Title: KNIGHT OF ALANOC
Author / Artist: Aero Zero
Publisher: Aero Zero
Genre: Bara / Yaoi / MM Romance
Released: January 2019
A 60-page full-color paperback comic book focusing on the slow-burn romance between Osric, a knight who can’t seem to let down his guard, and Xerxes, the one man who grows to love him dearly. A sweet story that can be read on it’s own, and also a direct prequel to Ace of Beasts that enhances the plot through context of two of the main characters’ pasts with each other.
Mostly safe-for-work romance, but includes an extended sexy NSFW ending.
Those who read my review of Aero Zero’s MEN+MONSTERS will remember that I absolutely loved the balance between story and erotic scenes, as well as the high-quality art. So, when I was given the chance to read their newest release, I leaped at the opportunity.
One of Aero’s strongest points is undoubtedly the physical presentation of their work, and that remains consistent here. The stylized designs combine with the vibrant watercolor-esque tones to create something instantly recognizable. I think that what I love most in that respect this time around may actually be the background work. While not lacking in detail, they aren’t going to bring to mind the sprawling metropolises of artists like Masamune Shirow, yet their simplicity really shines. A lot of the effect is simply done with colour gradients, and this technique is used to create everything from skylines to mountains. It’s really quite marvelous.
Now, fans of MEN+MONSTERS will be happy to know that everyone’s favourite monster lover Lex does make a handful of appearances. It should be noted however that he works the role of cameo here, allowing the story to focus on our two leads. And with these different characters comes a different kind of story. While MEN+MONSTERS was a story-driven cavalcade of erotica, Osric and Xerxes tale is a little softer.
The official description mentions a ‘slow burn romance’ and a ‘sweet story’, and both these phrases feel fitting here. Osric has clearly had his fair share of poor relationships, all of which has left him struggling, and seeing him soften as he gets closer to Xerxes really is sweet. And then there’s Xerxes’ tragic backstory and the way he is so willing to look after Osric when he needs him to. No, this isn’t two men jumping straight into bed with each other. Instead, we get to see snippets of their lives as they build up to both the happy-together moments and the one erotic scene in the book.
In all, Knight of Alanoc feels like a really human tale. Both characters have wounds to heal, and they come to rely on and appreciate each other wholly, despite a rough start to their time together. The book offers a complete, sweet tale, with the bonus that if you aren’t into the erotic moments, you won’t miss out by only reading up to that point. This is another fine outing from Aero Zero and is a must-own for those who like their men muscular, and their love consensual. 5 out of 5.