Ran and the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 5 cover image
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
It is true that Ran Uruma can't wait to grow up and be a sorceress like her mother, Shizuka. With the help of a pair of magical sneakers, Ran sometimes transforms herself into an adult and takes off on various (mis)adventures.
As Ran and the Gray World, Vol. 5 (Chapters 24 to 29) opens, the battle against the bug invasion explodes. The sorceresses have built a glass fortress to contain the bugs, but it is only a matter of time before the bugs break through. Ran's father, Lord Zen, has called in allies like the “White Foxes,” who eat bugs, but Zen may have to reveal himself to the leadership of the human city of Haimachi, which is where the bugs will likely head to when they break free of their prison.
Meanwhile, Ran is determined to save her friend, Otaro Mikado, who has been infested by the bugs. Her people want to burn him alive to destroy his body, which is seemingly the focal point of bug invasion. To save Otaro, however, Ran will have to go against the world of sorcery. Plus, see an early adventure in the life of Ran's brother, Jin, who can transform into a wolf.
[This volume includes the bonus manga, and “Bath Time for the Girls.”]
THE LOWDOWN: The Ran and the Gray World manga is in the middle of an intense story arc. I was not sure if I could really like this series. When I really like a manga/graphic novel series, I become invested in it – chapter by chapter, volume by volume.
Ran of the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 5 is a blast to read. While the main body of the story focuses on the bug invasion, creator Aki Irie gives readers a broader view of the world of magic and the beings that reside within it than she previously has. Irie shows readers the powers and even the eating habits of some of her characters, and what we see suggests that there is so much more to see.
Emi Louie-Nishikawa's translation is spry and lively, which matches the tone of Ran and the Gray World. Louie-Nishikawa's skill really shows as she captures the sense of magic and adventure in the flashback story about young Jin as a wolf-pup. Joanna Estep's lettering continues to add sparks of magic to the atmosphere of this series, which is another reason for you to read this, dear readers.
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.