I know, I know, I was supposed to stick to webcomics but it’s just that I recently finished both of these series and I wanted to talk about them, just a little bit.
Devils and Realist
I’ll start with Devils and Realist as I have a feeling that not many people are still reading this Manga. In fact, it’s out of print and I could only find it at this bookstore. They did a great job by the way and my address was handwritten. I don’t remember the last time I saw someone else’s handwriting!
I started this manga because I actually really liked the anime. And I still prefer the anime. The manga and anime are both pretty close but I just like animation. This said, I enjoyed the series in any form I could get it and I’m really happy I found it all. I would describe it as a less sarcastic Black Butler. It has a lot of the same elements but is overall more cheery and earnest.
You may have seen the series categorized as BL and although there are some insinuations towards the end it really is more shipping material than anything you could actually call BL. It’s a cute boy supernatural comedy Slice of Life manga with a bit of soap opera thrown in for funsies. I’m not sure it would appeal to most and as it is quite difficult to find I can’t just generally recommend it.
However, if, like me, you enjoyed the anime and were wondering if the manga was worth it. I would say yes. It’s true to the tone and jovial antics and the character designs are just as pretty.
Ran and the Gray World
Ran and the Gray World is likely to interest more of my readers. It’s a fairly recent release (as in the official English series was made fully available in May 2020. The title has also sparked a bit of controversy.
Although this one if pretty easy to find, I once again can’t just recommend it to all. I talked about it on Twitter and was immediately told by someone that they couldn’t get into it. I described it as kinda weird, oddly fetishistic at times and unevenly paced. This said I loved it.
One thing most people agree on is that the art is breathtaking. And it really is one of the most beautiful manga I have seen. There is quite a bit of nudity is for some reason that offends you and a lot of it is really casual. Some people just don’t like clothes.
The story is once again supernatural. The main arc basically follows a war between ancient witches that live among humans and a primordial evil that takes the form of insects. But that arc is interspersed at completely irregular intervals by a seemingly arbitrary little slice of life side stories.
My favourite of these is the tale of how when older brother Jin first discovered his wolf transforming ability as a little kid and turned into a cub, he ran out of the house and was found by a small boy and ended up living as his pet for 2 years. He never told the boy the truth but they are still friends. I’m skipping all the good parts but it was a really heartwarming story.
The thing that mostly rubs people the wrong way is the sexualizing of Ran. Ran is a small child for most of the book, I’m not sure how old, maybe 11. But she has magic shoes that transform her body (and powers) into that of a young adult. Ran in her young adult form is a frequent source of fanservice and is pursued by an adult man as one of the central plots. If that skeeves you out, then you’re probably going to have a tough time with the book.
I will say there is no nonconsent, no actual sexual acts with minors and Ran does end up in a loving relationship with someone her own age. So my description is the worse of it.
But aside from that, it really is an odd story and it might be hard to get into. It’s heavily influenced by the structure of a lot of classical Eastern folklore that may be a bit too much of a culture clash for some. And if extremely eccentric characters are hard for you to relate to, you may have some difficulty caring for the cast.
That’s it. These are my two mini-reviews. Two series I have a feeling will be very hit or miss with my readers but I enjoyed both a lot!