Random Manga Theatre 56: Jauhara Lailah

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Jauhara Lailah, by Chisato Nesumi


Before I started doing Random Manga Theatre, I hadn’t realized how many of these were around. “These” meaning stories that seem cool, and actually are pretty cool, but only last one or two volumes at most. The world of manga is harsh, I guess. We knew that when Double Arts got cancelled, but it’s always a little sad to see something clearly rushed to the finish and unable to stay its welcome. Some things deserve better.

Jauhara Lailah (which apparently means “Gems of Night” or something along those lines) is the tale of Ghee, who may as well be Aladdin (from the Disney movie, not from Magi). He spends his days wandering the city and its outskirts, stealing to survive and looking for treasure.  His mother/aunt/grandmother/whatever-she-is-I’m-not-even-sure claims they are descended from a great line of thieves, and Ghee should aim higher to bring honor to the family name. However, his exploits are routinely rebuffed by Ulupica, the crown prince of the realm. The two were friends as children, but now it’s just a game of cat and mouse as Ghee tries to find treasure and “Stupica” tries to enforce justice.


But since all anime/manga have to start with the main character(s) meeting a cute girl(s), stuff really starts to pick up once Ghee meets a sexy (and obviously evil) fortune teller who recommends Ghee head into some cave and grab the treasure. Ulupica is hot on his tail, and after a freak cave-in, they meet a pair of girls who seem to mysteriously shift in age from loli to teen, depending on their mood. Turns out they’re dragons or something, and really old besides. Long story short, all four of them end up questing for mystical stones that are related to Ghee’s family heirloom, which may or may not have been stolen from Ulupica’s ancestors 200 years ago…

I actually kind of enjoyed this! It reminded me of Magi, in a mostly good way. As the mangaka admits in the liner notes (and I agree with them), there’s always something fun about a fantastical story with ancient legends, dragons, and deserts. It’s just on the edge of the level of cliche for a fantasy story, without feeling too stale, and I can appreciate that. The art style is distinctive and fun, meshing well with the tone of the story (even if everyone, including the men, look like girls – I actually mistook this for a yuri manga for the first chapter or so, and Ghee isn’t helping anyone’s case by playfully calling Ulupica “princess”). If this had been five times as long, with more focus on finding each magic stone and fleshing out the characters, I probably would have enjoyed this even more. Alas, it’s probably doomed to languish in the halls of obscurity.


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