Sunday, November 6, 2011

Commentary: Comic Ran

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

After I picked Comic Ran Twins, I realized that it was the sister magazine to Comic Ran. So, a few days later when I decided to go to a coffee shop near the apartment, I figured that I might as well read the original magazine over coffee as well, just to be able to compare the two.

(Shinchou Senki)

In general, spin-off magazines (e.g. - Morning Tsu, Champion Monthly) for some reason aren't as good as the original ones, and appear to exist only as an outlet for artists trying to establish themselves in the industry. This is definitely the case with Twins, in that Comic Ran is the much better magazine. Ran also specializes in samurai and Edo-era drama stories, but the artwork is greatly improved, and the stories are paced better. There's a mix of serious combat and 4-panel gags, with a couple longer comedy pieces as well. As with Ran Twins, I haven't seen any of these titles before, and the only artist I recognize is Takao Saito (Golgo 13), who has Oniheihankachou, and is given writer credits on Kumotori Zanpei (currently drawn by Tetsumi Dokou). Both of these titles have been around for a long time, so if you're a ninja or samurai fan, you may already know them.

(Kumotori Zampei)

There are a couple stand-out stories here, primarily Kumotori Zanpei, Shinchou Senki, and Choujuu Gitan II. Most of the titles follow the same patterns, though - intrigue leads to a fight where the bad guys get cut down and the good guys move on to the next intrigue. If you're a big fan of Taiga drama, then Ran and Ran Twins are for you. Monthly, 380 yen, 350 pages. Published by Leed, Japan.

(Despite the great splash page, Fuu Unji-Tachi is actually a silly gag story featuring an intent, but ill-adapted soldier of fortune and his friends.)

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