Rumic World was first published in English in comic book format by VIZ Select Comics, with two issues, containing the chapters Fire Tripper and The Laughing Target, published between June 1989 to 1990. Select chapters were included in the monthly anthology magazine Manga Vizion, likewise published by VIZ Media, running from the first issues of March 1995 to July 1997. VIZ Media published the three tankoubon volumes from January 5 to November 5, 1997.
The thing about being a comic book nerd discovering manga back in the 80's and 90's is that it was almost like being one of those hip kids first discovering William Burroughs back when Naked Lunch was the edgiest thing in literature. There was just something cool about reading Akira when everyone else was reading Superman Adventures. Peter Milligan's Human Target? Forget that, there was Crying Freeman!
Ok, ok, bad example.
But there is something undeniably nostalgic about Rumiko Takahashi's earlier work. I'm not so sure it's the fact I grew up with Ranma, as much as there's a dry look to her art that gives her
stories a sort of familiar, maybe even comforting feeling.
At least, that is the sort of thing that originally drew me into these collections of the mangaka's one-shots, and they are well worth seeking out. Specifically, fans of Inu-Yasha, Ranma, or maybe even Maison Ikkoku will enjoy being able to see just how Rumiko Takahashi grew to be the best selling story teller that we love today.
As a person that got into manga early on through Takahashi, I find it endlessly fascinating to see so many familiar ideas and prototype concepts floating around in her head. Some stories like "Those Selfish Aliens," or "Excuse Me For Being a Dog!" are clearly the seeds for popular series like Urusei Yatsura and Ranma, and it's fun to see how they could have played out.
Perhaps the stories collected in Rumic World may not blow your mind, but even if you're not a die hard fan of Rumiko, there's a few stories that stand well enough on their own that they deserve a read. "The Laughing Target," "The Face Pack," and "Tragedy of P," are some of my personal favorites, and if nothing else, they can entertain you while you're whining about how bored you are to friends on facebook.