Title: Rure Vol 1
Author: Da-Mi Seomoon
May Contain Spoilers
Ha-Ru is attending school in Seoul, far from her home town. She lives in a boarding house, and is enjoying her friends and her life in a big city. When her half-sister, Mi-Ru, shows up to take her back home, she doesn’t really want to go, but she knows it’s her duty. Ha-Ru’s family rules a remote island, and she’s the heiress, which has caused friction between herself and her sister. When Mi-Ru, upset over the death of her grandmother, throws herself into the sea, Ha-Ru follows her, determined to save her. They are both whisked away to another land, where they quickly finds themselves slaves to the young Ku-Ya. Will they be able to find their way back home?
The first installment to the series established a rapid pace, with complex character dynamics. Mi-Ru is bitterly jealous of Ha-Ru, the golden child of Last Island. Everything that Mi-Ru desires, Ha-Ru has handed to her on a silver platter. Worse, Ha-Ru doesn’t even want the position she’s been born into; she’d rather stay in school in Seoul than be the head of the family on their secluded island. Mi-Ru’s accomplishments are disdained, and even her uncles, who claim to back her succession, only do so to gain power for themselves. When Mi-Ru’s grandmother dies, the girl’s fragile grasp on her only fragment of happiness is heartbreakingly shattered. On her deathbed, the old woman cried out, not for her flesh and blood, Mi-Ru, but to Ha-Ru, who isn’t even related to her. Under these circumstances, Mi-Ru’s bitterness was easy to forgive.
That Ha-Ru is the only one to recognize her sister as a part of the family makes this even more compelling. She’s willing to sacrifice herself to save Mi-Ru, despite the girl’s unconcealed resent of her. In the other land, with Mi-Ru sick and helpless, Ha-Ru submits to slavery to save her sister’s life. Her new master, the dense Ku-Ya, doesn’t even realize that Ha-Ru is a girl. I found it a little hard to swallow that after several months in captivity, traveling in a caravan, that she was able to conceal her gender so successfully. Also on the edge of unbelievable was the drinking contest between them, but again, I’ll just put on my rose colored manga glasses and accept that the slave is now allowed to strike her master whenever the whim arises.
I liked the reedy character designs, and the flowing costumes that cloaked their willowy forms. The detailed art is eye-catching, and the page layouts kept the story moving along at a fast clip. There were plenty of large, attractive illustrations to highlight dramatic moments in the plot, and the action sequences possessed a convincing sense of movement.
Overlooking a few plot implausibilities, Rure is shaping up to be a fun fantasy adventure story. Fast-paced and featuring appealing art, this series shows a lot of promise. I’m looking forward to the next volume.
Rure will hit stores shelves in October.
Rated for Teen 13+
Review copy provided by TOKYOPOP