Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rure, vol. 1

By Da-Mi Seomoon
Released in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: At least this time we change worlds before the end of the volume.

Ha-Ru is one of those exceptional students that everyone loves in a high school manga, except for maybe the readers due to repressed traumatic high school memories. But there is a reason for her exceptional nature, in that she is the (implied) mystical heir of an island. The inhabitants of which have built up a mythos around their matrilineal leaders, a leadership role that Ha-Ru is not eager to embrace. Meanwhile, her half-sister Mi-Ru wants to be part of the island's society, but because she is illegitimate she is shunned. The final straw is when Ha-Ru is confirmed as the heir while Mi-Ru is told to leave the island when Mi-Ru's grandmother dies. Ha-Ru still considers Mi-Ru her sister, and when Mi-Ru runs into the raining night Ha-Ru pursues her, and something in that pursuit throws them into another world. They arrive in the middle of the desert since that would make things even more inconvenient. Ku-Ya, a mercenary of this new world, is tricked into accepting both of them as slaves and more importantly taking care of them. The volume ends as they all stumble across a royal caravan whose attempt to drive away the demons of the desert have instead attracted them and has possibly doomed them all.

While I think a lot of the setup of series reminds me too much of many other generic fantasy manga, there were some aspects of the main character that I still liked. She is willing to use her brain, so rather than having a ferocious fight scene, she immediately surrenders so that Mi-Ru can get the medical attention she needs. Despite her state of perfection, she doesn't seem to consider it her birthright, which is refreshing. She know that despite her abilities, there are limits to them and that they may be taken from her by chance. Some of the story choices I don't get, such as introducing and developing the two schoolmates who then disappear from the story, and the flash forward two months, but for the sake of the characters I am willing to wait to see what happens next.

Rure, v.1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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