Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2010 – 1 volume
This. Hm. Well. I always have to remind myself that Arina Tanemura’s series run in Ribon, a magazine for little girls, and are not really meant for me. She can certainly draw, and if nothing else, I love looking at the pretty pictures. But sometimes… sometimes the going is rough. This volume is a good example.
It stars a pair of psychic 14-year-olds named Kisaki and Giniro. They are a pair that work for a secret PSI organization, fighting cute non-threatening aliens under the names “Fortune Quartz” and “Fortune Tiara,” together as “Mistress Fortune.” It’s a three-chapter story, with two chapters of follow-up, mostly about the romance between Kisaki and Giniro.
As you can imagine, it’s not terribly deep stuff. Chapter one introduces us to the characters, their powers, and what the PSI organization is, chapter two sets up a sad backstory for Giniro and escalates the romance between the two. It ends with Giniro and Kisaki fighting, and chapter three is a big noble adventure that Kisaki undertakes. One of the side stories is about the leader of the PSI organization, and the other is about the mascot alien character that follows Mistress Fortune around.
This sudden explanation of Kisaki’s powers just about sums up how I feel about the series: “A ‘Planet Photon’ is an electromagnetic wave with the same frequency as the photon belt around Alcyone, which is located near the center of the Pleiades star cluster. This electromagnetic wave has the power to fracture the atoms that make up the Ebe [the aliens that Mistress Fortune fight]. In other words, it can terminate the Ebe.” It then goes on to talk about how one ebe is sweating into a volcano and likely to cause a phreatic eruption.
It’s cute, but there’s not a whole lot of rhyme or reason when things happen, and a lot of it is simply cute for cute’s sake. The conflict at the end is also pretty simplistic, and the fight between the characters somewhat silly. There are also a lot of rules for the sake of it, such as one that says the PSI agents can’t know each other in real life, thus making it impossible for Kisaki to confess her feelings for Giniro. Perfect for little girls, but not so much for me.
Admittedly, I liked the silly story at the end where Kisaki and Giniro follow their superior around to try and figure out if it’s a man or a woman. And I liked a lot of the silliness and light romance in the main story, too. But… short psychic magical girl series just aren’t my thing.
Two good things, though: Kisaki goes to the US in the final chapter, which cracked me up since there were a lot of culture shock moments. And, even better, her chaperone in the US is Nancy Thistlethwaite, one of the editors at Viz. How cool is it that she wound up in an Arina Tanemura manga? There’s a neat story in the back that elaborates on it, too.
Well, three good things. Tanemura’s art really does get better and better with every volume. This is some pretty gorgeous stuff, and the magical girl stuff really gives her a chance to shine with the little girly design flourishes she’s so good at.
It’s been awhile, but I want to say I liked I.O.N. a bit better than this book. I would say that this would be perfect for young girls, but I’d feel a bit uncomfortable giving it to a very young girl since Kisaki loves Kisaki’s DD breasts. It doesn’t go any farther or into any more detail than him saying he likes them (admittedly, in the most innocent way I’ve ever seen), and there’s no touching or groping or even attempts at lewd behavior, and the breasts themselves are pretty low-key. But all the same, it’s good to mention that.
Even after… not enjoying this volume as much as I was hoping, I’m still looking forward to The Legend of Princess Sakura, her new continuing series. It’s historical romance, I think, and I’m hoping it’ll have a lot of the flavor of Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross to it.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.