Ran and the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 1 cover image
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
Ran and the Gray World is a manga from Aki Irie. The series focuses on a girl who wants to be like her mother, who is a powerful sorceress. VIZ Media is publishing this manga in English as a graphic novel series on a quarterly basis.
Ran and the Gray World, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 6) introduces a girl named Ran Uruma. She lives with her father, Zen, and her annoying older brother, Jin. Ran wants to be a sorceress like her mother, Shizuka, who does not live with Ran and her brother and father. Ran can't wait until she actually grows up, so she uses the help of a magical pair of sneakers that transforms her into a young woman. Her brother and father try to keep her safe, but Ran is also determined to have her own adventure.
THE LOWDOWN: The Ran and the Gray World manga is a strange one, but part of its allure is that it seems like it is going to be... eclectic? And the art is certainly pretty.
Ran of the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 1 is a coming-of-age story in which the character that is coming-of-age of age already seems to be quite self-possessed. As a child or in her adult form, Ran Uruma is trying to discover the world and to discover what she can be in that world. Creator Aki Irie presents Ran's mother's visits to her family as a great raucous thing of magic and creation, and Ran's journey seems to be much like that.
This first volume of Ran and the Gray World is beautifully drawn, and it introduces characters and concepts more than it delves into them. It all seems like a tease, and I want to know more about the delightfully taciturn older brother, Jin, as well as about the obligations of the vivacious, but largely absent mother, Shizuka. I must admit that Ran and the Gray World's sense of the magical and the whimsical make me want to come back for more.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of coming-of-age stories about young magic users will want to try the “VIZ Signature” title, Ran and the Gray World.