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The Poetry of Ran Series Review


Volume 1 cover for The Poetry of Ran

Publisher Summary


In this high-fantasy tale there are monster who devour people and all their evil — and the only way to banish them is to absorb these impurities. Torue, a young bard struggling to make a name for herself encounters one such monster hunter, a young man name Ran and decides to travel with him to gain inspiration from his exploits!


Mangaka: Yusuke Osawa

Translator(s): Motoko Tamamuro & Jonathan Clements

Letterer(s): Cale Ward & Jessica Burton


I received a copy of The Poetry of Ran volumes 1 and 2 as an Advanced Review Copy from Titan Manga in exchange for an honest review.



Background

 

Yusuke Osawa's The Poetry of Ran is a 2 volume seinen series that ran in Fujimi Shobo's Young Dragon Age magazine in Japan. If the mangaka's name sounds familiar, he also created the manga Spider-Man: Fake Red and Star Wars: The Mandalorian.


On July 20th, 2023, Titan Manga announced they had acquired the manga for an English release.


Review

 

Characters


Ran as a character is your average socially awkward protagonist due to his work as a type of monster (known in this world as Karma) hunter known as a Children of Impurity. Since villages and towns shun these types of hunters unless there's a monster that needs slaying, Ran wasn't exposed to much socialization. Due to his childhood trauma, he forgot how to smile so when he tries, it horrifies everyone who sees it. This becomes a running gag throughout the series.


Torue is the other lead who ends up accompanying Ran on his journey. A spunky bard who only knows classic songs but dreams of having her own song immortalized amongst the greatest songs. She decides she wants to sing about the Children of Impurity to give the public an understanding of the burden they experience on the job.


She is the reader's world building exposition piece. Everything about the word including how the Children of Impurity function, is told to her by others.

There are others such as Mina and Jill but they are static characters. They don't get any development outside of their introductory chapters and only show up more often towards the end of the second volume.


Art


The art is generally fine. What Osawa does well are the double page action scenes and monster designs. He adds a lot of detail to the designs that made me stay on the page and admire the creativity on some of the monsters. The action scenes were very detailed, especially the blows that Ran would do onto the monsters.


General Thoughts


The series gives off Witcher vibes. Ran is a "Child of Impurity" which is a special type of monster hunter who absorbs the curses or "sins" of the slain monster (called Karma). Children of Impurity are avoided by regular people in fear of the curses being spread to them. However those same regular people will hire Children of Impurity to slay Karma. Since they can absorb curses, they don't live long. All of this reminded me of Witchers and how they are treated in their universe.


Most of the first volume is episodic. Ran and Torue are introduced and she follows him to the HQ of the hunters where Ran (alongside his rival and acquaintance Mina) takes down a Karma that appears in the town. Ran gets hired for another job and Torue accompanies him to the area. This is where Ran faces off against a giant karma given the title of "rampage" due to how powerful it is.


While this is towards the end of the first volume, this is where the overarching plot begins and continues until the end of the second (and final) volume. The overarching villain, Sagaris, is revealed and the reader finds out that he and Ran have history.


This is also when the plot turns into a revenge story. Ran wants to kill Sagaris who killed he and Ran's master in order to acquire their master's weapon, one of the strongest in the history of the Children of Impurity. Sagaris is also driven by vengeance to destroy the kingdoms that didn't come to his aid when his kingdom was rampaged by monsters.


What I disliked about the series is that the story begins throwing out abilities and skills that break the established lore without explanation and the protagonists are unfazed by the reveal. Sagaris creates a powerful being out of a large curse which was both previously unexplained as being possible.


This wouldn't be much of an issue if there characters were shocked at this being possible or that this being hinted at beforehand. When it happened, the characters seemed to be unfazed by it occurring. Especially since the villain is the only one to ever do it in the story and no one seems to be fazed by it when both show up in various locations.


The ending seemed rushed but it's decent. I think turning the story into a personal revenge conflict between Ran and Sagaris was the right way to go since the mangaka wouldn't have to resolve too many plot threads. It's also a happy ever after kind of ending which people will enjoy.


Final Thoughts

 

Overall, The Poetry of Ran introduces some interesting ideas that get hindered by its irregular world building exposition and rushed pacing. However, for a 2 volume series, it can make for a relaxing afternoon read.


Verdict: Buy it on sale


The Poetry of Ran volume 1 and volume 2 from Titan Manga are available at all retailers

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