Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where all four editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga. Today we’re discussing Seize the Wind by Tsukasa Shimeno (original novel by Heather Graham). Get ready for severe queens, “””strange instruments”””????, and finding plausible-ish reasons for sleeping in the same room as your crush. Plus: hot tips for managing your very own Robin Hood-adjacent bandit camp.
Jenny: i want to just go ahead and come out swinging
CC: oh yeah go ahead!
CC: O M G
Ashley: AHHHH HAHAHA
Jenny: the love interest is a robin hood type, but his “name” is Shadow
he is a prince in disguise
sent by the queen to pose as a bandit — steal from the rich, give to her ransom fund (her oldest son, the benevolent king, is being held prisoner in austria; her younger son, a real jackweed, is ruling in his place/refuses to pay the ransom)
CC: wait – he was HER younger son???
Ashley: oh yeah
This was literally ripped off from Robin Hood
CC: I got the impression that he was just some other usurper by how mercilessly she shut him down at the end once she had evidence of his crimes
Jenny: nah she just has a favorite
v literal robin hood rip off — it’s the same king richard, prince john
CC: i mean
if only all parents of really truly very terrible human beings were so ready to let them experience Consequences
CC: i love a severe queen
Ashley: she’s basically the only woman with any power in the whole country so it’s good she’s not wasting it
CC: ripoff or not, I was not expecting this heroine to be metal as hell and I was impressed
Jenny: oh yeah! i love her, actually
Ashley: Ah yes! So! More summary
In order to avenge her parents, who he killed to steal their title and lands
But her carriage is intercepted by Shadow so he can collect ransom
CC: basically she agrees to marry Evil Prince Baby Man so she can murder him before the wedding night
but then he is a sexy anime so naturally they catch feelings for each other
Ashley: OKAY SPEAKING OF
If we were to cast the movie of this… I think the role of Shadow / Prince Hedgehog should go to none other than Eddie Redmayne
CC: OF COURSE
Ashley: That is a very long face with a very thin upper lip!!!
Jenny: also does a lot of emotional screaming out of nowhere
Ashley: Lol yes they both do a lot of screaming internally at each other
CC: get ahold, lad
Ashley: Silent wall punching: very normal
CC: I liked these guys
Jenny: they’re good boys
CC: my favorite romance roundtable picks are the ones where the protagonists are generally pretty decent to each other, kidnapping in order to extort ransom from the rich to pay the ransoms of the other rich aside
Yeah I mean she was LOADED with knives but didn’t even use them
Jenny: i will say
she did a little bit use them
(see also “stab him kate”)
Ashley: Oh right!!!! How could I forget
Oh well I mean, use them against shadow
Jenny: yeah it was just the once
Ashley: She only has knives for one man
Ashley: (except when she didn’t)
Ashley: But anyway, I’ll take a knife cute over a meet cute any day!!
CC: you have different knives for every significant relationship
your murder knives, your showing off knives
Jenny: honestly this is what modern women’s fashion needs
Ashley: I agree!!! Weren’t there also like, vials? She definitely employed sleeping powder
Jenny: yeah i think it said “medicine”
she 100% drugged those guards
this is why so few dresses come with pockets these days
i think, anyway
Ashley: VERY TRUE!!!
Ashley: ACTUALLY it was to dissuade women in the French revolution from carrying dangerous political literature
But prob also knives
CC: and sleep powders
Jenny: fun history fact!
Ashley: “strange instruments”!!!
CC: in all seriousness: what
what, like, a tiny medieval telescope????
a bag full of 16th century cyanide capsules????
Ashley: a steam-powered bullet vibe
CC: or just one of these
Ashley: Loaded with Sonic porn, of course
CC: HUMAN shadow
hook me up google
Jenny: i want to talk a little bit more about human shadow
Ashley: Go for it!
Jenny: he’s like, a lord or whatever, assuming this bandit persona, right
and he gives these ‘eat the rich’ speeches
Jenny: or i guess he creates these communities
where he lifts up the common people by stealing from the rich
and he’s so uptight about how no one can know his secret identity
Jenny: he’s still out here making people call him LORD shadow
some disguise, my god
I think the implication is one of those things where he doesn’t TELL them to call him that but they are so COMMON and he so NOBLE that they insist
Ashley: Agree tbh
CC: look: i hate that trope, I’m sorry
u wanna be a hero of the proletariat your fancy title has to be the first thing u sacrifice on the guillotine imho
CC: MR. human shadow
Okay I do however want to commend this book on a clever plot twist that I didn’t anticipate, with the switcheroo of the Kates
Jenny: oh yeah that was good
CC: oh yeah they really just kinda rushed through that plot point imo
but it really explains why the crappy younger son wasn’t on to her
Ashley: Basically, our heroine’s whole plan hinges on the fact that her adopted dad’s dead daughter was also a Kate
Jenny: i def thought beth was just checking her out
but it was for plot reasons
Ashley: HAHAH YES ME TOO
I was blinded by my own thirst for homo romance
CC: hahahaha same
Jenny: this kate does not have a birthmark
and that’s how beth finds out that she’s not the daughter to the earl of gregory
Ashley: Whereas the Kate that Beth once tended to, the adopted dad’s sickly soon-to-be-dead Kate, did
Jenny: (she is, in fact, the rightful dutchess of manning or whatever)
i might like this better if she were a commoner who was adopted?
instead of another noble?
Ashley: It’s weird tho cuz like, do women even inherit titles?
Jenny: i mean….
CC: I don’t know about medieval times but I know that oldest daughters get to be Miss Lastname instead of Miss Firstname
NOT AT ALL HELPFUL HERE but it’s all i got lol
Ashley: Lol yeah but they still couldn’t inherit land! That’s the plot of like every Jane Austen novel!
CC: true true
Jenny: well it’s not like queens were enlisting nobles to masquerade as bandits, either so i think we have to let harlequin manga have a little lee way here
kate is a v metal protagonist and i’m not going to say she can’t have land
Ashley: NO ONE SHOULD HAVE LAND I AM THE HUMAN SHADOW NOW
CC: LORD HUMAN SHADOW
Ashley: CALL ME… SENATOR HUMAN SHADOW
CC: Secretary of Bandits Human Shadow, Esquire
Ashley: It’s done
Jenny: but also
i feel like — do people know what lords look like back then?
like, if she had seen his face, how would she know that he was some noble she’d never met before
he could just be the secretary of bandits
she would have no way of knowing, right?
Ashley: I’m pretty sure that every noble has a book with all the other nobles names in it but that it also doesn’t have pictures
CC: yeah it’s not like he was above the fold on the first page of Sexy Medieval Times
Jenny: but he makes such a big to do about the mask
CC: maybe he’s just real into it
it’s the medieval prince equivalent of getting really into hats your freshman year of college
Jenny: fair – maybe that’s just his thing
Ashley: But also, maybe he knew that he would have to walk around as Clark Kent very soon
Since he had the final ransom money and after freeing the king he’d go back to the Aquitaine Planet
CC: yeah i mean if she saw him at a fancy ball she’d figure out his whole deal real fast
Jenny: ah fair enough. but i maintain that masks are dumb
CC: one thing I thought about this title
it was a lot of fun! well drawn, too!
just the right amount of goofiness
if this was a series where these 2 become bandit battle spouses I’d be real into it
give! me! that! #content!, harlequin!
Jenny: ooooh hell yes
one thing i thought about this title
“Seize the Wind”
i thought there would be more fart jokes
but really it’s all about
whatever this is that i’ve never heard of
CC: it seems like the wind
Ashley: There really was so little wind
There wasn’t even a dramatic storm!
CC: a real tempest in a teapot
Jenny: oh i would’ve loved a dramatic storm
CC: so, my only real exposure to the actual story of robin hood
is 1) the disney movie with the foxes and 2) robin hood: men in tights
Ashley: This is right and good
CC: what in y’alls’ opinions were the divergences from the Actual Story, if you guys have more context than me on this?
was the original maid marian (spelling?) a Vengeance-Fueled Babe??
Jenny: i mean, characters, right
they have king richard and prince john
but no sheriff of nottingham
no maid marian
she was not this metal
she was v much the damsel
Ashley: No Maid Marian was just kinda down to slum it
CC: man i both can and can’t believe they actually fully hooked up before some big dramatic Actual Marriage scene. that seems to be a real Thing in these harlequin stories
Ashley: Haha yes
Jenny: i think the biggest difference is that robin of loxley is divested of his land and title, whereas human shadow just sort of volunteers to take a vacation from it
CC: yeah human shadow gets to go home from banditing to his land etc I imagine
Jenny: yeah i mean, robin does too, but he doesn’t know
he’s not working on any big scheme to get richard back home from the crusades
Ashley: Yeah and like, Shadow was from a whole other country? He wasn’t even banditing his own people
CC: real LOW STAKES, lord human shadow
Jenny: he doesn’t even go here
i guess there’s also beth
robin’s camp doesn’t have women
just men – men in tight tight tights
Ashley: Lol true
I agree with you on the hookup thing CC – although maybe it’s justified by her being a bride… Of vengeance
Jenny: same same def agree
but also i love the harlequin boning sequences
so i’m not going to argue against them
Ashley: Me tooooooo
CC: obligatory “you will never want to make out with anyone else again” scene
Jenny: god lol yeah ugh
Ashley: Lolol for real
Jenny: he gives in real quickly i gotta say
he tries to take an ideological stand, it seemed like, but then she’s just like — nope
and he folds
he just wants to be w her
his self-respect be damned
and that’s the kind of content i want to see
he’s the one making sacrifices
Ashley: It’s not his fault, trick horse riding is VERY horny stuff
Jenny: LOL yes
CC: UGH HORSES
i hate a horse ex machina
aren’t I ALWAYS SAYING that horses can’t be trusted
Jenny: this part was great
i mean, i am w you, cc, about horses, but this
“I thought i had animal handling proficiency!”
Jenny: and you are always saying that, cc, and i agree w you
she could not trust this horse
they’re big and dumb and scary
they do not deserve our trust
CC: I JUST DON’T LIKE EM
kick you in the head and knock your brains out!!!
horses: not even once
Ashley: CC, Jenny, we clearly just need a horse girl harlequin manga to turn you around on this concept
i’d try it
as long as there’s no real horses
CC: i still need to see bumblebee
i hear that’s the horse girl content of 2019
what year is it?????
Jenny: time is fake
don’t worry about it
Ashley: Haha oh nooooo I don’t even wanna know
Jenny: but back on the boning scene
this did have a couple of my favorite tropes
the “you have to undress bc hidden weapons”
the “i have to share this room w you bc you’re dangerous”
Jenny: it’s all about SAFETY and not about FEELINGS
could never be about FEELINGS
Ashley: TBF I didn’t know the first one was really a trope, clearly it is underutilized
mostly it’s the “undress bc reasons”
but i like this particular reason
should be in more things
Ashley: Oh sure fair
CC: I mean to be fair, I think “this b/g sleepover is happening for LEGITIMATE REASONS and none of them are SMOOCHING” is a trope definitely
Jenny: it is and i love it
Ashley: Yes it is very good
CC: one thing I thought was very silly though
was human shadow feeling guilty for not seeing through Kate’s elaborate smokescreen switcheroo long term plan bc he “promised to always protect her”
but was sweet, anyway, I thought
Jenny: yeah — sweet but dumb
Ashley: Lol yeah like, if three days counts as “always”
Also — he knew what that guy was!! Everyone knew from the beginning!
CC: v dread pirate roberts
“i’m sure she wants to marry this terrible man for less than stellar reasons, definitely”
at least he wasn’t super hardcore convinced of that, though
Jenny: i trust her judgement
Ashley: I mean, it wouldn’t have been better if he forced her not to go
But at the very least, he’s deflecting
Jenny: that’s true
her name is vengeance and nothing will stand it the way of that
CC: I wouldn’t tell a man I met three days ago about my half-my-life long revenge plot, no matter how hot he was, tbh
Jenny: yeah she’s a v respectable protag
CC: she’s mostly got her priorities on straight
although idk why thinking of human shadow made her stay her hand when it came to killing the bad guy tho
Ashley: That was weird
I mean, perfect time for a strange instruments!!!
Jenny: yeah i would have like this more if she had done the murder
i think the idea was that he softened her human heart?
but also if she did the murder she wouldn’t get the happy ending bc laws
CC: he seems like he would have been supportive about it in my opinion
Jenny: he might have but maybe not the queen
CC: yeah true
Ashley: I do like the notion that a pretty boy softened the hard determined woman’s heart and not the other way around I guess
CC: because definitely in this assumedly pre magna carta medieval world, this usurper prince would have needed to have been tried in a court of law
Ashley: Wait tho you guys
The Duke of Manning and prince John are two different characters!
Jenny: that’s true
the duke is a lackey
of prince john’s
CC: did we see prince john??????
Ashley: Like once
CC: oh ok
Jenny: no worries
it was confusing
i def had to reread the kate and kate switcheroo
Ashley: It’s weird to have a plot point center on someone entirely not present
Let alone two lol
CC: i do appreciate that they tried tho lol
like: going above and beyond what the plot usually is in one of these
Ashley: Oh yes! I was genuinely surprised both times!
CC: me too!
but also! are y’all ready for final thoughts?
CC: my final thought is: w h a t ??? :
CC: tell me more!!!!!
also: v forthright about this for a harlequin manga
the closest we’ve ever come to cannon queer content in a harlequin manga
Yeah like wow okay werk King Richard
Also come on, did being gay ever REALLY stop a king from producing an heir?
Even if it was just like… Oh yeah this baby, uh, over there, yeah, I made it, from uhhh sex
CC: so true
CC: anyway i demand a prequel or side story about this, pls
gimme that queer court intrigue dragon age nonsense pls
Ashley: I will sign that petition!!!
Jenny: harlequin, we’re begging you
Ashley: Also CC you gotta see The Favourite!
CC: i really do
Jenny: i haven’t seen it yet either
but i hope it’s as metal as this was
Ashley: It’s very good, extremely metal
Jenny: tw: blood
Jenny: this def went H A R D
fuck I forgot that was amazing
Jenny: not just on her vengeance but also on her backstory
i get it now
i get why she’s like this
she’s my fave protag so far, hands down
Ashley: Overestimating him by assuming he has skill with a blade but yes agree she ruled
CC: i did like the san antonio detective a lot but she’s up there with me too
Jenny: lololol yes
Ashley: My final thought is: please someone take me to the bandit commune
I would add a screenshot of the idyllic camp but I don’t have one
We coulda had it all!!
CC: i think you would have a lot to offer a bandit commune ashley!!!
Ashley: Haha thank you
CC: take this operation to the next level
Ashley: With EVEN MORE KNIVES
CC: and strange instruments
Ashley: chef kiss
Join us for our next Romance Roundtable for even more dashing rogues, stabby princesses, and rich people we’d like to eat but in the meantime, head on over to our Patreon for even more goofs and Jokes we seized on while we were busy ~~~ seizing the wind.~~~