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Manga / Ruin Explorers

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a.k.a. Ruin Explorers Fam & Ihrlie

Ruin Explorers is a manga written by Kunihiko Tanaka, who also made character designs for Xenogears and Xenosaga Episode 1; it was made into a 4 episode OVA by ANIMATE and Ajia-do. It covers the exploits of Fam and Ihrie as they explore ruins and search for the Ultimate Power.

Compare with Slayers and to a less degree with Queen's Blade, arguably a Spiritual Successor of sorts, since both titles were published by Hobby Japan.

Ruin Explorers provides examples of:

  • Demonic Possession: The final episode reveals this is what happened to Ruguduroll when he accessed the Forbidden Power and it's why he went Ax-Crazy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ihrie ends up on the receiving end of this twice:
    • The first is shown, during a flashback, where she accidentally blew up her spell master's laboratory by mishandling one of his forbidden spells. So he put a curse on her that causes her to change into a mouse anytime she uses magic.
    • Fam does this to her, at the end of the first episode, after they have an argument (see Never My Fault further down). She runs off with all their gear - including Ihrie's coin purse, leaving her penniless.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: The manga derives its name from the concept. Local villages thrive off the exploits of brave adventurers, who sell them the relics, tomes, and treasure looted from ancient ruins. Merchants then sell those goods to scholars, collectors, or other adventurers.
  • Easily Forgiven: Ihrie starts to chew Fam out, when she finally catches up to her, but she ultimately decides that it isn't worth making a fuss over and makes up with her instead.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ruguduroll really should've paid attention to why the magic he was trying to access in violation of a Royal order was called the Forbidden Power.
  • Fallen Hero: The final episode reveals Rugudurull was actually one. Despite the prosperity of the kingdom, the Archbishop genuinely despaired at the poverty and suffering of the common people (and which was ignored by the nobility). Seeking to set things right, he unsealed the Forbidden Power against the King's orders... only to end up being corrupted by it.
    • However, this revelation also realistically doesn't earn much sympathy from Lyle. While he concedes Rugudurull's initial intentions of helping the people were noble, it doesn't change that he's guilty of slaughtering them and visiting horrors upon the land.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Following Rugudurull's defeat and death in the final episode, everyone goes their separate ways.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Following the Demonic Possession reveal in the final episode, Ruguduroll briefly resurfaces during the final battle. He despairs at what he's become since unlocking the Forbidden Power and how his intentions and his soul were corrupted. However, the demon quickly regains control and he doesn't resurface again.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: This applies to both Rasha and Fam, who take turns sabotaging one another's attempts to get closer to Lyle. They even become jealous of Ihrie for simply having a private conversation with him.
  • Hidden Buxom: Ihrie usually wears an oversized breastplate and shoulder armor, so Miguel mistakes her for a boy when he first sees her. But when he splits her armor (and her shirt), he gets an eyeful of cleavage as her breasts nearly slip out.
  • "I Hate Mice!": Wanna see how fast Rasha can run? Put a mouse in front of her, then stand clear.
  • Inept Mage: Fam's magic tends to be unreliable because she doesn't study her incantations, no matter how many times Ihrie chews her out for it. Even so, her magic has saved them a few times... when she finally gets them right.
  • Invincible Villain: No matter how powerful the attack, or spell used against him, Rugudurull is impervious to all harm, thanks to an enchantment he cast upon himself to prolong his life. However, Ihrie knows the one spell that can bypass it, making it possible to hurt him.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Aside from her fangs, her tail, and fur color, Fam doesn't look much different than a human girl.
  • MacGuffin: The Ultimate Power, the Sword of Sargus.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The art style and setting of Ruin Explorers is much like that of Slayers
  • Never My Fault: Yes, Ihrie's pretty hard on Fam, but it's far from unwarranted given the number of times Fam's carelessness and her inability to remember incantations has nearly gotten them killed. But, as far as Fam's concerned, Ihrie's an unreasonable jerk who's always yelling at her for nothing. So she decides to "get even" with her by running off with all of their gear, including Ihrie's coin purse.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Rasha has the haughty attitude and the pose down pat, but her laugh has got nothing on Naga's.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Required to wield the Sword of Sargus. But it doesn't have to be a good heart...
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Per supplementary materials, Fam is actually a were-squirrel.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Miguel and Rasha's partnership is based strictly on business only. Though they do seem to care about each other, as friends.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Ihrie gets stuck being a barmaid, thanks to Fam running off with her coin purse. The barkeeper tells her to Show Some Leg and wiggle her butt to entice the customers.
  • Revenge: Lyle seeks vengence against Ruguduroll for decimating his kingdom and its subjects; including his betrothed.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Fam, Rasha and, to a lesser extent, Ihrie (due to her curse). In their world, all spells require an incantation that's spoken in rhyme.
  • The Rival: Fam and Rasha both fall for Lyle and compete for his affections. Except neither has a chance with him since he's faithful to his deceased fiance.
  • Rivals Team Up: The two treasure hunter groups eventually agree to set aside their differences and join forces long enough to find the Ultimate Power, as it's their only hope of defeating Rugudurull.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Miguel fails to realize he's fighting a girl, until he splits Ihrie's chestplate vertically in half. It exposes her cleavage, as her breasts almost slip completely out of her torn clothing.
    Miguel: (in surprise) "OH MAMA! THE BOY'S A GIRL!!"
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Sargus.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Ihrie any time her curse kicks in and she transforms into a mouse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a man named Galuff whose dog is named Gill. On their own, it would draw no attention, but together...
    • Additionally, when Miguel accidentally reveals Ihrie's female attributes, he shouts the catchphrase of a certain other muscle-bound boaster.
  • Stripperiffic: Apparently, Fam doesn't believe she needs pants (or shoes, for that matter) since she has fur. Not that anyone seems to care that she runs around in nothing but a loincloth and a thong - likely because she's underagednote .
  • Supporting Protagonist: Fam & Ihrie, who wind up tagging alongside Lyle, given that the story mostly focuses on his quest.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Both adventurer teams have a swordsman (Ihrie/Miguel) and a spellcaster (Fam/Rasha).
  • Time Passage/Training Montage: Seen in episode three, where it takes them weeks to sail to Rugudurull's island. During that time, we see Ihrie and Lyle taking swordsmanship lessons from Miguel. While Rasha puts Fam to work in the ship's galley, where she's shown teaching her how to cook.
  • To the Pain: Played for Laughs in the second episode, when Miguel ends up in a fist fight with the barkeep Ihrie was working for. By the time it's over, they've beaten each other to a pulp and can barely stand.
  • Useless Useful Spell: An early flashback reveals that Ihrie studied one of her master's forbidden spells behind his back. The spell itself is useless in most cases, since all it's good for is temporarily lifting magic barriers, regardless how strong the enchantment. However, it eventually proves to be invaluable against Rugudurull.
  • Wiccan: Fam is referred to as one and can talk to spirits.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending credits of the final episode reveals what becomes of the characters following Rugudurull's defeat and everyone going their separate ways.
  • "X" Marks the Hero: Irhie has an X-shaped scar on her left cheek, though it's never said how she got it.