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Ran and the Gray World Vol. #04 Manga Review

3 min read
While Ran might finally be making friends, it’s a contentious path she walks.
Ran and the Gray World Vol. #4

Hurting the ones you love.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Aki Irie
Translation/Adaptation: Emi Louie-Nishikawa

What They Say

Knowing that Makoto Hibi has witnessed her magical transformation, Ran is now desperate to erase his memory. But if she gets her way, she might lose a friend in the process. Later, a powerful sorceress in training named Nio Gekkoin shows up and challenges Ran to a duel! Which novice will emerge the victor in this supernatural showdown?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ran, like many kids, doesn’t know what to do with her emotions for Hibi or Otaro. She likes Hibi and Otaro as friends, but her affections towards both are confused. Hibi’s standoffish attitude made her dislike him. When she realizes he knows her secret she resorts to a cartoonish solution to make him forget. The violence between the two kids eventually turns towards an understanding and a firm friendship. At the same time, Ran is making Otaro understand that she’s not ready for an adult relationship, and he finally understands how to respect her boundaries. Not a bad progression, all things considered.

The magic training is proving to be a tad more problematic. While at school Ran is targeted by another new student, Nio. Nio isn’t human, and she does nothing to hide her magic as she takes out her jealousy and anger on Ran. What did Ran do to incur this stranger’s wrath? Why, she stole her mentor, of course! The trouble to two girls get up to during their fight leaves the tutor and mother to clean up after the kids. This is the second time Ran was involved in almost destroying the school. Plus, Ran still doesn’t have a good handle on her extreme powers.

This volume contains more random nudity for its women characters. All of which is completely gratuitous. There’s something very skeevy about Ran’s teacher stripping her down to paint lines on her body. The sorceresses lounging around the spa naked? The artist just wanted to draw boobs.

The flow of the story and plot is still confusing, especially in the later chapters of this volume. Otaro’s internal battle with the insects is a losing one. The reveal that the insects have infected and hijacked him is a non-linear mess of flashbacks and unordered storytelling. The timeline of the sequence of events is difficult to figure out. How Otaro could have reached the realm of sorcery isn’t explained. How one insect could be so powerful is equally unexplained. Hell, why there’s a giant door blocking man-eating insects from the world is unexplained. There’s world-building and then there are complete unsolved mysteries.

Suddenly the sorcerers are exiled from their home as they seek to quarantine the demon insects. That means that the small village is all forced out into the human realm. With nowhere else to go the entire town shuffles into the Uruma household. Worse, nobody has told Ran about Otaro yet.

In Summary
Things are taking a dark turn in this volume of Ran and the Gray World. While Ran might finally be making friends, it’s a contentious path she walks. Her older paramour survived his encounter with the demon wasp only to fall victim to their master plan to free their own kind. Nobody will entrust Ran with the truth about Otaro, or even thinks to do so. The truth will come out at some point, and nobody is going to be able to stop Ran when it does.

Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A +
Packaging Grade: A –
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen +
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 20, 2019
MSRP: $14.99 US / $19.99 CN / £9.99 UK

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