Every so often, I’ll click on different art links from whatever webcomic I’m reading to see what else I can find. I’m pretty sensitive to the artwork at these times, and the character designs turn out to be the most important part for me. After I’ve clicked on the link, I focus on dialog and story. Raruurien caught my eye in this way, and the first few pages I clicked through were absolutely gorgeous.

The artwork and story are by Ann Maulina, an Indonesian artist who also works as a freelance game and concept artist. The character designs are arguably influenced by certain hyper-realist shojo manga, such as Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story. Ann won bronze in the 10th Japan International Manga Awards in 2017 for this comic.

Raruurien is set in a fantasy world where humans and a kind of turtle-like non-human race coexist. The primary character so far is Riensha (Rien), a 34-year-old widow who works as an herbalist. Her husband, Raed, died at some point before the comic starts, and all we know about him is that he was good on horseback and a skilled archer. Rien has two sons, Rashad (Ra) (age 6), and Ruu (age 5). Ra has a fairly decent level of control over fire magic, and is a bit jealous of Rien’s doting over Ruu. The problem is that after Raed died, Ruu lost his ability to speak and walk, as well as any magic he’d used to have (he’s getting better, though). Ruu’s pale skin and hair are indicative of a master-level magic potential, so whatever happened to him must have been very traumatic. At the moment, the story is just about Rien’s interactions with the villagers and her children, with explorations into clothing styles and society as a whole. Very laid-back and slow-moving.

The Raruurien website started on June 20, 2017, and the comic is only up to page 91. It’s supposed to update Mondays and Thursdays, but it’s currently on hiatus while Ann concentrates on paying work. It’s definitely worth checking out, and I recommend this webcomic to anyone that likes Kaoru Mori, and is very patient.

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