This manga got 6 amazing chapters and then vanished for over a year, and it's finally coming back next month

RuriDragon lead
(Image credit: Viz Media)

After an unexpected and extended hiatus that poured cold water on an explosive debut in Shonen Jump, fantasy slice of life manga RuriDragon will return to the magazine for a catch-up five-week run beginning March 4 followed by regular twice-monthly releases. 

As CrunchyRoll reported at the time, creator Masaoki Shindo had to step away from manga work for well over a year due to health concerns that have happily now been resolved. This break came on the heels of RuriDragon's first and only volume, which sold over 70,000 copies in its first week, earning it one of the biggest Shonen Jump debuts in recent history and inspiring a loyal fan base online. 

A new tweet from Shindo's account and the Shonen Jump editorial team, translated by CrunchyRoll, reads: "After discussions with Shindo-sensei, we have decided to move RuriDragon to the digital version of Weekly Shonen Jump and Shonen Jump+, where the series will be serialized every other week.

"For the paper version of Weekly Shonen Jump, chapters 7 through to 11 will be published weekly from issue 14, then from episode 12 onward, the story will be moved to every other issue [on Shonen Jump+]." 

All six current chapters of RuriDragon are available to read for free through the website and app of publisher Viz

How did RuriDragon become so successful, and why was it so sorely missed despite being a fledgling manga? The obvious answer is that it's very good. It follows high school girl Ruri Aoki, who wakes up one day with sharp, bony horns growing out of her head. This is the first of many features and abilities to manifest as Ruri learns about the dragon DNA she inherited from her estranged father. 

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Clean art and stellar expressions aside, RuriDragon's secret weapon is how logically and straight-faced it plays this fantasy premise. Ruri's draconic adaptations and mishaps – like accidentally breathing fire after a sneeze, charring her throat in the process – are presented with the perfect balance of calm and concern. Ruri is overwhelmed and understandably freaked out, her mom (who expected this to happen one day) is pretty chill about the whole thing and helps keep her level, and her friends and peers respond with believable intrigue and curiosity. 

The reactions of all the characters feel understandable and even relatable despite the wild circumstances, and this only elevates the 'what happens next' format of waiting on Ruri's draconic discoveries, with a new one teased in a painfully prolonged cliffhanger in chapter six. You end up feeling compelled to read on just to see what Ruri's dragon blood will conjure up next, and this quietly becomes a vehicle for a genuinely sweet message about the challenges of puberty and teenage social circles. 

That said, I reckon RuriDragon's success goes a bit deeper than that. Its setting, pacing, and – most especially – heroine stand out from Shonen Jump's usual stable of works, and I'd wager this also had a hand in its reception. It's an urban slice of life story at its core, but it still delivers fantasy twists and turns with slick action shots. Readers were demonstrably hungry for something like this, and RuriDragon scratched that itch just right before tragically vanishing, so it's great to see it finally make a comeback tour. 

If it hadn't gone on hiatus, RuriDragon likely would've won a spot in the best manga of 2023

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.