Manhwa Review: Aron’s Absurd Armada Vol. #2

An oft-used archetype in popular literature are pirates. Pirate stories are so numerous nowadays, you can find all sorts of buccaneers, ranging from romantic to sly to sinister, and now joining the ranks of Captain Hook and One Piece’s Luffy is the idiot pirate Aron!

Yen Press has just released Volume 2 of the series, and you can read on for the review. (For those interested in my review of Volume 1, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

It’s treasure.
Yup, it’s totally treasure.
It’s definitely shiny and beautiful treasure.
It’s treasure that Aron and (especially) Robin and the crew(?) desire.
It’s treasure that brainless Aron and money-loving Robin and Robin-loving Ronnie and the crew(?) desire.
It’s treasure that brainless Aron and money-loving Robin and Robin-loving Ronnie and Ronnie-loving Dorothy and Dorothy-loving Luther and the crew(?) desire.

So, in conclusion, it’s treasure…!

The Review

Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 left off, with Aron’s cross-dressing crew escaping the king’s palace, and then proceeds to go all over the place, figuratively and literally. There are no well-defined arcs in this volume, one adventure simply flows into another as characters set goals and forget them once the next distraction arises. Scatterbrained as they are, it’s easy to lose sight of the (minimal) plot. For instance, a quest to make Aron smarter leads to Robin getting amnesia that leads to a quest for an amnesia cure that leads to a witch that leads to Ronnie getting poisoned. By the time the crew invites the witch on board, you’ve forgotten Robin never got a cure and still has amnesia.

The crew also adds two more characters to its crazy cast. One is the aforementioned witch, who, despite her poisonous remedies, has a pleasant disposition and is beloved by all the crew except Ronnie. The other is Phantom Thief XX who, unlike most of the cast, is actually adept at what he does (stealing). He joins the pirate ship to escape a life of being forced to steal from the rich and give to the poor and instead ends up oppressed by Aron and his men.

As in Volume 1, most of the gags have to do with their bizarre personalities and less to do with any particular search for treasure. Kim-sensei’s dropped most of the gay/BL jokes and instead pokes fun at Vincent’s inedible food, Mercedes’ and Robin’s vanity, Anton’s and Gilbert’s blind crush on Wendy, and, above all, Aron’s epic stupidity. And in Volume 2, no one hesitates to punish Aron for his idiocy so he gets beat up over and over.

By the way, for fans of all things cute, in addition to the chibi-themed cover pages, Kim-sensei incorporates several adorable looking animals (and food!) into the manhwa. Apparently, Aron and crew have a weakness for cute things, and Kim-sensei uses that irrational love as the basis for several punchlines.

Interspersed with the adventures of Aron’s crew are a few scenes with the Navy. Most of these revolve around with Luther’s obsession with Dorothy. Even the two new additions to the Navy cast, Eddy and John, serve mainly to show how Luther loses all reason whenever Dorothy’s concerned. In a sense, Luther’s the naval equivalent of Aron, driving his subordinates insane as he does everything from veering off course to seek luck in romance to forfeiting his men’s vacation so as not to be separated from Dorothy.

In Summary

Aron’s Absurd Armada continues with the addition of a witch and master thief and a whole lot of pointless wandering. Though they do go on a search for treasure (the Golden Raccoon), most of their quests are for silly reasons, like learning whether the Sea King’s palace was built underwater or on land. There’s not a whole lot of swashbuckling, but there’s personality clashes aplenty with the world’s stupidest pirate captain and his crew.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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