Sera & The Royal Stars is a series that gets straight to the point: in a matter of pages, our eponymous protagonist has been established as a princess, a central part of Parsa’s army and someone who has visions of Mitra of the equally eponymous Royal Stars.
But who are the Royal Stars, you ask? Well, they’re a ragtag group of warrior gods, on the brink of irrelevance and holding out for a hero to keep them alive.
Now that’s a pretty loaded premise, but there’s also family warfare threatening the kingdom of Parsa, the case of Sera’s missing mother, and mysterious forces working to disrupt her quest to find the Royal Stars. Simply put, this isn’t just a first volume that doesn’t waste any time getting going, it’s also a volume packed with what feels like a full series worth of story ideas.
Although I understand wanting to get as much established as possible in the series’ first installment, it does feel like some world building and character development is sacrificed in the process. For instance, although Sera has an excellent character design and tons of potential, it feels like we don’t really learn who she is until over halfway through the series. Perhaps this is due to this volume being loaded with characters, and with multiple new introductions in each issue it does become clear that Sera is often taking a back seat. But this isn’t always a bad thing — surrounded by larger than life characters, it feels beneficial to have Sera as more of a subdued human narrator at times. I feel like this only becomes problematic when compared to the Sera we see within the first issue, who at times feels like a different character altogether.
Throughout this inaugural installation, Audrey Mok’s artwork never fails to impress with unique character designs that feel as inspired by anime as they are by mythology. From start to finish Sera & The Royal Stars is beautifully illustrated by Mok, merging earthly planes with celestial dreamscapes at the drop of a hat. Equally impressive is Raul Angulo’s colouring which brings every character to life with its vibrant tones.
It takes some time to get there, but Sera & The Royal Stars is a story about a human who finds themselves amongst the gods. It’s in issue #4 where that really becomes clear and in that moment we see what really is the highlight of the volume. Audrey Mok’s depictions of different versions of the underworld make for some spectacular visuals further enforcing her artwork as the greatest part of this story.