Ryu’s Dreams – Rain (Manga)

000aLanguage: Japanese
Direction: Right to Left
By: SUMIKAWA Megumi (Artist) / YOSHINO Takumi (Story)
Publisher: Blade Comics
Type: Series
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Medieval
Availability: Volume (Unlicensed)

The small country Sunkwoll is in a tight spot because it’s under attack of the great country Zarmine. But the general, Rain, who’s reputed to be an exceptionally gifted swordsman, is against the war and won’t enter the battle. But how is one supposed to wage a war like this anyway?

Please note: This post is spoiler heavy. While it doesn’t give everything away it does discus several key points. However we don’t cover ALL of them, so feel the series is still worth picking up

Like almost all of the titles that are on my Wishlist I’m surprised they’re unlicensed. They have everything that (IMO at least) makes for a great series.

Rain, actually has something else as well, it has an amazing personality to it in and of itself, separate from the characters, or perhaps it’s truer to say the various characters personalities form into a single personality of the over all story.

Rain follows the trials and tribulations of, well, Rain. He’s a general in the army of Sunkwoll, famous since he’s a commoner, and also exceptionally gifted in combat.

The story starts as the country is being invaded and Rain stands before the king and calls him an idiot for sending the army on a suicide mission, and refuses to partake and thus is sentenced to house arrest.

Things don’t go well for the King after that, he abandons a good chunk of his forces just because their commander, Ralphus; is a friend of Rain’s and ultimately is murdered when his own nobles turn on him.

Ralphus and his forces catch up in time to learn of the death of the Rain_v01_-_coverKing and the betrayal
of the nobles, so he leads his men in a valiant charge against in the nobles to seek revenge. Finally he turns towards the really enemy, the Invaders, and prepares for a suicide rally against them. However he, and his forces, are rescued by a subordinate of Rain and lead to safety.

Meanwhile back in the castle the remaining nobles hunt for the princess, to use her as a bargaining chip. However the Princess and her maid escape and head for the castle where Rain lives, and is currently under house arrest.

I think that’s a pretty good recount of the first volume, covers most of the major occurrences but doesn’t give everything away, making it still worth reading.

The following volumes are split into two main arcs, the first deals with Rain helping the Princess establish her throne, while dealing with rebellious nobles, another invasion from a different nation, and the previous invaders, Zarmine, stirring up trouble where they can.

Over the course of the first arc it’s made apparent that all most all the major characters are more than human, for various reasons. Rain however is the most unusual, and it’s not until later on that some off his heritage is made apparent.

Rain’s laid back attitude helps set the stage of the story, and even when things are getting serious, his personality keeps things light. I loved this, made reading a breeze, and at times it was like being carried along by the breeze. However at times his laid back attitude is dropped and a darker more menacing one comes through. Frankly it was one of the best handled scenes of the series so far when this happened.

It not only let us see a different side of Rain, but also gave us more much needed insight into his personality and what drives him.

0047-013Although I said that Rain is the most unusual, I honestly found the Princess the more interesting. Initially it’s hinted that she has a demon inside her, but it’s later revealed that the demon is a part of her personality, which slowly comes to the fore, all to meet Rain. However it’s not long till she’s merged with the Princess’s personality as a whole and disappears.

Not long after that however an incident occurs leading to the revelation that a mysterious organisation is hell bent on killing her. They say that while she (the princess) herself isn’t evil, her very being is and must be killed. Leading to a confrontation between them and Rain.

Then you have Ralphus, he starts of just as a charismatic friend of Rain’s, however over time it becomes apparent that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Personality wise I really like Ralphus, he’s a good counter balance to Rain. He’s more dedicated to his job, and takes things more seriously. However his personality is still rather light and easy going, it’s a great mix, and a perfect counter to Rain. Something they comment on several times throughout the series.

Next up, part way through the series Sylvia Rosenburg arrives. A 162rather sexy young woman, with unparalleled martial skills who dual wields two large swords. Rather quickly it’s revealed she was Rain’s teacher over a decade ago, and has arrived to give him a helping hand.

During this, it’s made clear she’s a monster (strength wise) by kicking the crap out of everyone who challenges her. If that wasn’t scary enough, she then reveals that while she taught Rain, he’s actually much stronger than her!

One of the things I loved about Sylvia is her relationship with both the Princess and Rain, it had me chuckling several times over the course of the mini arc.

Sylvia is such an interesting character she got an entire volume to her back story, and her relationship with Rain. I won’t talk about that here, other than to say READ IT!! However not until after she’s arrived and had her fight with Noel. If you read it before hand it will ruin that entire section of the story.

So as I said, the characters in this series, both those mentioned and the many I’ve not (deliberately, so as not to give to many spoilers), make for one of the best manga I’ve read in a long time.

Takumi has written an amazing story, which while being medieval styled, has elements of high fantasy. I like that the fantasy elements aren’t over bearing and let the medieval setting come to the fore a lot more. That’s not say we don’t get magic and mayhem as well, cause we get loads. I just feel the balance is perfect.

What’s more Takumi doesn’t seem to be rushing the story, taking his time, letting it unravel at a stately pace. Each arc and mini arc is given enough time to fully unravel and cover all the areas that need to be covered. Yet it’s also fast enough that you never feel like it’s being dragged out.

Rain_v01_c01_-_001Megumi’s art is for most part amazing. The character designs are stunning, with the Princess and Sylvia taking my fave spots. However I did notice she can’t do horses very well, at times they looked very bad. Overall though her art is amazing.

It’s worth noting though that it doesn’t start amazing, in fact the first volume or two were pretty rough. Though even then the characters had their form, it just looked, rough. However after the 3rd volume and on she came into her own and the art went through leaps and bounds. While the character designs didn’t really go through a lot of changes, they became cleaner, sharper, and more fitting their personalities. By the time Sylvia arrives on the scene it’s only fair to call her art near perfect.

So yeah, in my opinion this is a series that needs to be picked up! What’s more it’s also got a novel series as well. Let this be the next Tate no Yuusha!

Great story, great art, ease of reading, with a little bit of fanservice, what more can we as readers ask for!

Author: Ryu Sheng