December 28, 2008
Oh wow, I’m kind of surprised how handily the story wrapped up in this volume. As I’ve said all along, I had heard that Tanemura had ended this series early, so I was anticipating a messy ending. The only actual evidence of this is the fact that the first chapter of the book handily introduces all the remaining strangers except one. The rest of the volume plays out quite an interesting ending to the story.
Ui is actually woken up almost right away (after some drama surrounding the last stranger is taken care of and some questions about Hizuki and Sakatachi are taken care of). When that happens… er. Kyoko’s true nature is revealed, and there’s some pretty heavy drama that I wasn’t expecting. The twist comes almost literally out of left field. While it would have been nice had more time been spent on this particular plot development, the way it was handled was quite admirable, and maximum emotional impact was taken advantage of.
For as much nonsense as was crammed in between when Ui woke up and the actual end of the story, I was surprised by how well everything played out, all things considered. The only thing I really found myself craving more information about was what was revealed about Hizuki, because his finest moment really was rushed. I felt a little bad about that, and I guess I wound up liking Hizuki and Sakatachi a little more than I thought. I also thought it was a bit of a shame that absolutely no story time was spent on Princess Ui, but I can’t say I liked or disliked her, and really, I guess that would have been introducing a new character at the end of the story.
For as much as I hated this series when I read the first volume, I’m really surprised by how good the story was by the end. It was a shame it couldn’t have gone on longer. But at least I can move on to Gentleman’s Alliance feeling pretty good about it.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.
December 21, 2008
I was actually surprised by how much I liked this volume compared to the last one. After not caring for the style of humor or the extremely obvious episodic nature and somewhat generic thrust of the plot (girl collects allies to save the princess, some allies are her best friends), I figured I’d just fight my way through the last two volumes and grit my teeth against… well, the stuff I didn’t like.
I’m not sure if I was just in a better mood this time or the stories were just better, but I wound up enjoying this volume. Kyoko is still pretty much just after the strangers, and the first one in this volume is one of her best friends. The story surrounding her was actually fairly good, if a bit generic, and involved a lesson on love and putting your trust in the wrong people.
Most of the volume was about two other strangers, the leaders of the Fish and Snake tribes, and their feuds and problems with the demon tribes. This plot was actually fairly involved and had some pretty good twists and turns along the way. Witzig, who struck me as kind of useless, finally shows off what it is that he does, and he’s actually involved with things quite a bit here. Once things are straightened out in the villiages and in the personal lives of the tribes, we get a pretty decent and significant twist concerning Kyoko toward the end of the volume. I was pretty sure nothing was going to come of it, but it was fun all the same, and helped flesh out the cute little romance between her and Sakatachi a little more.
I mean, it still has pretty much all the problems I mentioned last time (sometimes the action skips around in confusing ways, its sense of humor is still not quite right, and it’s still fairly generic as far as plot and characters go), but things are becoming developed enough that I’ve been drawn into the story, which is good enough for me. It’s probably even better for girls younger than me, which is really all that counts. I don’t anticipate it ending very smoothly, but I’m sure it will still be fun in the third volume.
October 20, 2008
Okay. So, one of these days I’m going to make a solemn promise to myself never to read anything that runs in Ribon magazine. They’re fine series, but I am certainly not Ribon’s target audience. There are a handful of Ribon series that I’ve read and enjoyed, but for the most part, they have Ribon-y things about them that I dislike.
Time Stranger Kyoko is a little bit better than I thought in some ways, and a little bit worse than I thought in other ways. The plot was pretty good, and was much different than what I was expecting. The fantasy adventure element is that Kyoko has to collect 12 different orbs and their masters in order to wake her twin sister Ui, who has been asleep since she was born. Kyoko can recover the different orbs by traveling through time, which is her ability with the orb she gets from Ui. She also gets a cane that appears to be sentient and advises her as to the wisdom of using her powers in certain situations. I’m a sucker for time travel stories, so I really liked the plot of it so far, and I kind of like the 12 allies part too, though that lends itself later to having too many characters around. One of the only things that bugged me about the plot is that no reason was given for Ui to be sleeping, or why finding the Strangers and the crystals would wake her up. I mean, I don’t need much of a reason… it could be a curse, or bad timing, or her being the chosen one… whatever. I just need some reason. None was provided.
There was a lot more comedy than I was expecting, though. The cane being able to talk is a good example of what I mean, and that element is more weird than it is funny. Lots and lots of jokes are made, more than you would expect after having read something like KKJ or Full Moon, though the humor is about the same as it is in those series. Kyoko makes her decisions based on things like whether or not she wants to take Flamenco lessons (which, admittedly, was pretty funny when a chapter opened with a panel of Kyoko saying “Die, Carmen!”), and one of the characters is a little robot girl mascot named Chocola who seems to tag along for no reason other than to make jokes pretty frequently. More often than not, the characters are joking with one another, to the point where I would say this is a light shoujo humor-gag series more than it is an action series. It was not to my taste, but the humor wasn’t terrible, and I can see how a little girl might like it a lot more than me.
The story at this point has just as much to do with Kyoko and her life as princess of Earth as it does with her finding the Strangers. She is constantly accompanied by her two bodyguards, the last two members of their tribe, and usually by the leader of a gang of thieves who decides pretty early on and for no reason that he likes Kyoko.
Eh. It’s only three volumes long. I’ll finish it, but three volumes is about as much of something like this I can read. Again, it’s got a good plot, and it’s not a bad series for a younger audience, but it’s just not for me.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.