Ran and the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 3 cover image
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
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. 3 (Chapters 12 to 18) opens, Ran Uruma enters the dreams of her suitor, Otaro Mikado, whose nightmares are haunted by powerful bugs. But is entering any realm of the lustful Otaro a good idea? Also, Shizuka is finally returning home to live with her husband, Zen, and son, Jin, but can Ran survive the homecoming? Plus, Jin picks a partner, but will losing her girlfriend, Sango, sit right with Ran?
[This volume includes the bonus comics and the bonus story, “Plum Peach Cherry Does It Again!”]
THE LOWDOWN: I read the first volume of the Ran and the Gray World manga, and I thought it was a strange one. I thought the art was pretty and that it's eclectic vibe could be part of its allure. Then, my VIZ Media rep sent me a review copy of the third volume.
Ran of the Gray World Graphic Novel Volume 3 really helps the series hit its stride. In a way, it seems disconnected from the first volume. Yes, the art is still pretty; in fact, it is damn gorgeous. However, Vol. 3 is deep into something, whereas Vol. 1 was mere introductory. This manga might have “gray world” in its title, but the black and white art is so textured and detail that it suggests nothing less than a summer fireworks show that fills the sky will dazzling, brilliant colors.
Creator Aki Irie makes every page of her storytelling seem like a flight of fancy, like a zip across the landscape with Peter Pan. Quite frankly, while reading this third volume, I often found myself utterly surprised by how this comic narrative delighted me. Ran and the Gray World is a graphic novel series that is powered by magic and a sense of adventure, and the characters have such potential. I think if future volumes are this good, readers will have a hard time quitting this series.
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.