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Manga / Blue Ramun

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"Doctor, doctor, gimme the news, I got a bad case of lovin' you!"

A 3-volume manga by Yuuki Ryou, Blue Ramun was initially serialized in Melody manga anthology magazine between 2004 - 2006 before being collected in tankobon format. It follows the adventures of Jessie, a girl with healing powers who works as a doctor in a desert empire.

Jessie was born into the nomadic Blue Ramun tribe, whose magical blue blood can heal nearly any ailment or injury. Long ago the Blue Ramun people were nearly hunted to extinction for the properties of their blood, saved only by the last-minute intervention of the Silkdeep Empire. Now, the few remaining members of the tribe dedicate their lives to serving as the revered "Blue Doctors," ministering to the citizens of the Empire with their sacred blood. Having just turned 15 and completed her medical training, Jessie is sent to become the resident healer of the Lezak District of Fargain, Eastern Capital of the Empire.

Lezak is different from the small, close-knit caravans Jessie grew up in, and the demands of caring for the community at large begin to take their toll on the girl's mental and physical health. Fortunately, Jessie isn't alone in her work: Randy, the day-drinking healer-priest of the church is there to aid her in the clinic; and the dashingly handsome but emotionally guarded Captain Eagle of the City Guard has taken a particular interest in her wellbeing.

As Jessie settles into her role as the Blue Doctor of Lezak, the peace of the Silkdeep Empire is threatened by the actions of the Garicalege — a group of Fantastic Terrorists who traffic in the blood of the Blue Ramun tribe. Their leader is the enigmatic Rowan, a man who has made himself into a monster in pursuit of power. Jessie finds herself thrust into the middle of the conflict when Rowan turns his attentions on her and the Lezak district.

Long-buried secrets will come to the surface and old wounds will be reopened as the simmering hostilities with the Garicalege boil over into open warfare. Everything Jessie knows is called into question when connections between herself, Rowan, and Eagle threaten to tear her world apart. Jessie's blood may have the power to heal — but can Jessie's spirit overcome the trials ahead of her?

Blue Ramun contains examples of:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Downplayed, but Jessie just turned 15 and has a Precocious Crush on the 24 year old Eagle. Their Ship Tease is a major factor in the series.
  • All-Loving Heroine: Jessie is sweet, kind, and driven to care for those around her. She can't bring herself to hurt others, even in self defense. She even willingly puts herself into the Garicalege's clutches so that she can treat Rowan — a man she knows to run an operation that hunts Blue Doctors and kills half-blooded children — because she can't ignore the fact that he's in constant pain.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Airi the Alchemist is one of the only characters whose skin tone is shaded, contrasting with her pale hair. On meeting her Jessie notes that she must be a foreigner because of her "brown skin and white hair."
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: Overlaps with Fantasy Counterpart Culture — the story is set in the Silkdeep Empire, which covers a vast desert. Loose cloaks and turbans are de rigueur for background characters (while Jessie dresses like clothes that wouldn't be out of place on a stylish girl from the early 2000's and Eagle wears a police uniform). Jessie even hails from a Bedouin-esque tribe of nomads (whose children and elderly live in constantly moving caravans while the adults are employed in permanent settlements).
  • Arranged Marriage: Jessie and Yuan's betrothal was organized by their tribe when they were still quite young. Though Jessie is 15 and Yuan is 17, Yuan recognizes that her interest in Eagle threatens their arranged marriage. Yuan pressures Jessie not to become too involved with Eagle — ostensibly so that they can maintain the purity of their tribe's bloodline, but also because he genuinely likes Jessie and wants to marry her.
  • Badass Preacher: Although Randy acts like a slacker and looks like a bum, he is the former Guard Captain of the Lezak District and retains all his fighting skills. In Chapter 7, he was able to distract Rowan (who has a literal dragon arm that can shoot blasts of fire) long enough for Jessie and Mirna to escape and for Eagle to come to the rescue, even after getting cut up by Rowan's claws.
  • Badass Transplant: Multiple high-ranking members of the Garicalege have swapped out their limbs for transplants from wolves, lions, and even dragons in order to make themselves stronger, faster, more powerful, and more lethal in combat.
    • Rowan's left arm is a hulking, clawed transplant from a Fire Dragon.
    • An unnamed subordinate is shown with digitigrade legs that enable him to run faster than a normal human.
  • Bedlah Babe: In Eagle's poison-induced fever dream, Jessie appears before him in a beautiful outfit consisting of a short top, a scarf-skirt, a beaded, veiled headdress, and lots of jewelry to heal him with a bloodied kiss.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Zig-Zagged — Rowan's dragon Tisuodo is missing his right arm above the elbow, but is able to summon/ create a dragon-headed prosthesis that he can use like a Whip Sword.
  • Blood Transfusion Plot: Exaggerated — it's a medical drama and every plot boils down to a Blood Transfusion Plot because Jessie's blood has magical healing properties. Her blood is often the only course of treatment that can prevent someone from dying from poison, or succumbing to hereditary blood diseases, or perishing due to fantasy a disease that turns the body to sand, etc....
  • Book Ends: The story begins on Jessie's 15th birthday, the age at which Blue Ramun tribe members finish their training and are assigned their first posting as a Blue Doctor of the Empire. The last chapter takes place on Jessie's 16th birthday, with Eagle and Randy promising to prepare a home-cooked meal for her to celebrate the year she's spent in Lezak.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The magically curative blood of the Blue Ramun people is called "ramun." According to the Author's Notes at the end of the first volume, Yuuki Ryou based the title on a misspelling of the Arabic word for blood:
    "Ramun" is a word I got from the Arabic word for "blood", which is "Damu", but I misread it as "Ramun."
  • Child of Forbidden Love: Mirna is the child of a Blue Person and a citizen of the empire. Relationships between the two ethnic groups are explicitly forbidden because they produce children like Mirna, who have a weakened version of the Blue Ramun and are seen as diluting the bloodline.
  • City Guards: Eagle is Captain of Lezak District's Police/ Guards (both terms are used in translation), who work as a combination police force, fire brigade, and as detectives. They also appear to serve in some capacity as members of the Silkdeep Empire's army (which in later chapters is referred to as the "Police Army").
  • Dead Person Conversation: An apparition of Dr. Zai appears before Jessie as she searches the Lezak Blue Doctor's research lab for his notes on the Scarlet Thief poison, guiding her to the antidote and forcing her to swear that she'll continue to serve as a Blue Doctor. Jessie had just watched him die in the ruins outside the city, and she's remarkably calm for someone speaking to a ghost.
  • Desert Bandits: Bandits are a common danger in the desert, even right outside the gates of Lezak city. Merchants are in danger of losing their goods if they arrive after the city gates are closed for the night. When Jessie accidentally gets locked outside the city gates, she is attacked by bandits and needs to be rescued by a whole squad of City Guards.
  • Dragon Rider: The Northern land of Seldia uses tamed dragons as a means of transport for small groups of soldiers and diplomats, and highly trained soldiers called Dragon Tamers are the ones who pilot the creatures. Idee is the only named Dragon Tamer, and he works with Eagle's brother Ray as something of a chauffeur and bodyguard rolled into one. Seldia's Dragon Tamers also put in an appearance during the final battle against the Garicalege, acting as an advance cavalry armed with bows.
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: The blood of members of the Blue Ramun tribe has incredible healing properties that can repair nearly any cellular damage, said to be gifted to them by one of the world's three gods. The healing powers inherent in their bodies are explicitly stated to be one of the most potent magical abilities in the entire low-magic world — which is why the Garicalege traffics in stolen blood of the Blue Ramun tribe, and why Dr. Zai attempted to craft medicine out of the blood and organs of his fellow Blue People.
  • Fantastic Terrorists: The Garicalege are a group of Ramun traffickers headed by the mysterious Rowan. Several members of the group have undergone voluntary limb transplants from animals like lions, wolves, or dragons. Their methods of obtaining Ramun range from abducting and bleeding trained Blue Doctors to kidnapping illegal half-blooded Blue Ramun children to harvest their blood and organs.
  • Forbidden Love: Romantic relationships and marriages between Blue Ramun people and citizens of the empire are forbidden. When Jessie and Eagle finally confess their feelings for each other, they have to hide their relationship.
  • Good Shepherd: Randy left his position as the Guard Captain of the Lezak District and turned to the priesthood because he felt an immense amount of guilt at being unable to stop Rowan from killing Eagle's wife Yuma, but wasn't willing to turn his back on the community. Although he day-drinks and blasphemes, he always puts the needs of the community first, taking on the role of healer while Lezak was between Blue Doctors. He also teaches at the district's school.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: It is forbidden for members of the Blue Ramun tribe to marry outside of their ethnic group, and doubly forbidden for them to produce children with civilians. The children of such unions have a weakened version of their Blue Ramun parent's healing abilities, but not enough to work as full fledged Blue Doctors. The Garicalege preys on these "illegal" children because their disappearances can't be reported, kidnapping them to harvest their blood and organs. When Jessie and Eagle rescue the little girl Mirna from the Garicalege, Eagle uses his connections (his brother Ray is a diplomatic envoy) to have the her sent North to the land of Seldia, where there isn't legal prejudice against half-Blue Ramun kids.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Randy's normal appearance is somewhat slovenly — unkempt Perma-Stubble, wrinkled priest robes, bad posture, and a tendency to be drunk before noon. While he slacks off when it comes to daily prayers, he takes his official duties seriously. When he has to officiate an important ceremony like a wedding or a funeral he puts in the effort to shave, slick back his hair, and wear a clean uniform.
  • Healing Hands: The blood of the people of the Blue Ramun tribe has the magical ability to cure most ailments and injuries. Even close proximity to/ the physical touch of a member of the tribe can have curative effects, such as easing the intensity of a hangover or the pain of arthritis.
  • Healing Factor: The people of the Blue Ramun tribe heal at an accelerated rate thanks to the healing properties of their blood. Most cuts and bruises they sustain heal inside of a few hours. When Jessie is stabbed in the stomach at the end of Volume 1, she recovers completely from the wound in just a handful of days.
  • Heirloom Engagement Ring: A Zig-Zagged example — when Eagle confesses his love to Jessie, he gives Jessie his dead wife Yuma's earring. In Eagle's culture a married couple exchanges earrings instead of wedding rings, with each partner wearing one half of the matching pair; women on their left ears, men on the right. A widow/widower wears their partner's earring for a year after the death of their spouse. Eagle continued to wear Yuma's earring for more than three years after she was killed, both out of grief and out of an inability to forgive himself for her death. Giving Jessie the earring symbolizes that he's made peace with Yuma's death, and is ready to return Jessie's feelings.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Horses do exist in the Silkdeep Empire, but their use is limited to the military police, and even then only for regular patrols inside the city walls and for brief engagements outside the town. Other beasts of burden include:
    • Large birds seem to be used for transport while out in the desert. Jessie rides one in the first chapter as she leaves the caravans, and several are seen in the background of a merchant's convoy.
    • Seldia, the Silkdeep Empire's neighbor to the north, has tamed the region's flying dragons for use as elite cavalry in their military and a sort of taxi service for government agents. Eagle's brother Ray works with Dragon Tamer Idee while visiting the empire on official diplomatic business, and is able to offer Eagle a ride back to Lezak after a military police conference in the Capital. The maximum load a dragon is seen carrying in-series is three grown men (or two grown men, a short teenage girl, and a child) but it's not made clear if this represents the outer limits of their carrying capacity. During the battle against the Garicalege Seldia's dragons are utilized as cavalry, loaded up with a pilot and an archer.
  • Intimate Healing: Injured people can benefit from close physical proximity to members of the Blue Ramun tribe. In Chapter 15, a Blue Ramun elder suggests a tribe member sleep next to the poisoned Eagle while he recovers. Jessie ends up taking that responsibility, after healing him of the poison with a bloodied kiss.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Eagle's wife Yuma was killed by Rowan, the notorious leader of the Garicalege. Culturally, Eagle is required to refrain from remarriage during the year-long mourning period after her death. As the story starts, it's been three years and he's still wearing her memorial earring and refusing any new romantic advances.
    • Dr. Zai Gristen fell in love with Ishluna, a civilian patient of his who contracted the Sand Sickness. Unable to halt the spread of the disease through traditional Blue Ramun medicine made from his own blood, he began to experiment with treatments made from the bones and organs of his fellow Blue Doctors. He murdered an untold number of his Blue Tribe members before Ishluna succumbed to the Sand Sickness. Despairing over her death, disillusioned with the work of the Blue People, and driven out of Lezak as a wanted criminal, he joined the Garicalege and began trafficking in stolen blue blood under the name "Rowan." It's the memory of Ishluna that finally convinces him to regret imprisoning Jessie and poisoning Eagle, realizing the parallels between his and Jessie's situations. He worries that if Jessie loses someone she cares about because her blood's power isn't enough to heal them, Jessie might turn down the same dark path as he and become another "Rowan."
  • Low Fantasy: The story takes place in a low-magic "Arabian Nights" Days setting. There aren't any elves or dwarves or sentient races besides humans. What little magic exists is limited to the innate healing powers of the Blue Ramun people (who are still recovering from genocidal attacks against their tribe centuries ago) and the research of alchemists like Airi. Even with healing powers, the Blue Doctors dedicate their lives to learning the healing arts in order to supplement their natural abilities and the limits of how much blood they can give on a daily basis. There are dragons in the world, but they're endemic to a totally different country, showing up infrequently and being treated a bit like an elephant taxi (that just so happens to be able to fly) when they do. The story focuses mainly on the life of a girl with minor healing powers who works as a doctor, until she happens to get swept up in the activities of a cartel of Fantastic Terrorists who traffic in the blood of healers.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Jessie's full name is Jessie Jackson. One letter off from the spelling used by civil rights icon Jesse Jackson.
  • Nun Too Holy: Randy is a priest-healer who oversees the various religious ceremonies, weddings, and funerals in Lezak, but his behavior more closely resembles that of a bum than a man of the cloth. He smokes excessively, drinks at all hours of the day, and sleeps through his personal prayers. Randy will be the first to point out that he's broken nearly enough rules to get kicked out of the priesthood, but his congregation love and trust him nevertheless. Even with the façade of a lazy, carefree slacker, everyone can see that he's got a good heart and the best interest of the community in mind.
  • Orphanage of Love: The Lezak Orphanage might be run by a hardass, but the children are well treated — and most importantly, the Orphanage pays the medical taxes that enable their wards to be cared for by Lezak's Blue Doctor. The children in the orphanage seem happy and well cared for.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • The northern land of Seldia has dragons. Dragon Tamers appear to work mainly for the government/ military, and can ferry small groups of soldiers and diplomats from place to place like an elite taxi service. Eagle's brother Ray has a Dragon Tamer at his disposal while he visits Silkdeep Empire. Later, Seldia's dragons appear as flying cavalry to aid the Police Army of the Silkdeep Empire in their offensive against the Garicalege's stronghold.
    • Rowan replaced his arm with a Badass Transplant from a Fire Dragon.
  • Planet of Hats: All members of the Blue Ramun tribe are doctors. The Blue People are an ethnic group defined by the innate healing powers of their blood, and the tribe's society is structured around practicing medicine and ensuring the continuity of their work as healers. Adults and teenagers past the age of 15 live scattered throughout the empire in cities where they serve as doctors. Children are raised in communal caravans where they spend their formative years in an extended apprenticeship learning how to augment the power of their blood with herbal medicine and surgical techniques. The tribal elders travel in the caravans to care for and teach the children. Based on Jessie's memories of her early childhood, married couples might spend a few years living together after their children are born, but are likely to go their separate ways once the kids are old enough to join a caravan.
  • Playing with Fire: Rowan's Fire Dragon arm has the ability to shoot blasts of fire.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Rowan coats the claws of his dragon arm with "Scarlet Thief" poison in preparation for his battle with Eagle. Though Eagle manages to cut off the dangerous transplanted arm, he has to get close enough that Rowan is able to poison him with a slash of the claws.
  • Power Crystal: A Downplayed example — the Blue Doctors use crystals in their operations. "Water Stones" and "Crystallized Blood Stones" are both mentioned in the context of surgical procedures, the first for rinsing out a wound and the second as a transfusion source for a patient who has lost a lot of blood. Jessie also uses a "Hearing Stone" much like a stethoscope to check a patient's lung function.
  • The Power of Blood: The blood of the Blue Ramun people possesses an incredible healing ability. Even diluted in herbal poultices or enteral medications, it can heal those who have been stabbed, cure the poisoned, and almost completely reverse the effects of anemia. The only ailment it can't seem to cure is the "Sand Sickness," a disease that turns the sufferer's body to sand — Jessie suspects that this is because her blood can't regenerate dead cells, and the Sand Sickness turns the body's living cells into inert sand.
  • Promotion to Parent: A Downplayed example, but Killy of the Salaam Slums is the only caretaker to her sickly brother Lau. Their abusive father is a worthless drunkard, and their mother died of anemia. Every day, she has to steal food from the market in order to feed her family. Killy begs the Lezak Orphanage to take in her brother so that he can be treated by the Blue Doctor, but they turn her down because her father is still in the picture. At the end of her rope and out of options to care for Lau, Killy is willing to kill their father and turn herself in to the police to ensure that Lau will be cared for.
  • The Reveal:
    • Rowan is revealed to be Dr. Zai Gristen, a member of the Blue Ramun tribe and the last Blue Doctor to serve the Lezak District before Jessie.
    • Later, a deeper connection between Rowan and Jessie is revealed: Dr. Zai was her father's best friend, but his obsessive research and forbidden experimentation drove him into exile. When Jessie's parents went to confront him, Dr. Zai nearly killed the three year old Jessie before the young girl's empathy and kindness stopped him.
  • Romancing the Widow: Jessie is conflicted about her feelings for Eagle, especially once she learns he's still in mourning for his deceased wife. In the end, it's Jessie's love that helps Eagle move on from his guilt over Yuma's death.
  • Self-Made Orphan: A Downplayed example — Killy is the only caretaker to her sickly little brother Lau, since their mother is dead and their father is an abusive drunk. She can't get the Lezak orphanage to take in her brother because their father is still alive, even if he refuses to care for them. Killy resolves to kill her father so that the orphanage will have to accept Lau, but is prevented from doing so when Jessie throws herself in front of Killy's blade. Killy's attempt scares off her dad, so in the end Lau is accepted into the orphanage and is healed by Jessie's blood, while Killy goes to prison for attacking a Blue Doctor.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: Downplayed, but the Garicalege makes their money by harvesting a Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product that only the Blue Ramun tribe members can produce — their magically curative blood (and in some cases, organs). They kidnap adult Blue Doctors to steal their blood, and abduct illegal half-Blue blooded children to keep them in captivity, brainwashed into giving blood on command, until the children become unprofitable to keep alive and are killed to harvest their organs.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Jessie throws herself in front of Killy's blade when Killy attempts to stab her father. Jessie doesn't even know the victim personally — in fact, she knows he's a drunkard that beats his daughter and refuses to pay for his desperately ill son's medical treatment — but she's an All-Loving Heroine who can't stop herself from intervening when she sees someone in pain or in danger.
    • When Tisuodo tries to kill Jessie with his Whip Sword Badass Transplant, Rowan throws himself in front of the blow and gets stabbed through the chest.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Eagle still wears his wife's earring several years after her murder. Tradition dictates that he only needs to wear it during the year-long mourning period following her death, but Eagle refuses to take it off or to consider other romantic partners out of devotion to his late wife.
  • Unfinished Business: Rowan fights Eagle and poisons him, losing his dragon arm in the process. But when Jessie shows up to heal Eagle, Rowan makes an immediate Heel–Face Turn and regrets his actions, telling her to go to his tower to find the formula for an antidote. Then Tisuodo tries to kill Jessie for allowing Rowan's injuries to fester, only for Rowan to throw himself in front of Tisuodo's killing blow (and then get shot full of arrows by the guard) and die before he can atone for his actions. When Jessie reaches the tower and is confronted by the mountains of research, Rowan's ghost directs her to the correct volume of poison antidotes and makes her promise to continue the legacy of the blue doctors before his spirit passes on.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Garicalege kidnaps the illegal half-blooded children of Blue Ramun tribespeople and civilians in order to harvest their blood and organs for trafficking. They keep the children hidden away and pretend to train them as doctors in order to keep the kids compliant and willing to give blood. When the captives turn fifteen, it appears Rowan personally kills them — Volume 2 includes a scene of Rowan using his dragon-arm to rip out a teenager's heart once he comes of age.