How to Treat a Lady Knight Right is a series that accomplishes everything that it wants to. The problem is that everything done in this volume has been done in dozens of other stories, and that’s being generous. The plot line of defrosting the ice queen isn’t anything new, and some can even argue that it’s a staple of what we expect from any story with a stern female lead. However, when that is the main point promised to readers, it’s like offering a bag of potato chips; it’s okay but not going to fill you up substantially.
There are…some things that How to Treat a Lady Knight Right offers alongside its incredibly mundane story. A gallant female hero, Leo, has discarded her femininity due to her backstory and is caught off guard at the idea of a relatively wholesome young man named Foolie confessing his feelings to her. With each passing chapter, his earnestness and direct wholesomeness slowly wear her down to the point where a rather natural friendship blossoms, with plenty of hints that a romantic relationship will form. Despite initially having a one-sided infatuation, these two have a pretty strong friendship by the end of the first volume. There is a gradual desire for the two to open up to each other as time passes and share in each other’s interests.
Leo is the typical hardened warrior who only needs to swing a sword. Still, there’s an excellent chapter where she shares her workout routine with Foolie, who, in turn, does an adequate job of introducing her to things she never had to rely on before due to her strength. It’s funny because the book is supposed to be a romantic comedy, yet these small character moments feel much more substantial. That isn’t to say that the comedy is terrible; it’s just incredibly predictable. The drama only runs on surface levels, with most situations being brief misunderstandings that get resolved after five pages. It feels like bigger revelations about the characters are supposed to come much later in other volumes.
The only character depth is in the form of Leo’s backstory, where her father raised her to be a warrior. The book never tries to frame it as abusive, but it falls into the camp of “I’m gonna raise you like a warrior man instead of an effeminate woman.” Nowadays, this feels like a pretty tired plot point, especially when the book tries to have its cake and eat it, too, with how it depicts Leo. How to Treat a Lady Knight Right isn’t super fan-servicey aside from maybe one chapter, and a lot of attention is drawn to the fact that Leo has a very unfeminine figure due to her muscles and constant training. Unfortunately, the art style doesn’t emphasize that. She looks like a typical short-haired tomboy character in a run-of-the-mill fantasy story. She has scars, and they’ll occasionally draw attention to her abs, but Leo still looks soft, curvy, and busty despite everyone yelling the contrary. It undermines whatever they were doing with her characterization.
The character designs look nice if a little overly detailed, for how laid back the overall tone is. Some characters look busy in their wardrobe, and the panel layouts are incredibly basic. Sometimes, comedic scenes don’t always feel framed to emphasize a punchline. There isn’t a lot of interesting stuff being presented visually, and it begs the question of whether the overall presentation serves the intentions of the narrative. Even though the aforementioned things could be picked apart more, the book doesn’t draw any drive or desire to dig deeper, considering the story’s intentions are as basic as they get.
How to Treat a Lady Knight Right is a fine enough romantic comedy that feels like it only has one idea and not much else. I feel like this works better as a Webtoon or a manga that gets updated on Twitter instead of something that you spent 30 minutes reading in one sitting for entertainment. I’d rather read something bad than read something uninteresting. I can recommend a dozen fantasy or action stories with these exact plot lines in the background. This manga tries to make something fundamental the primary focus without doing anything else. Check out other recommendations before this one because our lives are too short to waste on something so dry.