Being a single parent is difficult. In the case of Rien Al Ashab, a widow witch in a small mountain village, it’s an almost impossible task. Rien’s husband was involved in an accident that left him dead and left their youngest son Ruu with head trauma, he lost his memory and speech. She’s navigating the reality of raising two sons, living in a small town as a town healer and adjusting to the challenges this poses. Rien’s other son, Ra is getting increasingly frustrated with having to manage his little brother, who’s an entirely new person and a constant reminder of his grief. It’s a difficult position for her, but one that can be made to feel less harsh with her children by her side.
Raruurien is a very charming slice of life webcomic. It starts out quite slow, but it deserves to be read from the beginning to truly appreciate. There’s an honesty about the thornier side of parenting that I found absolutely endearing. Their loss caused a massive shift in their family dynamic, forcing Ra into a position where he has to become a caretaker for his young amnesiac brother and Rien into having to change her parenting approach and her relationship to the village she lives in. The setting may be fantastical, but the issues are extremely grounded and relatable. It’s a really good read.
It’s the first work I’ve seen from Indonesian artist Ann Maulina. I found her work through the early July’s Twitter movement #portfolioday. I was struck by the strength of her figures and the degree of mastery over colours. It adds tremendously to the story and tone of the story. I’ll be on the lookout for her other projects.