Direction: Right to Left
By: RAN (Story) / Shiki Mizuchi (Art)
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Genre: Harem, Shounen, Ecchi
Learning to ride and tame dragons comes easy to most students at Ansarivan Dragonar Academy—except for first-year student Ash Blake, who is known by his fellow classmates as the “number one problem child.” Poor Ash is the laughingstock at school because, despite his unfashionably large star-shaped brand that marks him as a future dragon master, he has nothing to show for it. His dragon has never appeared.
Until now, that is. One fateful day, Ash’s dragon awakes in full glory, but appears different than any dragon ever seen before—in the form of a beautiful girl! What’s worse, Ash soon discovers that this new dragon has attitude to spare, as she promptly informs him that she is the master, and he, the servant. Ash’s problems with dragon riding have only just begun.
I’ve had my eye on this series for a while now, but haven’t picked it up for a simple reason, I’ve yet to find all the volumes together. When a series has this many volumes out I prefer to buy them altogether. Unfortunately I’ve only found parts, 1-3-6-7 etc. So when I walked into my local Waterstones I was surprised to see all 8 volumes out on display (especially since Waterstones hates manga these days), naturally I picked them all up.
After reading all eight volumes I realised several things, firstly it’s a typical RAN series, ecchi to the point of hentai (hence it’s OT 16+ rating). Secondly, it’s a fun as hell read, and third, I need more Eco!!
So the series is chock full of cliche’s to the point it really doesn’t even try and hide them, so I can see this being a turn off for a lot of people. However if you can get beyond those you actually have a pretty decent story here. Which I have to admit doesn’t surprise me that much, as RAN typically does write a decent story.
The series follows the ‘hero’ Ash, as he goes through school and has to deal with being ridiculed as a ‘problem kid’ because his dragon mount hasn’t been born yet.
When his mount arrives, in the form of Eco, it’s not what anyone was expecting, and things end up getting wild. So you have Eco, the first human form dragon on the one side, and then every girl in the school on the other, all trying to get into his pants. And off course that includes some princesses and nobility among them.
I actually loved the story and feel it’s RAN’s best to date. The story is rather fast paced, and yet does also feel a little slow at times. However it doesn’t take to many side tracks in the the story, which I personally liked.
The core of the story is Ash and Eco’s relationship, both between themselves and those around them. All told I was surprised when we got to the crux of the story so fast, and how quickly it was resolved, although you know it’s not going to end there 😀
Volume 8, the last I have for now, is the start of a new story arc, and its going to be interesting to see how it develops, though unless some drastic changed occur in the story it’s obvious where it’s going.
Art wise, again it’s typical RAN. The art is borderline hentai, it’s like they couldn’t go a page without something ecchi happening. Which I honestly found a little over the top, but also a little funny. Ecchi content is one of those that needs to be balanced right. Which it is here for the most part.
The dragon’s are amazing looking, and were a mix of eastern and western styles. What surprised me the most however was the gaelic and arthurian references. Which started off initially being rather subtle, but ended up being blatant (Such as Ash wielding Excalibur, Knight of Avalon etc etc).
The character designs are really well done and so is the back drops and scenery. All told I don’t think there was a single bit in the art that I could really point at and say ‘eew’.
What I especially liked was the consistency, of late I’ve been reading other manga where the character designs seemed to go through changes practically every volume. I find this immersion breaking, and distracting, so I was very happy to see consistency throughout all eight volumes.
Seven Seas picked this up and my initial worries they’d screw it up, as they have with other series I love, did seem to bear out. I hated the fact they referred to Eco as a ‘mount’ especially since the actual Japanese word used (so I’m told) can also be translated as partner, which is why in the scanted versions Eco was referred to as Ash’s par.
However, as the series went by I came to understand that it was done deliberately since the relationship between Ash and Eco, with Ash being Eco’s rider and supposed to mount Eco; turning into a sort of running joke. What’s more the humour was actually funny, and I did find myself chortling a little over it
Seven Seas did an amazing job on this series, keeping the colour pages (thank you!!) and the all the extras and bits and bobs. It’s always great to see these left intact!
All told it’s a great series, so long as you can handle the ecchi content, which as I said, does put its toe over the line into hentai a little. Now I just need to wait for volume 9 to arrive (next week hopefully) and volume 10 to be released. However I am not happy about having to wait till August for volume 10.
Come on Seven Seas get it together!!