggle with their relationship as master and servant, a group of creatures known as Zeros are popping up everywhere, threatening the lives of everyone around them. As Kyon's devotion to his master grows, so too does the threat of the Zeros.


While this is the same artist from Angel Buddy, this particular work is older, and the first couple of seasons give off a completely different style. The art gives Monstrous Heart vibes. Really, it just gives overall manhua vibes, which often feature super soft coloring with pretty, though inconsistent, styles. This is no exception, though it's a manhwa rather than a manhua. I would say this starts out cleaner and gets more consistent much faster than in Monstrous Heart, so if the art turned you off in Monstrous Heart, this is a better version of that. Plus, you get full-on sex, which is a huge win as far as I'm concerned. It's primarily pastels, which are nice on the eyes and make the darker colors stand out, often creating a striking contrast. By season 3, it is very much Angel Buddy art, which is always a joy to see. It's good from the beginning and gets even better toward the end.

Cover art for Royal Servant on Lezhin Comics

Just as we get the artist from Angel Buddy, we also get the writer, too. For me, Angel Buddy was pretty good, albeit lacking in worldbuilding. That same issue resurfaces here. This is very disjointed narratively, particularly in the side of things. This relationship begins with rape, which many works do, but usually, there is some moment, transition, or awakening that occurs where the top becomes repentant. That moment never really happens in this. It goes from noncon, very cruel noncon, just to note, to gentle and passionate lovemaking (have I ever mentioned how much I hate that word? If not, I hate it). It's a very gradual shift, but with little to no indication from Lucaon why he's growing fond of Kyon. It makes the romance feel a bit hollow and unnatural. Don't get me wrong, I do like their relationship; I just wish it had more substance to it.

Similarly, the overall story is severely lacking, at least until we reach the second half. Until then, it doesn't feel like it knows where it wants to go beyond the relationship between Kyon and Lucaon. The idea of the Zeros is limited to an excuse for Lucaon to be cold and feared among the servants and gives Kyon a reason to be so hopelessly devoted to him, having been saved from the Zeros by Lucaon as a child. Once that halfway mark hits and we learn that Kyon is unknowingly a plant for the group creating the Zeros, we see where the story is meant to go. Still, the story doesn't come together until Ryan's backstory is revealed, which is at the end.

Is it worth the wait? I think so. It's really his story that ties everything up and helps clear up some of the muddier parts. I love the twist that he actually helped create VS (“Venom of Servant,” which is a killer name for a poison in this world, pun intended) to give some power to the servant class who had been subjugated all that time. But that very poison ends up killing off Lucaon's family and, in turn, Ryan himself. It's a painful and satisfying irony that just hit me where it hurt, and I loved every second of it. Add to it the punch that Christoph, the person Ryan saw as his sister, who was killed for trying to create VS in the first place, was the one to deliver the VS that killed him, and we are just in a neverending irony loop of pain. This whole segment was my favorite, for sure.


One of the best parts about reading something from the same artist and author is to see the evolution in their art and storytelling. This pair is no exception. This is a disjointed story that doesn't find its footing until halfway through, but once it does, it finds its groove. Same with the art. This isn't the most perfect BL out there, but it really shows all the potential that eventually led to Angel Buddy. It's a worthwhile perusal into a vague fantasy world, full of spice and a bit of action, but more importantly, an amazing transformation and journey for the writer and artist, honing their craft. It takes a while to find its footing, but it does, leading to some fantastic moments.

Have you read Royal Servant? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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