Rure Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59816-834-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Rure

Rure Vol. #01

By Greg Hackmann     October 25, 2007
Release Date: October 30, 2007

Rure Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Da-Mi Seomoon
Translated by:Jumi V. Yang
Adapted by:Kereth Cowe-Spigai

What They Say
Ha-Ru is the daughter of a family that rules a remote island. She is also the heiress to this secluded land, something that Ha-Ru's half sister, Mi-Ru, resents. When Mi-Ru becomes upset and runs away, Ha-Ru follows her--and they are magically ushered into a foreign desert! And in this magical land, it's survival of the fittest!

The Review
Rure boldly goes where nearly every other title of its kind has gone before.


The front and back covers feature the heroine Ha-Ru in desert garb and as a young child, respectively. This is a little bit of strange choice, since most of the storyline so far takes place in modern-day Korea, with a small section taking place in desert and only a brief two-page flashback to Ha-Ru's childhood. Tokyopop's exclamation-mark-filled story synopsis rounds out the back cover, giving the only real indicator to the reader of Rure's storyline.

The print quality inside is in line with what readers have grown to expect from mass-market paperback manga/manwha, at least for the black-and-white artwork. However, Tokyopop continues their unfortunate tradition of converting the color introductory pages to grayscale. The results are readable here, which is an improvement over some of their other recent titles; but Tokyopop adds insult to injury by using the full-color version of one of these panels for the book's back cover.

No extras are included in this volume.


The artwork in Rure is competent, if somewhat unoriginal. This being the first manwha I've ever read, I was slightly surprised by how much Seomoon's art style seems to borrow from the shoujo manga formula; if not for the names and the occasional Korean lettering, I could have easily confused this for a Japanese work. The design of the monsters and spirits reveal some occasional sparks of creativity, but Ha-Ru's encounters with these creatures are disappointingly infrequent so far.

Moving beyond the character designs, the artwork is still unobjectionable, but nothing extraordinary. Action scenes are often the downfall of unskilled artists, but Seomoon seems to have the discipline to pull off Rure's frequent action sequences without visually disorienting the reader. While Rure may not be the most dazzling title on the market, the art does what it needs to do.


The text is printed in a clean typeface and is generally legible. That said, there are a few places where the letterer has tried to cram too much English text into one bubble.

On the other hand, I'm a little disappointed with the quality of the translation and adaptation. The English text features a handful of blatant grammatical errors ranging from apostrophe abuse to outright misspellings, not to mention some groan-worthy tries at punching up the dialog for a younger audience. (Someone needs to let Mr. Cowe-Spigai know that teenagers stopped saying "you're the bomb" almost a decade ago.) I can't help but feel like this volume of Rure could have used another round of copy-editing before it hit the presses.

Sound effects are usually left in Korean, but are occasionally translated inline.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Apart from being a star athlete in the Tae Kwon Do club, fifteen-year-old Ha-Ru Shin seems to be just another pupil at her Seoul boarding school -- albeit one that can see spirits following her. After school one day, Ha-Ru's half-sister Mi-Ru makes an unexpected visit to deliver the news that the family elders have called Ha-Ru back to the Shin family island for the annual ceremony. This development instills enough curiosity in classmates Dong-Uk and Joon-Hee that they insist on tagging along with Ha-Ru on her journey. After some strange remarks from other passengers on the island's ferry, Ha-Ru sheepishly reveals to her friends that she is next in her family's matriarchal line of succession, and that the stands to inherit the entire island in the near future.

The sole obstacle that stands in the way of Ha-Ru's inheritance is the issue of her half-sister Mi-Ru. Though Mi-Ru is Ha-Ru's elder, she's the product of her father's affair with another woman and hence not technically part of the Shin matriarchal bloodline. This conflict over the island's fate has bitterly divided the Shin family, with some unscrupulous relatives planning to prop up Mi-Ru as a puppet for their own business initiatives. Ha-Ru's father resolves the conflict by effectively disowning Mi-Ru; when Mi-Ru overhears this development, she runs off in a fit of rage and plunges into the ocean surrounding the island. Ha-Ru's unsuccessfully tries to prevent Mi-Ru from jumping, and both are soon dragged under.

When Ha-Ru regains consciousness, she finds herself and her sister surrounded by desert and in the middle of a monster's path. The monster is soon followed by a cloaked man who speaks to Ha-Ru in a strange tongue and offers her a water bottle. After drinking the water, Ha-Ru immediately begins understanding the man's words; unfortunately, those words are a command to hand over Mi-Ru, whom Ha-Ru has just inadvertently sold into slavery in exchange for a few sips of water. When Ha-Ru objects to this strange custom, the man reveals himself as the mercenary Ku-Ya and challenges Ha-Ru to a duel. Ha-Ru accepts Ku-Ya's proposal, hoping to use her tae kwon doe abilities in an attempt to win back Mi-Ru's freedom.

So far, Rure is so solidly average that it's somewhat difficult to be passionate about it one way or the other. If it has one big strike going against it, it's that the basic storyline doesn't take any risks that could set Rure apart from the countless other "misunderstood high school student gets sucked into a vortex and dumped into a fantasy world" titles that have come before it. Ha-Ru isn't really developed enough yet as a character for me to have much interest in her plight; Mi-Ru's role as the family's hidden shame plays out pretty much predictably; and Seomoon shifts to the fantasy setting too late in this first volume for a solid impression to really sink in.

While I can't really identify anything that Rure does extraordinarily well, it's similarly hard to point out anything that I actively dislike about it so far. The only development to this point that could set Rure apart from the crowd, for good or for bad, is the intrigue surrounding the Shin family island and Ha-Ru's bloodline. But after Ha-Ru and Mi-Ru are unceremoniously dumped in an alternate world, it's not clear to me whether these plot elements are going to play a significant role in future volumes, or whether Seomoon is simply going to sever all ties to Ha-Ru's old life on Earth.

For lack of a better word, Rure is the kind of "safe" title that I think genre fans will get some enjoyment out of, precisely because it doesn't try to stray too far from established genre conventions. Other readers are advised to wait and see what direction the story takes in future volumes; nothing in Rure really screams "must-read" at this point, but there's still plenty of time left for Seomoon to pull out a few surprises along the way.


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