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Rure: Volume 1    by Da-Mi Seomoon order for
by Da-Mi Seomoon
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I know there are some die-hard manga fans out there who would never pick up any graphic novel that was not from Japan, not even a Korean manwha. Well, if you are a fantasy fan, you absolutely must check out Rure by Da-Mi Seomoon.

Ha-Ru is the heir to the ruling family of a remote fishing island. When she is called back for the annual Ancestral Rites, she goes out of duty, not because she is ready to rule an island. Her half-sister Mi-Ru sees it differently. This could be because everyone on the island either dismisses or uses Mi-Ru. Ha-Ru is the only one who truly wants to be nice to her, but Mi-Ru cannot see it. When Mi-Ru runs off following a family meeting, Ha-Ru goes after her and catches her half-sister just as she is about to plummet into the sea.

When they land, they are not in water at all, but in a vast, arid desert. Because of a language barrier, Ha-Ru and Mi-Ru get taken into slavery by a group of nomads. Soon, Ha-Ru learns that it is not only the language that is strange to the land. Frightful demons wander the desert, stalking their prey. It is truly survival of the fittest in this mystical land.

Seomoon has written a very solid fantasy manga. The first few chapters are filled with needed exposition to explain the complex relationship between Ha-Ru and Mi-Ru. Not until this is firmly established do the characters wind up in the fantasy world. The world itself is also well-thought out and it feels like Volume One only touches the surface of a richly imagined world.

The artwork in Rure is appropriate for a shojo fantasy. Most of the artwork focuses on the characters, who are very attractive. When monsters do appear, they are more fanciful than horrible. The main thrust of Rure is a solid, in-depth fantasy tale. Da-Mi Seomoon deftly weaves together all of the elements needed for a good shojo fantasy.

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