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He's going to become King of the Forest!
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Shota Aikawa is stoked when his father buys him a rhinoceros beetle larva as a pet for him to raise. Although Shota's sister Shoko is disgusted by the grub, she brushes it off as one of his schoolboy things and tells him not to come crying to her if anything bad happens. But on the day the grub, now named Moriking, is supposed to emerge from its pupa to become an adult beetle, something... strange happens.

Instead of being a three-inch beetle, Morking emerges as an incredibly muscular Bishōnen. They soon learn that Moriking is one of five candidates to become King of the Forest and ruler of all insectkind. Grateful to the Aikawas for saving his life by buying him from the pet store and raising him, Moriking swears eternal loyalty to his adoptive family while vowing to become king to bring about an ideal world. And so begins the Aikawa's adventures with their pet rhinoceros beetle and the bug-filled world they've stumbled into... and Shoko seems to be the only one who has a problem with any of this.

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Moriking is a comedy Shōnen manga written by Tomohiro Hasegawa that began running in Shonen Jump in April 2020.

Moriking contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The praying mantis' lightning-fast grabbing motion with their claws manifests in Oka's ability to send of powerful shockwaves that can cleave apart nearly anything she wants to cut with a single swipe of her arm. Emphasis on "nearly", as she soon finds that her best efforts are completely nullified by Moriking's thick exoskeleton.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Ko just wants to be of use to his king and is ludicrously diligent and loyal. He breaks down in tears when he feels that he cannot comprehend Moriking's majesty and is useless to him. He's also hilariously Hot-Blooded when it comes to matters of pride, vowing to stake his life on a simple beach race to earn his king victory.
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  • All-Loving Hero: Moriking loves every creature on Earth, seeing them as subjects of his kingdom as the King of the Forest. Because of this, he can't help but rush to someone's aid when he sees them struggling, constantly displaying his superhuman prowess to Shoko's chagrin. That said, he has strong feeling of rivalry with fellow king Oki Samura and there is always a sense of tension when the two are around each other.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: The insects are all shown to have human-like intelligence and are able to speak fluent Japanese as soon as they obtain a human form. None of them have any real problems adapting to human life even though they are still bound by their animal instincts (i.e. Oka tries to chew Ko after snatching him up while Moriking is prone to burying himself in the dirt and clinging to trees to suck the sap).
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Inverted. Shota's friends and family (minus Shoko) are amazingly willing to accept Moriking's existence and welcome him with open arms. Meanwhile, Shoko wants to shout at them to be more skeptical.
  • Balloon Belly:
    • After nearly drowning at the beach, Moriking is left with a belly full of seawater while he recovers.
    • Subverted with Oka, who pretends to have one by having Meo hide under her shirt to make it seem she's eaten some Legion mooks and scare the rest away from the group.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Because insects don't live as long as humans, Oka, Oki, and Meo choose to become human, while the other insects return to the forest. Everyone except Shota forgets what happened that summer, and life returns to normal. But, three years later, Shota and Shoko go into the forest looking for bugs, and find Moriking alive and well.
  • Blow You Away: Oki Samura, the Great Purple Emperor king candidate, has powerful wings that can reduce every house on a city block to rubble should he ever flap them once at full strength.
  • Cassandra Truth: When being interrogated by police, Moriking answers all of their questions sincerely without a hint of sarcasm of resentment. Only, the answers he gives (i.e. age: one, profession: king) are far too ridiculous for any normal person to take at face value.
  • The Champion: While all insects will pay respect to their respective kings, a king candidate may have up to two soldados, powerful insects in human form like them, to fight alongside them in contests between kings. Ko was originally a soldado for another king before being cast out and taken in by Moriking, while Ruri has always been Oka's faithful companion. That said, the definition of "powerful" seems to vary, as while Ko is incredibly fast and resilient, he's not especially strong in direct combat.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Morking's love for all creatures means that he feels compelled to help anyone in need of aid. His desire to help others is so profound that he's left mopey and heartbroken when Shoko forbids him from continuing to help others.
  • Cool Crown: All king candidates are born with fancy crowns atop their heads. Interestingly, it seems to grow along with them.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Mori" is the Japanese word for "forest". So Moriking's name literally means "Forest King". So if he becomes the King of the Forest, he'd be Forest King: King of the Forest.
  • Fanservice: Most of the bugs sometimes don't wear much clothing and they are super attractive too!
  • Genre Shift: Starting in the Legion arc, the series shifted away from a pure gag focus to more of a battle series with a comedic edge. YMMV on whether it was successful.
  • Hot-Blooded: Ko takes a fun beach race far too seriously.
    Ko: Victory is everything! Failure is death! I will stake the meaning of my life on this contest!
    Shoko: Isn't that a bit much for a beach race?!
  • Humanity Ensues: The king candidates and their soldados suddenly evolve into human form as part of their mutations to take part in the battle to become King of the Forest. For the most part, all of them take it surprisingly well and adapt to human life pretty easily, with Moriking and Oki happily being their owner's pets while Oka blends in as an ordinary teenage girl.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: All of the insects to gain human form have turned out to be amazingly good-looking, with Moriking manifesting as a ripped Bishōnen, Ko being compared to a child actor, and Oka blending in as an attractive and popular teenager. Even Oki Samura, the roughest looking of the bunch, has the same muscular body as Moriking and is still ruggedly handsome and cool-looking.
  • Japanese Delinquent: Oki Samura has this aesthetic, decking himself out in black leaher, having a scar over one eye, smoking, and generally speaking with a rough, coarse tone in contrast to Morking's princely demeanor.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Oka quickly realizes that continuing to fight is pointless when she can't even scratch Moriking's skin, conceding the battle and her candidacy to become king after he assures her that he'll make sure that her species and their habitat will not come to harm.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Moriking is strong enough to lift twenty times his own weight, easily carrying a two-ton barbell as exercise equipment. His rhinoceros beetle hide also makes him impervious to most attacks and he's fast enough to catch bullets and easily intercept a speeding motorcycle.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The insects that take on human form turn into surprisingly attractive teenagers or young children with some insect-like traits, such as Morking's horn and wings.
  • Mr. Exposition: Shota's fascination with bugs makes him an ample source of exposition whenever a bug's capabilities needs to be explained. It sometimes gets so in-depth that Shoko calls him the "opposite of cute".
  • Mr. Fanservice: Both male king candidates seen thus far are incredibly muscular, and both of them are prone to throwing their shirts (and sometimes their pants) off when it's time to throw down.
  • Naked First Impression: Moriking emerges from his pupa completely naked, with any potential eyefuls of certain parts that would jack up the rating being covered up by Censor Steam. Later chapters show that this is the case for all insects to take on human form.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Moriking uses a "Forest King One Sword School" technique to stop a fleeing thief. Said technique turns out to be just throwing the thief into the sky with his horn.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Moriking is confronted by one such duo in Chapter 7. The old cop says he has 30 years of experience and is suspicious of Moriking from the outset, but ultimately comes around to commending him when he stops a grocery thief. The young cop is overly twitchy and quickly pulls out a gun to shoot Moriking, going through with the deed when the latter strips off his shirt to demonstrate his honesty.
  • Only Sane Man: A bulk of the comedy stems from the fact that Shoko seems to be the only person to take issue with the existence of super powerful bugs in astonishingly attractive human form.
  • Open-Minded Parent: shoko and Shota's mother Natsu is surprisingly open-minded about the notion of Moriking staying with them and cheerfully takes the fact that her son's beetle grub has turned into a human in stride, brushing off Shoko's concerns with, "It happens, right?"
  • Police Brutality: Spoofed in Chapter 7. When Moriking is confronted by two local cops, the younger of the Old Cop, Young Cop duo is twitchy and quickly tries to shoot Moriking at every opportunity. Not that it does him any good, as Moriking is not only tough enough to easily shrug off a bullet, but he casually catches one while gently asking the officer to calm down.
  • Reality Ensues: Moriking and Oki have spent their entire lives in the forest prior to being adopted by their owners. So when the two get into a swimming race at the beach... they both immediately start to sink as neither of them know how to swim.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Gender inverted with Oga Kuwata, the Stag Beetle king. He outright considers clothes evil by denying the beauty of the body.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: The insects in human form retain their ability to communicate with their non-humanoid brethren, who are all instantly compelled to serve their king from their sheer aura of royal majesty.
  • Static Character: Most of the cast consists of these, with only a couple characters having any sort of Character Development
  • Stone Wall: Ko is extremely fast, durable, and an all-around great survivalist. But his offensive attack power is close to zero and he's easily taken down in a flash by Oka.
  • Super Drowning Skills: As two bugs who have never learned to swim and would have instantly drowned at their original size due to the Square-Cube Law, Moriking and Oki quickly start sinking when they jump into the ocean for an endurance swim, forcing their retainers to dive in after them (though Ruri brings a life preserver).
  • Super Speed: Cockroaches are among the fastest runners relative to their size among insects, and when applied to a human-sized body, Ko is able to run at speeds comparable to a bullet train, searching the entire Aikawa house in seconds to find Natsu's wedding ring. Ruri is also aware of this and doesn't even try to participate when pitted against him in a beach race.
  • Ultimate Lifeform: According to Moriking, the king candidates all represent the pinnacles of life on Earth, possessing abilities far outstripping any others on the planet.
  • Undying Loyalty: Moriking and Oki are unfailingly loyal to their owners for saving their lives, happily becoming their pets and doing whatever they ask. Similarly, Ko Kurotsuchi develops incredible loyalty for Moriking for taking him in after being cast out by his former king.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Shota's devotion and care to Moriking's upbringing along with Shota's father's own words of encouragement instills a deep love of humanity in Moriking. This inspires him to create an ideal world where all creatures can coexist.
  • Wall Run: All of the insects have the ability to walk up and down walls and ceilings without an issue.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Inverted. Moriking explicitly points out that an insect's life is short, and rhinoceros beetles are not expected to live longer than the fall after emerging from their pupae in the summer. Shota promises to take care of Moriking until the end of his natural lifespan, while Shoko displays shock at the notion that these human-like bugs would die so quickly.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: As ridiculously powerful as the king candidates are, they're all susceptible to cardiac arrest via consuming overly spicy food like kimchi stew or curry. Moriking and Oki find this out the hard way, but it's Played for Laughs and they're perfectly fine afterward.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: True to the nature of his species, Moriking prefers throwing and grappling moves when it's time to fight, casually throwing a thief dozens of feet into the air and getting ready to sumo wrestle Oka during their fight.
  • Younger Than They Look: Moriking looks like someone in their mid-to-late teens, but is only about a year old due to the length of an insect's lifespan. This seems to be the case for the other king candidates and their soldados, as they all manifest as human children or teenagers despite being only a year or two old.
  • Zerg Rush: Oka points out that ten quintillionnote  insects live on Earth at any given time, far outnumbering any other complex organism on the planet. She goes onto say that the King of the Forest could order insects to destroy all of humanity if they so pleased.
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